College & Career Readiness, CTE, Equity & Access, Jobs & Employment
August 21, 2020

Preparing Students to be Workforce Ready After Graduation

PTECH: Hudson Valley Pathways Academy prepares students with workforce readiness skills after graduation with specialized curricula and bulb Digital Portfolios. 

Pathways and Technology Early College High School (PTECH): Hudson Valley Pathways Academy (HVPA) provides students with incredible opportunities to be workforce ready after graduation. Students are invited to apply to attend HVPA. Once accepted into the program, they start a 6-year learning journey; 4 years of High School and 2 years of College. Upon completion, they leave with a high school diploma and an associate degree without cost to themselves or their family. 

PTECH: HVPA is located in New York's Hudson Valley, one mile away from the Hudson River. It’s a small town. Some students have dreams of moving away after graduation, and others want to stay and continue their legacy at home. PTECH is mindful about these feelings and adjusts their curricula to prepare students for any path they decide to take. 

The young people who live in this geographic region are at risk for being in low-pay, high-turnover positions. They lack access to CTE courses or advance college opportunities, and often do not graduate from high school. HVPA provides them with the education to learn skills for middle income career opportunities to create a more fulfilling life within the comforts of their hometown, and beyond. Their curricula is heavily career focused. Students must display their work to show employers and recruiters the skills they learned. This is why they started using bulb school-wide. Students showcase their projects, certifications, and real-life learnings within their digital portfolios. 

 

About PTECH: HVPA

The Kingston City School District received a grant to found HVPA 7 years ago. They worked alongside Ulster Community College and the Council of Industry of the Greater Hudson Valley to establish a triad partnership. Together, their goal was to understand and establish the skills students need to be employable after graduation. 

Part of their regular process is working with industry partners to identify job opportunities. Then, they create curricula to teach the students the skills they need to meet those job requirements. Throughout the school year, HVPA continues to work with local partners, organizations, and the community college to move their students along one of three pathways: Manufacturing, Network Administration, Health Informatics

Principal Peter Harris

HPVA’s current Principal is Peter Harris. Peter has 26 years of experience in education; 15 years as an English teacher and 11 years in administration. In his current role, he creates programs for young people who live in the region and do not normally have access to CTE courses or advance college opportunities. He initiated a digital portfolio program. His students needed a way to document their work for a few reasons: 

  • To track progress and celebrate growth
  • To demonstrate to potential employers their skills
  • To give educators and industry professionals a way to provide students with direct feedback 
  • To create and fortify the school’s industry partnerships, giving more opportunities for students to have real work experience and opportunities for employment
  • To encourage continual learning for each student

bulb was the answer.

Hands-on learning

Students learn workforce ready skills at HVPA through skills-based and project-based learning. They learn how to accomplish work and workflow in a tactical way.

One of the first projects incoming freshmen complete is LEAN manufacturing training—creating an efficient workflow by streamlining and organizing each step of a process. Students are challenged to build a clock. Through a series of iterative feedback, they reach the most efficient workflow possible, usually by the 4th simulation. This process shifts the students’ thinking and creates a solid foundation of understanding on how to execute projects throughout their career. 

The portfolio difference

One of the biggest challenges for Principal Harris was finding a quality way to highlight the achievements of his students to HVPA’s industry partners. Along with finding a platform where students document each step of their projects and present their work, they wanted their industry partners to be able to give the students direct feedback. 

“Feedback from industry partners, people who are capable of critiquing based on product mastery, is essential to what we do,” says Principal Harris. “Our goal is to provide all learners the skills to articulate and curate their work in a clean, clear way to a public audience. bulb allows students to do this.”

bulb met all of Principal Harris’ needs for the type of platform he was looking for. It allows the students to dynamically showcase a project from launch to reflection. Curation, ideation, critique, it’s all done in bulb now so students can: 

  • Access their portfolio from any device, so they can address feedback and make direct edits in their portfolios at any time.
  • Capture all of their learning from different projects in one place to see their growth. This also helps students identify what concepts make them excited, so they can fulfill a role with the skills they like to learn.

Even during school closures due to COVID-19, bulb enabled the school to keep the learning going. At the end of each year, graduating students give Chapter Presentations where they are given 7 minutes to present their entire learning journey to HVPA faculty. Usually this event is held in person, but this year it was done online with students using their bulb digital portfolios to walk through their learnings.

“bulb is another partnership we can leverage to accentuate the success of our kids. During a professional meeting, I can pull out my phone and in a few clicks show dynamic student work”

After introducing bulb

PTECH: HVPA enhanced positive outcomes for each student. With their portfolios, they’re able to prove to themselves, to educators, and potential employers that they are workforce ready and have the skills to be successful. Their portfolios show the world that they’re able to take a concept and complete a task; they use creativity; they have multiple technological fluencies; they are self-disciplined; and they are global citizens ready to be led and to lead. 

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