CTE Grantees Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!

CTE Grantees celebrate today, own tomorrow!

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month provides a platform to showcase the Native American Career and Technical Education Program (NACTEP), Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education Program (NHCTEP) and the Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Career and Technical Institutions Program (TCPCTIP) and their important role in building knowledge and skills in different fields for different communities. The theme for 2023 CTE Month is reflected well in the work of our Native American and Native Hawaiian CTE (Perkins V) grantees, Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!  

These two student profiles provide perspective on how diverse CTE experiences can be in the learning journey.

Girl holding large dog with emoji hearts around her head

Robi Lono: A NHCTEP participant with Windward Community College through ALU LIKE reports on the value of her Information Technology internship. During each week of this internship, she covered different jobs offered, job descriptions, tools, day to day tasks, career progressions, certifications and much more. Robi conducted numerous hands-on activities that provided valuable insights on the different aspects of cybersecurity. Activities included help desk operations, postmortem incident attack, quantum ransomware attack, creating a network diagram, working with window servers and cloud engineering, project management, human management. Robi took Azure Fundamentals training offered by Microsoft. Robi stated, “I really enjoyed … hands-on experience in which we had to complete a NMAP module on tryhackme.com as well as find a publicly disclosed vulnerability.” Robi concluded, “(a)fter completing the ‘Ao Kahi x CBTS Technology Internship with Hawaiian Telcom, I have gained an abundance of knowledge and techniques which could potentially benefit me in my future career.”

Justin Forbes: A Cook Inlet Tribal Council NACTEP graduate reports improved quality of life and expanded employment opportunities for his career through his CTE training. Justin said his favorite part was the hands-on learning. Justin completed the Heavy Duty Diesel Mechanic program in 8 weeks. Following graduation, he was hired at Red Dog Mine as an Entry-Level Mechanic. In the future, he would like to commercial fish, with the ultimate goal is to return to his village of Togiak to be the village’s Mechanic so he can support his community by creating a road that assists hunters. Justin is thankful he had this opportunity to receive support and concluded, “I now have a reliable foundation for my family, I see a future of learning, working, growing, and earning vacations. I am more focused on being a light in this world by being a better role model for my brothers, cousins, and community.”

Robi and Justin are just two examples of how CTE works for students’ career success. CTE educates the whole child and:

  • provides not just classroom instruction by teachers with industry experience, but hands-on or experiential learning,
  • adult mentoring opportunities through work-based learning (e.g., apprenticeships, internships, etc.),
  • leadership opportunities through Career and Technical Education Student Organizations,
  • application of core skills to a career (e.g., technical writing, presentation skills, construction math, culinary science, economic application to a small business, etc.),
  • earn industry certifications and/or credits toward an Associate or Baccalaureate degree, plus
  • create partnerships and networks to provide career entry-level opportunities and to advance careers.

For more information on NACTEP, NHCTP or TCPCTIP, contact Patti Beltram, Ed.D., patti.beltram@ed.gov.

ED Invites Organizations to Make School Infrastructure and Sustainability Commitments

ED invites organizations to make school infrastructure and sustainability commitments

In the U.S., accountability and funding for school curriculum, buildings, and grounds primarily comes from state and local agencies. For this reason, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) has limited authorities in the areas of school infrastructure, sustainability, environmental justice, and climate. Nevertheless, ED continues to think creatively about how it can spur action and build leadership capacity to make all schools healthy, sustainable 21st century environments that offer environmental sustainability learning. One way ED can grow these efforts is by inspiring school partner organizations and developing shared messaging across the nation for what makes a healthy and sustainable school.

Today, we are thrilled to invite national, regional, and local non-profits, foundations, businesses, and community-based organizations to share bold commitment(s) to advance school sustainability, encompassing infrastructure, health, environmental sustainability education, climate, and environmental justice in America. By May 31, we ask organizations and entities to complete an online form to share how they will advance at least one of these infrastructure and sustainability priorities:

  • Priority #1: Ensure equitable access to healthy, safe, sustainable, 21st century physical learning environments.
  • Priority #2: Develop, maintain, and provide environmental sustainability learning, such as climate literacy, green workforce development, and outdoor learning.
  • Priority #3: Build capacity for infrastructure, sustainability, environmental justice, and climate mitigation and adaptation in schools.

