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A high educational priority in the State of Rhode Island is to provide students with occupational information in order that they may be better able to make proper career choices. As a result of this priority, the Department of Education has initiated a major exemplary program in career education and several smaller experimental efforts.
The major program, which enrolls approximately 850 students. began in September 1972 in the East Providence School System. The goal of the project is to test the hypothesis that an individualized, learner-centered, career-oriented program is superior to the traditional group-oriented subject matter centered approach. Posttesting is presently being completed.
Due in part to the development of minigrants the Department of Education in 1973 funded several elementary and secondary classroom teachers for limited career education programs which familiarize students with a broad range of occupational clusters. This effort has resulted in two benefits: (1) Approximately 2.500 additional students have been provided with various approaches to career exposure, (2) Several LEA's have become enthused with career education as an educational delivery system and have applied for total system grants based on their positive experiences.
Residential Vocational Education.-Does not apply.
c. Consumer Homemaking and Occupational Home Economics
CONSUMER HOMEMAKING AND OCCUPATIONAL HOME ECONOMICS-ENROLLMENTS
A great deal of progress has taken place in consumer and homemaking education since passage of the amendments. Overall program shift has resulted in a new emphasis in 1968 on consumer education, a reconstructing of facilities, and preparation of curriculums for students in economically depressed areas. In 1972 a total of 940 students participated in consumer education courses. Over 1,300 disadvantaged persons were served by programs in fiscal 1972, 18 of these serving youth in economically depressed areas.
Complete revision of the existing homemaking programs occurred in several senior high schools. Proposals developed for this purpose had the dual focus of planning for reconstruction of physical facilities and development of a new curricula emphasizing consumer education. Renovations are complete and the new curriculum includes 14 courses, 7 of which are minicourses. All are tailored to the needs of special disadvantaged populations.
An additional effort to serve more adults in economically depressed areas consisted of a developed pilot project to help individual consumers from low-income families obtain knowledge and information about agencies providing services designed to aid consumers in obtaining maximum benefits from the financial resources of the marketplace. Four low-income communities were selected for the project— Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Woonsocket. Consumer meetings and workshops were well planned and very well accepted. Attendance at six open meetings associated with the project was over 800 and more than 300 persons attended the six workshops. Similar programs are being considered for future funding.
Adult programs appear to be slower in accepting the new direction. toward consumer orientation as major interest and emphasis at this level remains with skill-oriented programs. Combinations of skill- and consumer-oriented programs are being initiated as a possible means of redirecting and refocusing the adult programs.
Through inservice workshops new techniques and methodology are being introduced to existing programs. The majority of teachers welcome information on materials and resources that can be used innovatively means to improve course content.
Future emphasis will continue along the present line of servicing consumers and the disadvantaged population. Major objectives include continuation of inservice courses and work-hops for upgrading home economics teachers' skills particularly with regard to the consumer concept and utilization of new materials.
It is hoped that through these efforts the school systems in Rhode Island will, in the near future, be prepared to offer a relevant progression of course work in consumer home economics education at all educational levels with emphasis on the present needs of individual students.
Cooperative vocational education, Students serviced in co-op programa
Enrollment goals for cooperative education were exceeded in 1972. During the year, 22 cooperative programs were conducted, an increase of 13 over fiscal year 1971. Twenty programs were operated at the secondary level and two at the postsecondary level. The total number of students enrolled in cooperative vocational education was 749. This represents an increase of 521 students over the previous year. Of the total number of students enrolled in vocational education at the secondary level, approximately 6 percent were involved in cooperative programs.
While the majority of the students were enrolled in distributive education, programs in agriculture, health occupations, technical fields and trade and industrial education were also offered.
The close relationship of school to the industrial world is evidenced not only by the involvement of students in on the job work experiences, but also by the active participation of employers who serve on local
and State advisory committees. These committees are increasingly involved in the formulation and development of curricula for the various occupational areas as well as placement and promotional activities. The educational continuum that now exists between secondary programs and higher education within the State has had a beneficial effect on student enrollment at postsecondary institutions. Many high school program graduates now have the opportunity to pursue cooperative education experiences at the midmanagement level in retail management programs at Rhode Island Junior College, Johnson and Wales College, and Roger Williams College.
Because co-op education has proven extremely beneficial and relevant to 11th, and 12th grade students in all vocational training programs, efforts continue to increase the number of programs available in both the area facilities and other secondary schools and to encourage the hiring of local co-op education coordinators. Several such coordinators were added to high school staffs during 1973. Twentyeight programs are now being funded under the amendments and approximately 1,100 students are presently being served.
