Monday, April 10, 2017

Does Your Student Know about CTE?

That would be Career and Technical Education, what we used to call vocational education. 
Seattle Schools has really kicked this department into gear.  This follows a national reawakening (finally) that not every student is or wants to go to college. 

Here's how the district describes it:

Career and Technical Education (CTE) is a planned program of courses and learning experiences that begins with exploration of career options, supports academic and life skills, and enables achievement of high academic standards, leadership, and preparation for career and college.

Cross-crediting is where a Career and Technical Education course provides high school students with core credit towards graduation and college and university admissions. It blends academic and career & technical studies. This is an alternative way for students to meet graduation requirements, and supports pursuit of preparatory Career and Technical Education course sequences.

Transition services are services above and beyond conventional high school classes that provide extra support for students who need assistance in preparing for college, in obtaining and sustaining employment, in independent living skills, and in other areas necessary to independent and successful adult life. These services are mandated for students with disabilities, but there are many more students who need and will benefit from them.
From The Atlantic (bold mine):
Why should students have to go to college to find ways to be good at what they love? And why should what they love not sync in authentic, empowering ways with what they do in high school?

In Kentucky and other states around the U.S., dual-credit programs and community-college initiatives receive quite a bit of attention, and although I am not suggesting that these programs are unnecessary, I do believe it is important to be intentional in the creation and execution of such initiatives to avoid perpetuating biases and tracking students onto paths that do not empower them to capitalize on their strengths.

 Although it is easy to proclaim to students coming of age that “you will make more money if you get a degree,” it is much more difficult to shed light on the intricacies of such a claim. I believe students should hear the whole story and more than one traditional path should be laid out before them.
From The Bellingham Herald, a story not directly about CTE but about the same kind of support for adults.
A new, federally funded apprenticeship program aimed at diversifying the tech workforce in Washington has drawn interest from more than 1,000 applicants in just a few months.
And two of its earliest participants have already started yearlong, paid apprenticeships.

The program, called Apprenti, is being run by an industry trade association, the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA). It’s funded in part by a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as with private money. It does not cost participants anything.

The trade association is working with Microsoft, Cisco, Code Fellows and other organizations to provide the training, then place the students in paid apprenticeships to further their training for another year.
Apprenti focuses on getting women, veterans and underrepresented minorities into tech fields – groups that have found it hard to break into the industry.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/state/washington/article139811853.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/state/washing/article139811853.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/state/washington/article139811853.html#storyli
What does the district offer?

- CTE opportunities at different schools, both courses and pathways
Looking at the offerings, I see that it appears some schools already had some courses and now they operate under the heading of CTE.  (Also to note - for some reason the CTE department has coded the graphs and yet not explained all the coding.)

It's a bit troubling to call these "pathways" when only a few schools really offer enough classes to call their offerings a "pathway." 
Ballard has most of the Agriculture and Environmental Sciences courses.  I'm a little surprised to see none at Chief Sealth given their focus on water issues throughout the world.

The Arts, Communications and Media Pathway seems to have the most representation at the highest number of schools.  Every high school has at least two (with Ballard, The Center School, Hale, and Roosevelt having the most).  Nova, Rainier Beach and The World School have just one each.

Nearly every high school also has a BM&IT offering which also includes some math classes.

Health and Human Services also sees every high school with some kind of offering. What is odd is the lack of food courses at Rainier Beach given that they have a full student kitchen for just such classes.

Science, Engineering and Industry are fairly scant here, save Ballard and Cleveland.

There are also "Career Academies."

A Career Academy is part of a small learning community where students choose to focus on a specific career theme within the context of their education plans.

- Academy of Finance - offered at Ballard, Chief Sealth and Franklin)
- Academy of Hospitality and Tourism  - Chief Sealth
- Ballard Maritime Academy
- Biotechnology Academy at Ballard
- CREATE Academy at Franklin
- John Stanford Public Service Academy at Franklin
- Cleveland STEM Career Academies - School of Life Sciences and Engineering and Design

Seattle Skills Center 
The Seattle Skills Center is a Seattle Public Schools program to provide hands-on classes in real-world career fields at various school sites – all at no tuition cost. 
There are summer and school-year courses available.  Most of the courses are at south-end high school. 

Reasons to apply to Seattle Skills Center
  • "Try out” a career field for free.
  • Learn from industry professionals. 
  • Earn 1.5 high school credits. 
  • Earn college credit for free, in many cases.
  • Earn industry certification, when relevant.
  • Receive free transportation if the class is taught at another school.
  • Increase confidence, interpersonal skills and leadership skills.
  • Increase likelihood of graduating. (Skills Center participants graduate at a higher rate than non-participants.)

1) The biggest issue seems to be access.  If you are interested in a pathway or academy, you have to be able to enroll in that school.  Under the current Enrollment system, a student should, theoretically, be able to try to enroll at any high school (remember that 10% set-aside created just for this kind of need?) But we all know that isn't going to happen.

2) It would appear that some high schools, just as in other courses offerings, have many more than others.  In particular, Ballard seems to be a powerhouse for these kinds of offerings especially around science.

