LANSING – Four Michigan schools have received the prestigious Excellence in Practice Awards from the Michigan Department of Education, recognizing exemplary practices in preparing Michigan’s students for careers and higher education.
The awards recognize successful, exemplary state-approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and career initiatives. These are programs that demonstrate outstanding outcomes, produce measurable results for students, and meet the challenge of high academic rigor.
“Career and Technical Education is integral to helping our students become career- and college-ready and succeed in jobs of the 21st Century,” said State Superintendent Brian Whiston. “That’s why it’s so vitally important that we recognize successful CTE programs and encourage other schools to replicate these best practices where possible.”
Early career preparation, including career exploration, career assessments, and comprehensive guidance and counseling, provides opportunities for students to begin thinking about the world of work.
2016 Excellence in Practice Award for Career and Technical Education Program was presented to:
1. Capital Area Career Center, Culinary Arts and Hospitality
The Culinary Arts & Hospitality program at the Capital Area Career Center (CACC) offers students the opportunity to join the ranks of chefs from around the world in creating unforgettable meals. Students in this program also learn how to order supplies, manage money, set up for an event, serve clients, and manage restaurant and catering operations.
Sullivan University recently named the program one of the Top 50 culinary programs for high school students in the country. College recruiters as well as industry professionals are constantly on campus recruiting students.
In the past two years, students have earned over $250,000 in scholarships as part of various competitions. More than 90 percent of all students earn at least one national certification as part of the program. Students can earn two national certifications in the one-year program, and also operate an on-site café and catering service.
Culinary Arts students earn a ServSafe, five-year national certification in sanitation and safety during their Management and Culinary Arts Certification. The two-year ProStart Foundations’ sequence is completed in one year. Second-year students focus on work experiences and leadership. When students complete the ProStart Foundations Certifications, and have accumulated 400 hours of industry experience, they are eligible for the National Certificate of Achievement from the National Restaurant Association.
Program students earn postsecondary credit at Davenport University, Ferris State University, Lansing Community College, Henry Ford Community College, Washtenaw Community College, Jackson College, Grand Rapids Community College, Sullivan University, the Art Institute – International Culinary School, Johnson & Wales University, and Baker College.
During the 2014-15 school year, a Culinary Arts second-year student led a team of special-needs students in a Team Banquet competition of ProStart. They requested no accommodations for their team and ended up placing fourth in the state. They practiced hundreds of hours in preparation for this competition, and were featured nationally on several news outlets.
2. Kalamazoo RESA, Education for Employment Veterinary Science
The Education for Employment (EFE) Veterinary Science program accepts high school seniors from Kalamazoo County and grants a third science credit. The first-semester curriculum currently is taught in a blended format: Students work online to master background material two days per week; the three classroom days focus on hands-on, experiential learning. Students study careers in the veterinary industry, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, nutrition, diseases and parasites, principles of anesthesia and surgery, and job readiness skills. In addition, each student undertakes an original research project.
During second semester, class meets once weekly, and students work as veterinary science interns in local practices for a minimum of six additional hours per week. This clinical work is supported by online and classroom material, and culminates in a case report project in which students produce a publication-ready report, then present it to an audience of clinical staff and industry partners, administrators, parents, and others.
Upon course completion, students are expected to be college-ready, prepared to be exemplary employees, and able to think critically and independently.
The Veterinary Science program is aligned with Michigan’s standards for Animal Health and Veterinary Science, and it covers all required segments in the one-year program. Students may earn six college credits in any major through Michigan State University.
The program relies upon 20 partner clinics to host semester-long student internships. Local farms, businesses, and organizations provide experiences for students to practice what they have learned. Students are skilled in delivering lambs, feeding orphan animals, treating medical issues, tagging, docking, and vaccinating weanlings. The classroom also provides foster housing and first-line veterinary care.
All students are members of Future Farmers of America (FFA) and Health Occupations Students of America. In the first year of participation in the FFA Veterinary Science Career Development event, the skills team won a gold award, placing 11th of 86 teams. This program has earned many state finalists in the veterinary science competition, and was a national third-place winner.
3. Calhoun ISD/Calhoun Area Career Center, a Comprehensive Approach to College and Career Readiness
The Comprehensive Approach to College and Career Readiness gets all students at the Calhoun Area Career Center (CACC) socially, emotionally, and academically prepared for the postsecondary experience. This initiative became embedded as one of four school improvement goals. As a school improvement goal, it is measured, put into teachers’ Individualized Development plans, and the entire school is held accountable for reaching this goal.
The overall goal is to increase students’ college and career readiness by establishing data demonstrating at least 75 percent of seniors having completed a résumé, a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA workshop, a college application, and a formal interview. In addition, the CACC is to increase students’ college and career readiness by establishing data demonstrating 75 percent of juniors having completed a career/personality assessment, and research of postsecondary options that fit individual career interests.
A number of activities and strategies were developed to accomplish these goals. A year-long curriculum requires students to complete personality assessments, letters of recommendations, résumés, and postsecondary planning research. Students participate in a variety of activities including: college preparedness workshops, college fairs, career connections day, financial aid workshops, and practice interviews.
4. Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District, Traverse Bay Area Early College
Working with two postsecondary partners, local school districts from a five-county area, and the business community, Traverse Bay Area (TBA) Intermediate School District’s Career-Tech Center has played a pivotal role in the development and operation of TBA Early College (TBAEC). As a result of the alignment of the secondary academic and technical curriculum to the postsecondary coursework, TBAEC students cross boundaries between secondary, career/technical, and postsecondary education, and work-based learning opportunities as they move toward reaching their associate degrees in accounting/business, health sciences, or a STEM major.
This collaborative effort has resulted in providing many “first-generation” college students with a significant tuition savings, and hastening their attainment of a college degree and/or certification. The college credits earned by TBAEC students have ranged from 35 to 69 semester hours, resulting in associate degrees earned and early admission to highly-competitive nursing programs.
These are the immediate results; the longer lasting impact is an educated and highly-technical workforce in the Grand Traverse region.