ACTE Techniques May 2012 : Page 10

L EADERSHI p M Att ERS Pierce County Equivalency Project PHOTOS By ISTOCk.COM By Diane Carver, Leska Wetterauer and Debra Shanafelt tEACHING SECONDARY StUDENtS tO READ, WRItE, CALCULAtE, AND EVALUAtE within a real life context em -bodies a major part of today’s mission for all career and technical education (CTE) teachers. With students falling behind every day and failing to meet state and national standards in core classes, core teachers need backup and districts are increasingly turning to CTE. State and federal requirements to improve academic attainment for all students is making it necessary for CTE teachers to join forces with their core subject contemporaries to infuse academic skills into hands-on CTE curriculum. According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk , including rigorous academic content in CTE curriculum along with business and industry standards has beneficial effects for increasing academic achievement, particularly for underserved students. (Deil-Amen & DeLuca, 2010). Student achievement in core subjects is a primary focus for national legisla -tion. CTE and core academic teachers must collaborate, learn from one an -other, and share ideas to improve student understanding and retention of complex information. Attainment of core academics is only part of the educational story. As discussed in the recent Harvard report, Pathways to Prosperity , career and technical education and its workforce-centered curricula may be the missing piece in many traditional secondary educational programs. The report contends, “…a focus on college readiness alone does not equip young people with all of the skills and abilities they will need in the workplace or to successfully complete the transition from adolescence to adulthood” (Symonds, Schwartz, & Ferguson, 2011). Helping teachers improve high school students’ academic performance and career skills attainment was the motivation behind the grant-funded Pierce County Equivalency Project. The Project Overview Pierce County, Washington, is home to 15 school districts including Tacoma, Bethel, Clover Park, and Puyallup, as well as several smaller districts. During the 2009/2010 school year, several school districts in Pierce County participated in a state-funded grant to promote academic integration with CTE. The participating Pierce County districts collaboratively wrote the grant application to support connections between core academic science teachers and CTE agriculture teachers. The goal of the project was to allow science and agriculture teachers throughout the county the opportunity to work together to identify common standards taught in a variety of science 10 Techniques Ma y 2012

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