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#AskExcelinEd: Don’t Miss These #EIE18 Strategy Sessions!

• Melissa Canney


Welcome to our #AskExcelinEd series on the National Summit on Education Reform (#EIE18)! Follow along for sneak peeks at the can’t-miss conversations we have planned for #EIE18 taking place in Washington, D.C., on December 5-7.

Today, Melissa Canney, ExcelinEd’s Director of Innovation Policy, highlights strategy sessions on developing high-quality CTE programs and the science of early literacy. Enjoy! 

Fast Tracks to the Economy’s Most In-Demand Jobs

Despite the tumult of this mid-term election cycle, there is one issue that nearly everyone can back regardless of partisan stripes or colors: ensuring students are well-prepared for workforce success in a changing economy.

This equally holds true in Washington, D.C., where in July, policymakers hailed the passage and signing of the federal Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act (also known as Perkins V). For good reason, policymakers, educators, businesses and families are united by the belief that every student deserves the opportunity to complete education programs (K-12 and postsecondary) prepared for success in a meaningful career. By investing in CTE programs that develop career-ready students, state education leaders and policymakers can help ensure bright futures for our students and our states.

Enactment of Perkins V presents a unique opportunity for states to double down on bets of future economic mobility and prosperity. State CTE programs are a critical foundation for the development and long-term sustainability of innovative career pathways. Implementing high-quality career pathways also requires sustained collaboration across multiple stakeholders and sectors—from state-level policies concerning the development and evaluation of career pathways to local decisions about which pathways will best meet labor market demands.

During the strategy session Fast Tracks to the Economy’s Most In-Demand Jobs: Strengthening CTE Programs, a panel of national, state, regional and local leaders will discuss specific steps state policymakers can consider to put CTE to work for student success. Attendees will learn ways to engage stakeholders, expand student access to high-quality career pathways and ensure programs are high-quality and closely aligned to regional and state industry demand. You won’t want to miss this timely conversation!

The Science of Learning: Pre-K and Early Literacy

If career pathways mark the end of a student’s educational journey, early literacy and learning mark the beginning. To ensure students can access a range of personal and profession opportunities in life, we must build a strong foundation of literacy. This foundation will allow students to author their own educational journeys and help them meet the goals they set for their futures.

Children begin their education journey learning to read, but there is a shift in expectation by the fourth grade. By then, the expectation is for students to know the basics of how to read and start applying their reading skills to read to learn. Students who are not reading on grade level after third grade risk falling further and further behind with each passing grade. In fact, students who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. African-American and Hispanic students who are not proficient readers are six times more likely than proficient readers to drop out of high school. While a K-3 reading policy is necessary for giving all students a foundation of literacy, it may not be sufficient. We must start earlier.

The strategy session The Science of Learning: Pre-K and Early Literacy will address the increasing attention to birth-through-grade-three language and early literacy development. National Summit attendees who participate in this session will learn more about what brain science tells us about how students learn to read, and how this translates into PreK-3 literacy policies and practices that cohesively and seamlessly improve learning and opportunities for our youngest students.

I hope you’ll join ExcelinEd for everything the National Summit has to offer: expert speakers, cutting-edge information, connections with partners and vibrant discussions on all the policies that promise to create student-centered education systems in every state.

About the author

Melissa Canney

Melissa Canney is the Director of Innovation Policy at ExcelinEd. She previously served as the Executive Director of Divisional Operations and Communications in the Division of College, Career and Technical Education at the Tennessee Department of Education. Melissa’s experience in Tennessee included policy analysis and implementation, communication strategy development, grant management and data analysis related to college and career readiness. A Vermont native, Melissa earned a B.A in Sociology from Stanford University and an M.P.P. in Education from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her dog Moxie.