I M P L E M E N TAT I O N G U I D E AchieveTexas How to ensure student success by creating a strong college and career education program 8 Steps for Schools Implement AchieveTexas Align secondary and postsecondary programs Partner with business and industry Implement Texas Achievement Plans And more! College and Career Initiative Dear Colleague, T exas has always pioneered innovative programs that improve how students learn and what they achieve. We have set high standards and expectations for every student, and worked hard to make sure schools are accountable for results. We believe significant educational advancements occur when we break with traditional ways of thinking. It’s now time to take the next step forward in Texas education. We are pleased to introduce this college and career initiative that allows students to achieve success by preparing them for secondary and postsecondary opportunities, career preparation and advancement, meaningful work, and active citizenship. The AchieveTexas College and Career Initiative centers on establishing career clusters in all of our schools as a strategy for improving high school completion rates and college and workforce readiness. It is based on the belief that the curricula of the 21st century should combine rigorous academics with relevant career education that incorporates the College Readiness Standards, personalized learning environments, academic and social support, relevant teaching and learning designed to promote postsecondary success, and effective educators and leaders. Career clusters are a way of reorganizing learning around programs of study that will prepare students for an ever more competitive global economy. In Texas, we have adopted the U. S. Department of Education’s Career Clusters System. The 16 broad career clusters and 79 programs of study support the Governor's Industry Cluster Initiative, which identifies high-growth/high-paying jobs for the 21st-century Texas economy. AchieveTexas offers guidance to help students plan their educational experience based on their career goals and allows students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful transition into skilled employment, advanced training, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or technical certification. AchieveTexas provides an organizing tool for redesigning schools, small learning communities, academies, and magnet schools. Career programs of study represent a recommended sequence of courses based on a student’s personal interests and career goals. The idea is to connect what students learn in school every day to what they aspire to do tomorrow, thus increasing engagement with school and motivation to achieve. This booklet is your guide to implementing career clusters. It introduces the concept of career clusters and programs of study and offers you eight essential steps to building a strong program that promotes high school completion and college and career readiness. At the state level, we are supporting this effort by aligning curricula, standards, and professional development. The Education Service Centers will also play a role by offering technical assistance as you implement career clusters and programs of study. The Texas spirit is to pioneer new ideas. Working together, we can take education in Texas to a new level of excellence. Again, we hope you will begin to prepare the children of Texas for a lifetime of success. College and Career Initiative What’s inside… T exas, like the rest of the world, is experiencing change at an amazing pace. While the economy is steadily growing on the surface, underneath it is volatile, with new technologies and other economic forces reshaping entire industries. Although the unemployment rate is relatively steady, the media is full of reports of downsizing and outsourcing. Some areas are desperate for workers, while others are oversupplied. In today’s job market, it seems the only constant is change. One statewide strategy, the Governor’s Industry Cluster Initiative, can help us navigate that change. Due to global competition, Texas graduates are not just vying for jobs with those from across town or other states, they are also competing for jobs with welleducated workers from other countries. The only chance our children have of staying ahead of the competition is if our schools make it a priority to keep up with the developments in the world and truly prepare each graduate for college and career. This is what AchieveTexas is all about. It is an effort to redesign education so that students are better prepared for opportunities in today’s and tomorrow’s world. It recognizes that our public education system is Texas’ primary way of building a strong workforce that can compete favorably with that of any other state or nation. AchieveTexas is an ambitious vision of an improved education system that is based on rigorous standards of performance established in partnership with the business community. The initiative calls for parents to be actively involved in their children’s education and career goals. It is a way to refocus school on how students really learn—actively engaged in activities and projects using critcal thinking and problem solving skills. This is your guide to implement AchieveTexas in your community. It covers the benefits for you and your students, and then describes eight fundamental steps for building a program. Each step includes a profile of a successful program currently in place that demonstrates the concepts of “AchieveTexas in Action.” Finally, you will find a list of helpful resources and a glossary of key terms. Education must keep up with the changing world. AchieveTexas is an opportunity to redesign schools to ensure that every student succeeds and contributes to the Texas of tomorrow. Copyright and Terms of Service Copyright © Texas Education Agency, 2006, 2008. The materials found on this website are copyrighted © and trademarked ™ as the property of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and may not be reproduced without the express written permission of TEA, except under the following conditions: CONTENTS Why Build an AchieveTexas Program? Page 2 STEP 1 Implement AchieveTexas Page 4 STEP 2 Span All Grades Page 6 STEP 3 Implement TAPs Page 8 STEP 4 Enhance Guidance Page 10 STEP 5 Build Seamless Connections Page 12 STEP 6 Establish Extended Learning Page 14 STEP 7 Build Strong Partnerships Page 16 STEP 8 Offer Professional Development Page 18 1) Texas public school districts, charter schools, and Education Service Centers may reproduce and use copies of this Material and Related Materials for the districts’ and schools’ educational use without obtaining permission from the TEA; 2) Residents of the state of Texas may reproduce and use copies of the Materials and Related Materials for individual personal use only without obtaining written permission of the TEA; Cluster Resources Page 20 3) Any portion reproduced must be reproduced in its entirety and remain unedited, unaltered and unchanged in any way; 4) No monetary charge can be made for the reproduced materials or any document containing them; however, a reasonable charge to cover only the reproduction and distribution may be charged. Private entities or persons located in Texas that are not Texas public school districts or Texas charter schools or any entity, whether public What Does That Mean? Page 21 or private, educational or non-educational, located outside the state of Texas MUST obtain written approval from the TEA and will be required to enter into a license agreement that may involve the payment of a licensing fee or a royalty. For information contact: Office of Copyrights, Trademarks, License Agreements, and Royalties, Texas Education Agency, 1701 N. Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701-1494; phone 512-463-9270 or 512-463-9437; email:[email protected] Page 1 WhyBuildanAchieveTexasProgram? It all comes down to the purpose of education: to ensure success for students The concept of AchieveTexas is simple: students can succeed in school, career, and life if they develop their own individual plan to success. Top Reasons To Implement AchieveTexas � Better serve the needs of students � Improve students’ motivation to learn � Reduce the number of dropouts � Prepare students for college and career � Increase academic and technical rigor � Support efforts to redesign schools � Redesign curriculum and instruction to be rigous and relevant � Supports a P-16 focus that leads to postsecondary sucess � Meet the needs of employers for highly educated employees Page 2 For some students, this means going to a four-year college, followed perhaps by graduate school. For others it means attending a community college, doing apprenticeships, or joining the military. Some may delay postsecondary education by starting full-time employment after high school graduation. The philosophy of AchieveTexas is that no option is intrinsically better than the other. Whether the choice is right or not simply depends on the personal objectives of the student. The goal is to prepare students for college and career, and to allow them to choose the option that is best for them. Millions of Routes to Success In fact, there are as many individual routes to success as there are individual students, and no two students are likely to follow the exact same route to success. Under the guidance of parents/guardians and educators, each student should explore career options and make wise decisions about how best to move forward. Education should treat every student as an individual learner and help each student find success in academic and technical achievement. The purpose of school should be to help students prepare for college and career—energizing and motivating them to learn and achieve. If society does not truly believe that there is a way to support every student—even the most disinterested and disruptive—then the system is a failure. Texas schools and educators know better than that. They are not in the business of giving up on students, but of finding creative ways to support each and every one. Introducing AchieveTexas This is the spirit behind AchieveTexas. It is an effort to create multiple ways for students to plan their success. In today’s world, all but the most basic and low-paying careers call for workers who can read, write, communicate, and solve problems. Projections indicate that by 2016, 31.2% of the jobs will require at least a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree or postsecondary award (see chart on next page). Both professional and skilled positions are filled with rapidly growing occupations that require a blend of academic, employability, and technical skills. To take advantage of these opportunities, every