CTE Leads Indiana Back to In-Person Classes
More than 200,000 secondary students were enrolled in CTE programs of study across the state of
Indiana during the 2019-2020 school year. Each program of study provides the opportunity for students
to earn postsecondary and/or industry credentials and participate in work-based learning experiences.
COVID-19 school closures during the 2019-2020 school year impacted the ability of CTE students to
complete work-based learning and core content hours needed to earn required credentials in career
Career and Technical Education programs across the state are preparing to offer in-person classes to high school students in July. It could be the first time students take classes in a school building since the pandemic began.
The Indiana Office of CTE issued guidance telling schools that, beginning July 6, they can offer a “summer bridge program” to students whose courses were disrupted by COVID-19. However, the timeline could change if Indiana doesn’t progress to the final stage of the state’s “Back On Track” plan.
Patrick Biggerstaff is the CTE director of a career center in Indianapolis. He also sits on a Governor’s Workforce Cabinet group on reopening. He says several CTE courses require hand-on experience in order for students to get certifications.
“When looking at a subject area like automotive service or welding, it’s important that students have time to demonstrate skill proficiency and to work hands-on with equipment that will be used in industry,” he says.
He says conversations with the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet working group have been about balancing their first priority – student safety – with getting back to regular instruction as quickly as possible.
“So they’re, in essence, piloting what coming back in the fall semester might look like,” he says.
The guidance says physical distancing will be required and classrooms can be filled to no more than 50 percent capacity. Students and instructors are encouraged to wear masks and sanitize equipment between classes. Schools will also have a mandatory reporting system to document positive COVID-19 cases and are told they should contact the health department immediately.
Actual start dates and program details could vary as many career centers will need to get approval from their local school district.
Twelve recipients have been chosen by the Indiana Office of Career and Technical Education for a Next Level Programs of Study Implementation Grants. The grants will provide up to $50,000 each to present a pilot program of a Next Level Program of Study during the 2020-2021 school year.
The initiative aims to revitalize career and technical education programming in the state and will be implemented across the state in 2021-2022 school year. New programs are being developed by the Office of CTE, who is working with Ivy Tech Community College, Vincennes University and K-12 teachers and administrators. Each study program will provide designed coursework to give Indiana students the chance to earn industry certifications and postsecondary certificates while still enrolled in high school.
The grant recipients will be piloting ten different career pathway programs, with funds from the grants to be utilized for needed equipment or professional development. Each pilot program will serve as a model for schools as they rollout the statewide Next Level Programs of Study in 2021-2022.
The Office of CTE awarded 36 planning grants of $5,000 each, with each recipient participating in virtual workshops to collaborate with community partners to implement a specific plan. Thirty of the grantees submitted plans and 12 were chosen to receive implementation grants.
Full list of recipients:
- Blue River Career Programs – Shelbyville – Automation & Robotics
- Hamilton Heights High School – Arcadia – Civil Construction
- North Lawrence Community Schools – Bedford – Early Childhood Education
- Perry Central Community Schools – Leopold – Construction Trades
- West Central Indiana Career and Technical Education – Crawfordsville – Welding
- Winchester Community High School – Winchester – Precision Machining
- Manchester Community Schools – North Manchester – Business Administration
- South Harrison Community School Corporation – Corydon – Healthcare Specialist, Pre-Nursing
- Collaboration of Shoals, Mitchell & Orleans Schools – Shoals, Orleans, Mitchell – Construction Trades/Healthcare Specialist, Pre-Nursing
- Indianapolis Public Schools – Indianapolis – Healthcare Specialist, Pre-Nursing
- Heartland Career Center – Wabash – Agribusiness
- MSD of Warren County – West Lebanon – Precision Agriculture