Techniques Magazine Techniques January 2011 : Page 45

and aligned with senior-level English and math courses at the high school, units and core concepts were developed for integrated English IV and Math IV, and finally, all were aligned to Missouri state content and process standards. Students entering into a three-hour block course at Cass Career Center are now respon-sible for learning the skills and concepts of three separate yet linked curriculums, taught together, preparing students for not only the demands and rigor of col-lege, but real-world learning experiences where skills are rarely called upon in isolation of others. Integrating Academics into CTE As CTE teachers can attest, core academics and soft skills are embedded within CTE by nature, and students who graduate from their high schools and shared-time centers with a firm grasp of not only technical skills but numeracy and literacy skills become the most successful adults. Before the center hired the English and math instructors, CTE teachers evaluated their own curriculums, dissect-ing the layers for elements of communi-cations, reading, computing, equating, and so on. A lot was found but at a lower academic level, and without certified instructors in English and math, the task of effectively developing rigorous assign-ments assessing essential skills in literacy and numeracy was not only daunting but lacked credibility. The expertise and training of certified English and math instructors is the key ingredient for a shared-time center to be able to offer level-four English and math credit to its students. It is they who are responsible for giving assignments and assessing essential literacy and numeracy essential skills and concepts; it is they who develop the rubrics and align skills to state standards; and it is they who col-laborate with CTE instructors to develop rigorous English and math skills within technical content and curriculum. PHOTO COURTESy OF CASS CAREER CENTER Health science student Hillary Shklar and welding student Jacob White study academics using relevant program-specific applications at Cass Career Center. How is Credit Earned? Awarding credit for three different curriculums being taught within one three-hour block class may seem difficult, and at first it was. The center’s director, Jim Spencer, worked with the counseling department at the district’s high school to develop the system of awarding 0.25 credit for English IV and 0.25 credit for Math IV per semester. Using this system, students earn 0.5 credit per year in Eng-lish as well as math while enrolled in a three-hour block course. In these nontra-ditional courses, it will take students two academic years of English IV and Math IV to complete the course. Therefore, students must be enrolled in the appli-cable classes for two years at the center to www.acteonline.org JANUAR Y 2011 Techniques 45

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