Finalist teams have entered the second incubation year with renewed focus and a strong foundation for student success. Educators continue to listen and respond to community needs as they refine their technology education programs. Schools are finding motivation with student success stories, growing student networks, and expanding community engagement. 

Tailoring to student needs 

To meet student needs and capture opportunities for growth, teams are leaning on flexibility in their program design. In one example, an iLead’s Virtual Computer Science Academy student was encouraged to complete the second course in the pathway over the summer so that he could fulfill the remaining courses in the pathway his senior year. He will be the first to complete iLead’s pathway. 

At Premont, the team has introduced materials such as student, facilitator, and pacing guides to complement IBM SkillsBuild competency-based badge attainment. Self-paced program components support busy student schedules and allow educators to balance asynchronous teaching with classroom discussions. The program has also stretched to incorporate students who wanted to refine their concepts from last year in addition to students who are starting new projects. 

At Woodlake, two students in the aviation pathway were selected to participate in a paid internship program under the In-School Youth at Work Program sponsored by the Workforce Investment Board. The students received work-readiness training, submitted their resumes, and interviewed with the local aviation mechanic who will serve as their mentor and manager. 

Expanding student access 

As programs grow, teams are measuring student progress both qualitatively and quantitatively. Nearly all (23 out of 24) students in Louisa’s Cybersecurity Fundamentals passed TestOut in Spring 2022 and signed up to take CompTIA ITF+ this fall. Louisa is hoping to expand their student network, with a particular focus on adding female and special education students. The team is also providing adjacent programming for elementary students and senior citizens, all supported by the newly skilled high school students. 

Ravenna continues to grow their student impact as well. All 140+ students in the fifth and sixth grade STEAM class will be completing the Apparel and Fashion module in Grow Main Street. And the team expects all students in the seventh and eighth grade STEM class to complete both the Apparel and Fashion module and the Farm to Fridge module during the school year. 

Woodlake has also been systemically expanding their reach, creating a steady stream of new and returning students for the Math for Aviation course and the aviation pathway. All students in Woodlake and Reedley College’s dual-enrollment class passed their OSHA 10 General Industry test and Snap-on Multimeter Certification exam after completing the online modules. 

Growing community networks 

Teams continue to build community networks of local employers, workforce development leaders, educators, and students to strengthen their programs and provide opportunities for students during and after school. In addition to the active INTERAlliance employer advisory council, the iLead team is also scheduling a school-wide, virtual job-shadowing program. 

At Louisa, the team has secured apprenticeship opportunities in the Boeing Aerospace program, and brought in a variety of professional guest speakers. In addition, Louisa’s Director of CTE and Workforce Development has been appointed to serve on the CompTIA National CTE Advisory Council. 

Ravenna is in discussion with an industry partner about developing a new module focused on food supply chains. And Premont has secured Eloy Garza, a former teacher and entrepreneur, as a mentor for their students.

Building for sustainability

In this final year of the Rural Tech Project, teams will continue to listen and respond to community needs to refine their programs and share what they’re learning. Subscribe to the Rural Tech Project newsletter or visit the team pages to stay up to date on the teams’ progress.