|BRAZORIA COUNTY, TEXAS|
Brazosport Independent School District (BISD), encompassing Brazoria County, Texas, places a strong emphasis on Career and Technical Education (CTE). Starting with career exploration in 7th grade, students have access to the tools and resources that help them explore career choices well before they enter high school.
Although BISD places importance on CTE, it’s a challenge to stay current with relevant curriculum and supplementary exercises for CTE programs and career exploration.
“We really needed a Career and Technical Education curriculum that was up-to-date and responsive to our teachers’ needs,” said BISD Director of Career and Technical Education Jennifer Edenfield. “Resources available through the Texas Education Agency are upwards of 10 years old, and it has become cumbersome and time consuming for our teachers to supplement these same old resources with online searches of how to keep old curriculum fresh.”
That’s why the district chose iCEV, a tool that educators rely on to teach updated CTE courses. According to Edenfield, this comprehensive curriculum suite gives new and veteran teachers the resources they need to plan and execute pertinent CTE classes.
“One thing we really like about iCEV curriculum is that when you implement a package, you get everything available for the career cluster,” Edenfield said. “From that, my teachers can pick and choose any topics or materials under a specific career cluster and customize their class plans and goals as they see fit.”
For BISD, which enrolls more than 12,000 students in any given year, this customization enriches the learning environment. More than that, iCEV offers support and guidance that new teachers often need.
“My brand new teachers absolutely love iCEV,” Edenfield said. “It has everything they need, including lesson plans and curriculum requirements, which is a comfort to new teachers who can feel overwhelmed or unsure since they are new in their career.”
Likewise, veteran CTE faculty benefit greatly from using iCEV. Edenfield said that iCEV resources can add new spark to lesson plans as a supplemental resource for teachers who have been with BISD for a long time.
“iCEV is constantly updating the curriculum and units of study to reflect what’s going on in Career and Technical Education, which is hugely advantageous for our teachers,” Edenfield said. “In fact, teachers can even sign up for notifications when new plans or information is added to the iCEV program - fitting the needs of our district well.”
Students respond well to iCEV in their CTE classrooms, too. Completing the certifications hosted on the iCEV testing platform while still in high school gives BISD students a sense of pride and accomplishment.
“When students have a tangible certification to show all of the hard work they’ve put into a class, it really makes them feel good,” Edenfield said. “In fact, with these certifications, I often see those students hold the CTE courses in higher regard. It gives them an extra boost and keeps them going until completion and often facilitates them moving onto post-secondary educational opportunities.”
Beyond student success, having students complete industry certifications keeps teachers motivated, and like their students, they have a sense of validation in the work they do.
BISD has set a goal of 500 student-held certifications – specifically the Southwest Airlines Professional Communication Certification – by the end of the 2015-2016 school year and feels that through iCEV, its goal can be met.
“It’s really important for us at BISD to give students the tools and resources they need to succeed in elementary and secondary school and beyond, and using iCEV and reaching a goal of 500 certifications by the end of the year will let everyone see what CTE really offers students,” Edensfield said.