Introduction Career and technical education programs in Pennsylvania require a comprehensive system for reporting the standards that need to be met for every program each year. This process is one that requires schools, administrators, and instructors to exceed each of the requirements provided by the state. Every school needs to have a solid foundation and process in place. In order to achieve these goals, the career and technical center’s curriculum must be kept up to date to ensure that students are gaining the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in the real world. There is documentation that must be used to ensure the process is completed and all steps are followed. This paper will evaluate the Visual Communications program at Central Montco Technical High School (CMTHS). The first part of this approach to a successfully aligned program is to construct a checklist of all requirements and sources. Utilizing the checklist that was created in EO 1 will ensure that all the steps were completed and the results are known. The CIP code from the program is an approved CIP code with PDE. It states that on the PDE website. A validated task analysis of the program content was obtained from O*net and all the tasks listed in the curriculum were correct. We are also a Program of Study Program. The checklist was added throughout the semester and updated accordingly. This document is to serve as a guide in the research and development of the program requirements. The major areas of focus for this checklist would include: • Legal Issues • State Standards • OAC • Curriculum Development • Tech Prep • Program Validation During the development of the curriculum checklist, many resources come into play. From PDE to the local OAC, each of these plays an important part in the construction of the Visual Communications program. Course Description The Visual Communication Cluster is comprised of two courses: Commercial Art and Digital Media. All students entering either program participate in the same course of study during their first year. This foundational year program addresses such areas as use of traditional art tools, color theory, design theory, and typography. In addition, first-year students are introduced to computer graphic applications and develop a strong working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. At the end of the first year portfolio’s are reviewed and students make a decision to enter into either the
Commercial Art program or the Digital Media program. Students in the Commercial Art program pursue studies in traditional media such as watercolor, pencil drawing, pen and ink, and airbrush with an emphasis on illustration. Work is also done in advanced color theory and design theory. Computer-based studies continue with an emphasis on graphic design, or design to a printed end. Commercial Art students are also introduced to photography using digital cameras. Students choosing the Digital Media program pursue a primarily computer-based course of instruction. Students will learn to design web pages utilizing such programs as Adobe Dreamweaver, and Adobe Flash. They will also study such multimedia area as video editing, sound editing and animation using a wide variety of software. There is a continuing interaction between all students on numerous projects and assignments throughout all three years of study. A strong emphasis is placed on communication skills, both written and oral, and on interpretative skills needed in conceptualizing design solutions. It is generally expected that students will find it necessary to pursue studies at the post-secondary level to achieve career success. Students entering the program with previous experience will be given a comprehensive test to determine their placement in the programs. SOC/DOT CODES Occupation(s) 27-1024.00 - Graphic Designers 43-9031.00 - Desktop Publishers 51-5022.00 - Prepress Technicians and Workers 27-1011.00 - Art Directors Legal Issues Currently, the program is in the process of preparing for the statewide CTE Program review and audit. Under this audit, so many of the legal issues will addresses, such as OAC, state standards, safety issues, and course task list. At this point, I feel that I am way ahead of the curve for this particular exercise. The only step that I need to spend some time focusing on is the implementation of safety into the program. Tech Prep The Visual Communications program has already developed 3 lucrative agreements with post-secondary schools. At this time the Art Institute is giving us 12 advanced credits, The Pennsylvania College Of Technology is giving us anywhere from 6 to 12 credits, and we are currently set up to have the students earn credits from MCCC for going to the tech school. My main goal for the program is to develop a different agreement with a new school every year. This process is very time consuming an seems to work out best with focusing on one goal each year. I would like to begin to develop a program with a school like West Chester or ESU next year. I also confident that next year we will complete an agreement with Delaware Valley College. Data Gathering Issues The current task/duty list was completed as of June 2005. It reflects the program outcomes in terms of the needs of our industry as well as the needs of our students. Here the checklist shows a need for constant revision of competencies according to the before stated needs. Our program is undergoing major change over the next year with the addition of a new teacher. Currently, I teach the Digital Media Class but next year I will be teaching the Commercial Art Class so I am sure the task list will be changing with these additions. These current task lists will begin to go under a major transformation, with the help of our OAC members, various other programs in the state and our college agreements we will need to reevaluate the programs needs. Occupational Advisory Committee There are two meetings a year with the OAC. The OAC approved the program curriculum after seeing the supporting documents (O*net). The administrative team proposed