CHARLESTON, South Carolina — The nonprofit Southern Regional Education Board will hold its third annual Technology Centers That Work forum on January 25-27 at the Doubletree Guest Suites here, bringing together more than 250 educators and state officials to improve career/technology centers, which many high school students attend part-time.
Building on the nationwide success of SREB’s High Schools That Work (HSTW) and Making Middle Grades Work school improvement programs, Technology Centers That Work (TCTW) has grown rapidly since its creation in 2007 and now provides professional development and many other school improvement services to more than 150 career/technology (CT) centers in 17 states. As the nation’s economic challenges continue, enrollments in career/technology centers are climbing as more students recognize the need to enroll in a program of study that connects to advanced training and postsecondary education.
"This forum targets the changing role of the shared-time technology centers and how these schools can help prepare more students for college and technical training after high school," said Gene Bottoms, SREB’s senior vice president and the founder of HSTW and TCTW. "These centers represent untapped resource in our education system. In the past, they’ve been viewed as a place to prepare for entry-level jobs. Now, these centers are recognizing their vision for the future and their dual mission — to prepare students for both work and further study, including two- and four-year colleges. This change is shifting how instructors need to teach the technical and academic skills students need."
The forum will be moderated by Bob Couch, the state director of Career and Technology Education for the South Carolina Department of Education. This forum provides a unique opportunity for educators and leaders to discuss common challenges specific to shared-time centers, gain in-depth skills and learn about practices that are helping students achieve success in both careers and further studies.
Speakers at this week’s conference will include SREB’s Gene Bottoms; Brenda Dann-Messier, the assistant secretary for the Office of Vocational and Adult Education at the U. S. Department of Education; Bill Symonds, director of the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and leading educators from technology centers in several states, among many others.
In more than 30 in-depth sessions, teams from shared-time technology centers will develop a new vision of the future for the centers to produce graduates who will continue their learning in postsecondary education or in work settings after graduation. They also will focus on instructional leadership and successful strategies for improving instruction, discuss how to embed new technologies to improve instruction, and explore the importance of obtaining — and using — more data for continuous improvement.
For more information about the conference, CT education, efforts to improve high schools in your state, or participating schools from your state, contact SREB Communications.
The Southern Regional Education Board, or SREB, based in Atlanta, was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislatures to help leaders in education and government work cooperatively to advance education and improve the social and economic life of the region. SREB has 16 member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. More information is available online at www.sreb.org.