EXCERPT: A Whole School Approach to Access & Equity

Career pathway programs that blend quality career and technical education (CTE) and college preparatory academics offer a way to increase readiness, postsecondary attainment, career advancement and economic stability for youth of all genders, races, socioeconomic backgrounds and ability levels.

Introduce students to careers.

In 2009, SREB challenged states, districts and schools to expand access to curricula that blend college-ready academics with hands-on learning and introduce students to career options. Later that year, SREB partnered with key stakeholders to design 10 Advanced Career curricula that prepare high school students for industry and postsecondary credentials. Each four-course pathway was purpose-built to attract underrepresented students and spark interest in STEM careers through project-based assignments. AC can also help rural and urban schools and districts address access and equity.

Schools have found that AC helps students find a purpose for learning because its projects challenge them.

Advanced Career Pathways

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Automated Materials Joining Technology
  • Clean Energy Technology
  • Energy and Power
  • Global Logistics & Supply Chain Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Informatics
  • Innovations in Science and Technology
  • Integrated Production and Technology
  • Oil and Gas

Focus on quality instruction.

High-quality instruction is essential to school and student success. Schools implementing SREB’s improvement frameworks use project-based learning to infuse CTE with high-level math, science, language arts and problem-solving skills that prepare students for the modern workplace and continued learning.

The frameworks also provide tools and practices that enhance the quality of instruction. They help students connect what they learn in the classroom with career and college goals. Effective schools create an organizational structure and schedules that give teams of academic and CTE teachers time to co-plan instruction, design standards-driven assignments and share effective instructional strategies.

Increase access & equity for all.

In urban, suburban and rural settings, SREB’s school improvement frameworks provide a structure that empowers schools to expand or improve access to high-quality programs. With support, we can create pathway programs that expand opportunities for all.

Dale Winkler is vice president of the Southern Regional Education Board. Email him.

Scott Warren is division director of Making Schools Work at SREB. Email him.

ACTE members can read the full article, “Increasing Access & Equity: A Whole School Approach,” in the March issue of Techniques. Not a member? Join! ACTE is the largest national education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers.

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