The New York State Education Department is exploring new pathways for students to receive a Regents Diploma - one focusing on career and technical education, or CTE, and another focusing on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
This proposal, currently being considered by the Board of Regents, would ensure more high school graduates are prepared for the rigors of college and the working world while addressing the important need to increase American competitiveness.
Currently, high school graduates must pass five Regents exams - English, math, science, U.S. history and global history - in order to graduate with a Regents Diploma. Under the proposal, students would still need to pass Regents exams in English, math, science and U.S. history. Students would also be required to take global studies in high school. In place of the global history Regents exam, however, students would have two options - they could take an additional math or science assessment, or, for those enrolled in CTE programs, they could take a career and technical education assessment that demonstrates college and career readiness.
The proposal would affect students entering ninth grade in September 2013 and the traditional exam structure would still be in place for students who do not choose the STEM or CTE alternatives. Also, students taking a STEM or CTE assessment in place of the global history exam would still need to pass a global studies course, thus ensuring students are still educated about global affairs.
The Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or BOCES, is well positioned to support students with these new pathways to graduation and fully supports the changes. The underlying concept behind the Department of Education's proposal is New York State needing to provide different pathways to graduation which better reflect the nation's economic challenges, and two years of study in a rigorous CTE program followed by an assessment crafted by educators and industry representatives alike is of equal value to passing the global studies exam.
For instance, students enrolled in the E2CCB LoGuidice Educational Center's two-year health careers program receive a rigorous education in this specialized field. They spend part of their school day studying anatomy and physiology, diseases and disorders, medical terminology, ethics, nutrition, infection control, geriatric care, maternity and child development, pharmacology, medical procedures, patient treatment and nursing procedures, all while completing their Regents Diploma requirements. The rigorous curriculum is augmented by required clinical and internship opportunities at local hospitals and other medical institutions such as Brooks Memorial Hospital. Students enrolled in this program earn their Certified Nursing Assistant, or CNA, certification, CPR/AED certification and Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, certification.
Through integrated academics, students also earn English language arts, math and science credit. At the end of their senior year, they must pass a state-approved assessment that is reviewed by representatives of industry, the community and component school districts. Those who complete the necessary requirements receive a technical endorsement on their Regents Diplomas.
This is not unique to the health careers program. All two-year CTE programs follow state-approved curricula reviewed by industry professionals and representatives from the community and component school districts. Internship, certification and licensing opportunities are also an important component of all CTE programs, as well as the applied integration of English, math and science.
"Students who successfully complete these programs graduate with advanced knowledge in a specialized field of their choosing, an expanded resume, a wide array of professional certifications and licenses, and enhanced career skills and experience," president of the E2CCB Board of Education Ronald Catalano said. "We applaud the New York State Education Department for recognizing that the real world experience students obtain while enrolled in a CTE program should be considered as a pathway to graduation."
"These new pathways to graduation would be extremely beneficial to students who decide to pursue a more advanced education in the areas of math and science or career and technical education," E2CCB Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instructional Services Suzette Benson said. "Students who successfully complete the requirements of a CTE program, or students with a deeper knowledge of math and science, are uniquely positioned for success in today's economy."