The Pathways Innovation Network (PIN): Every Teen with a Dream and Plan

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1 The Pathways Innovation Network (PIN): Every Teen with a Dream and Plan Executive Summary The National Center for College and Career Transitions (NC3T) invites education systems and employer organization partners to apply for participation in the Pathways Innovation Network, or PIN. The purpose of the project is to help working partnerships of education leaders and employer organizations conduct a one-year planning and feasibility analysis leading to the formation of a comprehensive system of college-career pathways. A College-Career Pathway (CCP) is an educational program in school a sequence of interconnected academic and elective classes -- that helps students make a clear connection to college and career opportunities. A Pathways System is a collection of College-Career Pathways, connected with meaningful learning opportunities outside of the school walls and with substantive employer involvement, that touches every student, helping them learn about career opportunities and participate in a pathway plan of study during their high school years. Approximately five teams of local partners will be selected to join the Spring 2014 cohort. Members of the PIN will develop local plans for action and seek resources to help with implementation of local action plans and related statewide supports. The Challenge K-12 education and the adult workforce are inextricably linked; and, as even the most casual observer understands, we currently face real challenges on both fronts. In education, achievement levels in math, literacy and science have been stagnant for over 40 years, despite a need for increased skills among graduates. We also face persistently high dropout rates an average of about 30 percent nationally, and as high as 50 percent in the most troubled schools. At the other end of the pipeline, we find that among U.S. 27 year olds, only 40 percent have an associate's degree or higher. When you add in the percentage of young adults with a skills certification, only half of young Americans have the skills and knowledge they need to participate in today's technologically driven economy. The PIN is established on the belief that, while the reforms undertaken in recent years (accountability, assessments, and Common Core literacy and mathematics standards) were needed, by themselves, they are not sufficient to create breakthrough change.

2 2 The National Center for College and Career Transitions Research by the Gallup Organization indicates that student engagement at the high school level is just 44 percent (down from 76 percent in the elementary grades). That means that about 56 percent of high school students are not substantially engaged in learning. Research by Dr. William Damon indicates that only 20 percent of high school-aged students are Purposeful, meaning they have a clear plan for their lives relating to career, family or faith. The remainder of the youth population is evenly split between what he calls Dreamers, Dabblers and Disengaged. Based on these findings, we know that America s education challenge is not just a challenge about good curriculum and strong instruction - the key challenge is about engaging and motivating young people. The majority of students do not have a personal plan for their future, and they do not see the connection between hard work in the present and a meaningful goal for the future. The PIN is based on the simple notion: Every teen should have a Dream and a Plan. Emerging Solutions There is good news. Many communities are coming together to create innovative approaches, particularly at the high school level, to engage students in learning through College-Career Pathways. College-Career Pathways are educational programs that help students make a clear connection to college and career opportunities. While they may go by various names, like Linked Learning and Career Academies, they share some core principles: a rigorous academic component that is equivalent to a college-prep experience; a relevant career-technical component; work-based learning components; and extra help so struggling students can succeed in a demanding curriculum. Often organized as a school within a school, these programs help students prepare for college by engaging in rigorous academic classes, career exploration initiatives and work-based learning. Take the Academies of Nashville (TN) initiative as an example. These academies have been implemented in all Nashville high schools, touching every student with a pathway experience. In this high poverty district, graduation rates have grown from 68 to 83 percent over the last several years. The California Partnership Academies are another example. Students participating in these academies graduate from high school at about 10 percentage points higher than average students, and also are more prepared for college-level courses than non-academy students. There are many other examples proving that Career-College Pathways models can produce the kinds of results desired by educators and employers alike.

3 3 The National Center for College and Career Transitions Designing a Pathways System for Your Community Given the promising outcomes experienced by others who have implemented Career-College Pathways initiatives, NC3T has proposed to create an immersive CCP model that is expected to significantly improve academic, postsecondary, and career outcomes for Pennsylvania students. Named the PIN (Pathways Innovation Network), it will be comprised of school systems, Career Tech Centers (CTCs) or other external entities that provide career-technical education courses (where appropriate), postsecondary partners, and local employer organizations. These partners will collaborate to create education pathways that include, but are not limited to, career technical education programs. Components of Pathways Pathways are programs of study organized around a common theme of learning (either a career or academic area of emphasis) over three to four years of high school. Pathways include, but are not limited to, approved CTE programs. They can include liberal arts, science, math, or fine and performing arts. Pathways emphasize knowledge application and career exploration. Pathways adopt cross-curricular strategies to embed the Common Core English and math standards throughout. They also bring more real-world applications into core academic classes. Pathways utilize technology to maximize delivery of content and connect to real-world applications. Pathways can be customized if local program offerings do not meet the interests of some students. Components of a College-Career Pathways System The following elements serve as the building blocks of a comprehensive College-Career Pathways system: Employer/community planning and advisory council Each innovation site will convene a council that includes employers, community members, postsecondary administrators, and economic and workforce developers to provide input on the strategic direction of the College-Career Pathways. Middle school career exploration activities Middle school students will engage in a series of hands-on career exploration activities, supplemented by technology-enabled career exploration and education planning tools. Each middle school student will identify personal aptitudes and interests, matched to a number of career options, with growing awareness about the entry requirements for their careers of interest. Ninth grade pathways exploration During the ninth grade, students will engage in more intensive career exploration and planning to develop a College-Career Pathway plan. This plan will lead the student into an established Pathway

