Promoting CTE and Academic Collaboration

Posted on Categories Academic/Technical Skill Integration, Professional Development

At a Glance

Academic and career technical teachers at Swenson Arts and Technology High School are participating in an ongoing initiative to promote collaboration and integration of academic and CTE curricula. 


Swenson Arts and Technology High School is a full-time, comprehensive career technical center (CTC) serving students from the School District of Philadelphia. As a comprehensive CTC, students take a series of academic and career technical education (CTE) courses at the school. To improve communication and collaboration among CTE and academic teachers, administrators created the Academic and CTE Teacher Collaboration curriculum project.

The overall goal of the project is to break down the divide that separates CTE and academic staff and to integrate the strands of CTE with the academics. Professional development opportunities were developed for teachers after school. Most opportunities are designed around the School District of Philadelphia High Performing School Instructional Practices 1 – 6 for Math and Literacy. 

In October 2014, all academic and CTE teachers began a series of mandated monthly peer classroom visits. The purpose of these visits was to initiate discourse around instructional strategies to improve teaching and learning in both areas. Teachers were provided with a briefing document that guided them to think of a broad, challenging question that they have about teaching and learning, and to use that question as a framework for gaining insight during their classroom visit. Each teacher was asked to keep a journal with reflections from the visit and notes from their conversations with the classroom teachers. Teachers shared their observations at a follow up professional development session. These conversations were used to form a collective dialogue and to shape future professional development efforts, including a series of workshops to be held at Swenson from January to June of 2015. 

Origin / Implementation

This initiative originated out of a desire to increase the application of rigorous academic content standards in real-world situations with integration, support, and reinforcement of academics to insure a high level of student skills. This series of activities began in October 2014 is ongoing.

Results / Impact

Anecdotal data gleaned from two mini-surveys suggest that CTE and academic teachers are sharing ideas, creating interdisciplinary projects and, in general, becoming more familiar with other content areas. Collaboration has increased.


Swenson Arts and Technology High School
Colette Langston, Principal