Those making commitments are encouraged to address at least one of the following parameters in their commitment submission:

  • Environmental Justice: How does your commitment account for and take actions to promote environmental justice, so that all students have equitable access to safe, healthy, sustainable, and modern school environments and engaging environmental sustainability education?
  • Health: How does this work ensure access to sustainable school buildings and grounds that are healthy environments for learning?
  • Climate Action: How does this effort help education leaders understand their role and act on climate issues, including mitigation, adaptation, and climate education?
  • Capacity Building: How does this work build school district and state education agency capacity to continuously improve school environments and environmental sustainability learning?
  • Data Collection and Standardization: How will your commitment advance data collection and standardization on infrastructure and sustainability, with a view toward informed and equitable policymaking?
  • Transparency and Goal-Setting: How do you plan to achieve the outcomes? What is the unit of change, and why do you think your approach will work?

Example commitments might include:

  1. Plans to bolster environmental, sustainability, and climate education in X number of schools in the country by doing Y over Z timeframe.
  2. A partnership to bring indoor air quality technical assistance to X number of school districts annually for Y years.
  3. A pledge of Y dollars toward a specific school infrastructure purpose that mitigates climate change, reduces utility costs, and improves health and learning outcomes.
  4. A proposal of X practices to Y schools which will enable more healthy, nutritious, local, student-grown produce in cafeterias.
  5. A commitment of X dollars into Y community(ies) in support of any or all of the following: infrastructure, environmental justice, health, climate, or whole school sustainability.

Around the time of our July 25 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools awards ceremony, ED will share about bold new commitments through a variety of communications mediums. Take the School Infrastructure and Sustainability Challenge by making a commitment today!

California School Counselor Advocacy Tips

California school counselor advocacy tips

As a school counselor in the Livingston Union School District, I have seen firsthand the vital role that school counseling positions play in supporting academic achievement, social-emotional development, college and career readiness, and mental health and wellness in our students.  My Superintendent, Andres Zamora, has been a leader in expanding and supporting school counseling positions, recognizing the positive impact they have on our school community.  

Between 2006 – 2015, I was one of only two school counselors serving our 2,500 student body, four schools in Livingston.  I was a guidance counselor more than a school counselor.  In fact, I called myself an “ASCA wanna-be” school counselor providing each school site with whatever counseling service they needed most during my limited time at each site instead of comprehensive services. 

In 2015, the local control and accountability plan (LCAP) was introduced in California and we had an opportunity to do things differently.  My superintendent, Andres Zamora, invited me to a conversation that changed school counseling in Livingston. I spoke about the role of school counselors in every building as academic advisors, social emotional developers and college and career explorers.  I spoke about how school counselors could provide students and families with access to information, opportunities, and resources. 

My superintendent understood the value of school counselors in education, agreed without hesitancy and the rest is history.  We hired four additional counselors ensuring every school had at least one counselor and the middle school with two.  This significant change stemmed from an intentional and inclusive conversation between practitioner and a Superintendent who believes that all students, regardless of their individual circumstances, deserve equitable access to education, information, opportunities and resources. 

In 2018, my middle school earned national recognition for providing all students in the building with a comprehensive, data-driven school counseling program.  The next year, two additional schools in my District achieved national recognition and the last school in our District achieved national recognition.  We are the only California school district to have all nationally recognized schools! 

As a school counselor, here are a few key tips I recommend for advocating for school counseling positions:

  • Educate others about the benefits of school counseling positions: Share research and data about the positive impact that school counseling positions have on student academic achievement, social-emotional development, college and career readiness, and mental health and wellness.  I’ve done this regularly in school bulletins, caregiver newsletters, school counseling advisories and school board presentations.
  • Share success stories: Share specific examples of how school counseling positions have made a difference in the lives of individual students or the school community as a whole.  I’ve done this regularly through staff shout outs and, mostly recently, created an LUSD Student Success story that is shared with staff and community.
  • Advocate for the ASCA national model and recommended ratio: Use the ASCA national model and recommended ratio as a guide for advocating for sufficient staffing levels and support for school counseling positions.  Use data to share how school counseling programs impact the lives of students.

By increasing the number of school counselors in schools, we can better support the success and well-being of all students.  Counseling gives students the opportunity to work through challenges they may be facing and build the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the classroom. In a time where mental health challenges are becoming more prevalent, the support of school counselors is more important than ever. 

The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) has developed a national model for school counseling programs that provides a framework for how these positions can support student success. The ASCA also recommends a ratio of one school counselor for every 250 students, to ensure that students have access to the support they need.

Department of Education Bio

Alma Lopez, 2022 School Counselor of the Year, Lead Counselor, Livingston Middle School (California)

The first Latina School Counselor of the Year, Lopez has served as a school counselor for 15 years. She is lead school counselor at Livingston Middle School, as well as Livingston Unified School District’s school counseling coordinator. A graduate of California State University – Fresno, Lopez embodies the full spirit of school counseling. She serves as a Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP) reviewer and is a board member for the California Association of School Counselors. In 2018, Lopez received the city of Livingston’s “You Make Us Proud Award” and also helped her school achieve RAMP status the same year. Colleagues refer to her as a positive, humble, and strong advocate for school counselor programs who keeps the students with the most needs top of mind, ensuring they have access to the resources to support their success.