student needs strong academic skills complemented and enhanced with relevant technical skills. Redesigning Schools AchieveTexas supports a broad choice of programs to enhance, supplement, and build local capacity to improve postsecondary success. Districts are encouraged to identify strategies for aligning and coordinating federal and other funding sources that may be pursued for high school reform, dropout prevention, and to motivate students to master the knowledge and skills needed to graduate from high school ready for college and career. AchieveTexas promotes: a rigorous academic and technical curriculum that incorporates the College Readiness Standards, personalized learning environments like internships, relevant teaching and learning designed to promote 2016 Projected U.S. Job Distribution Bachelor’s Plus 21.7% postsecondary success, and effective educators and leaders. AchieveTexas complements comprehensive whole school reform models such as the Early College High School, Texas High School Redesign and Restructuring, Texas High Schools that Work Enhanced Design Network, and the T-STEM Initiative. AchieveTexas is designed to focus education so that it seamlessly integrates learning, giving students the academic and technical skills they need to succeed. Organizing learning encompassing career clusters and programs of study (see page 4) provides a way to blend academics and career preparation to produce more well-rounded graduates ready for the opportunities of the world. Education must provide many different routes for students to follow based on their individual needs and career choices. AchieveTexas is your opportunity to rethink education in your community, form close working partnerships among different stakeholders, and strengthen the Texas workforce and economy. It’s a chance to improve curricula, instruction, and assessment so that they better reflect the realities students will encounter as adults. Adopting AchieveTexas Connecting what a student learns in school today with what he or she wants to do for a living, increases motivation to learn. Schools can help each student develop skills they need to make informed decisions about the future. Connecting School and Career Although motivating students to learn has been talked about for decades, AchieveTexas is the first systemic initiative promoting that principle in all our schools. Great teachers 34.3% 9.5% 24.9% 9.6% Associate/Postsecondary Award Work experience, related occupation Long/Moderate OJT Short-term on-the-job training Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007. your community can make a big difference have been doing that with some students in the lives of all students. You can build a forever, but AchieveTexas creates a program that addresses individual student complete program oriented toward needs and sparks a personal motivation to engaging all students to learn throughout succeed. Surely, such a goal is worth their P–16 years. pursuing. AchieveTexas is your opportunity The impact on students and on Texas to establish an ambitious vision for will be profound: thousands of graduates improving schools and taking practical thoroughly prepared for personal and action to turn the vision into reality. professional success. AchieveTexas is a sound strategy for addressing complaints that graduates still do not have the knowledge and Texas’ Industry Clusters (including Sub-clusters) skills they need to enter � Advanced Technologies and postsecondary education or Manufacturing training and the workplace. It • Nanotechnology and Materials simply makes common sense to • Micro-electromechanical Systems bring AchieveTexas to your • Semiconductor Manufacturing • Automotive Manufacturing community. � Aerospace and Defense � Biotechnology and Life Sciences Learn More � Information and Computer Technology Read on for information about • Communications Equipment eight essential steps for • Computing Equipment and Semiconductors implementing AchieveTexas, • Information Technology including definitions and � Petroleum Refining and Chemical Products explanations of career clusters, � Energy programs of study, Texas • Oil and Gas Production Achievement Plans, and • Power Generation and Transmission enhanced career guidance. • Manufactured Energy Systems Together, you, your Source: Texas Industry Cluster Initiative, page 20 colleagues, and other members of Page 3 Step One Implement AchieveTexas Commit to building a strong cluster program for your students and schools The first step in implementing AchieveTexas is to make a commitment to embrace career clusters as an essential education strategy in your community. Initially, the cluster concept will redesign high school education, but it can be a broader strategy to reorganize every aspect of education to increase achievement and student success. It’s up to your community as to how ambitious the local implementation of AchieveTexas becomes. Cluster Basics The idea of career clusters developed over a number of years at the federal and state levels. The concept is to organize learning around clusters and programs of study such as Business, Management & Administration or Health Science. Each cluster has opportunies for multiple programs of study. Texas Career Clusters At the state level, Texas has adopted the 16 federal career clusters (see back cover) plus the Governor’s six targeted industry clusters, which are the economic engines of the state. These encompass all the careers students might choose and connect directly to the Texas job market and economy. The idea is that students are introduced to clusters early (see page 6), explore a cluster in the eighth grade (see page 8), annually reevaluate their education and career goals, continue in a career of choice during postsecondary education or training, and enter employment when they are ready to start careers. The program offers a seamless route to success in school, career, and life. Local districts in Texas are free to choose which clusters to implement based on the needs of the students, community, and local economy. Not all schools will be able to offer all 16 clusters, but the goal should be to use advanced technology to give students an understanding of each career cluster and targeted industry cluster and enhance their opportunities for high demand, high-growth, and high-wage jobs. Examples of Industry Clusters, Career Clusters, and Programs of Study TARGETED INDUSTRY CLUSTER Advanced Technologies and Manufacturing Aerospace and Defense Biotechnology and Life Sciences CAREER CLUSTER Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security Health Science Information and Computer Information Technology Technology Petroleum Refining and Chemical Transportation, Distribution, Products & Logistics Energy Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Page 4 PROGRAM OF STUDY Engineering and Technology Security and Protective Services Biotechnology Research and Development Network Systems Facility and Mobile Equipment Maintenance Power, Structural and Technical Systems AchieveTexas in Action A2E2 Region VIII Education Service Center www.reg8.net Build Buy-In Generally, cluster programs are built by working groups or partnerships representing education, employers, and other community stakeholders (see page 16). It is critical during the early stages of system redesign to establish buy-in from all stakeholders. This is best achieved by making them part of the process of program design. If all stakeholders feel their concerns are heard and addressed, the chances of gaining support are greater. One of the most important elements of early program development is strong leadership. For your partnership or working group, recruit leaders who are passionate about improving education and who understand the benefits of career clusters. In the beginning, choose co-chairs from education and business. Leaders should be responsible for guiding the group toward a clear vision for the program and developing detailed plans for implementation. Seek Approvals from Policymakers In your community, implementing clusters may require formal approval by the school board, superintendent, or site-based decision-making committee. It will be helpful to determine what rules and regulations need to be followed. A strong cluster program can generally be established within current rules. The power of AchieveTexas is that it makes sense. Develop a clear vision in partnership with community stakeholders and it is likely that others will rally around the concept of helping students find their individual route to personal and professional success. The Education Service Center (ESC) in Region VIII in Mt. Pleasant noticed a problem a few years ago. A large percentage of 8th graders in its region, which covers the northeastern corner of Texas, were failing the math section of the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) exam. To give the incoming 9th graders a boost, the ESC developed Agricultural/Algebraic Extensive Exploration—or A2E2—an innovative course that explores agricultural issues in algebraic terms, allowing students to apply classroom lessons in a realworld context. The class is an example of how clusters can integrate academic and technical knowledge and skills. “Our students use algebra in a number of agricultural areas from animal science to horticulture,” says Sharon Derricks, Career and Technical Education Specialist at the Region VIII Service Center. “Overall, we cover 17 agricultural projects, but we also introduce the students to algebra applications in a few other areas, such as automotive repair and welding.” Projects are the cornerstone of the course and lecture time is limited to provide as many hands-on activities as possible. One class project brings students to an area horse farm where they measure and compare Shetland ponies and regular-sized horses. A2E2 is designed for students concurrently enrolled in Algebra I, and it requires two teachers: a certified secondary teacher with math experience and a certified agricultural science teacher. The expertise of each teacher strengthens the students’ understanding of both the mathematics and its application in the agricultural world. The ESC hopes the —Sharon Derricks, CTE introduction of agricultural topics will motivate students to later Specialist, Region VIII enroll in related classes such as Forestry and Horticulture. Education Service Center A2E2 takes the place of the state’s mandated tutorials for 9th graders struggling in math, and, according to the ESC, is an improvement strategy that works. “A2E2 is doing a good job because the students get it,” Derricks says. ”Kids will need algebra in everything they do, and we give them specific examples to illustrate that.” With a nearly 100 percent