Type 6 - Collaborating with the Community

Today we conclude our 6 Types of Involvement discussion. If you have been following us, we have talked about 5 of Epstein's 6 Types of Involvement.

Type 1 - Parenting
Type 2 - Communicating
Type 3 - Volunteering
Type 4 - Learning at Home
Type 5 - Decision Making
Type 6 - Collaborating with the Community

These leaves us with Type 6, collaborating with the community. Ask yourself, how does my technology center collaborate with the community?
  • How does your technology center coordinate resources and services from the community?
  • How does it provide resources for families, students, and the school?
  • How does it provide services to the community?
In today's tough economic times their are opportunities everywhere to partner with your community like hosting job fairs and soft skill workshops to help displaced workers.

Other ideas to work with your community and questions to ask may include....
  • Are your business partners active in providing student scholarships through your foundation?
  • How about getting the local Rotary or Lions Clubs to start a Student of the Year program?
  • Have you held a student organization day like Scouting CareerTech?
  • Do your CTSO's participate in community events like Adopt a Highway?
  • Have you considered hosting a community wide Thanksgiving Meal?
  • Maybe invite your community members to a Health and Fitness Night?
There are many ways that you can get involved in the community and for the community to get involved with your technology center. These are just a few thoughts and ideas, where will your creativity take you?

I hope that the 6 Types of Parental Involvement have inspired you to start a conversation about how to get parents involved in your students' education. This is not the end of the conversation on this Blog, and I hope it marks the beginning of your conversation with decsion makers on your campus.

By working with and including parents in the educational process, we become more succesful as we transtion students to college and career.

The 6 Types of Parental Involvement were developed by, Dr Joyce Epstein, Director of the National Network of Partnership Schools at John Hopkins University.


Type 5 - Decision Making

How does your technology center include families as participants in technology center and district decisions?

  • Do you have parents that sit on advisory committees for the technology center?
  • Do they sit on advisory committees for career majors?
  • Does your technology center have a parent committee like a PTO or PTA that gives input into what is happening on campus?
How do you develop parent leaders and representatives?

  • Do your involved parents represent the ethnic and economic diversity that is present in your district?
  • What type of information is shared on your website?
  • Does it help parents understand what is happening at the technology center or at Board meetings?
How "Family Friendly" is your technology center? By developing a culture that embraces the family, you open the possibility for dialogue to exist that will result in parents sharing their concerns, leading to a better learning environment for our students.

FIRST Robotics


Type 4 - Learning at Home

We continue to discuss Epstein's Six Types of Involvement with Learning at Home.

How do you involve families with their children on homework and other curriculum-related activities and decisions?
  • Do you give parents information on how they can help their student with "homework" when they bring it home?
  • Do you prepare a summer learning packet for students? Maybe a summer project that they could design and build over the break?
  • When was the last calendar of events sent home? Did it include activities that parents can do with their student to reinforce what is being learned in the classroom? (Maybe a trip to the Steam and Gas Engine Show for a historical look at engines and power?)
  • Do you let parents know what their students deficiencies are before the Parent Teacher Conference?
What ways are you helping parents assist in the learning process at home?


Type 3 - Volunteering

How do you organize volunteers to support the technology center and students?

In the classroom, is there an opportunity to assist as an aide? Are there opportunities to attend assemblies and competitions like FIRST Robotics?

Do you actively seek parents to bring their skills and knowledge to the classroom? Some volunteer organizations do a parent talent survey to see what the parents do and where they are willing to help out.

Maybe you are an automotive instructor and you find out a parent likes to race cars on the weekend or maybe you are a health instructor who finds out that a parent who is a doctor would really like to show students his practice. Finding the abilities of the parents and helping them to volunteer where they feel comfortable is key.

Do you provide volunteer opportunities in various locations and at various times?

Volunteering in the classroom is an opportunity available to some, but not all parents. How do you involve those parents who are at work when their student is in your class?

How about a College Party? Encourage students and parents to come for an evening tailgate that includes hamburgers and hot dogs cooked by technology center staff and a few friendly games like horseshoes or washers run by parents. Not only are you building a "College Culture" but you are helping the parent-teacher relationship flourish. After the tailgate, offer a FAFSA class to help them with the CTE to college transition.