3) At last week's Curriculum and Instruction meeting, the quarterly report of the Equitable Access to Programs and Services was presented.  In it, there was notice that the Skills Center was trying to up its enrollment and be "financially self-sufficient."

Changes to CTE
- new video production offering, probably at The Center School or Franklin.  The Center School probably needs this because they are such a small school and the district needs to make sure operating it makes fiscal sense (especially since the district leases the space.)

- Maritime Operations - likely another location at the Seattle Central College Annex

- Teaching Academy - this appears to be new and will be at South Lake High School

- Video Game Production:Animation/Programming - taught at the Seattle Center Armory

- Administrative Medical Office Assistant/Health Sciences/Medical Assisting - moving from Lincoln to Marshall while Lincoln is under construction but, due to low enrollment, will go from two sections to one

- Auto Body Collision Repair - this is being eliminated (it was offered at South Seattle CC) due to low enrollment

- Automotive Technology is moving from Washington Middle School to Rainier Beach, also due to low enrollment

- Culinary Arts - decreasing to one section, also due to low enrollment

- Multimedia Broadcasting at Hale is being eliminated due to low enrollment


Anonymous said...

Under the new 24-credit graduation requirement that kicks in for SPS students starting high school this fall, 1 year of CTE will be required. So I guess ALL students will become familiar with CTE before long...

core24 crunch

Melissa Westbrook said...

Core24, didn't know that. I guess math classes will likely count.

Anonymous said...

@ Melissa, I'm not so sure. It's unclear from any of the OSPI documents I've been able to find whether you basic academic courses can be used to satisfy this requirement. Because really, couldn't you make the case that pretty much ANY course could be important for your career? Why should math count toward CTE any more photography or music or psychology or whatever want to do later?

I would LOVE to see some clear guidance from SPS re: what courses would count or not, but I suspect they still haven't given any thought to core 24 planning. Even though the kids hit with this requirement will be choosing their first high school courses in a month or so...

core24 crunch

Anonymous said...

Oops, I hadn't checked your SPS link. Apparently the district DOES provide information about which courses count as CTE at each high school. Unfortunately, things like math and science DON'T appear to count, except for things like Engineering or Computer Science.

But maybe there's a loophole? I'm not sure things will really, in the end, be that different than before for most students. (Unless the district makes drastic changes, that is, like moving to a disastrous 3x5 schedule.)

core24 crunch

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this district's obsession with 60-minute long classes for middle and high school. Why not just make classes 45 minutes and keep them as the same number of credits? That way students get to take more variety in their classes and the credit debacle is fixed.

Perplexed Eastcoaster

Anonymous said...

Yes, that seems like it would make the most sense. But teachers don't like the idea because it means more work for them--their free period is a little shorter, and they have to teach more classes and more students. That means more prep, more papers to grade, etc.


Anonymous said...

Unless that meant teaching one more class but gaining two prep periods (45 minutes per period would mean 7 periods in a day I think?). Surely it could be negotiated :) From what I see, 10-15 min of those hour-long periods are usually downtime for kids anyway.

Perplexed Eastcoaster

Anonymous said...

Aside from the minimal instruction that can actually happen in a 45-minute class (expect a ton of homework on that model as there's little class time for practice or application), 45 minute classes have the potential to screw up funding: From the Wa Board of Education:

8. Does the change from a time-based definition of a credit affect a district’s apportionment funding?
If a district ends up reducing its instructional time, there could be a reduction in claimable FTEs, especially as it relates to part time students. For instance, if a student is enrolled in a single daily scheduled class which is scheduled for 60 minutes, it would be claimed for a 0.20 FTE. If the time is reduced to 45 minutes then the calculation of FTE generates only a 0.15 FTE. Districts should work with their business officers to determine any potential impact to district funding for changes to instructional time.

Glad I left Seattle

Anonymous said...

I think 50 minutes is as short as you can go and still call it an instructional "hour" for instructional time. And 5 min lost per day x 180 days = 15 hours lost per course, or the equivalent of 18 50 min classes (over 3 weeks of class time). "Only" 5 min is 10% of the class time. Lab classes are challenging enough with 50 min periods...

tough choices

Anonymous said...

@ tough choices, I agree, but losing 5 minutes per class per day is nothing like the instructional time that would be lost if we went to a 3x5 schedule...


Anonymous said...

True. Somewhere around 20% of class time would be lost with a 3x5 schedule (is that still under consideration??). A loss of 10% is still significant though.

tough choices

Anonymous said...

It's unclear if anything at all is under consideration. SPS kicked the can down the road another year, despite the fact that the new graduation requirements will apply to the incoming freshman class. I guess they figure they'll figure out eventually? Maybe leave things how they are and let students figure out how to get what they need on their own? Or maybe they're hoping to wait until it's an emergency and they absolutely "must act now!" with whatever plan they wanted in the first place, instead of engaging the community? I wish they'd get their act together.

Wasn't the whole point of the two year-waiver for implementing core24 so that the district had time to figure things out? I would have thought that meant having a plan before the class of 2021 starts high school.