Dear Linda: How can CTE teachers integrate academics & challenge students while providing asynchronous remote learning?

Dear Linda,

How can career and technical education teachers integrate academics while providing asynchronous remote learning? And in what ways can I increase the level of rigor for more advanced students?

Thank you to Staci, from California, and Karen, from Rhode Island, for these great questions.

Challenging students is always a topic of conversation when engaged in the traditional classroom. Now it seems even more of an issue. The same can be said about integrating academics in our career and technical education (CTE) courses. How can we make all of this happen while teaching remotely?

I have found an amazing resource. Newsela contains a wealth of content meant to engage and challenge our students. After you set up an account (if you don’t already have one), you can begin to search for articles and create assignments.

For example

I teach health science/nurse assisting to high school seniors. My students should keep up with current events, think critically and improve their English and language arts (ELA) skills. I want them also to think of some of the advanced technical skills related to nursing. Newsela was my foundation for an assignment called Ventilators and Vital Signs.

This is a two-part assignment. Students have to read and think about vital signs, then discuss. Further, they dig deeper into the technical skills: reading, reflecting on direct care skills, researching other important aspects of care for ventilators. Students are then tasked to create a table (which eventually forms a care plan) and write out the skill with the rationale.

The students’ process of exploration, and the new knowledge gained, becomes a topic of discussion within our virtual classroom. For an added level of rigor, I might consider having them research and write a paper on COVID-19 ventilator patients. They may write about what the readings on a ventilator mean. High school students are challenged to develop college-level skills. In the workplace, they may care for those ventilator patients.

Newsela is a resource that can be used for any topic, in any CTE or academic course. Teachers, take advantage of the activities provided on the site or create your own! Have fun, get creative and always be safe!

Linda Romano


Click here to submit your questions. Linda will have the answers.

Linda Romano is vice president of ACTE’s Health Science Education Division and a health science/nurse aide educator for Newburgh Enlarged City School District, where she has been a CTE teacher since 2006. In 2018, Romano was named ACTE’s Teacher of the Year. She also serves as president of the New York Health Science Educator Association.

Romano is an active registered nurse and serves in several volunteer capacities for her state of New York and within the local Newburgh Community/ Newburgh Armory Unity Center. In addition to mentoring new teachers, Linda Romano developed and leads a program called Scholars in Scrubs, which provides education, health and wellness, and opportunities for young people (pre-K to high school) and their parents/grandparents.

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