Virginia Elementary School Invokes Code to Fight Bullying

“Red, Green, Black, and Blue. 

My Tribe is my Crew. 

We are O-C-C-O-Q-U-A-N! 

My school is the perfect 10…at The ‘O’!” 

These are words from one of the cheers we recite when we welcome new students to our school. At Occoquan Elementary School in Woodbridge, Virginia, we have a House System that fosters our sense of community. This is a common practice where the school is divided into subunits called “houses” and each student is allocated to one house at the moment of enrollment.  We compete to see who has the most spirit, but we also strive to uphold a code of behavior we call The 30 Essentials

Read More

Dominican University: Serving Latine Students in the Midwest

Dominican University: Serving Latine Students In The Midwest

By: Verónica Gutiérrez, MBA’22, Dominican University, River Forest IL and Marcela Reales Visbal, Activity Director for Title V, Part B – Promoting Post-Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans, Dominican University, River Forest IL

“I had never heard of the term HSI until I came to Dominican University”, said Verónica Gutiérrez, a first-generation Latina who grew up in one of Chicago’s northwestern suburbs and recently graduated with her Master’s in Business Administration from Dominican.

Read More

Colleges Have a Responsibility to Protect Students’ Best Financial Interests

Colleges have a responsibility to protect students' best financial interests

Students look to their college as a trusted source of information as they determine how to pay for tuition, housing, books, and other basic needs. In today’s environment, students are facing additional financial challenges coinciding with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising interest rates, and inflation. Each year, millions of students look to their college when receiving federal financial aid and may receive information about financial banking products, debit cards, and deposit accounts.

Read More

Resources for Communities Following Natural Disasters

Resources for communities following natural disasters

Recent natural disasters have significantly impacted communities and their education institutions. Since 2017, there have been over 300 presidentially declared major disasters across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Outlying Areas. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) closely follows the impacts of natural disasters on students, educators, staff, families, and others. Schools are a critical aspect of whole community recovery and provide education, nutrition, physical fitness, mental health counseling, and other resources to students and their families during day-to-day operations. When schools close after a natural disaster, it is critical that these resources remain available to the community and that schools are reopened and operating as soon as possible. In 2018, to better assist schools in dealing with impacts of natural disasters, ED’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education formed a Disaster Recovery Unit (DRU) with the goal of increasing resources dedicated to K-12 schools disaster recovery efforts. ED’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) office and Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) offer support to postsecondary schools.

Read More

Recursos para comunidades después de desastres naturales

Recursos Para Comunidades Despues De Desastres Naturales

Los recientes desastres naturales han impactado significativamente a las comunidades y sus instituciones educativas. Desde 2017, ha habido más de 300 desastres importantes declarados por el presidente en los 50 estados, Puerto Rico y las áreas periféricas de EE. UU. El Departamento de Educación de EE. UU. (ED) sigue de cerca los impactos de los desastres naturales en los estudiantes, educadores, personal, familias y otros. Las escuelas son un aspecto crítico de la recuperación de toda la comunidad y brindan educación, nutrición, aptitud física, asesoramiento sobre salud mental y otros recursos a los estudiantes y sus familias durante las operaciones diarias. Cuando las escuelas cierran después de un desastre natural, es fundamental que estos recursos permanezcan disponibles para la comunidad y que las escuelas vuelvan a abrir y funcionen lo antes posible. En 2018, para ayudar mejor a las escuelas a lidiar con los impactos de los desastres naturales, la Oficina de Educación Primaria y Secundaria del ED formó una Unidad de Recuperación de Desastres (DRU) con el objetivo de aumentar los recursos dedicados a los esfuerzos de recuperación de desastres de las escuelas K-12. La oficina de Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes (FSA) y la Oficina de Educación Postsecundaria (OPE) del ED ofrecen apoyo a las escuelas postsecundarias.

ED ha seleccionado recursos, incluyendo los recursos de otras agencias y organizaciones federales, para restaurar el entorno de enseñanza y aprendizaje, en Recursos para Desastres Naturales | Departamento de Educación de los Estados Unidos. A continuación, se muestran algunos ejemplos de recursos útiles.

