Ensuring College & Career Readiness

Tech Centers That Work

In 2009, Prosser faculty and staff join the network of other nationwide technical centers by adopting the school improvement model, Technology Centers That Work. Like other TCTW centers, Prosser faculty and staff have committed to prepare graduates in high-demand, high-wage, high-skill fields for postsecondary studies and employment.

For more information, visit the Technology Centers That Work website.

Founded in 2007, the Technology Centers That Work (TCTW ) school improvement model is designed to assist shared-time technology centers in preparing graduates for postsecondary studies and employment in high-demand, high-wage, high-skill fields. Whether the schools are technical high schools, technology centers, career centers or career/technology centers, they all have a common purpose: to provide high-quality career/technical (CT) studies to high school students. Students may attend these centers for only a portion of the school day, week or year while completing the balance of their studies at the home high school, or they may attend full time, receiving both academic and technical instruction at the center.

TCTW was modified from SREB’s High Schools That Work (HSTW ) design to address shared-time centers’ specific challenges. Like HSTW, TCTW is an effort-based model founded on the conviction that most students can master vigorous CT and academic studies if schools create an environment that motivates them to make the effort to succeed. Technology centerleaders and teachers can take these actions to motivate students to achieve at high levels:

  • Expand students’ opportunities to pursue a career-focused program of study that joins a “ready” academic core and a CT concentration taught in ways that enable students to see the usefulness of what they have been asked to learn.
  • Create supportive relationships between students and adults and between home high school and technology center staff. These relationships provide students with the support needed to meet challenging course standards and complete a career-focused program of study, enabling more students to transition successfully from the high school to postsecondary studies, advanced training or work.
  • Work with parents and home high schools to help students set educational and career goals and complete the right combination of academic and CT courses that prepare them for postsecondary studies, further training or employment.
  • Support teachers with common planning time and professional development to improve what and how students are taught.

The TCTW initiative builds the capacity of technology center staff to teach essential college-and career-readiness academic standards in the context of CT courses through authentic projects, problems and activities. This emphasis highlights the shift from old views of CT education as a way to teach occupational skills to low-achieving students to new beliefs that CT education, embedded with academic skills and intellectually demanding assignments and joined with a coherent sequence of academic courses, can help more students complete high school and graduate prepared for a wide variety of postsecondary options.

With rising workplace requirements, completing a rigorous, relevant high school education is more important now than ever before if students are to have successful careers. Yet too many students do not graduate from high school, and many who do graduate lack preparation for further study and work in high-demand, high-wage fields.

To assist technology enters in preparing more students for graduation and success in postsecondary studies and careers, the TCTW school improvement design provides a framework of Goals, Key Practices and Key Conditions for accelerating learning and setting higher standards. It recommends research-based practices for technology centers to use in improving academic and CT instruction and student achievement. Research has shown that sustained school improvement occurs when state, district, school and teacher leaders work together to take ownership of school improvement and adopt the TCTW design for the specific needs of technology centers.