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iLEAD Schools Continue To Expand CTE Courses, Pathways

Career Technical Education

Career Technical Education, often referred to in education circles as CTE, are courses and pathways of courses for students of all ages that focus on academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers. Indeed, about 12.5 million high school and college learners are enrolled in CTE courses across the country. CTE is not new to iLEAD Schools, but all of the schools are experiencing an increase in CTE course offerings and program development.

CTE courses and pathways are ideal for iLEAD Schools, according to Allison Bravo, iLEAD Director of School Initiatives who leads the iLEAD CTE Programs. Bravo said that iLEAD’s project-based approach and culture aligns extremely well with Career Technical Education.

“We are taking what we already do for learners and creating specific pathways for them to have even more college and career options,” said Bravo. “The skills learned in each CTE pathway are transferable to any career, making this option invaluable regardless of what learners choose to do post-graduation.”

iLEAD’s CTE Courses and Pathways are as diverse as the learners. They include sectors such as Child Development and Early Childhood Education, Sports Medicine, Entrepreneurship, Health Careers, Gaming and Virtual Reality, Public Service and many derivations for Arts, Media & Entertainment. See a Complete List Here.

The facilitators of these courses and pathways are excited to see more and more opportunities for learners to apply and experience their learning in continuing deeper and meaningful ways. 

Facilitator Ingrid Moon, who has been creating some new Gaming and Virtual Reality courses as part of the Engineering Pathway at iLEAD SCVi, thinks that the skills and confidence that learners experience in CTE can be game changers in their post-secondary college and career endeavors. 

“As an example, there is a big difference in knowing how to use computers vs. knowing how they work and understanding the science behind them,” said Moon. “I had advantages  in college and beyond because I had a technical, as well as academic background, that others did not.”

Moon, who herself worked in the interactive entertainment industry prior to her becoming a career educator, said CTE is about giving students a set of problem-solving skills that will create more opportunities for themselves. 

“Learners who take computer science courses, as an example, do better in all of their courses and are more likely to complete or graduate from college,” said Moon. “ It enhances the way they look at the world, the way they see themselves.”

Moon sees CTE as a way to acknowledge that the world of work is forever changing and evolving. She continually sites examples of how industries have changed over time as a way to demonstrate the importance of these types of experiences. 

“Take the auto industry. Robots now do much of what my uncle did professionally for years. Now, one has to learn how to use robots,” said Moon. “Either you can learn to control the robots or they can learn to control us.”

Although hands-on activities and practical experiences are integral to many CTE courses and pathways, this does not mean online learners are exempt from high quality CTE experiences. iLEAD Online Facilitator Harley Young is developing a new Sports Medicine Pathway for their online high school learners.

Young said that iLEAD Online offers CTE Pathways to encourage their learners to start planning their futures and his team at iLEAD Online wants to equip their learners with the skills necessary to pursue career interests after high school. Young said that the Sports Medicine Pathway will create a foundation for more diverse options for their learners.

“This Sports Medicine Pathway will help us create other pathways including the Health Science and Medical Technology sector,” said Young. “We think that many of our learners will be interested in and enjoy pursuing these fields of study.”

Young and the iLEAD Online team are excited about the new opportunities and projects that this pathway will bring to their learners. 

“Health sciences continue to be one of the fastest growing industries in the world,” said Young. “Often learners are not exposed to these concepts until college and for some it is too late to pursue this path.”

The projects for this pathway will be centered around the study of the human body, how it works and what happens to it when outside stimuli are presented, according to Young. Examples include projects related to changes in blood pressure and composition when athletes change their altitude, common athletic injuries and their treatment/avoidance, nutrition and its role in sports performance, rehabilitation strategies for athletes, how strength and conditioning can affect common injuries and performance to name a few. 

Bravo said that she is working with school directors, program facilitators and community partners  to effectively design and implement all of these pathways. She said they are collectively collaborating on a common understanding of Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Standards, industry partners and advisory boards, and potential funding and resource needs. 

“It’s cross-curricular, cross-school and all about engaging industry and community partners,” said Bravo. “Our learners are going to benefit in multiple ways.”

Posted on September 10, 2021 in iLEAD Digest

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About the Author

Michael Niehoff is an educator, leader, writer and learner advocate.
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