Whatever the activity or opportunity, the point is to get parents to feel as a valued part of their students educational experience. As parents become comfortable with what is happening in the classroom they can help aid the educational process at home. When this happens, everyone wins!!

how are you developing the parent teacher relationship?

New CareerTech Blog

We just helped another division at CareerTech set up a Blog!!

Health Careers is joining the Blogosphere and will be posting at http://healthcareerseducation.blogspot.com/

Welcome Health Careers, we look forward to the interactions and information!!

Teachers As Advisors

The Teachers as Advisors program is a classroom guidance delivery system where middle school and high school students are divided into small groups, each facilitated by a local educator, to receive support services including; personal/social development, academic development and career development.

During this workshop you will learn to
  • Organize career development into a manageable time frame and team effort.
  • Ensure consistent curriculum exposure to all students.
  • Provide an opportunity for shared responsibility for career education by including parents, students, teachers and counselors.
  • Enable students to gain skills and background necessary to make good educational and career decisions.
  • Increase students choices and access to jobs and postsecondary education through adequate knowledge.
  • Encourage students to set career/educational goals and construct a plan to meet those goals.
  • Improve relations between school, parents, business, industry, and other community members.

The Teachers As Advisors Workshop will be held on June 3, 2009 at OK Dept of CareerTech in Stillwater.

Register now (closes on May 20th, 2009):



The academic year is almost over, but you should still be working on recruitment in order to ensure that you have full classrooms next year. Here are some exerts and ideas from the year round recruitment plan.


  • Press release on college enrollment numbers

  • Career Days-Canadian Valley

  • Campus visit invitation letter

  • Award assemblies
  • Enrollment Days
  • Fall program planning

  • Attend sending school awards assemblies.
  • Certificates for Cooperative Alliance students
  • Certificated for Career Major completers

  • "Next Steps" letter with information for parents on what to do next in the college process
  • Attend sending school awards assemblies.
  • Certificates for Cooperative Alliance students
  • Certificated for Career Major completers

• Job Fair

Some Marketing Ideas

A few marketing ideas for the Alliances that I heard while attending a meeting of the Northeast Alliance Consortium.

  • High School Posters - posters in the high school classes that let students know about Alliance opportunities that were posted in August and January
  • Tech Center Posters - posters in the technology center classrooms that let students know about Alliance opportunities that were posted in August and January
  • College Credit Catalog - a catalog of the courses offered through the alliances as they relate the primary partner
Another innovative idea was sending a letter home to each student's parent a few weeks before graduation. The letter contains contact information for the parents such as college contacts, tech center contacts and how to help the transition including what to do when the transcripted credit doesn't show up.

Type 2- Communicating

The second type of involvement, Communicating, involves conducting effective communications from school-to-home and from home-to-school about school programs and student progress.

How do you communicate with parents? Some kids bring home Thursday folders with what is happening at their elementary school. Do your teachers use Blogging? Maybe a school wide notification system that sends email and text messages to parents. I have heard a parent note that they receive a text when their student is tardy or absent.

When was the last time that you had a Parent-Teacher Conference? As an instructor do you send progress reports or test results back to the parent? If you have a student from culture, do you provide an interpreter for their parents?

How can you build your communication network? When was the last time you invited parents for a Parent Night (something held not during the workday) or maybe a Superintendent-Parent Coffee, and invite parents to come into school before their workday and have coffee with instructors and the Superintendent.

In what ways are you making communication easier in your district?


Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!!

Earth Day has been celebrated annually, since 1970, on April 22 to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment.

So what are you doing to make the world a little Greener?

We have mentioned a few Green things happening at CareerTech, and we are looking for more. Whether it is starting to recycle paper, carpool more often or looking at using technology to change the way we do business, we are trying. Each gesture helps, and leaves the world just a bit Greener for the next generation.

Some of our technology centers are making the world a bit Greener through education. Autry Technology Center has installed an Endurance Wind Tower, High Plains Technology Center has just started a Wind Energy Technician Program and Francis Tuttle Technology Center has its own Think Green Organization.

What can you do at your technology center to make the world a little Greener?


2nd Annual GuidanceFest

Building on the success of our inaugural GuidanceFest, we are proud to announce the dates for our second annual event.