Recursos de ED para comunidades K-12 después de desastres naturales:

Recursos de ED para comunidades de educación superior después de desastres naturales:

  • La Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes (FSA, por sus siglas en inglés) proporciona alcance y apoyo a las instituciones elegibles del Título IV nacionales y extranjeras y a las partes interesadas de la comunidad escolar a raíz de y en respuesta a desastres naturales que van desde tornados, incendios forestales, inundaciones, huracanes, tsunamis y terremotos. FSA colabora a través de ED para llegar al liderazgo de las escuelas en las regiones afectadas y ofrecer recordatorios e información clave sobre los recursos especiales disponibles para las instituciones afectadas por desastres. La orientación actual de la Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes sobre las áreas afectadas por desastres para las instituciones participantes del Título IV se puede seguir encontrando en el Centro de conocimiento en https://fsapartners.ed.gov/knowledge-center/topics/natural-disaster-information.
  • La Oficina de Educación Postsecundaria brinda asistencia técnica y apoyo a los beneficiarios que necesitan ajustar actividades y presupuestos como resultado de desastres naturales. La información de contacto del personal con respecto a las subvenciones se puede encontrar en https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/contacts.html.
  • La Unidad de Respuesta a Emergencias dentro de la Oficina de Educación Postsecundaria administra el Fondo de Ayuda de Emergencia para la Educación Superior (HEERF). Las subvenciones HEERF deben usarse para prevenir, prepararse o responder a la pandemia. Las instituciones pueden usar HEERF para proporcionar subvenciones de ayuda financiera de emergencia directamente a los estudiantes, que pueden usarse para cualquier componente de su costo de asistencia o para los costos de emergencia que surjan, incluidos alojamiento y comida. Los estudiantes que reciben subvenciones de ayuda financiera de emergencia HEERF deben priorizarse en función de la necesidad excepcional, que puede incluir necesidades que surgieron como resultado de los huracanes recientes. Las instituciones deben documentar cuidadosamente cómo determinan la necesidad excepcional. Las instituciones no pueden dirigir o controlar en qué usan los estudiantes sus subvenciones de ayuda financiera de emergencia, ya que los fondos deben proporcionarse directamente a los estudiantes. Consulte https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/arpfaq.pdf. Para preguntas adicionales, comuníquese con la Unidad de Respuesta a Emergencias en HEERF@ed.gov

Recursos de ED para prekínder hasta educación superior después de desastres naturales: Centro de asistencia técnica (TA) de preparación y manejo de emergencias para escuelas (REMS): apoya a las agencias educativas, con sus socios comunitarios, a administrar programas de manejo de seguridad y emergencias. El Centro REMS TA ayuda a desarrollar la capacidad de preparación (incluidos los esfuerzos de prevención, protección, mitigación, respuesta y recuperación) de las escuelas, los distritos escolares, las instituciones de educación superior y sus socios comunitarios a nivel local, estatal y federal. REMS TA Center también sirve como fuente principal de difusión de información para escuelas, distritos e IHE para emergencias.

Proyecto de Respuesta de Emergencia Escolar a la Violencia (Proyecto SERV): El programa proporciona financiamiento inmediato a corto plazo para distritos e IHE que han experimentado un incidente violento o traumático para ayudar a restaurar un entorno seguro propicio para el aprendizaje. A discreción del secretario de Educación, se pueden identificar los montos de financiamiento y los períodos del proyecto (sujeto a la disponibilidad de asignaciones) para reflejar el alcance del incidente y las posibles necesidades de recuperación. El proceso de solicitud está destinado a no ser oneroso. Los fondos para las asignaciones del Proyecto SERV suelen oscilar entre $ 50,000 y $ 150,000.

Otros recursos de agencias federales y organizaciones nacionales después de desastres naturales:

Tenga en cuenta: estos enlaces representan algunos ejemplos de los numerosos materiales de referencia actualmente disponibles para el público. La inclusión de recursos no debe interpretarse como una aprobación por parte del Departamento de Educación de los EE. UU. de ninguna organización privada o empresa mencionada en este documento.

On the Heels of the Road to Success Bus Tour, ED and FCC Highlight the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) in North Carolina

On The Heels Of The Road To Success Bus Tour, ED & FCC Highlight The  Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) In North Carolina

By: Lauren Mendoza, Deputy Assistant Secretary for State and Local Outreach, Office of Communication and Outreach

Recently, representatives of the Department of Education (ED) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) visited Charlotte and Durham, North Carolina for conversations on partnerships between schools and community-based organizations to implement the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). ACP, which was established in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides eligible households discounts of up to $30 per month on internet service and a one-time $100 discount for a connected device. These conversations, which followed the Road to Success Back to School Bus Tour stop in Greensboro, NC, highlighted the impact of ACP and community-led efforts in removing broadband affordability and adoption barriers, allowing more students and families to benefit from transformative learning opportunities empowered through technology. 

Read More