Wednesday, April 26, 2017

CTE and Me

This post (and the next few) is a direct copy/paste of an assignment in the CTE Core course I'm currently enrolled in with the Orange County Department of Education. This particular piece is a response to four separate questions.
I’m in a unique position to help students be career-ready. As the Principal of a newly re-chartered Middle College High School, I’m responsible for ensuring the maintenance of a vision that each of our students starts in ninth grade with a plan for earning an AA or AS degree when they graduate from high school. Our partner in this effort, Sacramento City College, has several CTE pathways to Associate's degrees that we will incorporate with our core classes to allow students to be prepared and qualified simultaneously. This assumption that students need career training along with general education instruction, with its roots in 100-year-old federal assistance, is driving the current focus on funding and pathways in CTE subjects.
The first legislation earmarking funding for vocational training - the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 - was crucial to the development of what we now know as CTE. This established the importance of practical knowledge alongside scholarly study. The idea that education exists to prepare students for career and college owes its existence to this legislation. Over time, not only has the legislation evolved as industry sectors change, but outcomes and standards have been established and revised to help ensure quality instruction that is relevant to current industry needs. These Anchor Standards address up-to-date needs like career planning, communication, and technology.
The greatest effect that technology growth has had on my particular work in CTE instruction deals directly with Anchor Standard 4, the Technology Writing Standard. With the advent of popular cloud services, students are able to publish drafts of scripts and receive feedback not only from other students, but from industry professionals as well. This allows for much more relevant and immediate feedback during every stage of the writing process, not just a post-mortem after an essay or screenplay is written. There are even platforms like ConnectEd Studios that allow for industry partners around the globe to critique student work in a safe, teacher-managed online environment.
One strategy that could help develop world-class students is to ensure that young learners actually work in the global environment. With the Common Core focus on students’ need to produce and publish, it’s easy to take student work and move it to the world “stage.” From collaborating with students and professionals from other countries to using research sources from other cultures, technology allows us to create what has been called the Flat Classroom. Students can be part of the global economy and conversation before they leave the educational structure of our schools where they have the support, guidance, and encouragement of trained educators.