4 4 The National Center for College and Career Transitions program offered by the district or one of its education partners; alternately, the student could develop an Individualized Plan of Study. College-Career Pathways program During grades 10 through 12, all students will participate in a Pathway program. Each school will offer several programs of study addressing a variety of student interests. While most of these programs of study will have a specific career focus, not all of them will lead to participation within a CTE track. Employer-connected learning Each Pathway, whether a Pathway Program or an Individualized Plan of Study, will give students multiple opportunities to connect with employers through avenues such as guest presentations, classroom coaching by business volunteers, workplace tours, workplace job shadowing, business volunteers judging competitions and coaching student organization activities, as well as short-term, medium-term and long-term work-based internships. Opportunity to earn postsecondary credits Every Pathway Program will include articulation agreements to guide content delivered at the secondary level. Most will also include the opportunity for dual enrollment credit, as well as the opportunity to obtain postsecondary credit through skill certifications, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests. Alignment with local, state, and regional economic opportunities Through the resources of state and local economic development and workforce development entities, key industry sectors and occupational pathways will be identified, some of which are statewide and some of which are within regions of the state. Each employer/community council will consider the workforce opportunities for their students based on this information in making decisions about what local Pathway Programs to offer. Metrics Partners in the PIN will develop a set of common metrics that cover student achievement and graduation as well as other leading indicators such as student attendance, suspensions and referrals, and survey measures of student hope, engagement, and motivation and career development. School staff will also be surveyed to measure their level of engagement and professional satisfaction. Benchmarks will be established and tracked based on desired outcomes expressed by parents, employers, postsecondary partners, and other community stakeholders. Evaluation An evaluation framework will be developed that allows for comparisons of outcomes among students who are enrolled in Pathway Programs versus those students of similar academic standing who are not enrolled in such programs (perhaps in other districts designated as control sites). The comparison groups will include general education students and those participating in traditional career technical education programs. The evaluation will be designed to measure implementation and impact over a five year period, recognizing that with any transition to a new model, impact will likely not be seen immediately.

5 5 The National Center for College and Career Transitions Connection Program participants will benefit greatly by developing relationships with other sites and engaging in regular sharing and learning efforts. This initiative will include formal opportunities for participants to connect, including periodic meetings and Internet-based communications (webinars, listservs, etc.). Cost neutrality During the planning and implementation process, there will be additional costs associated with professional development, and equipment purchases, but the financial goal of the college/career pathways model will be cost neutrality. At the beginning of this planning process, an agreed-upon baseline accounting of education expenditures for the partner school districts and the career technology center will be identified. There will also be a baseline count of teaching staff, administration staff, and support staff among participating schools and districts. Pathways Improvement Framework Site teams can benefit by accessing the resources and professional development of a school improvement organization such as the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) or High Schools That Work. However, to ensure consistency among all participating sites, NC3T will work with sites to apply and customize the Pathway Design Specifications it has already developed. With a common framework, site teams will be encouraged to access professional development services offered by a variety of school improvement organizations. This will allow schools to access external expertise, but will also provide a common improvement language within Pennsylvania. The Career Clusters Framework Each site team will select a mix of Pathway Programs drawn from the sixteen career clusters in the National Career Clusters Framework (not every cluster needs to be represented at the local level). Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Architecture & Construction Arts, A/V Technology & Communications Business Management & Administration Education & Training Finance Government & Public Administration Health Science Hospitality & Tourism Human Services Information Technology Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security Manufacturing Marketing Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Transportation, Distribution & Logistics To learn more about the Career Clusters framework, visit:

6 6 The National Center for College and Career Transitions Examples of Local Pathway Programs Drawing from the Career Clusters Framework, each local partnership would select a portfolio of pathways programs, some focused on specific careers and others focused on general themes designed to address a broad range of regional workforce needs and student interests. Here is an example of what a local portfolio of Pathway Programs might include: Advanced Manufacturing/Mechatronics/Robotics Biomedical/pre-medicine Commercial Design and Construction Communications/information technology Cross-program Entrepreneurship strand Culinary & Food Management Fine & Visual Arts Health Careers Liberal Arts/Writing Live & Performing Arts Organizational Management and Finance Transportation Technologies/Automotive Tech Teaching and human development Getting Started NC3T is seeking approximately five local teams of partners (Career Tech Center or related organization, school districts, postsecondary partners and employer organizations) to participate in the Spring 2014 network of sites. If you would like more information about the project, including costs, commitments, and expected outcomes, please contact: Hans Meeder, President Phone:

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