|The Southern Regional Education Board established the Technology Centers That Work (TCTW) in 2007. Since that time, the TCTW has sought to help Career and Technical Centers (CTCs) improve both the academic and technical skills of their students. By integrating academic concepts in the context of Career and Technical Education (CTE), learners become more prepared for college and career success.
TCTW promotes several key practices for school improvement which includes having high expectations, requiring students to complete rigorous CTE courses and college preparatory core academics, and requiring assignments that use research-based strategies and technology. Both academic and CTE teachers collaborate in order to make this experience worthwhile. The CTE studies must provide students access to intellectually challenging studies in high-demand fields that emphasize higher-level mathematics, science, literacy, and problem-solving skills needed in further education and in the workplace. Work-based learning that emphasizes real-world work experiences in the area of each student’s career interest is also very important in the TCTW model.
Students and parents are involved in a guidance and advisement system that develops positive relationships and ensures completion of a CTE concentration with an approved sequence of at least four courses and an accelerated program of study. Each student is provided with an adult mentor who works with them to assist with setting goals, selecting courses, reviewing progress, and pursuing appropriate interventions as necessary. Students are provided with a system of extra help to assist them in completing accelerated programs of study with high-level academic and technical content. Finally, a culture of continuous improvement is emphasized in the TCTW model through using student assessment, program evaluation data, technology center performance reports, program enrollment, retention and placement reports, college remediation reports, student follow-up reports, and advisory committee input to continuously improve school culture, organization, management, curriculum, and instruction to advance student learning.
TCTW recognizes bi-annually its member schools that achieve award-winning status with several distinctions which include TCTW Platinum High Achievement status, TCTW Gold Readiness status, the TCTW Gold Improvement Award, and the 15 Most Improved TCTW Centers. This study will identify integration practices that will help member TCTW schools as they seek to earn award-winning status.
This study will serve as an aid to CTCs across the country as they seek to improve their students’ ability to apply academics in the context of real-world learning experiences in Career and Technical Education. This study identifies best practices of the integration of academic concepts in Career and Technical Education. Such information will be of great importance as Technology Centers That Work member schools seek to acquire award winning status which will put them among the best schools of their type in the nation.