Techniques Magazine Techniques January 2011 : Page 44

Fea ture By Nichole M. Tews Integrated Curricula: Implementing English and Math Credit into CTE INTEGRATING ACADEMICS INTO CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) IS VItAL tO tHE SUCCESS OF OUR StUDENtS, StAtES AND NAtION. with the technical skills neces-sary to succeed in their trades, and now more than ever, they must also master the essential skills of communication and math within their chosen careers. Integrating academics into career and technical education (CTE) is vital to the success of our students, states and nation. Research has shown that incorporat-ing literacy and numeracy skills within students’ areas of interest dramatically increases the retention and understanding of these skills. But is it merely enough to incorporate numeracy and literacy skills into CTE? Do CTE teachers have enough knowledge of English and math compe-tencies and state standards to adequately teach such skills? As Cass Career Center—a shared-time center in Harrisonville, Missouri— discovered, it is the collaboration of CTE and English and math instructors that provides the opportunity for students to flourish. Yet the school has taken this concept one step further: It is now offer-ing level-four English and math credit integrated into CTE. These integrated curriculums of English IV and Math IV are taught simultaneously within CTE, creating a rich academic and techni-cal learning environment that not only prepares students for college and their careers, it allows students to earn credit in high-level English and math. U NDOUBtEDLY, tODAY’S YOUtH MUSt BE equipped What is an Integrated Curriculum? In its simplest definition, an integrated curriculum is created to operate and be taught within the confines of a CTE class. Over time, CTE, English and math instructors at Cass Career Center collaborated and developed two senior-level courses, one for English and one for math, to be taught within each of the eight three-hour block programs the center offers. These integrated curriculum Eng-lish and math courses are specifically designed to incorporate real-world communication arts and math skills, in preparation for college and career readiness, into classes such as automo-tive technology, fire science and EMT, health science, welding and others. The possibilities are endless, because inte-grated English and math curriculums will mold to any CTE program, enhanc-ing core academics in CTE and provid-ing opportunities for students to earn senior-level credit. Developing these English and math curriculums did not come easy, but the effort is worth the challenges. Cass Ca-reer Center hired two full-time certified instructors, one for English and one for math, to work with all students in the center’s three-hour block programs as well as to develop, write and implement the curriculums for English IV and Math IV, as the courses became named. These two teachers spent time working with each of the CTE instructors to determine the literacy and numeracy skills vital to college and career readiness for students in each of the CTE programs. Armed with this knowledge, they began working with the English and math departments of the sending high schools in Cass Career Center’s district. Together, essential skills were written PHOTO COURTESy OF CASS CAREER CENTER 44 Techniques JANUAR Y 2011

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