[NASAFACS] cluster discussion

Wed Mar 7 10:14:20 MST 2012

Hi all,
At the state level, New York does not use the 16 national clusters though many local districts do (incidently, there are 680 districts in NY). Instead, New York's Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) standards spell out 6 clusters (called career majors) in which we categorize all CTE programs across our six content areas. The career majors are: Arts and Humanities, Business and Information Systems, Health Services, Engineering/Technologies, Human and Public Services, and Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Our six content areas (each represented by an SED associate) are: Agricultural education, Business and Marketing education, Family and Consumer Sciences education, Health Occupations education, Technology education, and Trade and Technical education. Since our content area programs are organized into the 6 clusters, the clusters are made up of programs from more than one content area.  For example, the Arts and Humanities cluster includes programs from the Trade and Technical content area (Graphic Communications), Family and Consumer Sciences (Fashion Design), Business (Retail Merchandising), and Technology (Communication Systems). Because many local districts use the national cluster model, our SED has developed a chart showing how content area programs align with the 16 clusters and how the clusters fit into New York's 6. So...our identity as FACS programs is not defined by a cluster, and representation of FACS programs in multiple clusters bolsters visibility. 
Across CTE content areas in NY, our team promotes programs that correspond to the model Peggy has described (though we haven't framed it in the same way and I think we may "steal" Indiana's frame).  Programs that are foundational for all students/all pathways we call Career Exploration and these are our middle level pieces; programs that provide supporting content for multiple pathways we call Career Development and these are our high school "all aspects of the industry" programs; programs that prepare students for focused careers we call Career Planning and these would be our pathway-specific programs. Promoting this variety of CTE options has helped our schools find ways to maintain programs when doing so has become increasingly difficult in this economic and educational climate. So...I would favor a plan that maintains as much flexibility for pointing out FACS contribution as possible.
I think we may be able to "have our cake and eat it too." Identifying a cluster where FACS is the lead puts FACS name in prominent place next to other CTE content areas in the 16 cluster model. Providing guidance (and promotional) materials that show all the other places FACS supports remaining clusters could continue--this is essentially what we're doing now, right? 
So...this is my "two cents." Unfortunately, my state is still disallowing out-of-state travel for associates, making it impossible for me to join you in May. I will check in electronically if that option is available.
Take care,

Dawn B. Scagnelli, Associate
Family & Consumer Sciences Education
Rm EB 315
Career & Technical Education Team
New York State Education Department
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY  12234
(518) 486-1547
f ax (518) 402-5114
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