success rate of students passing 9th grade algebra, A2E2 is rapidly expanding. Beginning in 2003 with just three pilot schools, the program is presently offered in 45 school districts. Derricks says that teacher professional development is the largest factor in the program’s success. Interested agricultural, math, and science teachers have four opportunities throughout the school year to attend a total of 9 days of traning, during which they complete an entire year’s worth of projects. “It really is fun to watch teachers get excited during the training, and then see the students get excited during class,” says Derricks. “They all put in a lot of work, and you can see that they recognize students’ progress.” “We care about our kids’ selfesteem. Most of these students hadn’t passed a math test before, and now they’re participating and answering questions and getting excited about learning. ” Page 5 Step Two Span All Grades Follow the AchieveTexas career development model AchieveTexas involves all grades. The following progression of college and career education (see “AchieveTexas Career Development” at bottom) is supported by quality career development. Understanding Jobs and Work In elementary school, students will have opportunities to participate in a full range of appropriate activities designed to help students begin to understand patterns of work and economic activity. These activities help to support the Kindergarten through Grade 5 Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies. The intent is to help students understand the importance and value of work and jobs. A school might, for example, conduct an activity in the Health Science cluster in which a nurse discusses the job and how he or she prepared for it. A Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security cluster activity might be a trip to a local firehouse or police station. Elementary school educators could talk about their personal experiences in the Education & Training cluster and how they decided to become teachers. The difference between the AchieveTexas approach and current activities is that the activities are identified by cluster and integrated throughout the curriculum. AchieveTexas Career Development Postsecondary Education or Training • Preparation High School • Concentration Middle School • Exploration Elementary School • Understanding Page 6 Exploration Middle school is an appropriate time to ask students to think about their career ambitions. This does not mean forcing 6th graders to make career choices, but creating activities that allow students to research and gather information on specific careers. Building on activities in elementary school, these learning experiences might include doing research on a career in the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics cluster. It could mean job shadowing a Preschool Teacher while exploring the Human Services cluster. Or it may be learning about computers as part of the Information Technology cluster. As with elementary school activities, the plan is to continue many of the activities schools are already doing, but to integrate them in the middle school curriculum. These experiences prepare students to make informed decisions prior to creating their individualized Texas Achievement Plans (TAPs) during the 8th grade (see page 8). Concentration By implementing AchieveTexas, stakeholders can create a very different high school experience for students, one that is far more engaging and motivating. Students will graduate with a much clearer vision of their career goals and be better prepared for postsecondary education and employment. The goal is achieved by having students annually evaluate their college and career plan. AchieveTexas in Action Ready, Set, Teach! Fort Bend Independent School District www.fortbend.k12.tx.us Preparation While some career preparation may take place in high schools, under the AchieveTexas concept, postsecondary education or training is the critical time for students to get ready for employment. This may mean attending a four-year university, a two-year college, doing an apprenticeship, joining the military, or participating in onthe-job training. Career Advancement Education does not end with high school or college graduation, completing an apprenticeship, or leaving the military. In today’s world, individuals need to keep learning throughout their lifetime to remain competitive in their careers, to benefit from increased longevity, and to enhance their civic involvement. Texas postsecondary institutions are filled with adults seeking to build their portfolio of skills, improve their ability to conceptualize, and gain knowledge so they may earn more money, a promotion, or a more satisfying job. Every Texas citizen must be able to achieve his or her greatest personal and professional potential. “There’s a difference between loving to learn, and loving to teach,” says Linda Aiello, who leads the Ready, Set, Teach! program at Clements High School in Sugar Land. “Many students enjoy school and assume they’ll equally enjoy teaching. Some students start in education courses and realize they’re not meant to teach. They’re usually grateful to have discovered that before making it halfway through college.” Ready, Set, Teach! is a two-pronged initiative in the Fort Bend Independent School District. The program consists of a lab course and a career preparation course. It is designed to give juniors and seniors both the classroom instruction and real-world experience to decide if a career in education is right for them. During the Educational Assistant course, students explore the field of teaching through observation, analyzing current issues, and using technology for research and presentations. Students shadow teachers, principals, and counselors, and assist with instruction, preparation of materials, and group activities. Students join the Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE), a semi-professional organization, and complete a career development package for college admission, which includes taking the SAT and/or ACT. The second part of the program is the Educational —Linda Aiello, Ready, Set, Teach! Assistant Career Preparation Course. Each school day, Coordinator, Clements High students attend their regular high school classes, School followed by off-site field experience that sends them into district classrooms to teach their favorite subjects—while earning a salary. Primarily at area elementary schools, students assist with instruction and are given the opportunity to develop activities and teach lessons. The career preparation course requires 270 hours per semester (or 540 accumulated hours for the year) and is considered the honors portion of the program. Student participants get more than experience. Fort Bend has an agreement with Texas A&M University that grants students one semester of paid tuition for each year spent in Ready, Set, Teach! instruction. “When our students go to college,” says Aiello, “they know what they’re doing. At most schools, students don’t enter the college of education until their junior year, but these students enter as freshmen having already taught in a classroom.” The “free” semesters are paying off already, as many of Aiello’s former students have returned to Fort Bend ISD to teach and to mentor a new class of students. Another part of the program guarantees district teaching positions to Ready, Set, Teach! graduates once they are certified to teach. “The best advantage of Ready, Set, Teach!” says Aiello, “is that it gives students the chance to learn in areas of personal interest. They get to do their own discoveries and find out a lot about themselves. They gain a real sense of self.” “Kids are going to college knowing what they’re doing. They’ve made a connection between their educations and how they’ll use them, and they’re confident in their abilities.” Page 7 Step Three Implement TAPs Every student will create a Texas Achievement Plan (TAP) Every high school student needs a plan for college and career. It does not matter how many times the plan is revised as the student changes his or her mind. Having a plan is far better than having no plan at all and wandering without direction through secondary and postsecondary education. Students who hope to“find themselves”during four-years of college are doing it in the most expensive way possible. It makes far more sense for a student to choose a cluster program of study and adjust it as he or she changes direction. Sample Texas Achievement Plan (TAP) Name: Taylor Jones School: West High School Career Goal: Power Generating Cluster: Manufacturing and Reactor Plant Operator Pathway: Manufacturing Production Process Development Postsecondary Goal: Bachelor’s degree in engineering, industrial technology, or technology management 9th Grade 10th Grade 11th Grade 12th Grade Algebra I Geometry Algebra II Precalculus English I English II English III English IV Biology Chemistry Physics Environmental Systems World Geography World History US History Government/ Economics Languages Other Than English I Languages Other Than English II Communication Applications Fine Arts Health/PE or Equivalent Technology Applications Physical Education or Equivalent Electronics II Physics of Instrumentation Energy Power and Transportation Systems Electronics I Curricular Learning Activities: SkillsUSA; Technology Students Association (TSA); career preparation learning experiences. Extracurricular Experiences: School Club Officer, Student Government Page 8 This is a pillar of AchieveTexas. It’s the idea that smart, yet flexible, planning for secondary and postsecondary education makes sense for students, regardless of their interests or abilities. Too many students stumble through high school and college without any idea of why they are there. The vision for AchieveTexas is to have each and every student take responsibility for their own college and career goals and assemble a plan of action for success. Texas Achievement Plans (TAPs) Using the learning acquired during Career Awareness activities in elementary school and Career Exploration activities in middle school (see page 6), each 8th grade student will plan a high school program of study, a postsecondary education or training goal, and a career choice (see sample TAP at left). This should be done under the guidance of parents/guardians, counselors, and teachers (see page 10). The TAP would then be reviewed at least once each year and changes would be made based on the student’s personal career goals. No plan will be set in stone and the student will be completely free to change their program of study. In fact, learning that a career is wrong for a student is as valuable as discovering one that is right. It is better, for