Idea Center


The NRCCTE and its partner ACTE searched for ideas and promising practices that have positive impacts on student achievement in real CTE classrooms. The Idea Center collects this information and makes it easy for teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, and others to share, comment on, and experiment to make CTE better for all students, whether they are in high school, community college, four-year college, or simply looking to gain or improve their skills.

Practitioner Wisdom Practices are techniques that have a positive impact on students. These can be anything from how the classroom is set up, to a teaching method, to the use of a type of technology. Promising Practices are also techniques that have a positive impact on students, but that also have some research data (from very rigorous to less rigorous study designs) to support their claims of effectiveness.



Career academies are organized as small learning communities and offer curricula that combine academic and occupation-related course requirements designed to promote applied learning and to satisfy college entrance requirements. Academies establish partnerships with local employers to build sequences of career readiness and work-based learning opportunities for their students.

The Wellness Project started out of one teacher’s belief that health professionals should adopt and model a wellness lifestyle. The Wellness Project is an integrated project involving many learning dimensions culminating in a community-wide Wellness Fair. During this project, students identify a wellness goal they would like to meet; write the goal in specific, measurable terms; complete a research paper validating the benefits of their goal; implement and evaluate the goal; create a display based on a specific rubric; and participate in the Wellness Fair.

M.A.T.H. Today (Mathematics and Technology Happen Today) was a grant-funded three-year study of whether participation in computer-based mathematics programs would improve work-related math skills of students from special populations. The idea for the study came from the realization that basically every student needs to master challenging mathematics-and that students from special populations may not be able to meet national and state mathematics standards.

The building design of many comprehensive high schools can hamper communication and collaboration between academic and career and technical teachers. Leaders at Texarkana Area Vocational Center and Arkansas High School, two parts of a large campus in the Texarkana, AR, school district, launched a successful effort to unify the campus and strengthen relationships among staff members. The project prompted teachers to understand their students better and to design more interdisciplinary projects to combine academic and career studies.

Hot Air Balloon Project, an interdisciplinary activity, involves students of varying ability levels in five curricular areas: physics, technology, math, history and communications in a fun, exciting hands-on learning project. Fundamental principles of flight and design are presented in a cross-curricular, integrated, contextual approach that provides for students success in linking classroom theory and real-life application.