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CTE Distinguished Schools Program Summary

Information about the Career Technical Education (CTE) Distinguished Schools Recognition Program and the roles of the CDE.

Purpose

The purpose of the Career Technical Education (CTE) Distinguished Schools Recognition Program is to highlight the outstanding overall career technical education programs operating in California’s high schools. In cooperation with the California Department of Education’s School Recognition Program, the Career and Workforce Innovations Unit (CWI) coordinates the application process, review and assessment, scoring, validation and awarding of the distinguished CTE programs. Every other year, the Academic Accountability and Awards Division and the Secondary, Career, and Adult Learning Divisions partner to identify the outstanding CTE schools. For a high school to be eligible to apply as an outstanding CTE program, they must first qualify as a regular distinguished school under the terms and conditions set forth by the Academic Accountability and Awards Division. If the high school obtains the recognition, only then can the honor of CTE distinguished program be awarded. The process is a two-step application, one for regular distinguished school and one for career technical education. Applications are reviewed and scored, and those obtaining the highest scores as measured against a scoring rubric, are selected for a site validation visit. Upon a successful visit, the school is recommended to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, who awards this prestigious award.

Program/Services

The Career Technical Education Distinguished Schools Recognition Program takes place every other year in conjunction with the California Department of Education’s School Recognition Program. Outstanding career technical education programs are selected from among the recipients of regular distinguished high school applicants. The honor identifies high schools with CTE programs that are above and beyond the norm, addressing elements contained in a six-part evaluation rubric.

Outcomes

Successful recipients of the CTE Distinguished School honor obtain recognition by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction at the California School Recognition Program Ceremony held in Anaheim, California. The honor results in a four-year recognition. Schools selected are held as model CTE programs for other secondary school programs. 

Funding

The CWI Unit coordinates the program in conjunction with the Secondary, Career, and Adult Learning Division and the Academic Accountability and Awards Division. The Secondary, Career, and Adult Learning Division covers the cost of the CTE component for staff time to administer the program through the federal Carl D. Perkins grant.

Students Served

Every other year, outstanding CTE programs are recognized through the Distinguished Schools program. Since its origin in 2003, 24 outstanding CTE programs have been identified and held as models for the public secondary school system to emulate. Several thousand students at these honored schools have been served as well as other students who are in schools modeling the programs and practices.

Contact Information

The Career Technical Education Distinguished Schools Recognition Program is administered by:

California Department of Education
Career and College Transition Division
Career Technical Education Leadership and Instructional Support Office
1430 N Street, Suite 4202
Sacramento, CA 95814

Lloyd McCabe, Ed.D.
Education Administrator I
916-322-5050
lmccabe@cde.ca.gov

Questions: Clay Mitchell | cmitchel@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-5050 
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