The USN Digs in at Long Beach

On June 28th, thirteen Urban Schools Network teams arrived at the beautiful, southern California city of Long Beach. Armed with ideas on how to improve their programs and with the help of NCRVE's fabulous fellows, teams took advantage of the two-day preconference prior to the National Leadership Forum on School-to-Career Transition. With NCRVE field consultants, Lola Jackson and Marilyn Raby leading the charge, they left no stone unturned. The preconference was kicked off with a cross-team exercise on barriers to progress followed by a session on using data for program improvement in the afternoon. Teams spent the majority of time in intensive team meetings facilitated by Fellows. These team meetings offered the valuable, uninteruppted, focused planning time needed to work out plans for this year and beyond. After two intense, productive days, each team emerged with "Action Plans." Each team's action plans included goals, objectives, persons responsible, indicators of progress, and timelines. Brief descriptions of each team's plans are presented below to give a taste of the variety of plans developed and to encourage cross-team communication. If you are curious about another team's plans, or want to share your experience, please call the liaisons indicated below for more information.

AUSTIN (Austin Independent School District)
Working with Cassy Key, the Austin team developed a three-part vision piece for their district regarding career related education. Each piece includes specific plans for evaluation, curriculum, marketing, and professional development. Contact: Tom Waggoner, 512-414-4191.

BALTIMORE (Mergenthaler Vo-Tech High School and Baltimore Community College)
Maggie Caples and Stan Brown represented the team this summer. With the help of fellow Lola Jackson, they developed a plan for refocusing team efforts that included the identification of ways to expand membership, alternate resources for team improvement activities, and NCRVE resources for staff development. Contact: Stan Brown, 410-462-8499 or Maggie Caples, 410-396-8560.

CHARLOTTE (West Charlotte High School)
Working intensely with fellow Joe Potochney, team representatives Ed Thornton and Bill Phillips created a four-part plan that included increasing interaction between secondary and post secondary partners along with plans to visit models schools based on the New American High Schools report. Contact: Lee Anna Sturkie, 704-343-6060.

HARRISBURG (Harrisburg Steelton-Highspire Technical School)
Facing an uncertain future due to district restructuring plans, the Harrisburg Integration Team nevertheless forged ahead with the help of fellow Bonnie James to analyze block scheduling alternatives, to plan for administration of standardized vocational assessments, and to plan the development of employer satisfaction surveys. In addition, they focused on strengthening the existing pilot technology cluster and possible expansion to include new occupational groups. Contact: Greg Williams, 717-234-2611.

LAS CRUCES (Doña Ana Tech Prep Consortium)
Representatives from the Doña Ana Tech Prep Consortium, including the superintendent and principals from three high schools, along with fellow Susan Tidyman, concluded that school-to-career transition should be the major focus of secondary reform in this consortia. School-to-career goals include strengthening existing academies, continued collaboration with business and community, hiring "career specialists" for each school, and moving toward a "career majors" model. Contact: John Krause, 505-527-6620

MILWAUKEE (North Division High School)
Members from both the high school and community college partners worked with fellow Marilyn Raby on a plan to create a "new" North Division High School. The plan included the development of integrated job readiness skills for all students, academic standards for all disciplines and career pathways, and articulation agreements with post secondary institutions. They will begin putting their plan into action by implementing an innovative, tri-semester, block schedule at the high school. Contact: Archie Ivy, 414-265-1110

NASHVILLE (Volunteer State Community College and Maplewood High School)
The team had strong representation from both the high school and the community college partners. Working with fellow Norena Badway, the team's action plans included such joint endeavors as a dual enrollment course, a joint advisory committee, and a grades 9-16 work-based learning program. Contact: Patricia Brock, Maplewood High School, 615-262-6644, or Phyllis Foley, Volunteer State Community College, 615-452-8600 x 3350.

NEW YORK (Westinghouse Voc & Tech High School and New York City Technical College)
With fellow Lauren Jacobs' assistance, the team devised a precise plan to implement an advanced manufacturing, school-based enterprise within the context of the team's Tech Prep program. Included in their plan was a proposed course sequence and ideas for utilizing both the high school and technical college campuses. Contact: Anne Gawkins, 718-260-5207.

OMAHA (Bryan High School)
Representatives of the team joined fellow Naomi Nightingale in developing a mentoring program. Their plan was comprised of forming an initial task force and identifying and contacting business partners. Contact: Tom O'Hara, 402-557-3100.

PHILADELPHIA (School District of Philadelphia)
This mega team representing the entire School District of Philadelphia worked with both fellow Michelle Swanson and Peggy Kemp, of Jobs For the Future, on a district wide framework for school-to-career transition. As part of their action plan, the team targeted specific schools where they plan to support and develop school-to-career programs. Contact: Cassandra Jones, 215-875-3801.

TUSCALOOSA (Tuscaloosa City Schools and Shelton State Community College)
Jim Kendrick, the lone representative from Alabama worked intensively with fellow Lola Jackson on a plan to revamp the team. Together they created plans for a Tuscaloosa Tech Prep Leadership Team. They outlined specific goals for the team that covered involving key stakeholders, developing articulation agreements, and providing professional development. Contact: Jim Kendrick, 334-242-9108.

The McKinley/Penn and Phelps team representatives joined their Tech Prep Coordinator, Judy Fredette to form a combo team. This team under the guidance of fellow Michael Jackson came up with action plans for each site.

(McKinley/Penn Senior High School)
Team representatives developed plans for a summertime, work-based learning course and a business advisory council. This summer, as a result of the team's action plan, some students have already had internships. Contact: Reginald Gordon, 202-576-6011.

(Phelps Senior High School)
Phelps representatives focused on a plan to restructure their academy students' schedule to permit access to all academy courses (educational and vocational). Contact: Colonel Norman Johnson, 202-388-5101.

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