example, that a student who wants to be a nurse learns he or she cannot stand the sight of blood in high school rather than waiting until the junior year of college. As a local district, you should consider utilizing the state model for the Texas Achievement Plan. Many Texas schools already require graduation plans for students. Your version of the Texas Achievement Plan could be an improved version of existing documents. AchieveTexas in Action Graham Education and Workforce Center Affiliated with the Graham Independent School District www.grahamewc.org Program of Study Models The state has developed Program of Study Models to help students, parents, and educators in the planning process. These show students recommended courses for a particular program of study, what program of study is appropriate during postsecondary education, and recommended extended learning and extracurricular opportunities. These program of study models are available at www.achievetexas.org. Career Portfolios Another key concept of AchieveTexas is the Career Portfolio. At its simplest, this is a folder of student work that shows a prospective postsecondary institution or employer what he or she has accomplished. It can consist of writing samples, artwork, or anything that showcases the student’s abilities. In today’s world, portfolios may be entirely electronic and students can keep them on CD-ROM or flash memory drive. The value of student planning is obvious when compared to the alternative that exists in so many high schools and colleges— students who are in danger of dropping out because they do not see a connection between their educational experiences and what they want to do with their lives. A good plan is the glue that links today and tomorrow, showing students how their current studies are preparing them to be successful in their chosen fields. Providing a planning tool for students is an important element of ensuring that students start on their route to success. “Our daily challenge is to meet the needs of our community and the surrounding areas,” says Cheryl Groves. “We realize the need for our citizens to receive extended learning opportunities in a location convenient to their homes. And we always welcome input and ideas that will continue our vision.” Groves is describing the Graham Education and Workforce Center, which she directs. The center was created to fulfill the vision of the Graham Higher Education Board and to meet the needs of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Closing the Gaps initiative. According to Closing the Gaps, only 5 percent of the Texas population has ever enrolled in higher education. The national average in 2000 was about 5.4 percent. The 0.4 percent difference represents 76,000 students in Texas. Closing the Gaps has a goal for an overall postsecondary participation increase to 5.5 percent by 2010 and 5.7 percent by 2015. The Education and Workforce Center supports that effort by providing a way for members of the Graham community to take advantage of lifelong learning opportunities from colleges and universities without having to travel to a larger city, such as Dallas, which is more than 100 miles away. “We host college classes, continuing education classes, and training seminars for the Graham Independent School —Cheryl Groves, Director, District and local businesses,” says Groves. “We have Graham Education and several partners including the regional Texas Workforce Workforce Center Commission, Graham Independent School District, Texas State Technical College, Vernon College, Midwestern State University, and Weatherford College. Our desire is to acquire more partners to better serve our community.” The need for local learning opportunities was recognized by members of the Graham Higher Education Board, which is appointed by the city government. The membership includes all elements of the community, including the President of the Graham Industrial Association, the Superintendent of Graham schools, the Graham High School Principal, the administrator of the Graham Regional Medical Center, and Graham citizens. The Board is just one example of how the Center strives to bring together education, local business, and community members. The Center is located at what used to be the Shawnee Elementary School. It houses Workforce Resource, the local office of the Texas Workforce Commission, which provides resources for job seekers and employers. Also on campus are distance learning classrooms, computer labs, and administrative offices. The Center recently acquired an old library on adjacent property and plans to use the building as an Allied Health Facility for Allied Health programs including an Associate’s Degree of Nursing. Anyone may use the Center to seek an associate’s degree, take courses with a career focus, take classes leading to an industry certification, or earn credits toward a college degree. Partnering colleges and universities also provide dual credit and concurrent enrollment courses to qualified area high school students via distance learning or traditional in-person delivery if students wish to travel. “The Center really reaches out to the people in our community,” Groves says. “There are so many opportunities to take advantage of, it doesn’t make a lot of sense not to.” Page 9 “We are simply trying to fulfill the promise we made when we opened that we will always be here to provide lifelong education to the people of the City of Graham.” Step Four Enhance Guidance Expand the quantity and quality of college and career guidance throughout schools Another pillar of AchieveTexas is enhanced career and college guidance for all students. As students go through Career Awareness, Exploration, and Concentration activities in K–12 education (see page 6), they need accurate information and advice from caring and committed adults. With AchieveTexas, guidance professionals such as school counselors are expected to play a key role in dramatically expanding the quantity and quality of resources available to students, and what new opportunities are emerging in the world of work. Empower Students Using Internet career information resources like America’s Career InfoNet (see page 20), students can take greater responsibility for their own career research and planning. They can come to the Texas Achievement Plan (see page 8) process with information and ideas about what cluster they want to explore, which careers they want to pursue, and what new opportunities are emerging in the evolving world of work. Career Awareness and Exploration activities are designed so students feel empowered to take charge of their futures, rather than feel as though their teachers, counselors, or parents are making decisions for them. Recognize students’ unique abilities and help them find their best route to success. Page 10 Let Counselors Counsel The first priority is to simply allow guidance counselors to counsel. Unfortunately, too many counselors are burdened with duties at school other than advising students. A big part of their time is spent with scheduling, but they are often asked to do other jobs that fall outside the typical guidance job description. As a local district, you should look at how counselors are used in your community and develop ways to enable them to spend more time helping students with such tasks as creating Texas Achievement Plans (see page 8). Ideally, a counselor would know every student for whom he or she is responsible. The counselor would help individualize education based on each student’s unique interests and needs. Lower Student-to-Counselor Ratios As part of AchieveTexas, look at student-tocounselor ratios in your local schools. Some schools have ratios as high as a 1,000 students to every counselor, making it impossible for counselors to spend more than a few minutes per school year advising each student. An ideal ratio is 300 to one, which allows counselors to spend far more time with each child. Cutting the ratio by 10, 20, or 30 percent, however, can make a huge difference in a student’s guidance experience. It is up to local AchieveTexas partnerships to develop strategies for reducing counselor workloads. AchieveTexas in Action Career Resources Districts should provide opportunities for students to conduct research on career options, local employment trends, and economic competitiveness. Fortunately, there are an increasing number of tools available for students to research college and career options. Technology provides opportunity for students to access resources such as the Internet version of the Occupational Outlook Handbook (www.bls.gov/oco), America’s Career InfoNet (www.acinet.org/acinet), Texas Industry Cluster Initiative (www.twc.state.tx.us/news/ ticluster.html) and Labor Market Career Information (LMCI) (www.cdr.state.tx.us). (For a list of career information resources see page 20 or www.achievetexas.org.) Teachers as Career Advisers Under AchieveTexas, it is hoped that teachers will take a more active role in advising students about career choices. After parents, teachers have the most influence on the career directions students choose. Teachers are often in the best position to identify a student’s abilities and passions, and to encourage students to follow them. The idea is that guidance is a school-wide responsibility, carried out by a team that includes counselors, teachers, parents, and the students themselves. You have the opportunity to design and build a much more effective guidance program for your local schools. Like all elements of AchieveTexas, this program should focus on treating each student as an individual and helping him or her find the best route to success. Project Lead The Way McNeil High School, Round Rock Independent School District www.roundrockisd.org Under the guidance of experienced professionals, future engineers are starting on the route to becoming high-tech professionals at McNeil High School in the Round Rock Independent School District. McNeil is home to the only engineering academy in the district. The academy features curriculum from Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a nationwide program aimed at solving the United States’ engineer shortage. The not-for-profit organization provides engineering curriculum to more than 1,750 schools in 46 states and the District of Columbia. The curriculum is free, but schools must provide software, hardware, and other supplies for the program. “When McNeil began implementing Project Lead The Way in 2001,” says Lisa Windolf, the Academy Coordinator, “the school wanted experienced engineers to teach. And, so far, the entire faculty consists of former engineers.” Windolf, who was a chemical engineer for more than 14 years, adds that the engineers’ professional contacts and