At a Glance
At Schuylkill Technology Center, Student Learning Guides clearly describe content and teaching strategies critical to Pennsylvania Programs of Study / Pennsylvania Core Standard instruction.
Schuylkill Technology Center administrators and instructional staff, working in conjunction with the Career Technical Distinguished School Leaders 1 (CTDSLs), designed a curriculum template to provide a list of required curriculum elements that must be included in Student Learning Guides. The new template describes a comprehensive curriculum system that addresses all the requirements set forth in Pennsylvania Code, Chapter 339 (Vocational Education Requirements) as well as requirements and recommendations of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Bureau of Career and Technical Education (BCTE).
The required elements for the Student Learning Guides include:
- Detailed descriptions and procedural requirements for each curriculum element,
- Documentation that every Program of Study (POS) task has been addressed,
- Documentation that PA Core Standards have been integrated in technical lessons, and
- A description of how the Standard is taught and/or instruction sheets used, tests and job rubrics to provide evidence of POS task proficiency.
Instructors must make revisions to the Student Learning Guides a minimum of every three years to coincide with POS revisions.
Origin / Implementation
During the 2006-2007 school year, a Chapter 339 Approved Program Evaluation recommended that the curriculum be improved at Schuylkill Technology Center. As a result, Schuylkill staff members made visits to career and technology centers across the eastern part of Pennsylvania to identify effective curriculum models that could be adapted for, and implemented at, their school. A school committee then reviewed the models and identified a list of critical curriculum elements that should be included in Schuylkill’s Learning Guides. Staff development was provided to facilitate implementation of the guides.
As state requirements changed, there was a need to update and explain curriculum elements to staff and to include new strategies proven to be effective for student success. During the 2012-2013 school year, a committee of instructors, administrators, and CTDSLs updated elements so that the guides would be in compliance with state requirements and to provide instructions for implementation. A document (template) was prepared that provides detailed explanations for the 22 curriculum elements included in the revised guides. Teachers on the revision committee prepared new Learning Guides as examples to support the Learning Guide template.
Results / Impact
Administrators report that classroom observations and reviews of the Learning Guides indicate that instructors are focusing on POS task instruction and therefore are implementing the Students Occupationally and Academically Ready (SOAR) goal for 100 percent POS task completion. (SOAR is the career and technical POS educational plan that articulates the secondary career and technical programs to postsecondary degree or diploma or certificate programs). Task completion is also tracked on school’s information technology system.
As a result of developing the Learning Guides, instructors also are integrating literacy and numeracy strategies, implementing MAX Teaching reading strategies and using graphic organizers, all of which administrators link to increased student engagement.
1. Career Technical Distinguished School Leaders (CTDSLs) are participants in the PA Bureau of Career and Technical Education’s Distinguished School Leader Program. These individuals, typically retired CTE administrators, are involved in many aspects of CTE school improvement programs. They assist administrators and staff with the development of a multi-year strategy that incorporates systemic change.
Schuylkill Technology Center
Kurt Lynch, Director