“Seeing and Being.” The Value of Seeing Career Connected Learning in Action

When I was at the Academies of Nashville study tour recently, I heard some of the local leaders use the phrase “you have to see it to be it.” They were talking about how when students see and interact with real people in career experiences, they can more easily start to imagine themselves in those roles.  I can certainly vouch for the way that interacting with successful people in business shaped my thinking and career direction.  Steve and Larry come to mind.

I believe the same concept – you have to see it to be it — applies to school leaders who are trying to imagine what a future version of their school and community might be.  There is no substitute for getting out of the district and going on a road trip to a community that is actively remaking their schools around career connected learning.

One of our NC3T clients recently went on the Academies of Nashville study tour (a day’s worth of travel time each way), and then to another district (about a two-hour drive).  Those two events have energized their work and built a common understanding among the team in a way I could never do.

The word “virtual” means “almost as described.”  While in-person visits are always best, it is difficult to get large numbers of people on the road together.  So, virtual is ALMOST as described but is much easier and scalable to reach lots of people.  So as a strategy to help your stakeholders imagine what could be possible, try to regularly take them on “virtual” study tours and use these videos as a discussion starter.

  • What did you like about what you saw?
  • What questions did it raise?
  • How could we adapt concepts and strategies into our context?

Here are a few of the virtual resources I’ve been collecting and sharing.  Enjoy the tours!

Title Link Notes
New Berlin Wisconsin, Academic and Career Planning Video https://youtu.be/3lfztGzzRyI  This is a great overview of Wisconsin’s Academic and Career Planning video.  The Mirror, The Compass, The Map and the Vehicle.
Time: 6:44
Visalia USD Linked Learning Academies https://youtu.be/tyQFZRyi4tY  Overview of all the academies and the approach of Linked Learning (a pathways-style approach)Time:  10:30

00:  Introduction and Media Arts Academy

1:09 Computer Science Academy

1:47 Engineering and Manufacturing Academy

2:31 Health Science Academy

3:19 Architecture & Engineering Academy

4:07 First Responder Academy

4:50 S.T.R.O.N.G. Academy

5:36 Law & Justice Academy

6:30  Business & Finance

7:25 Ag and Bioscience

8:15-10:30  Overview, reasons for the approach.

Barlow County, GA, Work-based Learning https://youtu.be/EGw8GHxMPs4 This video describes a well-developed work-based learning program in Barlow County, Georgia.  FYI: This program uses a pretty tight definition of “work-based learning” — more of an intensive internship.Time: 7:32

If time is short, watch through 2:50 to get the essentials.

Virtual Enterprise Business Program https://youtu.be/PU9IxrCvGxc This video provides an overview of the Virtual Enterprise program model, a model which emerged in the New York City region.Time: 4:52

If time is short, watch through 3:45 to get the essentials.

Simulated Workplace, Cabell County, West Virginia https://youtu.be/0PTs9xPiPUU  West Virginia requires all its CTE programs to be organized with a student-led business model.  This video explains the approach at one leading school.Time: 3:00

If time is short, watch through 2:30 to get the essentials.

The Four Year Plan https://youtu.be/qW_LLj9mcbg This is a humorous story about a student going off to college with a bizarre “plan”Time: 2:41
Academies of Nashville https://youtu.be/KxgNBkt7j4c This is an overview of the Academies Initiative.Time – 6:49

1:40  The 3 strands of the Academies model

3:53  Student Journey

Academies of Nashville: McGavock High School Tour https://youtu.be/FNloa6AWWJA  Student-led tour and overview of Nashville’s Academies, August 2014Time – 6:05

Hans Meeder is President of NC3T, the National Center for College and Career Transitions (www.nc3t.com). NC3T provides planning, coaching, technical assistance and tools to help community-based leadership teams plan and implement their college-career pathway systems and strengthen employer connections with education. 

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