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    A Focus on Career and Technical Education

    by Charles Borst posted August 14, 2017

    As they attract a new wave of attention and support in schools across the country,  career and technical education programs grapple with new challenges: How should they maintain program quality and weed out career paths that lead students to dead-end jobs? As high-flying programs become popular and more academically rigorous, how can educators ensure that they remain demographically diverse? And how can schools do a better job of getting the word out to all students about all of these new college and career options? Photographers Mark Abramson, Andrea Morales and Joe Buglewicz worked with Education Week reporter Catherine Gewertz on a three-part series for Education Week that takes a look at the challenges and opportunities faced by three states’ career and technical education programs.

    HIGHLANDS, NJ - April 05, 2017: High School students from the Marine Academy of Science & Technology, mostly comprised of freshman in the course area of marine biology, take part in a marine biology lab on a boat owned and managed by the school out in the Sandy Hook Bay. Here, student leaders and upperclassman Austin Colbert, Ryan Elmiger, and James Edwards, and Theo Cheevers help run the ship with along with the captain as a way to assist and mentor their fellow underclassman in the marine biology course by managing the net mechanisms to catch the sea creatures that the students will be studying. Credit: Mark Abramson for Education Week

    Older students from the Marine Academy of Science & Technology in Highlands, N.J., help rig nets and lines as they assist the boat’s captain and mentor the marine biology students. The popular school funnels students into colleges and jobs in marine science, engineering, and other fields. —Mark Abramson for Education Week

    HIGHLANDS, NJ - April 05, 2017: High School students from the Marine Academy of Science & Technology, mostly comprised of freshman in the course area of marine biology, take part in a marine biology lab on a boat owned and managed by the school out in the Sandy Hook Bay. Here, freshman Tristen Izzo releases a fish back into the water after studying it with his classmates. Credit: Mark Abramson for Education Week

    Freshman Tristen Izzo releases a fish back into the water after studying it with his classmates. Seats in the academically rigorous, career-technical education program are highly coveted and filled mostly by white students, a trend the school is working to change. –Mark Abramson for Education Week

    Students from the Marine Academy of Science and Technology handle a flounder caught on a boat trip in New Jersey’s Sandy Hook Bay. The students record data on fish for state officials before tossing them back into the sea. —Mark Abramson for Education Week

    High school freshman Ivan Szasz pilots a boat during a field trip for marine biology students from the Marine Academy of Science and Technology in Highlands, N.J. Seats in the academically rigorous, career-technical-education program are highly coveted and filled mostly by white students. —Mark Abramson for Education Week

    High school freshman Ivan Szasz pilots a boat during a field trip for marine biology students from the academy. —Mark Abramson for Education Week

    April 21, 2017 - Wynne, AR: Eighth-grader Jacoya Marrs (center) reacts to feeling low-level electrotherapy that physical therapy technician Laura Kilgore (left) demonstrates while at CrossRidge Hospital on Friday, April 21, 2017. Marrs, along with Sadie West (right), was one of the students participating in a "job shadow" day at a physical therapist's office. The experience is part of a push in programs that help with career guidance so students can approach choosing career technical education or not with some personal insight. Arkansas has been particularly proactive about changing that dynamic, placing career coaches in dozens of schools and installing a career-focused curriculum that begins in middle school.

    Eighth grader Jacoya Marrs, center, reacts to feeling low-level electrotherapy on her back during a “job shadow” day at a physical therapist’s office at CrossRidge Hospital in Wynne, Ark. The state is betting big that this kind of early career exposure—embedded in a career-planning process that spans middle and high school—can launch more students into its workforce and colleges with a clear idea of where they’re headed. —Andrea Morales for Education Week

    April 21, 2017 - Wynne, AR: Eighth graders Erika Faircloth (right) and Kaelyn Jordan observe Dr. Julie Boone perform a cat spaying at Cross County Vet on Friday, April 21, 2017. Faircloth and Jordan were some of the students participating in a "job shadow" day at the veterinarian's office. The experience is part of a push in programs that help with career guidance so students can approach choosing career technical education or not with some personal insight. Arkansas has been particularly proactive about changing that dynamic, placing career coaches in dozens of schools and installing a career-focused curriculum that begins in middle school.

    Eighth grader Erika Faircloth watches veterinarian Julie Boone operate on a cat during her job-shadowing experience at a local veterinary clinic. —Andrea Morales for Education Week

    Equations line the whiteboards and walls of a Mechatronics class at Warren County High School in McMinnville, Tenn. Tennessee Career and Technical Education leaders meet regularly to review programs in the schools, and size up how well they meet the job and college-prep criteria. Joe Buglewicz for Education Week

    Equations line the whiteboards and walls of a mechatronics class at Warren County High School in McMinnville, Tenn. The school district is seeking to give students a clearer path to high-tech jobs by phasing out traditional vocational-technical classes and replacing them with studies in mechatronics, a blend of electronics and engineering that’s the brains of the automation in many advanced manufacturing systems. –Joe Buglewicz for Education Week

    Warren County High School seniors Alex Yates and David Romero work on an assembly line machine during a Mechatronics class in McMinnville, Tenn. Many students at the school participate in Career and Technical Education course clusters to help them prepare for life beyond high school. Joe Buglewicz for Education Week

    Warren County High School seniors Alex Yates, left, and David Romero work on an assembly line machine during their mechatronics class in McMinnville. The technology skills they learn in the class help prepare them for jobs in the area’s booming automotive industry. —Joe Buglewicz for Education Week

    Keaton Turner, 17, a junior at Warren County High School in McMinnville, Tenn. welds a during an Advanced Manufacturing class Wed. April 17, 2107. Tennessee Career and Technical Education leaders meet regularly to review programs in the schools, and size up how well they meet the job and college-prep criteria. Joe Buglewicz for Education Week

    Keaton Turner, a junior at Warren County High School, welds a during an advanced manufacturing class in McMinnville. –Joe Buglewicz for Education Week

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