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With the manufacturing industry increasingly seeking workers with more advanced tech skills, high school career and technical education programs now focus heavily on robotics, unmanned aviation technology and mechatronics to help students jump-start potentially lucrative careers.

FUTURES TAKE FLIGHT—CTE students at Duval High School in Maryland will soon be able to obtain their drone pilot’s license before they graduate.

How three high schools are implementing CTE programs to help students succeed in high-tech careers.

A Duval High School CTE student uses music and dance to teach the principles of flight.

More school districts now operate winter- and spring-break academies as a way for students to complete courses, retake classes they’ve failed, get a jump-start on other work and increase their chances of on-time graduation.

A report by the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York found that English language learners were underrepresented in New York City CTE programs. At-risk students who complete these programs have a higher chance of graduating. Here's what the report found for the 2016-17 school year.

Extra supports help embed language instruction into CTE programs, closing what some educators see as an “opportunity gap” faced by students learning English. And student participation in hands-on projects can help accelerate language acquisition.

While testing in the U.S. has become more about ranking schools and even teachers, in most of the developed world, tests make or break a student’s future, sometimes before the age of 12.

A student success program at West Valley School District #208 in Yakima, Washington, provides additional support for learners from pre-K through high school graduation.

Students who are identified early as at-risk and get support like extra reading have a better chance at graduating high school. But many students are unable to access early education opportunities and, research says, fewer than half of poor children are ready for school at age 5.

“People don’t often think about preschool as [an element of] dropout prevention,” says Marty Duckenfield, spokesperson for the National Dropout Prevention Center. “They think of the surly high school kid with behavior problems—but it goes back to other issues, and one is early childhood education.”

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