The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) partners with states to improve public education at every level, from early childhood through doctoral education. Created in 1948 by governors and legislators who recognized the link between education and economic vitality, SREB helps:
- Policymakers make informed decisions by providing independent, accurate data and recommendations
- Educators strengthen student learning with professional development, proven practices, and curricula
- Policymakers, institutions, and educators share scarce resources to accomplish more together than they could alone
SREB’s mission is to guide and support states as they advance all levels of education to improve the social and economic vitality of the SREB partner states and partner schools.
Collaboration with NOCTI
In 2010, SREB began developing Advanced Career curricula to help prepare students for success in high-tech STEM fields. Designed with participation from state leaders, postsecondary educators, employers, and teachers and launched in 2012, these programs help students prepare for careers that require advanced technical skills. Many courses are eligible for dual credit with a two or four-year postsecondary institution, and students also earn industry certifications that help them secure employment following graduation.
Advanced Career courses are designed as turnkey solutions to include everything a school might need to ensure student success, including:
- Fully developed lesson plans
- Tools and technology
- Training and support for teachers
Part of the support SREB offers to partner schools is a series of assessments to help guide internal evaluation of the program, monitor student progress, and gauge end-of-course objectives. Hosting and delivering assessments across SREB’s sixteen partner states was a challenge, and SREB was limited in its capability to offer real-time assessment results.
In 2018, SREB partnered with NOCTI for assessment development and assessment hosting. NOCTI offers immediate assessment results, which helps teachers pinpoint areas where students may need additional instruction. Data is available on both a group and individual level, so teachers can identify student and program gain as well as areas for improvement.
New Pathways & Focused Professional Development
With NOCTI’s expertise, SREB has been able to expand the reach of their Advanced Career pathways and empower more teachers with focused professional development.
The NOCTI-SREB partnership has expanded to include development of end-of-program credentials in the areas of Energy and Power and Integrated Production Technologies (Advanced Manufacturing). Previously, learning outcomes were only measured with an end-of-course assessment rather than an end-of-program credentialing assessment. These new credentials are currently in the pilot phase and, when released will gauge a student’s technical knowledge and skills learned over the course of the entire program, along with providing a credential to successful students. Data from these credentials can be a powerful tool for showing individual student improvement and assessing overall program effectiveness.
SREB and NOCTI have helped schools increase focus on data and professional development. Teachers in West Virginia are digging deeper to find out what’s going well in the classroom and what might need improvement. “They’re asking poignant questions about where they can improve and what strategies they can use in the classroom,” said Joseph Tadlock, a Senior Research Associate at SREB. “With NOCTI, we have that data and can deliver more targeted professional development for those teachers. Without that data, SREB wouldn’t be able to offer this kind of focused professional development based on the data-driven needs of our clients.”
NOCTI’s technical support has been especially valuable to SREB. Working with public schools in hundreds of districts across the country inevitably means answering technical questions and troubleshooting when issues arise.
“NOCTI has tremendous customer service,” said Tadlock. “They are incredibly responsive and they are always available to help troubleshoot problems. It puts so many of our clients at ease knowing there’s such a strong support system in place. When we head into the time of year that we start testing, it’s reassuring to know we can always call on them for support.”
Supporting CTE Teachers
NOCTI and SREB recognize that effective and inspired teachers are key to student success. Unfortunately, widespread teacher shortages have made it difficult for schools to find and retain qualified teachers.
In February 2022, SREB launched research-based teacher preparation programs for new and veteran teachers. With programs in five subject areas, SREB’s teacher induction programs provide the intensive, ongoing professional development, coaching, and mentoring needed to recruit, prepare, and retain the best teachers.
The “Teaching to Lead” (T2L) program supports CTE teachers entering the classroom after successful careers in business and industry. With various tools and strategies offered through four modules, T2L helps teachers learn how to plan instruction, engage students, design assessments, offer feedback, and develop a classroom culture of success.
“T2L is delivered by trainers with the real-world teaching and leadership experience needed to inspire and support new teachers. Four modules on instructional planning, instructional strategies, classroom assessment, and classroom management give participants the tools and strategies they need for success on the first day, in the first week and during the first nine weeks of school.” (SREB)
Continued Commitment to CTE Success
For those interested in integrating Advanced Career pathways, SREB suggests offering the program as a wall-to-wall career academy. With nine pathways total, these programs function as immersive, technical environments where students can master the skills critical to a specific career. Students graduate with an industry certification that enables them to enter the workforce with marketable skills or continue with postsecondary study.
With more than 55 years of experience in CTE, NOCTI delivers solutions for increasing students’ technical competence and certifying new and incumbent workers in the private sector. Because the demand for skilled workers continues to grow, NOCTI is continuously expanding its services to partner with organizations like SREB to support teachers, administrators, and other CTE professionals.