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New Curriculum Framework to Help Teachers Apply Standards

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Outreach for K-12 Office coordinated efforts recently to provide curriculum materials for a new Pennsylvania Department of Education resource.

The state asked the Career Development Leaders Network which is coordinated by the college’s Outreach for K-12 Office to provide the curriculum framework for the Standards Aligned System, a Web-based resource to help Pennsylvania school districts effectively deliver each of the 13 state-mandated academic standards. The network made up of career development specialists from schools and colleges across the state provided the framework for the state’s Career Education and Work Standards.

The work of the Career Development Leaders Network is funded by a $35,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Career and Technical Education.

According to Christina Herman, director of student services and career development at Loyalsock Township School District and a member of the Career Development Leaders Network, the goal in developing the curriculum framework for the state’s Career Education and Work Standards was to break down the standards which list broad concepts that students should master into several guidelines that teachers can apply directly to the classroom.

“Our school district has been working very hard to develop the use of the Career Education and Work Standards, and the Standards Aligned System is an excellent resource to make this a reality,” said John Kurelja, curriculum coordinator for Central Columbia School District and also a member of the Career Development Leaders Network. “It is a wealth of practical information for teachers and is very user-friendly. The desire to create a resource for teachers that would be something they would use was part of every step of the development process.”

The curriculum framework for the Career Education and Work Standards offers teachers the “Big Ideas” the enduring ideas pupils should carry with them for each standard area. The guidelines further offer concepts and competencies that students should know and be able to do in learning those lessons and essential questions. The framework is customized for each of four age groups.

“When (standards are) published, they only tell you the major concept they want you to try to have kids master,” Herman said. “But they don’t tell you how to do it or what it means. (The Standards Aligned System) gives you very specific ways you can address the standards.”

The Career Education and Work site on the Standards Aligned System also provides links to the PA Career Standards Tool Kit which offers a wealth of detailed lesson plans and “crosswalks” that show where Career Education and Work standards can also achieve standards in other content areas and the state’s Career Zone, which engages parents, students and teachers in what is going on in the Pennsylvania work force.

“If we are truly striving to make the curriculum we deliver to our students both rigorous and relevant, we must create opportunities for application to real-world settings,” Kurelja said. “The Career Education and Work standards give us an opportunity to stress relevance every single day. The combination of resources found in the Career Education and Work standards section of the Standards Aligned System makes this as easy as possible for teachers to accomplish.”

The goals of the state’s Career Education and Work standards are to help students understand themselves, understand the work world around them, understand how to get a job and keep it, and help teach them basic entrepreneurial skills to create the job they want.

The Standards Aligned System is available to educators and the public on the Web.

To learn more about services available through the Outreach for K-12 Office at Penn College, visit online , e-mail or call 570-320-8003.

For more information about grant-funding opportunities, faculty and staff may contact the Grants and Contracts Office at ext. 7562 or through its Web portal.

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