experience pay off for students. “There are local firms who come recruiting our —Lisa Windolf, Engineering students,” she says. These calls often translate into Academy Coordinator/Lead summer jobs and career preparation opportunities. Instructor, McNeil High School “Nothing is more valuable to them than seeing the things they’re learning come to life.” Such experiences have led to significant student achievement, as almost 25 percent of the 2005–2006 engineering academy seniors have been offered early acceptance to postsecondary engineering or computer science programs. More than 40 percent of the previous year’s academy seniors went on to study engineering and related fields after high school. Windolf says one reason for the engineering academy’s success is that it is not selective. Any student in the Round Rock ISD who is interested in engineering is encouraged to transfer to the academy at McNeil. “We’ll take everyone,” she says. “Part of my job is to get students excited about engineering; another part is to help some students find out that engineering is not for them. But by giving every student a chance to participate, we draw a variety of skills and talents for different aspects of engineering. ” McNeil’s engineering academy offers four out of the eight possible PLTW secondary courses. The classes—Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, Digital Electronics, and Engineering Design and Development—are integrated with math, computer science, and engineering graphics courses to offer students a comprehensive four-year pre-engineering education sequence. Only the first two PLTW courses are required for all students in the academy. The academy is enjoying a boom in popularity. From about 160 academy students in the 2005–2006 school year, next year’s enrollment is project to be more than 200 students. “The Project Lead The Way courses are a great way for students to experience engineering while in high school. They allow students to apply lessons in real working environments.” Page 11 Step Five Build Seamless Connections Link programs and institutions so that students have smooth programs of study through school Getting a Head Start on College Seamlessness includes creating opportunities for students to get an early start on postsecondary education. This includes traditional Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes as well as dual credit courses in which students earn both secondary and postsecondary credit for collegelevel courses taught in high schools. There is also a growing trend toward “middle college,” which are high schools on college campuses. Students work toward high school graduation while also earning college-credits tuition free. According to the Early College High School Initiative, there are now more than 70 such schools across the country. Page 12 Often, secondary and postsecondary schools are islands unto themselves. learn best, but few schools have truly committed to it, particularly at the high school level. This means that students transitioning among institutions often hit bumps as they try to transfer credits and avoid repeating classes they have already taken. It leads to inefficient delivery of education because of the lack of coordination and alignment among different institutions. Linking Secondary and Postsecondary Education AchieveTexas also calls for closer ties among secondary and postsecondary institutions. In its simplest form, this would mean creating articulation agreements that align high school programs of study with those of colleges and universities. A Health Science cluster at your local high school, for example, might flow seamlessly into a Health Science program at the local community college, with students making an easy transition between the two institutions. In a more advanced form, articulation among secondary and postsecondary institutions means co-developing curricula so that they are not just aligned, but are a single coherent program of study that spans grades 11–14 or 9–16. One example of seamlessness in action is Tech Prep programs, in which students take classes in 11th and 12th grades that lead directly into associate’s degree programs at two-year colleges. AchieveTexas imagines unprecedented levels of cooperation among secondary and postsecondary educators, all in the name of providing students with clear and coherent programs of study. Establishing Seamless Transitions AchieveTexas seeks to remedy this situation. The vision is to create a seamless education in which curricula, instruction, and assessment are connected and coordinated. This would mean that no student would repeat learning and that credits would transfer easily from institution to institution. The idea is to build a program that provides smooth educational routes for students to follow from elementary school, into middle school, on to high school, through postsecondary education or training, and into the workplace. Seamless transition includes creating opportunities for students to get an early start on postsecondary education (see “Getting a Head Start on College” at left). Under such a program, curricula for grades K–12 would be progressive and cumulative. Knowledge and skills acquired in early grades would be built upon and expanded in later grades. All classes would integrate academics such as English and mathematics with career education. This would mean redesigning instruction to hands-on, interdisciplinary, problem- and project-based education. We know that this kind of active instruction is the way students Roll Up Your Sleeves There’s no denying that creating a truly seamless system that integrates academic and technical education will be hard work. That’s why it is critical for you and your partners to communicate with all stakeholders and convince them that such a program is the right thing to do for students. AchieveTexas in Action Governor’s Industry Cluster Initiative In 2004, Governor Rick Perry announced his vision of building the future economy of Texas and expanding opportunities for lifelong success. That vision focuses on building competitive advantage through six target industry clusters and bringing highpaying jobs to Texas. The objective of the Governor’s Industry Cluster Initiative is to stimulate long-term sustained growth and focus state resources on key targeted industry clusters that will be the engines of job creation and economic development in the 21st century. This objective will be realized by ensuring that the educational pipeline is robust, aligned, and responsive to the future employers of students by carefully analyzing current and future workforce needs. It is essential that education closes the gaps where they exist and helps create a climate that is conducive to the recruitment and retention of high-paying growth industries that will ensure lifelong success for all students. National Biomedical and Health Sciences Secondary Program Ben Barber Career and Technology Academy, Mansfield Independent School District www.mansfieldisd.org Ben Barber Career and Technology Academy in Mansfield is stepping up to solve the shortage of healthcare workers in Texas. Ed Foster, Career and Technical Director for the Mansfield School District, cites an aging population of healthcare workers and growing health-related problems such as obesity and diabetes for the substantial staffing shortfalls in many healthcare facilities. The innovative National Biomedical and Health Sciences (NBHS) secondary program is intended to help alleviate the current and projected deficit. “The array of classes we offer serves students with interests varying from a career as a lab technician to aspirations for medical school,” says Foster. “This program attracts the best and the brightest.” The National Biomedical and Health Sciences program is the result of a partnership between two national organizations that focus on curriculum design, professional development, program evaluation, and healthcare workforce demands. MPR Associates and the National Consortium on Health Science and Technology Education (NCHSTE) have partnered to create a course framework that integrates a health sciences core with traditional academic classes and provides project-based instruction related to health care. —Ed Foster, Career and Most students in the NBHS program spend only half of each Technical Director, school day at their home high school campuses. Following a Mansfield Independent nine-week introduction to health science, students participate in School District clinical rotations at area hospitals, doctor’s offices, and clinics, observing and gaining hands-on experience in a variety of healthcare fields. Foster says the clinical experiences have been a big hit with students interested in pursuing a pre-medical college program, and that giving the courses weighted credit allows students to improve their grade point averages as they head into the competitive process of applying for postsecondary education. Barber was one of eight high schools in the country selected to implement the NBHS curriculum in the fall of 2005. Success has come even in the program’s first year, as students are enrolling in the courses for next year with plans to seek certification. The certification option is the crown jewel of Barber’s NBHS program. It allows students to graduate as pharmacy technicians or certified nurse’s assistants. Because of Barber’s accelerated block schedule of four classes each semester, students are able to take more health science electives each year. “A student may take pharmacology and pharmacy tech during their junior year, and then take pharmacy tech again their senior year and sit for the certification exam,” Foster says. The Ben Barber Career and Technology Academy is fed by the four high schools in the Mansfield area and serves 2,500 students every year. Foster says the school is preparing for an influx of students interested in enrolling in health science courses. An Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification program is being added for the 2006–2007 school year, and the school has built a state-of-the-art biomedical lab. “Our students have a huge advantage after high school because they are graduating with marketable skills and real-world experience.” Page 13 Step Six Establish Extended Learning Expand participation in curricular experiences such as CTSOs and career preparation experiences In today’s world, student learning happens around the clock—at school, on the computer, at home with parents or guardians, in the workplace, at the mall—everywhere and all the time. Texas CTSOs Business Professionals of America (BPA) www.texasbpa.com DECA, Texas Association