The Study

School districts across the United States face the challenge of finding resources to sustain their Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. The Cumberland County School District in rural Tennessee is better positioned than many of its peers when it comes to resources and funding for CTE.

The district currently has the 13th largest CTE program in the state, teaching courses in all 16 nationally recognized career clusters and using the latest curriculum and technology on the market.

Curriculum at Cumberland County goes through a thorough review by teachers to ensure it meets the needs of the CTE program and provides students with a comprehensive learning experience. CTE Director Chris King explained the curriculum should align closely to state academic standards, while matching students’ ability to develop new skills. The iCEV online learning platform met all the requirements on King’s checklist, and the platform quickly became a staple in many of the district’s CTE courses.


 

Striving Forward

“We’re fortunate to have great facilities and the appropriate amount of equipment for every course we teach,” King said. “Some courses rely heavily on a particular text or two, but iCEV is the best match, closely aligns to Tennessee state standards and provides information that can be incorporated into the experiential portion of a class or lab.”

Many of King’s teachers were familiar with iCEV through previous work and often complimented on how the platform provided students with the ability to pursue courses at their own pace that catered to their career interests. By being able to supplement their instruction with iCEV, teachers at Cumberland County School were able to present more meaningful and actionable lessons describing potential career fields. Along with the robust courses, the teachers noted that they appreciated having the lessons, videos and tests streamlined in one central location.

“Our teachers take full advantage of the iCEV platform, and it's been incorporated into most of our classes this year," King explained.

Cumberland County Schools
Terra Davis, Agriculture Education teacher/FFA Advisor demonstrates iCEV assessments in her first period Agriscience course.

“The most important features vary by teacher, but as a comprehensive resource for our courses, teachers are able to give our students a multidimensional view of their chosen career paths.”


 

A Call for Certifications

Finding opportunities outside the classroom has quickly become a critical component for the majority of CTE programs – an approach that’s proved to be extremely valuable for students. The advantage of robust, standards-aligned instructional materials is amplified by industry-backed certifications which allow students to pursue their college and career goals simultaneously. King stressed the importance of partnering with industry professionals and the need for states to recognize industry-backed certifications that increase exposure to fields in need of highly skilled workers.

“It’s important for the state to recognize those students who get the experience they need for a career or post-secondary education,” King said. “It’s our responsibility to understand that we need to introduce our students to multiple tracks so that each of the new skills they learn has a direct purpose and impact on where they’re headed after high school.”

King sees the advantage of continuing to use and expand upon the offering of iCEV’s industry-backed certifications to his students. The certifications are curricula created by CEV Multimedia for iCEV with esteemed industry partners such as Southwest Airlines, Elanco and Bayer CropScience. The rigor and breadth of the certification process demonstrates the student’s expertise in the field through robust lessons and a comprehensive assessment. In addition to the knowledge gained from the certification coursework, several local professionals serve as advisers for the Cumberland County CTE program which allows students to gain real-world knowledge and connections that best position them for their future careers.

Statewide, Tennessee recognizes a number of certifications, but King believes adding more credentials can benefit students’ understanding of their field and provide proof of qualified competence to prospective employers. Cumberland County hopes it can work with state policymakers to recognize the opportunities iCEV certifications can provide for local businesses and students.

Cumberland County Schools
Students at Cumberland County High School view video lessons on the iCEV platform.

“We’re seeing funding flow in a way that has showed more and more people that we have focused far too long on how many kids we’re going to send to college, rather than how many kids we’re going to send to the workforce with the right training and right skills,” King said. “It’s become more important for Tennessee to promote a mentality and thought process that causes schools to take a Kindergarten-through-jobs approach by exposing students to potential career paths earlier than before so they can begin to focus on a path sooner to become more prepared for their future career.”

“We want to not just grow for the sake of growing, but grow in quality so that our students are well-rounded and receive additional training that will directly translate into real-life experiences.”


 

Looking Forward

King is hopeful and happy to see where the CTE program in Cumberland County is headed. Over the past 25 years, he’s faced the challenge of making CTE worthwhile for every student and not just for a few. The district plans to graduate 55 to 60 percent of its students in CTE concentrations every year.

“We want to not just grow for the sake of growing, but grow in quality so that our students are well-rounded and receive additional training that will directly translate into real-life experiences,” King said. “It’s rewarding to see companies like CEV Multimedia take an idea and help districts understand what needs to be done to help improve CTE instruction, and nice to know there’s a collective body of people that see the importance of jobs that matter for everyone.”

Cumberland County Schools
Cumberland County High School student completes an interactive activity on the iCEV platform.


About CEV Multimedia
With 33 years of experience, CEV specializes in providing quality Career & Technical Education (CTE) curriculum and education resources for several major subject areas: Agricultural Science and Technology, Family & Consumer Sciences, Business Education, Marketing Education, Trade and Industrial Education, Health Science, Law Enforcement and Career Exploration. CEV received the U.S Chamber of Commerce’s Blue Ribbon Small Business Award in 2012 and has been honored numerous times for its excellence in content creation and exemplary business practices. In 2012, CEV introduced iCEV, an online platform revolutionizing the way CEV produces and delivers educational content. iCEV is the most comprehensive online resource for CTE educators and students offering learning-on-demand features, video clips streaming and testing and grading capabilities to any device with Internet capabilities. Through iCEV, students can earn industry-backed certifications across multiple areas of CTE that prepare them for college and beyond. For more information, visit www.icevonline.com.