High Schools That Work: Best Practices for CTE Essay

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High Schools That Work: Best Practices for CTE

High Schools That Work (HSTW), a school improvement initiative of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), has documented achievement gains by career and technical education (CTE) students at participating sites (Bottoms and Presson 2000). At HSTW sites participating in 1996 and 1998 assessments (Frome 2001), CTE students showed math and science achievement equal to the national average of all high school students—and exceeded the national average of CTE students in math, science, and reading.

One part of the HSTW framework is a set of 10 Key Practices that each participating site implements by developing and carrying out a customized action plan for school improvement (SREB 1999).
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The second HSTW curriculum component, a CTE major, includes four credits in a planned, coherent sequence of CTE courses supplemented by two related credits, including computer literacy skills.

Different HSTW sites have used different approaches to do away with general-track academic courses and expose all students to a curriculum that provides the challenging academic content traditionally taught only in college-prep courses (Baldwin 1998; Miller 1997). In York County, Virginia, applied "academic tech" courses provide CTE students with college-prep material. The Randolph County, West Virginia, school district used applied curriculum materials to raise the reading bar in all English classes. North Laurel High School, Kentucky, on the other hand, required all students to take courses that had previously been college-prep courses and to complete either an academic or CTE major (Miller 1997). Holcomb High School, Kansas, combined both approaches by requiring every student to complete a core, college-prep-level curriculum while making alternative applied courses—also at college-prep level—available for some classes and encouraging students to complete a career major.

A frequently used approach to providing the planned, coherent sequences of CTE courses that students need

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