www.texasdeca.org Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) www.texasfccla.org Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) www.txfbla.org Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) www.texashste.com SkillsUSA www.txskillsusa.org Texas FFA Association www.texasffa.org Texas Technology Student Association (TSA) www.texastsa.org Page 14 Students, in fact, never stop learning. The question is: What are they learning and how does it support—or detract—from their education and career goals? The task for schools is to take advantage of all kinds of learning opportunities in a student’s life to achieve the goal of graduating a well-educated, highly motivated adult. Extended learning is a key strategy for achieving that goal. It refers to learning that may be curricular or extracurricular. It can take place inside or outside of school and at all times of the day. It is a focused effort to create special opportunities for students to gain experience that prepares them for success, including developing the skills such as leadership and teamwork that employers demand. The Role of CTSOs One of the primary forms of curricular learning is Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). (For a list of Texas CTSOs, see left.) Any student participating in career education is eligible to join the corresponding CTSO for his or her class. Overall 143,533 Texas students are CTSO members. CTSOs seek to build students’ skills through local, regional, state, and national competitions that evaluate what students learn in the classroom. This includes skills such as public speaking and parlimentary procedure as well as specific occupational skills. With AchieveTexas, CTSOs will be aligned around clusters and programs of study. The vision for AchieveTexas is to provide opportunities for membership, so that every student has the opportunity to develop leadership academic, and technical skills. Work-based Learning Extended learning also takes place outside of schools. These instructional arrangements include: � Apprenticeship—An education and AchieveTexas in Action Entrepreneur 101 Texas Restaurant Association www.restaurantville.com training program registered with the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training that is conducted or sponsored by an employer, a group of employers, or a joint apprenticeship committee representing both employers and labor, and that contains all terms and conditions of the qualifications, recruitment, selection, employment, and training of apprentices. � Career Preparation—Career instruction and training, either paid or unpaid, provided cooperatively through written agreements between the school, the student, and an employer in an occupational training, site-based environment. � Internships—A method of career instruction that requires a written cooperative arrangement with business or industry where a student enrolled in a career and technical education course works without pay in a technical occupation to acquire occupational knowledge and experience in all aspects of the business or industry. � Job shadowing—A career experience without pay involving the student physically following a mentor to observe all the processes and practices involved in a job assignment. The vision for AchieveTexas is that all students will participate in one or more extended learning experiences during high school. Create Local Opportunities Develop a full roster of extended learning experiences available to students in your community. Start by creating an inventory of those that are already available, then collaborate with business partners (see page 16) to create new ones. In an ideal program, students see how academic and technical skills are applied in the world of work. An innovative program in Texas has students saying “bon appetit!” while they learn to run small businesses. The Texas Restaurant Association is in its fifth year of implementing Entrepreneur 101, which links academics and career preparation for students interested in owning and operating a business. The high school curriculum uses a school-based restaurant to teach students entrepreneurial skills. As part of the program, students undertake responsibilities as the owners and operators of the restaurant, with the assistance of experienced business professionals and educators. The program is currently operating an Outback Steakhouse located in Westside High School in Houston and a Carmelo’s Ristorante at Del Valle High School in Austin. A new program will open at Emmett Conrad High School in Dallas in the fall of 2008. “The program teaches students how to run and own a successful business,” says Yvonne Loya, Director of Programs & Events for the Texas Restaurant Association. “The example we use just happens to be a restaurant.” Loya says that through Entrepreneur 101 extended learning, students develop technical and entrepreneurial skills necessary to manage an enterprise. Additional curriculum segments have also been created to integrate other courses into the experience, such as accounting, math, chemistry, art, English, languages other than English, government, layout and design, merchandising, and marketing. —Yvonne Loya, Director of This ensures that students are exposed to all aspects Programs & Events, Texas of an industry, from keeping the books and designing Restaurant Association the menu to legal and health requirements. Students are also offered the chance to obtain ServSafe® certification. ServSafe® is a comprehensive food service sanitation program that is accepted as the national standard by more than 95 percent of state and local jurisdictions. After passing the 80-question exam, students qualify for a food handler card from the United States Department of Health. Entrepreneur 101 requires support from local communities to get restaurants running. Loya estimates that the total cost of the program is near $1 million per location. To offer the program, schools must have an unbranded restaurant or dining area on campus, or they must hold a bond election for Entrepreneur 101 that provides for building and branding the restaurant as they go. “We’re learning with experience, and as we continue to do so, we can begin to evaluate and improve our progress and success,” Loya says. “These students are getting a really good picture of how every class they take in high school can and will affect their future careers. And they aren’t just hearing that they’ll use this stuff, they already are using it.” Page 15 Step Seven Build Strong Partnerships Establish a local Business-Education Success Team (B.E.S.T.) Creating Your Vision One of the first activities your local partnership can tackle is establishing your vision for your local program. Ask the group to imagine what will be changed in your schools by the year 2012, the state goal for implementation of AchieveTexas. Ask such questions as: � What clusters will have been implemented? � How will students’ learning experiences have changed? � What extended learning opportunities will be available to students? You may want to have the group undergo a formal visioning process as you create your local program. This can involve everything from a meeting of stakeholders led by a professional facilitator to smaller community meetings or surveys and questionnaires. A clear vision gives you and your colleagues a common goal for which to strive. Establishing a clear vision in the beginning will save time later. Once your vision is clear, document the vision and identify the steps necessary to make it a reality. Use the information in this booklet to frame your work and establish responsibilities for developing career clusters, programs of study, and Texas Achievement Plans. Be sure to set achievable timelines and celebrate milestones as they are reached. Page 16 If you’ve read this far in this booklet, you’re probably thinking, wow, this is going to take a lot of work. You’re right! AchieveTexas is an ambitious effort to redesign education and fully integrate college and career education in Texas P–16 education. That’ s no small task. Fortunately, you are not expected to do it alone. That’s because one of the primary goals of AchieveTexas is to vastly increase the quantity and quality of partnerships supporting education throughout the state. Partnership is one of the basic principles of AchieveTexas, particularly between education and business. The idea is to spread the tasks of program building over large groups of educators and employers. It’s the entire community’s job to help construct a strong clusters program for your schools and students. Texas B.E.S.T. The plan is to build a partnership called the Texas Business-Education Success Team, or B.E.S.T. This team would bring together leaders from education, business and industry, government agencies, professional organizations, and other groups to implement AchieveTexas. This may include discussing policy issues, including how best to promote AchieveTexas. The biggest responsibility of this group, however, will be to build buy-in to the redesign of education among leadership, so that all share a common vision for education. The Governor's Industry Cluster Initiative has brought business and industry to the table with recommendations and willingness to do what is necessary to redesign schools, so that all share a common vision for education in Texas. AchieveTexas in Action PrimeWay Houston Independent School District www.houstonisd.org Create a Local B.E.S.T. You should create a B.E.S.T. to oversee implementation of your local cluster program. Generally, these partnerships are co-chaired by a representative of education, such as the district superintendent, and business, such as the CEO or president of a local company. Membership is drawn from the education, employer, government, and civic community, including Chamber of Commerce representatives. There is no standard size for such a group, but they commonly have 10 to 20 members to represent all stakeholders. Start recruiting your B.E.S.T. by thinking about strong leaders in your community. Ask: � Who are the leaders who care most about students and their success? � Who has contributed positively to education initiatives in the past? � Who is respected enough so that others in the community will listen when he or she endorses a cluster program? � Who has knowledge of emerging career opportunities in your region? Plan for your B.E.S.T. to become a permanent part of the education system in your community. Seek input on what clusters and programs of study to offer students. With businesses’ help, redesign instruction, rewrite curricula, and revise assessments to reflect real-world standards of student performance. Form Other Partnerships Besides formal partnerships implementing the career clusters, there can be countless other less-formal partnerships created to support your