the content to their advisory committee and after careful review, the curriculum was approved. The Local Advisory Committee also reviewed and inspected the proposed curriculum and approved it. Having an OAC is a difficult undertaking that requires lots of work and organization. At this point, I have what I feel to be a very strong group of board members that always take the meetings to the next level. If I were to say that there is anyone week area it would be in the development of other parties that are involved in the careers of game design and fashion design. Even though these programs are not a major part of my curriculum these are still valuable student options for them as a career option. Standards Issues The issues of adding the state standards to our programs have become a serious school-wide activity. As a result of the PDE academic requirements, a Curriculum Integration Grid was compiled during the fall of 2006, which coincided with our Chapter 339 review. We saw that this was coming and got an early start on it before the review and wrote the assessment anchors into our existing lessons and learning guides. This represents all the academic areas that our program involves according to the PDE standards set in the Chapter 4 regulations concerning Academic Standards and Planning. The grid crosswalk was completed with the appropriate heading for each of the academic areas which include: 1. Reading, writing speaking and listening 2. Mathematics 3. Science and technology 4. Environment and ecology 5. Social studies (civics and government, geography, economics, and history) 6. Economics 7. Performing Arts 8. Health, safety, and physical education 9. Financial and resource management Having only started teaching a few years ago, I have found this a great starting point for building a CTE curriculum. Developing project ideas is a lot easier to start with the standards in mind. For example, instead of just doing an illustration ad a specific short story reading that the illustration needs to represent. For many of the other teachers adding these elements into your program can be a time-consuming issue, for me, it is going very well. Curriculum Development This topic is probably right now my strongest point, over the last two years I have been building for not only one program but for our two main career paths, Advertising, and Digital Media. I have developed a great system of learning guides and packets that not only give the students a great day-to-day reference but also materials that can be used through college and even into there careers. The other strong element is in my curriculum is the professional development aspect of the course. The next major part of the development will be spent in building a curriculum that will help the student get better at taking the SAT’s for college. Considering that it is almost imperative that a student needs to attain at least a bachelors degree to have a chance to have a successful career in this field. Format Issues As of the 2011-2012 school year, our program is being updated to reflect the terminal objectives as mentioned previously. This required me to revise our Program Scope and Sequence statement to be current with the published CIP/DOT/SOC codes. In this case, the checklist proved to be invaluable as it provided a direction for program resources as a new statement has been drafted. Writing Issues Due to the redesigned Scope and Sequence statement our program is currently updating our pre-existing Student Learning Guides to match the changes in our Competency/Task list. The development and completion of a complete set of lesson plans and Student Learning Guides is a major project. Grasping the big picture of learning guides for every task is huge. This process is one that it might be easy to just say I have enough and stop but it does help the teacher in taking the course to the next level. As I said in previous sections this is one section that I am very strong in and will continue to develop both learning guides and task list objectives. Our school is preparing for a program review within the next few years and as of now, I am already done all the needed materials at this point. Conclusion Overall, I am very happy with the program as a whole. I took everything that I learned from this course and I went back into what I already have, organized it, re-designed, and improved it in a way that is easily presentable to my administration, PDE, and the parents and their children in my program. I had so much information spread out in so many different places, this course helped me collect it all into one common area and format. I found my strengths, which is the integration of academics into my program, and becoming a program of study, and my use of learning guides and project packets to contain the information. It’s one thing to have everything documented, but to have it unorganized and hard to follow isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. I’m confident with what I’ve gained from the course, and with the use of my detailed Action Plan created in EO4, that I have created a realistic template to guide me through the process of creating, approving, and updating my program in the most efficient way possible. . Some of the things I plan to work on are the frequency that I review my curriculum and work more on professional development for my students in the form of certifications and dual-enrollment/articulation agreements. I found myself in the past only checking my curriculum when I was asked for it by my administration for my review or for when the next 339 review comes up, but now, I realize how critical it is to keep adjusting and adapting my content to the changing needs of the state and my students. Also, with the new certifications that are coming out in my field and attaining my Master’s degree within the next two years, I will seek opportunities in these areas for my students more aggressively to give my students every opportunity possible to succeed. These are living documents, and need to be checked on regularly to make sure it’s the best it can be.