Turning a CTE Program Into an Academy

Kansas CTE Conference, Wichita, KS
February 21, 2011
Mike Gross
[email protected]
 Identify the core components of effective CTE
 Explore the commonalities between CTE
programming and the development of Career
Academies and the Career Clusters framework
 Visit elements from the Perkins IV legislation
and other national initiatives and discuss the
impact on CTE, Career Clusters, Career
Academies and school reform movements
 Discuss best practices for career-based school
Standards of Practice
The National Standards of Practice for career academies were developed by an informal
consortium of national career academy organizations. Drawn from many years of
research and experience, they are framed around ten key elements for
successful, sustained implementation of academies. There
are several reasons why these NSOP were developed. First, research was
showing that academies were making a difference in
graduation and dropout rates and in career choices for
young people. What was not being demonstrated was the
difference academies make in academic achievement. These
Standards are a way to ensure that academies are adhering to rigor on multiple levels,
including academics. Secondly, the term “career academy” was being utilized in many
ways to define all types of schools and programs. These Standards become a way to
define a career academy which is a smaller learning community and provide a vehicle
for academies to share strategies, challenges and successes
on a level playing field.
The NSOP were introduced nationally at a press conference in December 2004 in
Washington, DC. Endorsing the Standards were a variety of organizations, as well as
the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor.
Perkins IV
 …integrate rigorous and challenging academic and
career and technical instruction… (sec 2.2, purpose)
 …career and technical programs of study, which may
be adopted by local education agencies and
postsecondary institutions… (sec 122.c.1.a, state plan)
 Offer the appropriate courses of not less than one of
the career and technical programs of study… (sec
134.b.2, local plan)
 Develop and support small, personalized careerthemed learning communities. (sec 135.c.13,
permissive use of funds)
Smaller Learning Communities
 Smaller is better- 350 to 450 students
according to research
 Schools at 1000+ need to be reduced
 School within a school
 Can be random, by grade, by interest
 Divide and conquer
 Economy of scale: Small school
environment plus opportunities of large
Career Clusters
 16 clusters
 Dept. of Education project (Now state
directors of Career and Tech)
 All careers can be classified in one of
 Clusters provide framework for courses
KSDE On Career Clusters
 A Career Cluster is a grouping of occupations and
broad industries based on commonalities. The 16
Career Clusters organize academic and
occupational knowledge and skills into a
coherent course sequence and identify pathways
from secondary schools to two- and four-year
colleges, graduate schools, and the workplace.
Students learn in school about what they can do in the
future. This connection to future goals motivates
students to work harder and enroll in more rigorous
Career Clusters and Perkins IV
 Strong language has been written into
the newest Carl Perkins Act legislation
for implementation of Career Clusters
 The specifics of this language
emphasizes the use of PLANS OF
STUDY based on the clusters
 (examples)
Cluster Plans of Study: Key Elements
Academic courses
Career and Technical courses
Post-secondary connections
Career opportunities
Career Academy
A physical grouping of students
and staff for the purpose of
increased focus on broadly
related career development and
the integration of academic and
career and technical skills.
Career Academy
 Academies should contain a full
complement of academic, elective and
Career and Technical teachers.
 Academies should have a dedicated
support system, including autonomous
administration and SPED personnel.
“Pocket” Career Academies
Academy is housed within larger
comprehensive high school
Students apply to academy
In house “magnet school”
West coast, New England
“Wall to Wall” Career
 All students in school are placed in an
 School provides opportunities for all
students and career interests
 Broad career groups
 Can be based on clusters
Career Academies
Each academy has:
 Principal
 Academy Leader
 Counselor
 Dedicated office support in academy area
 Special Education support
 Full academic course offerings
Career Pathways
 A career pathway is a specific sequence
of courses that leads to a terminal
course, industry based certification, or
a post-secondary connection
 A Career and Technical Education
completer program is the best example
of a pathway
 Smaller Learning Communities group students
and staff into smaller units
 The 16 Career Clusters form a classification system
for careers that can be used as a guidance and
planning tool for students using a Plan of Study
 Career Academies are SLC’s that are based upon
common, broad-based career interest
 A Career Pathway is a specific sequence of courses
that lead to something beyond school
 Career and Technical Education (CTE)…
 Determine your specific needs and goals
 Research best practices from everywhere
 Bring faculty and admin together from the beginning
 Vote on big decisions
 Public relations must be continually emphasized
 Be your own “best expert” - Avoid models that do not
align with your philosophy, goals and needs
 Build on existing strengths
Overcoming Barriers
 Don’t let anyone call this tracking!
 Each sub-system must provide equal
 Teachers follow other teachers most of the
time, but the boss must be the boss for
some issues…
 Communication is critical; Promise (and
deliver!) alignment to the shared
Thoughts on Leadership…
 Management, administration and leadership
are all different skills… although very related
and all necessary
 Leading isn’t really leading if you are alone- it
is about the team
 Leadership is about people… not places or
even processes
 “He who is least, is greatest”
 Leadership is a resource for those on the

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