program. This could be a partnership among a secondary school, a postsecondary institution, and local banks to offer internships to Finance students. All kinds of partnerships are possible at all levels, all built around the goal of helping students prepare for college and career. Students at Wheatley High School in Houston are taking their education to the bank as part of a local partnership with PrimeWay Federal Credit Union that will soon bring a financial institution to campus. “We’re moving into our new updated school building this summer, and our plan is to develop a fully operational credit union within the school,” says Wiley Johnson, principal of Wheatley. Johnson started at Wheatley in the fall of 2005. It didn’t take him long to learn that the school’s previous administration had been in contact with PrimeWay about a finance course. Johnson was aggressive about expanding the idea to a full finance curriculum. He says that Wheatley already has several career programs that provided hands-on real-world experience, and that adding finance was a natural progression. The finance curriculum is in its pilot stage. Students use PrimeWay’s mobile banking unit as a classroom where they study concepts ranging from managing their own bank accounts to standard banking regulations and business management. —Wiley Johnson, Principal, Students also have the opportunity to become Wheatley High School certified bank tellers, which gives them a marketable skill upon graduation. In addition, PrimeWay, which has seven branches across Houston, provides guest instructors for classes and participates in curriculum development and assessment. “Some of my students are sitting in class saying, ‘Yeah, I can use this when I enter the job market,’” Johnson says. “But I’m telling them that they already are in the job market. PrimeWay is really assisting us in making that link with the career cluster, and helping students to understand the reality of it.” Wheatley’s long-term vision for the program is that students will be able to service customers at its branch office at the school and learn about banking practices. The program is also looking towards an articulation agreement that will award college business credit to PrimeWay students at some Texas colleges and universities. One of Johnson’s goals as Wheatley’s principal is to foster a college culture on his campus that gives students a range of options to make connections from the classroom to the outside world. He hopes to include many more partnerships with local businesses. “I would like to see defined programs of study that assist students on their way, and enable them to tweak their educations as they see fit,” Johnson says. “The big picture is that no matter what students’ plans are after high school, I want to see them graduating with knowledge, skills and abilities that make them desirable to employers.” “Our PrimeWay partnership provides a unique opportunity for our students that encourages them to begin building on their futures today.” Page 17 Step Eight Offer Professional Development Create professional development programs that help educators constantly expand their skills Texas educators are among the best in the nation. They are caring, capable, and committed professionals who believe that all students can learn. Teaching Active Learning Much of AchieveTexas professional development will be focused on encouraging educators to abandon lectures and rote memorization in favor of teaching the way we know works best. It’s no secret that active, hands-on, contextual, problem- and project-based learning is very effective at engaging students and motivating them to achieve. Using real-world situations and problems while teaching shows students that what they are learning is relevant to life outside school. Recent research suggests that students don’t drop out of school because learning is too hard, but simply because it is boring. Teaching teachers to utilize active, hands-on learning is a sound strategy to prevent Texas students from not completing their education and reaching their career goals. Active teaching pays off as more students better grasp higher-level knowledge and master sophisticated skills. It is simply the right way to do education. Page 18 Still, everyone agrees that the education system in Texas can improve. There’s still much work to be done to ensure that all students graduate fully ready for the rigor of postsecondary education or training, and a career. AchieveTexas challenges educators to rethink their assumptions about how students learn and how educators teach, and it encourages them to develop rigorous curricula and design better assessment. Educators will be asked to implement new strategies as part of AchieveTexas. This includes playing a role in career guidance (see page 10); partnering with colleagues to develop more rigorous curricula; and aligning programs that span secondary and postsecondary education. Professional Development All this will require significant professional development for teachers and counselors. This should start in teacher preparation programs throughout the state. Institutions need to redesign programs to support the career clusters, including expanding a new teachers’ sense that they have a significant role in preparing students for college and career success. AchieveTexas seeks to dramatically increase the quantity and quality of professional development for educators, so that they are fully comfortable with implementing clusters. This includes AchieveTexas in Action ACE Mentor Program Dallas Independent School District www.dallasisd.org familiarizing teachers and counselors with the major components of AchieveTexas such as career clusters, programs of study, and Texas Achievement Plans. It means instilling a spirit of collaboration among all educators. As a local district, you and your colleagues should provide professional development programs that help teachers and counselors implement AchieveTexas. Design an ongoing series of learning experiences that puts the principles of AchieveTexas into practice. Create a professional development program that is based on 21st century knowledge, skills and abilities. Use Education Service Centers Professional development experiences to support AchieveTexas will also be provided by Education Service Center (ESC) staff. The ESCs will be responsible for providing technical assistance to schools that support clusters and programs of study, including professional development programs. They will give smaller districts a way to collaborate to share resources and offer programs of study that the districts might not be able to provide individually. Business and Industry The Governor’s Industry Cluster Initiative supports valuable opportunities for professional development through internships, externships, and even team teaching with industry experts. Company executives report their willingness to share expertise and resources to ensure that teachers and students learn about emerging technologies and career opportunities. These collaborative relationships expand teachers’ knowledge and skills while better preparing students to make good career choices. Seniors at Skyline High are building brighter futures thanks to mentors from the ACE Mentor Program of Dallas-Fort Worth. They are introduced to architectural, construction, and engineering (ACE) career fields through a unique program that brings together professionals from these industries and offers students access to networking and scholarship opportunities. ACE Mentors from 16 organizations adopt students from Skyline’s architecture magnet program to create mentoring teams. Industry leaders included in the program are HKS Architects; Thornton-Tomasetti Group; Lopez Garcia Group; the University of Texas at Arlington; and Hospital Corporation of America; among others. The firms focus on introducing students to the real-world challenges and rewards of design and building careers. The partnerships take shape at a time of growth in the construction industry. The number of construction workers nationally increased from 5 million in 1994 to 6.7 million in 2003, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth projections indicate construction employment will increase more than 15 percent in the next few years. Tom Cox, ACE Mentor board member and Architecture & Construction Cluster Coordinator for Skyline, says the 16 firms work together to develop a program that includes hands-on activities, tours, video presentations, and site visits. As part of the curriculum, students are given a design challenge in which they are guided through each stage of the —Tom Cox, Skyline Architectural assignment by ACE Mentors teaching the principles and Cluster Coordinator and ACE skills of architectural design. Mentor board member “It’s great to give the students exposure to the entire design and construction process,” says Cox. “The seniors are going to be making some big decisions about their future careers, so this experience will prove invaluable for them.” Along with experience planning, designing, and executing a construction project, Cox notes that students are also given the chance to network with future employers. Another benefit for the Skyline seniors is the opportunity to earn the $2,000 Humphries Scholarship to the University of Texas School of Architecture from the Dallas Architecture Foundation and HKS Architects. The one-year program culminates each spring in an end-of-year presentation of team projects to family members, friends, and educators. Students present their projects through models, drawings, electronic graphics, and other materials as well as explain their approach, challenges, and solutions. Steve Milner, president of the ACE Mentor Board of Directors, credits the program’s success to the commitment of the Dallas Independent School District, Skyline students, and the volunteer mentors. “The focus of all involved has remained on positively introducing students to the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering in a way that facilitates true career opportunity and potential,” he says. “I look forward to the great things that this organization will accomplish as it supports the growth of students discovering ACE-related career programs of study.” Page 19 “Not only does the Skyline Architecture Cluster introduce students to the professional environment and the various occupations, it allows them the opportunity to network with future employers.” Career Resources Resources for building your AchieveTexas college and career program AchieveTexas www.achievetexas.org This new website will provide information and resources to help schools redesign their programs for the 21st century. Tools and tips for implementing AchieveTexas will