The Committee on Technical and Career Institutions (CTCI), part of CPS, accredits eighty comprehensive technical high schools and career centers throughout New England. Career and Technical Education (CTE) in New England is delivered through a variety of models, including but not limited to: comprehensive technical high schools, technical career centers, vocational and agricultural high schools, agricultural high schools, Job Corps Centers, and vocational aquaculture centers. A common pedagogy unites all CTE approaches: a belief that students are most engaged when teaching is personalized, inquiry-based, applied to real world situations, and problem/project-based. A key feature of CTE is on-the-job experiential learning. CTE programs are STEAM based (science, technology, engineering, arts, math), aligned with career pathways, and combine rigorous academic and technical curriculums that lead students to earn stackable credentials, licensure, and hours toward state apprenticeships.
Accreditation is a voluntary undertaking by an educational institution. As such, the value is intrinsic; the benefit is in the doing - in the exercise of conducting an in-depth self-reflective analysis of one’s center or school based upon the Standards of Accreditation.
The validity of the self-study process is justified by a team of volunteer peer evaluators representing career and technical institutions from throughout New England who visit the school or center for three and one-half days (decennial visit) or for two and one-half days (five year focus visit). The visiting team looks to validate the school or center’s self-study report through direct observation of its practices and through interviews with key constituents (students, teachers, administrators, parents, community representatives, business partners). The visiting team report will include detailed analysis of each academic and technical program, as well as an analysis of the school or center’s practices relative to the standards. It is vitally important to note the formative nature of the team’s visit and report. The peer evaluators function as “critical friends” who provide commendations and recommendations that assist the institution’s improvement process.