Career Pathways and Technical Education Task Force

System Flexibility Recommendations

Recommendation 1: Maintain high standards for education professionals and allow for flexibility in Minnesota teacher licensure structure that promote opportunities to explore new roles in supporting student’s career development.

Options for implementation:

1. Future teacher candidates must score in the top 50% on the ACT.

2. Student teaching programs should be one school year in length.

3. Incentives should be provided to encourage Master’s degrees in subject content areas, i.e., math, English, science, etc.

4. Robust career and postsecondary options utilizing school counselors should be offered no later than ninth grade.

5. Licensure flexibility should be provided so that postsecondary career and technical education instructors can give direct instruction.

6. Postsecondary institutions in Minnesota should develop and here to a standardized credentialing process for secondary instructors to teach concurrent courses in the high school.

Recommendation 2: Provide flexible governance structures that ensure that schools (districts) have the capacity and opportunity to modify/alter current practices to meet the needs of all learners.

Options for implementation:

1. Set up schools or programs in districts (in collaboration with a higher education institution) that are called "upper early career or college" schools (programs), with the following features:

a. Funded as K-12 but if innovative have access to additional funding such as learning year and provided greater flexibility for school calendars and school days;

b. Use integrated learning environments for students age 15-21 to access programming in career fields before graduating from high school.

c. Must contain experiential learning programs and an individual career plan for each student;

d. Developed through articulation agreements between K-12 and a post-secondary institution, including private post-secondary colleges or trade schools;

e. May also be developed within intermediate districts, a virtual countywide district, as a charter school, or within an ALC.

2. Provide and expand student’s opportunities to meet social studies, chemistry or physics requirements for graduation;

a. Within the context of a Program of Study developed for the student, integrate the required standards in social studies, chemistry and/or physics, taught in an applied setting;

b. Use experiential learning and community involvement to meet standards;

c. Defining school days and school years;

d. Use authentic assessments to validate achievement of standards.

3. Allow districts to develop pre-approved apprenticeship programs or other work based learning options that provide credit for work based learning that is clear and meaningful:

a. May be developed collaboratively with postsecondary or within other collaborative structures;

b. Must provide mechanism for apprenticeships to count for credit or structure of evaluating which academic standards are being met within the program.

4. Restructure large high schools into small learning communities or develop “schools within a school” to provide students with options or choices for learning and career exploration:

a. Learning communities should be developed around career exploration or themes;

b. Provide a variety of delivery models to meet academic and career-oriented courses;

c. Offer opportunities to participate in work-based learning activities.

d. May be developed collaboratively with postsecondary or within other collaborative structures;

e. Collaboration among agencies, local units of government and between secondary and postsecondary education to meet student academic, career planning and social and emotional needs;

f. Must provide mechanism for apprenticeships to count for credit or structure of evaluating which academic standards are being met within the program.

5. Improve student demand for career and technical education:

a. Broaden postsecondary enrollment options to allow for increased access to more students statewide;

b. Advertise the benefits of gaining college credits at the middle-school and high-school levels;

c. Advertise/market the availability of high-wage, high-growth employment opportunities for which less than a four-year baccalaureate is required;

d. Increase communication to parents and students on the availability and benefits of pursuing careers requiring less than a four-year baccalaureate.

Recommendation 3: Promote broad levels of collaboration with public and private entities to improve the alignment and increase the availability of resources and services that students’ can benefit from as they prepare for and access college and career opportunities.

Options for implementation:

1. Align all agencies and organizations providing services related to this task force initiative.

a. All students deserve and are entitled to equal services;

b. Duplication should be eliminated and financial and service efficiency should be present;

c. Any student deliverables need to be portable and follow the student through stages of their education and career;

d. Statewide credit transfer agreements between K‐12 and MnSCU (and all state postsecondary institutions) should be developed.

2. Allow for the creation of virtual countywide education districts throughout the state to address the following needs of students: (Similar to Northside Achievement Zone)

a. Collaboration among agencies, local units of government and between secondary and postsecondary education to meet student academic, career planning and social and emotional needs;

b. Dropout prevention programming in collaboration with county officials;

c. Development of comprehensive counseling services including academic, career and social/emotional;

d. Wrap-around family support services including language acquisition for adults;

e. Students’ mental health programming/health services;

f. Coordination of transportation and other non-educational services;

g. Adult programming such as ABE programming and services;

h. Integration of programs and activities among districts, human services and other appropriate agencies.

3. Provide competitive state-funded grants for the redesign of Minnesota’s K-12 and higher education systems to develop smaller learning communities that are rigorous, relevant and responsive learning and that are contextualized, integrated, and applied for all students regardless of race, income, and/or zip code.

4. Develop policies to establish norms for all students and schools/postsecondary programs that would include the following:

a. A move to competency based education versus Carnegie units and the use of industry recognized certification for experiential programs;

b. Advisory programs for all students no later than grade 6 that feature learning activities to help students develop 21st century skills and create learners who are responsible and self-directed, as well as civic-minded;

c. Generally desired employability skills that include problem solving, decision-making, critical and creative thinking, communication;

d. Leadership skills, volunteerism and citizenship skills;

e. General academic knowledge in core areas, skills in problem solving and decision-making, critical and creative thinking, communication;

f. Provision of staff development for educators for successful implementation;

g. The requirement of at least one work-based learning opportunity for every student prior to leaving high school;

h. Rethinking of credit requirements and time that may exist for those in 12th grade who desire to remain in the high school that may include community partnerships that provide opportunities for students;

i. Allowing the use of open resource materials to be a venue to demonstrate competency;

j. Provide greater flexibility to districts to bells, schedules, calendars, setting and seat time in schools.

k. Revitalization of instructor credentialing and teacher licensure;

l. Incorporating experiential learning to enhance teaching and learning;

m. Provision of greater flexibility for the teacher/instructor to educate across systems;

n. Provision of flexibility for districts and colleges to develop innovative programming and services for students;

o. Fully integrating modern technologies into programs and delivery models.

Recommendation 4: Fully utilize technology in creating system-wide approaches in supporting students career awareness, knowledge and skills regarding future postsecondary education participation and career options, etc.).

Options for implementation:

1. Develop a series of online modules for grades 6-12, based on standards and competencies on career awareness, exploration, development, and planning for postsecondary and careers.

2. Expand the promotion and use of Minnesota’s ISEEK system to promote students’ career awareness and exploration, college and career planning, and exploration of the state’s job market.

3. Establish a college and careers website at the Minnesota Department of Education.

a. Link the website to state resources that students and families can use in relation to developing college and career goals and plans, i.e., Minnesota’s Workforce Centers, ISEEK, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Minnesota Office of Higher Education, etc.;

b. Create a common point of access across the state highlighting best practices and innovative programs that support career and technical training;

c. Establish a taskforce/advisory board that would update the website regularly with employment data and information.

Recommendation 5: Establish flexible strategies and procedures for working with business/employers in increasing opportunities for students to gain knowledge and experience in relation to career fields.

Options for implementation:

1. At the regional, county, and/or community level, formally establish business/employer advisory committees to increase work-based learning, job shadowing, internships, and other experiential learning for high-school students.

2. Make available financial incentives that create opportunities for high-school teachers and counselors to receive short-term (2-4 week) experiences directly within local business and industry settings to become more familiar with business/industry standards, requirements, and employment opportunities.

3. Provide flexibility in credits earned for various work experiences.