With the first nine weeks of another school year come and gone, I have to say what an incredible first quarter it has been. There have been too many high points to list, but there is one thing in common with all of those high points that is worth listing…people.
In fact, not one amazing thing that has happened, has happened because of just one person. Each and every notable moment has involved multiple people, usually from multiple arenas. Industry partners, community members, faculty and most importantly our students, have all been at the heart of each and every success and that is exactly the way it should be.
At the top of our CTE values and goals is the term Collaborating Toward Excellence-and that is exactly what we are doing together, each and every day. Because of my role, I get to see things most people don’t have the opportunity to see; from middle school and high school classrooms, to our tech college campus classrooms, to our advisory committee meetings made up of industry partners, to local chamber meetings made up of community members and business leaders.
In each of these places, and in so many others, there is a common theme that has gained tremendous momentum and is becoming more and more powerful-that is the idea that there is more than one way to get to where you are going; that no one road to success exists and that together, we can create an educational ecosystem that provides pathways for all students, often intertwining those multiple roads, to achieve their ultimate goal-a CAREER!
Nowhere was this more evident for me then this past month as I sat in a meeting in the President’s Boardroom at UCF with some pretty amazing community champions, including the new president, Dale Whittaker. We were discussing the Parramore Education and Innovation District, an incredible partnership in which we are focused on education and its power to transform lives.
With the new UCF Downtown/Valencia campus, along with our Orange Technical College-Orlando Campus, Jones High School and the ACE K-8 school, the goal is to increase and impact greater educational opportunities for those in the neighborhood. What made this meeting so special was that when the PEID was set up, the following Vision was set:
Every individual in the Parramore community will attain a college degree.
After several community meetings, team meetings and conversations with dozens of people, the Vision was changed and the following Vision was adopted at our UCF meeting:
Every individual in the Parramore community will attain a postsecondary credential.
It’s a subtle difference, but words matter and these words say so much! Then this past week, I attended a meeting on the 12th floor of the Wells Fargo building downtown with the Central Florida College Access Network as a member of the Leadership Roundtable. The final action item of the meeting was to move towards a new brand focused on postsecondary attainment, rather than “college” alone. The intent of this change being that there is absolute value in the CTE side of the house.
Five years ago, these conversations were years away, and now those years have passed and the community is agreeing that all education matters-education that is stackable, education that can cross over from one path to the other, and education that includes both career, technical and academic paths. In other words, Steak and Lobster!
It’s a great time to be in CTE as we stay focused on Changing Lives Through Education, while changing paradigms through collaboration! Thank you for being a part of the CTE Family.
Have a great CTE Month, Mike.