The State staff has been most successful in efforts to establish workstudy programs in areas of the State having high concentrations of youth unemployment and school dropouts. While 58 students served last year represents a decrease in number over previous years, local educational agencies have tended toward operating year-round workstudy programs for those few students considered most in need of financial assistance. Previous summer programs although providing assistance to a greater number of students were probably less effective on an individual basis. Rhode Island, with an annual allocation of less than $25.000 for work-study programs, has been unable to assist the many hundreds of vocational students who may have profited greatly from this part of the act.
Most of the Federal funds received in Rhode Island for research and training programs have been applied toward the development of a statewide information system for vocational program planning, operation, and evaluation.
The system is to serve as a pilot for the overall Rhode Island Educational Management Information System (RIEMIS) which will include all levels of education. It was organized in two phases: System analysis and design and, detailed design and implementation.
The scope of phase I involved four basic components: (1) Identification of data element inputs, (2) structuring a program accounting and budgeting system, (3) definition of system outputs, and (4) systems design as related to hardward and processing requirements.
The systems analysis and design phase achieved three major objec tives:
1. Centralizing and integrating to the extent possible, the collection, processing, and dissemination of all information related to vocational education.
1. Technical Effort.-Tasks related to this step are directed tothe technical and procedural aspects of the system, and also the 2. Recognition of the user's needs in the Department of Education and at the local level, especially as those needs relate to the decisionmaking process.
3. Laying the groundwork necessary to establish planning, programing, and budgeting systems.
Phase II detailed design and implementation, takes into account the technical and procedural aspects of the system, and also the user's needs. It encompasses two major steps:
1. Technical Effort.-Tasks related to this step are directed toward the data processing aspects of the system such as those described below:
(a) Finalize systems design in terms of-field definitions and limits: file definitions.
(b) Finalize output specifications.
(c) Develop editing and data entry procedures.
(d) Develop computer programs,
(e) Prepare systems documentation.
2. Step 2-User Effort.-User manuals have been completed and seminars for those participating in the system are currently being conducted. During the next few months a "debugging" period involving only the State's Area Vocational schools will be initiated.
This system, which is unique in its design, promises to be among the foremost accomplishments in State administration achieved as a result of the vocational education amendments. We are hopeful that the system will prove to be attractive and transportable to other States thereby spreading out the cost effectiveness of dollars expended in its development.
Rhode Island's system of area vocational-technical facilities is somewhat unlike most other States. Facilities are constructed next to existing comprehensive high schools designated "area" receiving schools, Students from surrounding areas attend that high school instead of their own. Students in these facilities are part of the student body at the high school next to the facility and completely integrated into their curriculum offerings,
The facilities are owned by the State and constructed with State bond funds on land deeded to the State by the local commun tv. Each of the secondary area facilities is directed by a coordinator of vocational technical education and employs as many vocational guidance counselors as necessary to keep the ratio at 200:1. A cooperative education coordinator is also employed at the facility. His du ties include the liaison responsibilities necessary to establish and monitor the combination work study program which each senior high school student may elect.
Each regional vocational technical facility is assisted by an area advisory committee, consisting of local representatives of business,
labor and industry, developed to insure that the school's curriculum is adapting to the changing needs of both industry and students. The vocational system encourages cooperative programs, which are closely planned educational experiences in which students receive on-the-job training while under school supervision. These programs provide an opportunity for local business and industry to make a substantial contribution to education while developing a continuing supply of skilled labor well prepared for employment upon graduation. It is a training program which enables educators to provide vocational training situations impossible to duplicate in the classroom.
Business, industry, and labor have continued to actively support and promote vocational education. Examples of such cooperation include the Rhode Island Builders Association which sponsored four student house building programs during 1971-72. The program will be expanded to two additional facilities this year. Several major modifications of the State provide annual incentive awards to outstanding vocational students and a large number of employers offer cooperative work experiences to in school youth.
CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE STATE ADVISORY COUNCIL
The Rhode Island State Advisory Council for Vocational and Technical Education, first established in April 1967, is composed of 19 members of diverse affiliations. In addition to those duties and responsibilities under the provisions of Public Law 90-576, the council has become actively involved in the advancement of vocational education through various promotional activities and maintains continuous contact with local area advisory committees.
The council published its first annual evaluation report of vocational-technical education in Rhode Island in June 1970. The study and analysis of the statewide program which provided a basis for the report, was conducted during the spring of 1970 by the American Vocational Research Corp. under contract with the council.
An analysis of the council's report was prepared by the Division of Vocational-Technical education and presented to the State board of regents in November 1970. This analysis responded to the following six primary factors considered in the evaluation and also provided recommendations concerning their implementation.
1. Industry, manpower and wages in Rhode Island.
2. Extent and direction of the vocational-technical education program.