ACTE Techniques January 2012 : Page 25

reForm PoliCy ILLUSTRATION By ISTOCK.COM sample of eight SC high schools. These high schools were carefully selected for diversity in the degree of initial levels of policy implementation, local economic conditions and levels of school and com-munity resources, as well as in size, loca-tion and student demographic character-istics (Sharp et al., 2011). We are in the fifth year of collecting data from three cohorts of students who, because of their progression in school, have different levels of exposure to the EEDA reforms. Data gathered during the project’s first four years indicate that the comprehen-sive career-focused school reform efforts of EEDA appear to be helping to build some of the foundation and framework necessary for the development and suc-cessful implementation of career pathways and Perkins IV-defined POS. Although data gathering and analysis are ongoing, in this article we provide early insights into how several key elements of the SC policy are helping our sample schools lay a foundation for POS and POS-like edu-cational components for all students. Career Guidance Is a Central Component of the POS Framework We have found that enhanced career guidance and counseling services are criti-cal to the EEDA reform policy. Providing students and parents with information and support to explore diverse career options plays a key role in students’ career development and career planning. Under EEDA, students must be exposed to career development in elementary and middle school through the exploration of career pathways and career interests. In eighth grade, each student, along with parents or guardians, is to work with a counselor to develop an Individual Graduation Plan (IGP), which includes courses required for graduation and appropriate electives that align with the student’s career interests, postsecondary plans and professional goals. In high school, EEDA states that Januar y 2012 Techniques 25

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