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Info & Comm Technologies Pathway » Essential Learning Elements (11)

Essential Learning Elements (11)

“Institutional commitment and leadership at every level, including the institutions’
governing boards, are vital to sustaining and expanding CTE. As in any system, effective
leadership is needed to articulate and spotlight the need for CTE, galvanize support
and resources, ensure sound management and coordination, and facilitate continuous
improvement.” (California State Plan for Career Technical Education, pages 56 & 57) 
  1. Articulation Agreements
  2. Professional Development
  3. Support at All Levels
CTE offers rigorous, integrated, technical, and academic content focused on careers that
are intrinsically interesting to students and is delivered through applied, performance- and
project-based teaching strategies that facilitate understanding and mastery. It also instills
essential transferable workplace and career management skills that students can draw upon
over a lifetime of learning and career development. In addition, CTE is, by necessity, often
taught in personalized learning environments (e.g., small classes, learning communities,
student organizations, and worksites) that further augment the benefits of these programs.
Finally, CTE programs are dynamic; curricula need to stay current with rapid changes in the
workplace, requiring ongoing updates and learning on the part of CTE faculty.
High-quality curriculum and instruction in CTE includes the intentional reinforcement of the
cognitive, academic, and technical rigor inherent in CTE and the alignment of CTE with academic and industry standards. It also includes the integration of CTE and academic content
through a variety of strategies that foster complementary approaches to teaching and learning — strategies that draw on the best of what both CTE and non- CTE disciplines have to
offer. (California State Plan for Career Technical Education, page 62) 
  1. Pathway Standards
  2. Sequenced Career Pathways
  3. Work Based Learning
  4. Master Schedule is Sequenced
  5. All Aspects of Industry Taught
  6. Technology Embedded
  7. Academic Alignment
  8. Industry Certification/Licensure
Career exploration and guidance are central to CTE. They help ensure that students
have access to information and experiences that allow them to envision a wide range of
possibilities for their lives and to make informed decisions, both while in their educational
programs and throughout their careers — decisions based both on their own interests,
needs, and goals, and on a thoughtful assessment of opportunities. (California State Plan for
Career Technical Education, page 72) 
  1. Students Counseled/Guided
  2. Four Year Career Plan Developed
Students in CTE programs — indeed, all students — come to schools and colleges with
a range of needs that must be addressed in order for them to succeed in their studies
and transition to future endeavors. Needs may range from transportation, child care, and
translation services to mentoring and coaching for success in highly challenging CTE
competitions and projects or with transitions to new career opportunities. This section
addresses the range of services and programs that support and reinforce technical and
academic learning, with an emphasis on the relationships — organizational or personal —
that make these programs work. It also includes outreach to students for enrollment in CTE,
which, in itself, promotes learning and success. Stakeholders emphasize the importance of
enrolling students into CTE programs as a means to engage them and facilitate learning,
and the subsequent importance of providing the support services necessary to ensure their
success. (California State Plan for Career Technical Education, page 79)
  1. Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO)
  2. CTSO Work Plan
  3. Leadership Activities Embedded Curriculum
  4. All Students Participate
  5. Special Population Students Aware
  6. Non-traditional CTE Offerings
The unique link between industry and education is an essential feature of CTE and
distinguishes it from other types of instructional designs and models. Industry partners
play crucial roles in ensuring that CTE curricula are current and relevant, and that students
and educators have opportunities to explore their interests and learn important skills in the
workplace. (California State Plan for Career Technical Education, page 86) 
  1. Advisory Committees
  2. Business/Industry Participation
  3. Industry Approved Curriculum
  4. Labor Market Demand
  5. Industry Standards/Competencies
In order to support the academic and career technical achievement of students in CTE
programs, it is essential that all the components of the entire CTE system be effectively
linked. System coherence and alignment incorporates several elements, including course
sequencing, pathways, articulation, and coordination across sectors. The system alignment:
  • Must incorporate secondary education and postsecondary education elements.
  • Must include coherent and rigorous content, aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant career and technical content, in a coordinated, nonduplicative
    progression of courses that align secondary education with postsecondary education
    to adequately prepare students to succeed.
  • May include the opportunity for secondary education students to participate in dual or
    concurrent enrollment programs or other ways to acquire postsecondary education
    credits. (California State Plan for Career Technical Education, page 89) 
  1. Program of Study to Postsecondary
  2. Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration
  3. CTE Program Sequence Includes at Least One CTE Course
For CTE to prepare students to meet rigorous standards and become lifelong learners
with employable skills, the K–12, adult school, and community college systems need to be
intentionally designed to ensure that this occurs. Minimally, this entails the development of
organizational structures and processes that facilitate student access to programs, enable
faculty to collaborate with one another, promote personalization, link students with business
and industry for workplace learning, and encourage course and program completion. In so
doing, CTE also blurs the line between education and the workplace, in such a way that all
are working toward the common goal of ensuring student success and workforce readiness.
(California State Plan for Career Technical Education, page 101) 
  1. Course Access-Extended Time
  2. Open Entry Opportunities in Sequence
  3. Convenient Times and Locations
For California’s immense and diverse economy to retain its prosperity and competitive
position in the global market, education must meet the demand for skilled workers in a
wide range of industries. A demand-driven system is responsive to current workforce
development needs and labor market realities and predictions. (California State Plan for Career
Technical Education, page 107) 
  1. Track Labor Market Demands
  2. Sufficient Funding for Programs
  3. Partnerships with Stakeholders
Key elements of quality CTE are the skills of its instructors and the existence of a sufficient
pool of skilled instructors to adequately staff programs. (California State Plan for Career Technical
Education, page 112) 
  1. Appropriate Teacher Credentials
  2. Professional Development Activities
  3. CTE Staff Meetings
  4. Record of Staff Meetings
Evaluation and accountability are key to any system or program improvement process.
Multiple accountability systems already exist in California to provide data that both meet
specific requirements at the federal and state level and support program improvement efforts.
These include systems mandated by NCLB, the Carl D. Perkins Act, and the Workforce
Investment Act, as well as state systems designed to provide the Academic Performance
Index for schools; ensure continued funding for high-quality, high-demand community
college programs; and assess compliance with the requirements of many different individual
programs in both segments. In view of the multiplicity of existing accountability systems,
coupled with the intended integration of CTE into educational policy as a strategy to serve all
students, any discussion of accountability must focus on utilizing, aligning, and expanding
upon existing systems, and must emphasize program improvement along with reporting of
compliance-driven data. Similarly, to the extent that such a system (or collection of systems)
is intended to drive improvement in CTE for the benefit of all its customers — students,
businesses, communities, and taxpayers statewide — it must report progress on measures
that are meaningful to each of these groups. (California State Plan for Career Technical Education,
page 117) 
  1. Industry Advisory Committees
  2. Annual Course Reviews
  3. Classroom Observations
  4. Teacher Evaluations
  5. Yearly Strategic Planning
CTE offers myriad benefits to students, employers, state and regional economies, and
communities. In order to ensure continued support for CTE, its benefits must be validated
and made more widely known to students, parents, educators, counselors, community
members, and policymakers. This plan makes explicit the need to clearly communicate the
benefits of CTE to each of these groups based on evidence of its impact. (California State Plan
for Career Technical Education, page 129)
  1. Community outreach activities and workshops
  2. Student leadership opportunities
  3. Community Classroom/Internships
  4. Career Technical Student Organizations
  5. Work/Project based learning
  6. Community service projects
  7. Industry Advisory Committees
  8. Open House
  9. Classroom/Teacher websites
  10. Media promotion of events
  11. Community involvement and participation