GuidanceFest 20009 will be held:
  • September 1 - Moore Norman Technology Center, South Penn
  • September 3 - Tulsa Technology Center
  • September 10 - Kiamichi Technology Center, Atoka
  • September 15 - Western Oklahoma State College, Altus
  • September 22 - High Plains Technology Center, Woodward
We hope that we will see you at one of our locations. We are excited about bringing new information to you that you can use as we work to raise student achievement in Oklahoma.

You can get all your GuideanceFest news from the Tech Prep Blog or visit us here.

Epstein's Six Types of Involvement - Parenting

Research demonstrates that parent involvement in a child's learning is positively related to achievement and as educators who know the importance of parental involvement we should be engaged in the task of getting more parental involvement.

To help facilitate the discussion, Dr Joyce Epstein, Director of the National Network of Partnership Schools at John Hopkins University, has devised 6 Types of Involvement. Though this list may not be complete, it provides a stable footing for us to begin the conversation.

Lets talk about the 6 types starting with Type 1, Parenting.

Parenting involves ways schools can assist families with parenting and child-rearing skills, understanding child and adolescent development, and setting home conditions that support children as students at each age and grade level. Parenting also assist schools in understanding families.

When was the last age-level workshops on child development available at the school or online.? A workshop could be centered around applying to financial aid for the transition to college, maybe a Parents University where they could learn math skills to help their students do homework, or perhaps a CareerTech 101 course where parents could become involved in learning about the activities and procedures of the technology center.

Parental workshops neither have to be long or complicated. An opportunity for the parent to see what the child is learning and how they can reinforce that knowledge is an opportunity that should not be wasted.

What are you doing to encourage Parental Involvement at your technology center?

More later on the other five, communicating, volunteering, learning at home, decision making and collaborating with the community.

Epstein, et. al. 2002. School, Family, and Community Partnerships: Your Handbook for Action, Second Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.


Where do your prospective students get their info?

You could call it online identity management, online reputation management or social media optimization.

Whatever you call it the question is "Do you frequently go online to check out how your students might be researching you?" If you are not, it is time to start!

This morning I found a new website called campusexplorer.com. Their about us page boast that they have more than 6,000 schools in their database. With a quick search you can find numerous Oklahoma technology centers.

The technology center listings include name, physical address, Web address and a short description that is said to be provided by the technology center. Most have no pictures and very little information about what happens on campus.

Here is a well developed example from Oklahoma State.

If you want to update your listing, or make it complete, you can contact them here.


Web Alignment Tool

This past week I spent with Dr. Ann Benson participating in a Technology Centers That Work Technical Assistance Visit. TCTW is a program of SREB. Currently, Oklahoma's TCTW initiative includes 12 technology center districts participating in this initiative with that number expected to grow.

I have to preface that the experience was invaluable and will translate nicely to the Tech Prep Review and Improvement Process that will begin later this month.

During our classroom observation time we were given a Web Alignment Tool, a product of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

The tool gives 4 areas in which to observe classroom questions and asses at which level the instructor is engaged the students. The levels get into recall, skill & concept, strategic thinking, and extended thinking.

It helps guide your observation be letting you plot what types of verbs the instructor is using. Are they asking who, what, when, where and why questions (Level !: Recall) or are they asking students to analyze and synthesize (Level 4: Extended Thinking)

It's a great tool to use and share.


Professional Development

Professional development can take many forms.

Some professional development happens in house, with local trainers working toward local objectives. Some takes place at a state or national level with facilitators who are experts in their fields and there are many other ways in between.

What ever the case may be, in order for the professional development to be effective, it must be systematic and part of a professional development plan.

What is your consortium's professional development plan? How does it fit in with your technology center's professional development plan? When Tech Prep works alone, it becomes ineffective. When we provide one shot professional development the impact of our dollars lessens and our ability to be change agents is diminished.

The professional development provided through Tech Prep should be part of a systematic plan for professional development. The activities that we carry out should compliment the aims and goals of the consortium while working with the objective of the technology center and primary partner.

Are you holding Alliance meetings with your primary partners? If not, is this a case for professional development? Why are the meetings not happening? Is it a lack of understanding of interest? Is it a lack of understanding the Alliances? Is there an opportunity for professional development that will help move the consortium forward?

We are working on the Oklahoma Tech Prep Professional Development Sourcebook. This book will serve as a resource for Tech Prep Coordinators on putting together professional development, activities that work and best practices. There are some ideas already posted online in our professional development section of the Tech Prep Web site.

Are you being a change agent? What is your professional development plan?


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