Ten weeks of summer: Career and Technology Education prepares for 2014-2015 school year

When ice cream cones and popsicle sticks replace pencils and pens in the hands of students, Baltimore County Public Schools shuts down for the summer, right? Not quite.

Of the school system’s 18,783 employees, 1,032 work in the BCPS central offices. While some of those 1,032 employees hold 10-month positions, most central office staff hold 12-month positions and spend the summer months preparing for the next school year.

For each of the 10 weeks of summer, a 12-month central office employee will answer a series of questions about his or her staff’s preparations and projects for the 2014-2015 school year. This week, Blake Lubinski, an intern in the Department of Communications and Community Outreach, interviewed Douglas Handy, coordinator of the Office of Career and Technology Education.

CTELogoFinal-4x3inBlake Lubinski: “What is the role and structure of your office?”

Douglas Handy: “BCPS Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs provide students with relevant career skills preparation and rigorous academic course work. Our state-approved programs of study are designed to prepare students for the 21st-century global economy and its rapidly-changing workforce needs. All BCPS high schools have CTE programs.

“Under my leadership, the CTE office consists of 14 full-time staff members. Daily office operations and budget tracking is handled by our support staff, which is comprised of an administrative secretary and a fiscal assistant. There are five supervisors and one facilitator who oversee programs in technology education, business education, family and consumer sciences, school-to-career transition, technical programs and Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC). There are three resource teachers who work with the Academy of Finance programs, the mobile agricultural lab and technical programs, respectively. Two field representatives take care of equipment, hardware, software and computer networking needs for CTE programs. In addition to the full-time staff, a part-time contract employee provides additional support for technology education programs.”

BL: “What is the mission of your office?”

DH: “The mission of the Office of CTE is to provide expertise and vision to schools as they deliver integrated programs that prepare learners academically, technically and interpersonally for career pathways and lifelong learning.

“We accomplish this mission through curriculum development and implementation; professional development for teachers; equipment inventory tracking; procurement of instructional materials; and management of state and federal grants, consumable formula funding and a local operating budget. In collaboration with the Career and Technology Education Advisory Council – a group of citizens, including many industry professionals and business leaders, that advise, advocate for and review CTE programs – the CTE office sponsors an annual student awards ceremony to award scholarships and to recognize the outstanding achievements of CTE high school seniors.”

BL: “How does your office’s mission change during the summer?”

DH: “During the summer, we focus on preparation for the upcoming school year: curriculum development, professional development for teachers, installation of specialized computer software and procurement of instructional materials. We also prepare for New Teacher Orientation and Professional Study Day.”

BL: “What projects does your office have planned for this summer?”

DH: “Office staff has been coordinating curriculum workshops in which the writers have developed curriculum in BCPS One. Also, office staff has been coordinating professional development workshops in which teachers prepare to deliver new or updated curricula.”

BL: “What are your office’s goals for the upcoming school year?”

DH: “High school CTE programs of study give students the opportunity to transition smoothly into postsecondary education and to earn college credit and/or industry credentials in a career field of interest. Our goal is to ensure that more BCPS stakeholders are aware of the value that CTE programs offer to students.”

BL: “How is your office preparing to meet that goal?”

DH: “We are preparing to meet that goal through a robust marketing campaign that includes a promotional brochure and video, a Twitter account and a proposal to present a “CTE 101” panel presentation through BCPS Parent University.”

BL: “What is your office looking forward to this school year?”

DH: “We look forward to collaborating with our stakeholders to achieve our CTE vision to provide exceptional leadership and support to schools in the development of CTE programs that produce globally-competitive graduates, ensure that each BCPS student has access to a CTE program of his or her choice and continuously improve CTE programs in a manner that is adaptive to the needs of the 21st-century learners.”

Beating the heat by keeping busy in a cool office? Sounds like a plan! Summers like these just go to show that there’s no such thing as a “slowdown” for Team BCPS!

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