Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Valuing Work via Technical Schools
With nearly four million jobs in skilled labor unfilled in the United States, the need to re-focus attention on career and technical education (CTE) has never been greater. With that in mind, it's worth taking a look at the way one technical school district in Connecticut addressed the issue by focusing on school climate. Because so many kids do not finish their degrees at two-year colleges, Patricia Ciccone sought to address the problem at an earlier point in a student's education by focusing her efforts on improving school climate at the Connecticut Technical High School District. Ciccone believes technical education is the answer that is lacking in so many discussions about students failing to achieve post high school success and career readiness. Students may not end up working in the career for which they trained, but they have accomplished post-graduate work, and that credential and experience is going to serve them better in the workplace and in society. So much of what is happening in high schools - especially those hyper-focused on preparing kids for four-year universities - ends up not serving students well. In addressing this issue, Ciccone sought to improve overall school climate and student security. Her work is paying dividends in student achievement, and the results have become a template for school climate discussions statewide.