“There is no better comprehensive, motivational career advising tool than the Plans of Study for specific careers. The Plans of Study:
(a) show the relevancy of high school classes, like algebra and biology, to the students’ chosen careers;
(b) set forth post-secondary education options, e.g., certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor degrees;
(c) identify which community colleges and universities offer those education options; and
(d) recommend curricular and extracurricular experiences that enable students to gain practical, hands-on experience and the skill sets required for their chosen careers.
“After students determine their career cluster(s) and possible careers, the Plans of Study for those careers are the most comprehensive, useful tool to show the relevancy of their high school classes to their chosen careers, to explore post-secondary education options, and to discuss curricular and extracurricular experiences enabling them to gain the practical experience and skill sets required for their chosen careers.”
The Perkins Act
Under Perkins 2006, states have the responsibility to create and/or recognize a series of CTE offerings called “CTE Programs of Study.” These Programs of Study will be adopted by local recipients at high schools, regional CTE schools, and community and technical colleges. Each Program of Study is meant to be a cohesive set of academic courses paired with CTE courses, with mechanisms that connect the high school program to postsecondary programs. Ideally, Programs of Study should have closely aligned content that doesn’t duplicate and allows qualified students to earn college credits while still enrolled in high school. The CTE Program of Study is also designed to culminate with a recognized credential or degree at the community or technical college level, and can also be designed to lead to a baccalaureate degree.
The Colorado Plan
In carrying out this section of the Perkins Act, Colorado uses the term “Plans of Study” rather than Programs of Study in order to avoid confusion with the term “program” which is already in use. During the transition period, Colorado developed a framework and process for secondary and postsecondary CTE providers to identify and implement Plans of Study. The Colorado CTE Plans of Study incorporate secondary education and postsecondary education elements, include coherent and rigorous content (both academic and technical), and offer a non-duplicative progression of courses that align secondary education with postsecondary education. The Plans of Study will provide options for students (and their parents as appropriate) when planning for postsecondary education and related career options.
Beginning with the program year 2007-2008, each school district, technical college and community college is beginning a planning process for implementation of a minimum of one approved Plan of Study. CCCS will provide model Plans of Study templates based on the Career Clusters and Career Pathways framework. These model Plans of Study will be designed with state-level input from business and industry and education content experts, but will also allow for appropriate local adaptation and customization. The locally developed Plans of Study, based on the new model templates, will be an integral part of the state-level CTE program approval and renewal process which takes place every five years. As an established program applies for renewal, part of the review process will include a documented Plan of Study within the program.
To ensure that students, their parents and families, and school personnel understand the Career Clusters and Career Pathways, CCCS is also implementing an awareness building campaign.
CCCS staff will focus on building relationships with Colorado counseling associations and professional organizations such as the Colorado School Counselors Association (CSCA), the Colorado Council on High School/College Relations (CCHS/CR), and other appropriate groups including students, parents, community and business leaders CCCS will also work in partnership with College In Colorado, www.collegeincolorado.org, a student services website representing the colleges and universities of Colorado.