Monday, February 4, 2019

Celebrating CTE Month

A column by Laura Scheibe, director of career and technical education for the South Dakota Department of Education

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. In South Dakota, we have much to celebrate and even more to look forward to. Throughout the month on our website we’ll be featuring students and educators from across our state talking about their best new CTE ideas.

Last year in our state, more students than ever took CTE coursework. More students also focused on a particular career cluster and graduated in higher numbers than their peers. We launched a newly redesigned SDMyLife website to help students find their paths. But we are celebrating even more than this.

In summer 2018, the state Board of Education Standards adopted new high school graduation requirements that acknowledge success looks different for every student. We are hearing from administrators and teachers across the state that they are excited about the new structure and optional advanced endorsements now available to students.

One of these endorsements is the Advanced Career Endorsement, which will signal that a student has focused preparation in a particular career area, thus placing additional value on career coursework and work-based learning. Additionally, by providing more room for elective credit within required academic credits, schools can design rigorous courses that infuse both CTE and core content together. For example, a course could be designed that incorporates geometry and construction skills.

Additionally, the Department of Education recently entered into a unique partnership with the Department of Labor and Regulation to put career advisors in several school districts. And this summer, the scope of this project was broadened so that local DLR offices across the state are more empowered to work with the schools in their area.

We are also celebrating the recent reauthorization of the federal CTE law, known as Perkins V. This law will help us take a modernized approach to CTE in middle school, high school and at the college level.

At the state level, we’ve been busy on the career readiness front, and now it’s your turn to help shape the future of CTE. We are asking schools, businesses, students and parents for your best ideas about what can be done to better prepare students for pathways to careers after graduation.

Be bold. Be creative. Let us know how to make the next generation of CTE even better.

Send your ideas to