At the midway point of Phase 2, the Rural Tech Project finalist teams traveled to New York City to meet in person for the first time. The two day convening offered the finalist teams time, connection, and expertise to elevate their programs in the 2022-2023 academic year. It also served to celebrate the teams’ remarkable efforts and achievements to date, while placing their important work in the context of the larger CTE landscape.
To begin the convening, finalist teams worked within their teams to reflect on how their mindsets, approaches, and goals have developed. Convening during summer break — and between implementation years — offered focused time for debriefing with teammates, reflecting on the first year of implementation, and planning for iteration and optimization in the year ahead. Teams reviewed the student and community feedback they had collected over the last year, analyzing their successes, strengths, and focus areas for growth.
The finalist teams spent the second day reimagining their success metrics and evaluation methods. With the support of a data collection and evaluation expert, the teams considered how they could track progress toward goals in several key areas: CTE pathway development, CBE approach and delivery, use of technology, and community engagement. In the future, deeper consideration of these areas will also help the teams think about how they will codify their programs and create frameworks for sustainability, growth, and replicability. With all this in mind, teams planned for how they would take advantage of technical assistance offered by the program team — Luminary Labs and U.S. Department of Education — in the remainder of Phase 2.
An important component of the convening was to give the finalist teams an opportunity to engage with their peers and leaders in the field to get a better understanding of what is possible. During the convening, the teams spoke with U.S. Department of Education program leads, who helped connect the dots between the teams’ programs and larger initiatives — and how teams might think longer-term about their programs. Teams also spoke with a CTE researcher to gain a deeper understanding of the broader career and technical education ecosystem. Lastly, they received in-person feedback from both an evaluation specialist and a CBE specialist.
Navigating the CTE ecosystem
To further the teams’ impactful work, the Rural Tech Project will help the teams communicate the goals and successes shared at the convening to the stakeholders in their respective communities, thereby expanding their network of partners and gaining buy-in. The teams will also continue to cultivate relationships with fellow teams, the program leads from the U.S. Department of Education, and the experts in career and technical education (CTE) and competency-based education (CBE) that they worked with during the convening.
And we will continue to share milestones and lessons learned as the teams refine their programs. Stay up to date with the teams’ progress: Sign up for the Rural Tech Project newsletter.