Integrating Academic and Vocational Education

Lessons from Eight Early Innovators

by Susan J. Bodilly, Kimberly Ramsey, Cathy Stasz, Rick Eden

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Integration of academic and vocational education at the high school level was mandated by the 1990 Amendments to the Carl D. Perkins Vocational Education Act. This report examines the experiences of eight schools that implemented integration efforts prior to the federal mandate. The schools improved curriculum, pedagogy, teacher collaboration, and school transition practices using one of three different approaches: enhanced academics, enhanced relevance, or enhanced engagement. All schools reported major barriers to curricular and pedagogical reforms, especially state and district level regulations and school level customs and practices. Two keys to integration reform were: (1) make integration the central focus of a school improvement plan; and (2) allocate resources to curriculum development and opportunities for teacher collaboration.

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