State Board members heard from an array of policy makers and educators about the value of CTE and its positive impact on students throughout New Jersey. Through presentations and videos, the board got a small taste of CTE programs from Cape May to Bergen County.
State Director of CTE Marie Barry led the session with an overview of how CTE has evolved from programs that prepare work-bound students for a specific job to programs that prepare all types of students for college and a career pathway. She shared new data that shows New Jersey’s CTE students outperforming their peers on the HSPA. The CTE advantage was particularly strong among economically disadvantaged and special education students.
She also discussed the new focus on CTE programs of study that link secondary and postsecondary learning opportunities in specific career pathways. The number of such programs is growing, along with the number of CTE students who earn college credit as part of their high school experience. Last year over 3500 county vocational school students earned college credits, in addition to various industry credentials and certificates aligned with the CTE programs.
Linda Millstein of Brookdale Community College discussed the CTE Alternate Route program, which has prepared 140 new CTE teachers since its launch in 2009. The program is successfully addressing the challenge of transforming industry professionals into CTE teachers with a combination of online and Saturday sessions. Hunterdon Polytech Principal Dan Kerr told the State Board that the program has had a positive impact on his district’s new teachers. He highlighted a 2012 Alternate Route graduate who was named Teacher of the Year this year.
Nancy Trivette and staff from Allentown High School showcased the transformation of agriculture programs into rigorous agricultural science programs through the implementation of the national Curriculum for Agriculture Science Education (CASE), a rigorous CTE program that is currently used by 16 New Jersey school districts.
And Todd Menadier, the director of implementation for the NJ Green Program of Study initiative, described how this collaborative developed curriculum in helping county vocational schools (and one local high school) transform their construction and design programs into rigorous programs of study for Sustainable Design, Green Construction and Sustainable Energy.
The short video he used as part of the presentation shares the student’s perspective of the courses and demonstrate how participating schools are using Sustainability as a means to enhance rigor and bring more meaning to the student’s work. The State Board witnessed how the curricula engages students in authentic projects that require them to solve problems, think critically, and be creative. Members were impressed by the caliber of the lessons and how the innovative content increased student motivation
Middlesex County Vocational Technical Schools Superintendent Brian Loughlin wrapped up the session with an overview of his district, which includes career academies focused on engineering and health and biomedical sciences, as well as three schools that offer a broad range of CTE programs.
He highlighted the district’s commitment to serving special education (32% of enrollment) and disadvantaged students (45%), and the district’s refocus from preparing students for the workforce to preparing students for college as well as employment.
Don’t miss the video about the district’s Perth Amboy campus, which recently won the prestigious Blue Ribbon award from the US Department of Education. It is the featured video on CareerTechNJ this month, and a shorter version in on Vimeo..