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Articles: Business Partnerships

Vocational education used to be considered low-tech and non-academic. Career and technical education now requires nearly as much ELA and math as any other degree.

ROBOTS MAKE STEM FUN—A St. Vrain Valley high school student takes part in the rigorous STEM program that helps him attain future options, including more relevant job skills once he graduates college, or even high school.

At least five states, including Ohio, Nevada, New York and Texas, offer special endorsements for high school graduates who demonstrate strong achievement in STEM.

Want to start a STEM program that benefits all students? Here are a few tips from our experts:

1. Align preK-12 education with demand from business world. Education should keep up with changing needs of industry, and prepare students to be problem-solvers and design thinkers, says Patty Quinones, assistant superintendent of innovation at St. Vrain Valley School District.

A growing number of districts now award digital badges to students who demonstrate creativity and critical thinking, and even for noteworthy experiences in after-school programs.

GREEN IS GOOD—In this propagation map of Albemarle County, colors show signal quality for broadband. Green is nearly unobstructed.

Free internet access at home will soon be a reality for students in Albemarle County Public Schools.

In Districts of Distinction, honored districts from 23 states were chosen for the national recognition program for their innovative and unique twist on traditional programs.

From providing a range of innovative initiatives, including social-emotional learning programs to giving English language learners quality support, 54 school districts have been named among DA’s newest batch of Districts of Distinction this year.

In rural Indiana, Jay School Corporation supports local manufacturers—which make up about half the private employment in Jay County—with educational programs geared to the jobs that need to be filled.

The school now has 80 students in manufacturing, advanced manufacturing and robotics programs, and is working with other organizations and a nearby college to develop a regionally recognized certificate.

“We are creating an employer-driven program for both adults and students, focusing on economic outcomes and the talent pipeline,” Superintendent Jeremy Gulley says.

School districts are focusing more attention on manufacturing as the need for middle-skill jobs increases.

Nearly 4,000 K12 schools have been fitted with solar installations as of 2014, according to the “Brighter Futures” report for the U.S. Department of Energy, based on data from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Telemedicine, in which a remote doctor or physician’s assistant provides health care via the internet, has caught on in the business world and is now making its way into public schools.

After the Great Recession, the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township in Indianapolis knew it had to prepare students for a new world of work skills and knowledge.

Kathy Gomez is superintendent of Evergreen School District in San Jose, California.

One in 10 elementary school students who were “far off track” in reading and math in a 2012 study were able to meet on-track college readiness benchmarks by eighth grade.

EDUCATION—J. Francis Manning is district superintendent and CEO of Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Syracuse, New York.

In 2013, the Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (OCM BOCES) brought hands-on learning to the next level by embedding some of its state-endorsed career and technical education (CTE) programs at local businesses.

James Sullivan is a director in the dispute advisory practice at Sikich LLP, and is the former inspector general for the Chicago Board of Education.

Even as school districts try to allocate more resources for the classroom, state and local financial struggles limit available funds and increase the pressure on districts to get more done with less. Still, at a time when financial responsibility should be paramount, misconduct remains far too common.

Atlanta’s film industry has in recent years boomed to third place behind Los Angeles and New York City, and incoming studios noted a major skills gap when looking for videographers, scene constructors, prop creators and costume designers. Leaders of Fulton County Schools in Georgia responded

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