The Perkins Act

The Perkins Act calls on states to offer “comprehensive professional development for career and technical teachers, faculty, administrators, and career guidance and academic counselors.”   The new law says that State Leadership Funds must be used for professional development programs that are “high quality, sustained, intensive, and classroom-focused in order to have a positive and lasting impact on classroom instruction and the teacher’s performance in the classroom, and are not 1-day or short-term workshops or conferences.”  This limitation does not limit the use of local funds for professional development, but is a significant change in the use of state leadership funds.  Another element of the state plan (Sec. 122 (c)(3)) indicates the state must have a plan for improving “the recruitment and retention of career and technical education teachers, faculty, and career guidance and academic counselors,” as well as for improving “the transition to teaching from business and industry.”

The Colorado Plan

Colorado understands the new emphasis on professional development that is “high quality, sustained, intensive, and classroom-focused” and will develop, through a consultative process, new approaches for how professional development is offered within Career and Technical Education.  In early Fiscal Year 2008-09, a statewide working group of secondary and postsecondary master-teachers and administrators will be convened to develop a model for professional growth, built around the knowledge and skills every CTE teacher and faculty should possess.  The goal of the group would be to create a five-year plan for ongoing professional development articulating the theme for each of the five years thus ensuring an integrated, thoughtful approach to professional development.   While short-duration training events may still have an appropriate place in a teacher’s professional growth, the development of a Personal Professional Growth Plan for each teacher and faculty member would demonstrate how short-duration training fits into a plan of ongoing professional growth.

CCCS will also encourage the development of “Communities of Practice” made up of interested teachers/faculty, administrators and counselors, to focus activity and learning around a particular challenge or promising practice.