Congratulations on nearing the end of your first year as a CTE administrator! Your leadership and organizational skills are key to ensuring your team and programs have the support and resources to meet educational goals and equip students to be successful in their career path. Your first months on the job were probably spent becoming familiar with the CTE program offerings, state and local policies, and building relationships with teachers and the larger community of business and industry leaders.
With the end of the school year approaching, you’re probably excited to build upon the experience gained over the last several months to evaluate CTE programs and find ways to improve program and student success as you plan for the upcoming school year. As Dr. Edward Bouquillon, Dr. John Foster, Dr. Clyde Hornberger, and Dr. Delmas Watkins point out in their book, CTE Administrative Leadership: 10 More Things to Know in Your First Year, the first year in a new administrator role is a “transition” year. Now that you’ve established relationships and reviewed programs and policies, it’s time to identify which programs and policies were effective and which could be improved.
Let’s explore three areas that will help you prepare for a successful second year as a CTE administrator: 1) understanding how your role connects with CTE funding, 2) identifying areas for improvement, and 3) tailoring professional development.
Understanding How the Administrator’s Role Connects to CTE Funding
You know that CTE has a dedicated federal funding stream. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (2018), or Perkins V, focuses on preparing a technically-skilled workforce that will positively impact our economy and standard of living. Knowing how funding typically flows from the federal to the local level will help provide context for state and district-level goals and understand the resources available to your program.
Under Perkins V, every state receives a portion of funding set aside by Congress. Two variables determine how much money goes to each state: population and average income. A mid-size state with a lower-than-average income might receive more than a large state with a higher-than-average income. Once a state receives its grant, the funding is passed to local school districts and postsecondary institutions which varies by state.
When your school district receives its Perkins V allocation, it can decide how to distribute funds to individual schools or CTE programs. Some may divide funding equally, while others might focus on priority areas or have individual programs apply for a share of funding. Under Perkins V, how to distribute funds should be driven in part by a “Local Needs Assessment.”
To receive your share of funding, your school district or postsecondary institution must meet a series of requirements outlined in the “Local Application” section of Perkins V. Your state or local school districts may have additional requirements like following a specific program approval process, ensuring safe facilities, or hiring certified teachers. As a CTE administrator, knowing federal, state, and local requirements can help ensure your program secures its share of Perkins V funding. You can learn more about these requirements by exploring your state’s online resources, connecting with your local CTE administrators’ organization, or visiting websites of national organizations like ACTE or Advance CTE.
Identifying Areas for Improvement
During your first year as a CTE administrator at a new school, you must work within previously established policies and budget. Your second year is a chance to continue strategies that have been working well and prioritize areas for improvement. Begin by asking yourself and your team a few questions.
- How do students, parents, local businesses, teachers, and administrators perceive our CTE programs?
- Are our CTE programs effective?
- Do our program offerings reflect the employment needs of the local community?
- Are resources like supplies, equipment, and travel funds adequate?
- What do student performance data tell us?
- Are our teachers able to deliver 21st-century classroom instruction using the latest technological tools?
Seeking input from teachers and other program stakeholders is a great way to build a positive environment where everyone is invested in a shared vision and working together toward a common goal.
Areas targeted for improvement could focus on specific goals established by state or local school districts. General categories might include:
- Establishing new programs or courses
- Ensuring adequate instructional time in technical content
- Evaluating community and business and industry perception
- Determining the relevance of professional development
- Measuring the effectiveness of occupational advisory committees (OACs)
- Developing plans for equipment maintenance
- Allocating enough time for teachers to work together
Tailoring Professional Development
As a CTE administrator, you are responsible for supporting your staff with the resources they need to be successful. In the first chapter of CTE Administrative Leadership: 10 More Things to Know in Your First Year, the authors note, “The true power of a CTE leader is what he or she can do to support others’ success. This means that as a CTE administrator, you will need to foster development and learning of the CTE staff as a group in a manner that values and reflects high expectations and achievement.”
Professional development can take many forms, but a successful CTE administrator recognizes that a one-size professional development approach will not fit all. You should tailor professional development to each teacher based on the skills taught in the program—whether that’s culinary or manufacturing automation skills. Other members of your team like data professionals and work-based learning coordinators should also have professional development opportunities tailored to their unique roles.
NOCTI has developed eight new credentials designed especially for CTE education professionals. These credentials can be included in professional development plans and provide recognition opportunities for CTE teachers, administrators, data professionals, and work-based learning coordinators.
Level one credentials are targeted to those with two or less years of experience, while level two is appropriate for professionals with two or more years of CTE-related experience. Just like credentials designed for secondary and postsecondary students, these professional certifications are based on standards and competencies defined by national panels of CTE experts that are needed to become a successful CTE professional. Industry benchmarks are established by a national panel of CTE experts.
You can find all Education Professional titles in NOCTI’s blueprint index. Contact us to learn about opportunities for pilot test takers to earn certification based on a no-cost, remotely proctored pilot test assessment administration.
More CTE Administrator Resources
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.
NOCTI and its partners collaborate to develop resources tailored to help administrators succeed. The CTE administrator book series examines topics like data collection and reporting, engaging employers, aligning curriculum, and budgeting. With case studies and best practices, this series is a valuable resource for any CTE administrator!
NOCTI also offers free, on-demand webinars for administrators. Titles include skills-based performance testing, micro-credentials, managing a NOCTI credentialing program, and more!