Giving Compass' Take:

• Giving students hands-on experience usually associated with vocational training is a boon for their performance in academic classes. 

• How can integrating skill sets in classes improve students' success in and beyond school? Can philanthropy help to facilitate the creation of effective vocational/academic programs?

• Learn more about Project Based Learning.

On a recent winter morning at Tesla STEM High School, juniors in Kate Allender’s first-period AP Psychology class are busy preparing for an upcoming unit test, reviewing notes on topics like behaviorism and confirmation bias. It’s not until the second-period bell rings, however, that you begin to see how different this is from a traditional psychology course. Instead of packing up to leave, students migrate over to the room’s pathology lab, well-appointed with microscopes, replicas of human skulls and anatomical models of internal organs. They will spend the second half of this dual-period class examining diseased lung tissues and three-dimensional models of burn victims.

The class combines the academic rigor of AP Psychology with hands-on experience in the field of forensics, the latter as a state-approved career and technical education (CTE) course. In recent decades vocational education has undergone a significant transition: along with its rebranding as CTE, staples like woodshop and auto repair have given way to a new breed of courses aimed at careers in everything from film production to science and engineering

Students are required to take an integrated AP/CTE course in their freshman and sophomore years, each of them heavily project-oriented.

Read the full article about vocational education to teach academic courses by Amadou Diallo at The Hechinger Report