College and Career Readiness
Professional development, consulting, and other services
The Counselor Network is a biannual convening of middle and high school academic counselors. Each session consists of professional development activities that are counselor-specific and related to issues identified by Network participants. Meetings feature guest speakers and interactive discussions on topics related to advancing the career and college readiness of Sonoma County students.
To ensure that CTE programs are relevant and provide adequate training for students, advisory committees comprised of industry professionals and CTE educators have been formed for each industry sector. These committees review course curricula to determine whether current industry practices are reflected. Members also assist teachers in developing field trips, job shadowing, and work experience opportunities for students.
SCOE provides support and service to Sonoma County high schools and districts as they design and implement CTE programs at their sites. Specifically, the CTE Support Services department:
- Supports CTE course development in local high schools
- Assists sites in securing UC approval of CTE courses
- Coordinates articulation between high school and post-secondary programs
- Connects schools with industry partners
- Facilitates the countywide Work-Ready Certificate program
- Helps schools secure work-based learning opportunities for students
- Provides professional development for CTE educators
CTE Industry Area Meetings
Industry area meetings bring teachers of related CTE courses together to discuss teaching strategies, learn about educational and industry trends, and engage in customized professional development activities related to the specific needs of educators in the industry area. Regular meetings of teachers in each CTE industry area also provide opportunities for:
- Updates on the economic outlook in the industry sector
- Sharing of best instructional practices related to industry-area standards
- Targeted support for curriculum development and lesson design
CTE educators often have classroom environments, curriculum, and resources that require specialized training and creative handling—and that can be of great benefit to the broader educational goals of a district or site if utilized to its fullest potential. Custom professional development services are designed to maximize the educational impact of the CTE classroom through:
- Integrated, Common Core-aligned curriculum development
- Support in the creation of rich performance tasks
- Inquiry-based instructional support
- Individualized career pathway coaching
SCOE has secured University of California “a-g” approval for a number of CTE courses and can assist districts seeking approval for their programs. Districts may implement existing UC-approved courses or work with SCOE to obtain approval of district-specific programs.
UC Approved CTE Courses in Sonoma County
SCOE coordinates a Work-Ready Certificate program designed to ensure that young people have the skills required to begin work. Students in the program create a portfolio demonstrating their workplace skills and attitudes, then enlist the help of adults in verifying those attributes. The program includes an oral interview with local business leaders and online assessments of customer service and technology skills. Students access the program through their CTE courses or youth-serving community organizations such as Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, Chop’s Teen Club, Sonoma Teen Services, and Ceres Community Project.
SCOE works closely with post-secondary institutions and has obtained articulation agreements for 20 high school CTE courses. CTE specialists are available to work with districts to align their programs with these agreements or seek agreements for other programs.
While it may seem premature to ask middle school students to begin thinking about careers, research shows that one of the key indicators of future academic and career success is exposure to career awareness activities in grades 6-8. At these grade levels, the goal is to introduce students to the range of possibilities that exist and prepare them to make decisions about high school coursework and, ultimately, their future.
Through its CTE Support Services department, SCOE supports career exploration activities in middle schools that:
- Expand student knowledge of career options
- Expand student knowledge of high school and post-secondary education/training options
- Implement model programs that feature high-wage, high-growth careers
- Increase positive perceptions of post-secondary career, education, and training opportunities
- Increase student understanding of career goals, interests, and aspirations
- Increase staff awareness of career development resources and educational options available to students
SCOE supports the development of these activities in middle schools and provides assistance to connect schools to high school career pathway programs so that students can explore these learning opportunities. SCOE staff can also provide information about and connections to career programs and majors at post-secondary institutions.
SCOE’s CTE department will again offer Step-Up Classes to middle school students this spring and summer at no cost. Step-Up Classes are taught by CTE teachers in their regular high school classrooms. The classes provide an opportunity for middle school students to become oriented to the high school campus, learn about programs available there, and gain hands-on access to a career pathway of interest. More information about 2015 classes at scoe.org/step-up.
- Stephen Jackson, Director
- Jessica Progulske, Program Coordinator for Student Supports
- Chuck Wade, Program Coordinator for Instructional Support
- Sarah Wilmarth, NCCPA Regional Program Assistant