Each year teachers wonder, “How can I best serve the special education students in my classes?” Is there a solution? Georgia found that solution in Career & Technical Instruction (CTI). CTI coordinators work in support of students with disabilities (SWD) enrolled in career, technical and adult education (CTAE) courses. They work with students in grades nine through 12 to develop job-entry skills and assist them in completing a career, technical or adult education (CTAE) pathway.
Career & Technical Instruction, founded in 1981, operates as a career and technical student organization (CTSO) in Georgia. A CTI coordinator wears many different hats; our work varies based on student needs and the classes we support. CTI coordinators push into CTAE courses once a week to:
- Offer individualized help with course material
- Plan and implement transition plans
- Assist with testing
Why should you have CTI in your schools?
Research shows that SWD “who participate in a CTE program significantly increase their chances for postsecondary successes in both academia and employment” (Harvey, Cotton & Koch, 2007). Career and technical education (CTE) students with disabilities leave these courses with relevant skills, increased tendency to vie for competitive wage jobs, and the inclination and drive to work full time after high school (Wagner, Newman & Javitz, 2016; Wehlage & Rutter, 1986).
How does it work?
There are a few simple requirements for CTI support. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in special education. They must be enrolled in a CTAE course, and they must need support from the CTI coordinator to be successful. Note that CTI does not provide daily support and, therefore, may only be appropriate for students who can complete the work and labs independently otherwise.
Not every student in special education needs the support of the CTI. Thus, support is determined on a case-by-case basis at the time of an individualized education plan (IEP) meeting. CTIs look at the student’s core academic placements, (small group, team taught, or general education), as well as the student’s present levels, behavior issues and grades. Placement is determined based on input from the CTI coordinator, teachers, the student themselves and the parents.
CTI students attend leadership conferences in the fall and spring; the fall conference focuses on working with students to develop leadership skills and offers guidance on postsecondary transitions. In the spring, CTI participants compete in a variety of competitions, in subject matter that ranges from health care to plumbing, to food and nutrition.
Points to ponder
Communication between the CTAE teacher and the CTI coordinator is essential for student success. Coordinators only know what the teacher reports. Coordinators are not team teachers; coordinators provide support services for the student.
Services can be provided in a variety of ways and will vary based on the classes. Flexibility is key, as schedules and priorities may change based on needs related to course standards or the student’s IEP.