High-Quality, Sustained, Intensive and Classroom-Focused Professional Development: The New Professional Development Requirements Represented a Shift in Focus for Many CTE Programs, Which Began to Look for Ways to Replace Single, Isolated Workshops or Seminars with Professional Development Activities That Allow for Interaction, Feedback and Continuous Improvement over Time
Hyslop, Alisha, Techniques
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT HAS LONG BEEN A FOCUS OF FEDERAL INVESTMENT IN CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) through the Perkins Act. In the 2006 Act, this was no exception, and language related to professional development was strengthened. Professional development is a required use of Perkins funds at the state and local levels for teachers, faculty, administrators and career guidance counselors, as it has been in the past; but new language is added to the law requiring this professional development to be "high quality, sustained, intensive and focused on instruction." There is also additional emphasis on professional development that promotes the integration of academic and CTE content, one of the key themes overall of the 2006 Act.
The new professional development requirements represented a shift in focus for many CTE programs, which began to look for ways to replace single, isolated workshops or seminars with professional development activities that allow for interaction, feedback and continuous improvement over time. During the development of its Perkins five-year plan, the state of Oregon formed a Professional Development Task Force to make recommendations on new professional development programs. One of the recommendations to come out of this task force was to "tie a percentage of local Perkins funds to professional development" in order to ensure a sustained investment. The state not only followed through on this suggestion, but made professional development one of the five benchmarks that will guide the state's implementation of the 2006 Perkins Act.
Each year, eligible Perkins grant recipients will be required to invest an amount equal to l0 percent of their Perkins Basic Grant allocation specifically for professional development. The professional development activities and budget have to be explicitly laid out in the local recipient's Perkins plan, and each local program must work toward meeting two goals by the 2012-2013 school year:
1. Ninety-five percent of CTE teachers reinforce naturally occurring, embedded academic content within their technical instruction.
2. Ninety-five percent of secondary CTE teachers follow a formal professional development plan focused on instruction; and 95 percent of postsecondary CTE teachers participate annually in formal, program-related professional development focused on instruction.
Some of Oregon's professional development activities thus far have included monthly professional development for its CTE Leadership Network, which includes 18 regional coordinators and 17 community college deans, and sponsorship of cohorts of "Math-in-CTE" to implement the train-the-trainer academic integration model across the state. As in most places around the country, the CTE teacher shortage will significantly impact Oregon's ability to sustain current programs and develop new ones. In May 2007, the Oregon Department of Education and the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development sponsored a summit on CTE teacher shortages. As a result of the summit, as well as recommendations from the task force, a variety of new initiatives are under way to support teacher preparation, training, recruitment and retention.
For example, community colleges are currently exploring short duration, immediate need, intensive training in the pedagogy necessary for CTE teachers who already have a depth of industry experience. …