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Parallels of CTE, PBL and STEM at Work in Education

Robert Bell, Principal

David Stephen, President; Brad Morgan, Principal Essex Technical High School

Perkins Eastman, New Vista Design

Domains: Learning, Context, Process, Toolbox

Course Level: Intermediate

Learning Units: 1.5 LU/HSW

Room: A601


Sunday, October 29, 2017 @ 8:30 am

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Once thought of as obsolescent, Career and Technical Education (CTE) is experiencing a resurgence in the 21st Century. And, in contrast to the general perception of CTE as exclusively a direct pathway to employment, over 75% of students served by these schools in Massachusetts, as an example, are headed to post-secondary education. Evidence shows that students excel in settings that emphasize Project-Based Learning (PBL) and offer a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-infused curriculum and, that the skills learned in CTE programs help students become life-long learners. Participants will explore how these parallel pedagogies were envisioned, prioritized and planned into the Essex Technical High School, a level-1 high performing school in Massachusetts, creating a flexible and collaborative environment that encourages student success. The school features an innovative hybrid program derived from the combination of a technical school and an agricultural school that were merged into a single new school of themed academies. The school offers professional-quality, hands-on learning environments that encourage students to become active participants in their education and incorporates a number of inventive strategies for day to day and long term flexibility and adaptability. Attendees will take part in a workshop-style format that will be used to examine 21st Century Learning Skills, engage participants in developing CTE Learning Goals and align them with Design Patterns that will be prioritized. We will observe the group's work and compare the priorities with those that were identified in the Visioning and Planning of Essex Tech.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Identify the increasing skills and competencies that are demanded of students entering the 21st Century work force and the types of planning and design solutions that can help foster these proficiencies.   
  2. Understand how educational goals can substantially shape design, including concepts for Small Learning Communities, Collaborative Clusters, Interdisciplinary Teaching/Learning and Distributed Dining. 
  3. Participants will discover many layers and attributes of flexibility that can be built into designs, including overall planning strategies and accommodations for varied teaching modes and groupings and classroom adaptability. 
  4. Participants will also learn about the challenges of combining (or changing) school cultures and programs into a new school dynamic and the importance of the visioning and programming process to build consensus on educational priorities.