be available. Look for Program of Study Models, descriptions, implementation tools, and frequently asked questions. American School Counselor Association www.schoolcounselor.org This professional organization works to support school counselors as they guide students in academic and social development. America’s Career InfoNet www.acinet.org/acinet This is the place to search for occupational information, industry information, and statespecific labor market information. Career Voyages www.careervoyages.gov This is a career planning resource for students, parents, career changers, and career advisors. Governor’s Industry Cluster Initiative www.governor.state.tx.us/divisions/press/ initiatives/Industry_Cluster/Industry_Cluster_ SP/view or www.twc.state.tx.us/news/ ticluster.html The State of Texas has identified six industry clusters that will better position it to compete nationally and internationally for jobs of the 21st century. The Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism division and the Texas Workforce Commission have formed state and regional partnerships to foster growth and development of the six target clusters. This site addresses the strategic plan, defines the clusters, and gives the rationale for selection. High Schools That Work www.sreb.org/programs/hstw/hstwindex.asp An education reform model developed by the Southern Regional Education Board, High Page 20 Schools That Work (HSTW) emphasizes a framework of Goals and Key Practices for improving high school education, including opportunities for out-of-classroom education and higher standards for all students. Labor Market Career Information (LMCI) www.cdr.state.tx.us This site provides students, teachers, parents, and counselors with links to products and services offered by LMCI. Teachers and counselors will discover materials, tools, and information that will help them to provide effective career counseling. National Research Center for Career and Technical Education www.nccte.org The University of Louisville and its partners focus on three major outcomes of effective secondary and postsecondary career and technical education: engagement-reducing dropouts and increasing school completion; achievement-strenghtening acdemic and technical knowlege and skills; and transitionincreasing the movement of students from high school to postsecondary education and from education into the workplace. O*NET (Occupational Information Network) online.onetcenter.org O*NET provides full information on occupations, including compensation, employment prospects, and skill matching for students. Information on compensation is available on a state-by-state basis. Own Your Own Future http://www.OwnYourOwnFuture.com A student outreach campaign to encourage Texas youth to stay in school and graduate. The website is designed to show teens that graduating from high school is the first step toward college and career. Reality Check www.cdr.state.tx.us/RealityCheck/ This site allows students to search for careers starting with the expenses they need to cover, the salaries they want to make, or their career choices. Career Cluster Initiative www.careerclusters.org This site disseminates information on the 16 federally defined career clusters. It has published brochures as well as core and occupationally specfic knowledge and skills structures (catalogs of knowledge and skills required for different occupations) for each of the 16 clusters as well as cluster committee information. Publications are available online. Texas Education Agency www.tea.state.tx.us The state’s education website is the place to keep up with the latest developments in Texas schools. Texas High School Project www.tea.state.tx.us/ed_init/thsp/index.html The Texas High School Project is a $261 million public-private initiative committed to increasing graduation and college enrollment rates in every Texas community. The project is dedicated to ensuring that all Texas students leave high school prepared for college and career success in the 21st-century economy. T-STEM Initiative http://tstem.thsp.org The Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Initiative (T-STEM) is designed to improve instruction and academic performance in science- and mathematicsrelated subjects at high school across Texas through applied and relevant instruction in mathematics and science tied to postsecondary standards. U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook www.bls.gov/oco This nationally recognized resource offers information on job responsibilities, earnings, working conditions, and job prospects for the future. What Does That Mean? This glossary defines key terms related to the AchieveTexas College and Career Initiative AchieveTexas: the name for Texas’ College and Career Initative. Articulation agreements: formal agreements between or among educational organizations (high schools, technical colleges, and universities) that align courses and majors from one educational institution to another in a way that allows a systematic and seamless student transition without loss of course credit or time for the student. Career clusters: a way of organizing curricula, instruction, and assessment around specific occupational groups (for example, Information Technology or Health Science) that offers students core academics, coursework related to specific occupations, and extended learning experiences. Career exploration: career guidance activities provided in middle school enabling students to identify their career interests and abilities and explore careers to facilitate their college and career decision-making process. Career guidance: structured developmental experiences presented systematically from kindergarten through grade 12 that help students analyze and evaluate abilities, skills, and interests. Career Cluster Program: a way of redesigning education around career clusters and programs of study and connecting what students learn in school to their career goals. Program of Study: a way of organizing curricula and educational activities within a career cluster related to a student’s specific academic or career goal. Career portfolio: a collection of student work indicating progress made in subjects, activities, or programs. Portfolios are often used to document student performance in a variety of learning experiences. Dual credit: refers to an opportunity and agreement through which a student may earn high school credit for successfully completing a college course that covers all the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) of any specified high school course. The “dual credit” earned is college credit and high school credit for one course. Extended learning experiences: Career learning and outside-the-classroom learning experiences such as job shadowing, internships, and service learning. Education Service Centers: 20 centers in Texas that provide technical assistance and professional development support to school districts and educators. Tech Prep: is a program carried out under an articulation agreement between secondary and postsecondary education institutions and consists of a program of study that combines a minimum of 2 years of secondary education with a minimum of 2 years of postsecondary education in a nonduplicative, sequential course of study or an apprenticeship porgram of not less than 2 years following secondary education instruction. Understanding Jobs and Work: appropriate career guidance activities for kindergarten through grade 5 to help students develop an understanding of the world of work and the relationship between education and careers. Professional development: training for educators and counselors and educational support staff that help them stay informed about current trends, issues, and best practices in education and their respective fields. Seamless Transition: a system established for the delivery of a curriculum, program, initiative, etc., that promotes efficiency by reducing duplication and providing a logical progression of activities, courses, etc., that meet the requirements of two or more educational organizations. Targeted Industry Clusters: Six industry clusters that have been identified as highdemand, high-growth, with high wage jobs and are the economic engines of Texas. Texas Achievement Plan (TAP): an educational plan suggesting the high school courses a student should take to prepare successfully for graduation and transition into a postsecondary education. The vision for AchieveTexas is that all 8th graders, in consultation with their parents/guardians, counselors, and teachers will select a cluster and program of study and create a TAP. TAPs are to be reviewed and revised at least once each school year. Page 21 Texas Career Clusters Texas’ 16 career clusters are based on those developed by the U.S. Department of Education. Schools and districts may develop their own programs of study based on the local economy. Processing, production, distribution, financing, and development of agricultural commodities and natural resources. Designing, managing, building, and maintaining the built environment. Executing governmental functions at the local, state, and federal levels. Processing materials into intermediate or final products. Providing diagnostic and therapeutic services, health information, support services, and biotechnology research and development. Performing marketing activities to reach organizational objectives. Performing scientific research and professional technical services. Creating, exhibiting, performing, and publishing multimedia content. Managing restaurants and other food services, lodging, attractions, recreation events, and travel-related services. Managing movement of people, materials, and goods by road, pipeline, air, rail, and water. The career clusters icons above are used with permission of the Providing for families and serving human needs. Organizing, directing, and evaluating functions essential to productive business operations. Providing education, training, and related learning support services. States’ Career Clusters Initiative, 2007. For more information, visit www.careerclusters.org. College and Career Initiative Designing, supporting, and managing hardware, software, multimedia, and systems integration. 1701 North Congress Ave. Austin, TX 78701-1494 512-463-9581 (phone) 512-463-8057 (fax) www.AchieveTexas.org Planning finances and investments; managing banking, insurance, and business finances. Providing legal, public safety, protective, and homeland security services. It is the policy of the Texas Education Agency not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, or handicap in its career and technical education programs, services, or activities.
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