On March 3, 2020, the 9-member NEASC Visiting Team joined us for lunch. Kathy Fink, Chair of the Visiting Team for CTE Accreditation, spoke to us about the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and their work. NEASC is the oldest of six regional accrediting agencies.  Accreditation is a 3-fold process: a school completes a self-study, the visiting team completes an on-site evaluation, then there is follow-up to review findings. Members of this team came from Career and Technical Education programs all over New England and across disciplines.
The team reviews seven areas: core values & expectations, curriculum, instruction, assessment, culture & leadership, student success & support, and school finance & community relations.   Student representatives met with the team, as did members of advisory committees. The advisory committees engage community members to discuss community and business needs from the various programs and their core programming. This includes the Building Trades Committee.
We learned that programs in other states and schools have their students all day for both core high school and CTE classes.  This can make projects similar to our house project move along faster. The challenges we face with multiple “sending schools” is coordinating schedules across the schools to provide more time for vocational training while still providing the time needed to meet core graduation criteria.
One interesting concept comes from Massachusetts technical high schools. They alternate academic weeks with vocational/trade weeks. Freshman and Juniors are on one schedule. Sophomores and Seniors are on the alternate schedule. During the alternate weeks, the students still have homework for both components of their education.