A multiple case study of a select group of Texas school administrators' perceptions of a change initiative : tech prep integration into career and technology education (CATE) programs

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Salaiz, Norma Linda Tijerina, 1958-

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Changes in the expectation of Career and Technology Education (CATE) programs and the integration of the Tech Prep reform initiative have created serious challenges for local administrators overseeing today’s high schools. Craig (1998) believes that the success of Tech Prep programs depends on the involvement of key administrators such as the superintendent, high school principal, and the vocational director. While these local administrators attempt the successful implementation of this vii reform initiative into existing programs, little is known about their experiences and the challenges they face. The purpose of this study was to examine how school district administrators have integrated the Tech Prep reform initiative into CATE programs and the influence it has had on CATE reform. The case study utilized purposeful sampling to select the consortium, three high school principals, and three CATE administrators from school districts that had demonstrated active Tech Prep participation within the selected consortium. Qualitative research techniques were used to gather data through in-depth, semi-structured interviews, review of consortium and school district Tech Prep data. Individual-case and cross-case pattern analysis was utilized to analyze the gathered data. Findings of the study suggest that the Tech Prep initiative positively influenced the administrators’ job roles of visionary and supporter. The administrators identified six job responsibilities influenced by the Tech Prep initiative in the following areas: program goal evaluation; campus planning; change implementation; team building; public relations; and staff development. Tech Prep critical characteristics identified as positively influencing CATE program reform included career pathways, standardsbased curriculum, work-based learning, and career guidance/exploration. Characteristics cited as experiencing implementation problems were academics taught in context and interdisciplinary problem solving. Common barriers encountered in the implementation of Tech Prep initiatives included lack of time, inadequate facilities, insufficient funding, communication gaps, and staff mobility. Strategies for enhancing the potential for program success included viii improved public relations, increased student recognition and staff meeting/planning time, generating central office support and funding partnerships, and facilitating the articulation credit retrieval process. The consortium and campus level support teams were credited by participants as critical in institutionalizing the reform effort within the participating school districts.


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