Professional Learning

Professional Learning

ALL Professional Development Offerings can be delivered virtually and customized at a discounted price for a school or district. Please contact Connie Majka ( for more information.

NCAC Professional Learning Statement: NCAC challenges and supports career academies to enact, maintain, and sustain transformational professional learning approaches with the goal of creating inclusive and transparent learning systems that prepare all students for postsecondary success.

NCAC believes that effective professional learning is:

     • adaptive rather than technical;

     • user-centered rather than one-size fits all;

     • based on continuous improvement practices; and

     • focused on preparing students for postsecondary success.


Master Scheduling: The implementation of career academies requires special attention to the master schedule development. An academy master schedule needs to shift from the traditional approach to a student-centered approach. The correct schedule allows schools to place students and teachers into cohorts so common planning can be used to meet students’ needs and for the development of interdisciplinary projects. Training will assist schools on how to move away from the traditional schedule.  Components of the training include creating time for common planning, a focus on class and student purity, and building a community of practice around master scheduling. Processes for building the master schedule will be also provided. Assistance with master scheduling can be customized based on a school’s needs.  Two-day training.

Teaching on the Block Schedule: Teaching on the Block focuses participants on thinking about how to structure the planning and delivery of instruction in approximately 90-minute block of time.  This training takes one class period and develop thinking and knowledge on how to introduce concepts and learning targets in engaging ways, deepening skills and knowledge though designing activities as well as individual and group work and applications of that new knowledge and skills through student designed work.  The session also discusses strategies for transitions between activities that keeps students focused and sees the relevancy of the work and pacing of instruction based on assessing where students are at any given moment.  One-day training.

Standards Based Interdisciplinary Planning for Teams: This session teaches participants the processes and protocols for designing interdisciplinary learning that focuses on like concepts and skills.  Teachers learn the process of looking deeply at content standards through an interdisciplinary lens to discover common concepts and skills.  Once these concepts and skills are identified then topics, or big ideas, begin to emerge. Interdisciplinary enduring understanding and essential questions are then collaboratively created as the framework for introducing the units of study.  Teachers leave this session with the skills necessary to design interdisciplinary units of study that are rigorous in nature because of the design of student work, relevant because they are tied to the 21st Century Skills needed to thrive and survive in today’s workplace and personalized due to students often being a part of the design process itself.  Two-day training.

Highly Effective Teams: Increasing Personalization and Responsive Interventions that Supports Student Achievement: To become a highly functioning interdisciplinary team of teachers understanding the stages of development is the first step to making conscious decisions that impacts student learning.  This session identifies the stages of development of academic teams, the processes and protocols that support focused and effective meetings and steps to creating a Responsive Academic Intervention for students that is data driven and personalized for each student.  Teachers also write a vision and/or mission statement for their team as well as identifying goals that are aligned with the school and district's goals.  Two-day training.

Learner Outcomes:

  • Understand of the stages of development for academic teams
  • Understand the differences in preventive and responsive interventions
  • Understand framework for a systemic Pyramid of Interventions
  • Understand processes and protocols that support effective and efficient working meetings
  • Understand the importance of creating a team mission, goals, and collective beliefs to guide work

Career Academies 101:  This training provides an indepth look at career academies and the ingredients that comprise highly successful ones. If scheduling, curriculum integration, teaming and recruitment make your head spin or if you worry about developing an advisory board or creating effective partnerships, this work session helps you delve into the rationale behind each one, as well as strategies to approach the topics.  You will receive guidance from professionals based on the ten National Standards of Practice (NSOP) and learn the secrets of how to get started in the right direction. You would never consider baking a cake without a recipe to follow. Career Academies 101 takes the same approach and has been effective for academies across the country.  One or two-day training.

Career Academies 201: Have you started your academy and want to move it to the next level? Or are you stymied by particular challenges—advisory board consistency, integrated projects, student recruitment and retention, marketing, common planning time, data collection—just to name a few?  We will ask you to do some self-examination ahead of time to determine your specific academy needs and then we will create the customized professional development your academy needs. Your team will learn from professionals in the field who have specialized in these areas and who have helped to guide academies to high quality.  One or two-day training.

Business Engagement Structure:  Career academies are set apart as a high school reform model with a major ingredient: the involvement of the business community. A critical component of the career academy model is the engagement of the business, college and broader community in the organization and leadership of the academy, as well as helping to provide the experiential components that make the academy model unique and powerful. Educators are often stymied as to how to approach the business community, engage them and retain and expand their interest. This training provides a step-by-step approach to working with the business, college and broader community and includes some planning documents and forms that can be used.  The ROI (return on investment) can be approached from both the education and the business side very successfully and strategically.  One-day training.

Freshman College and Career Planning Design – A well-designed freshman experience sets the foundation for college and career readiness for all high school students.  In this one-day workshop, NCAC will facilitate the design of a freshman experience that sets this foundation for your academies.  From planning a college fair to career interest inventories, a well-designed freshman experience will prepare your students for the next level.  Two-day training.

Senior Capstone Design - Capstone projects are designed to encourage students to think critically, solve challenging problems, and develop skills such as oral communication, public speaking, research skills, media literacy, teamwork, planning, self-sufficiency, or goal setting—i.e., skills that will help prepare them for college, modern careers, and adult life. In most cases, the projects are also interdisciplinary, in the sense that they require students to apply skills or investigate issues across many different subject areas or domains of knowledge. Capstone projects also tend to encourage students to connect their projects to community issues or problems, and to integrate outside-of-school learning experiences, including activities such as interviews, scientific observations, or internships.  In this one-day workshop, NCAC will facilitate your team to design a customized senior capstone.

School Counselors Central of Academy Success - Is your district or school moving to an Academy model?  What does this mean for you as a professional school counselor?  This workshop teaches school counselors, principals and district administrators how to implement an effective developmental, comprehensive school- counseling program that directly aligns with the NCAC National Standards of Practice for Academies. This workshop will demonstrate how merging the academy team model with the ASCA National model can accelerate an Academy’s progress in meeting school improvement goals while also developing the social-emotional, career and college ready competencies of all students. As a participant, you will review your school specific data in order to set specific counseling program goals that will help you demonstrate the impact of your school counseling program on Academy and student success.  Participants will learn best practices on how implementation of the Academy model supports school counselors in developing highly effective programs, services and interventions for all students.  In addition, participants will learn how the Academy model assists with helping students prepare and select pathways to college/postsecondary while still providing alternative schedule options to personalize learning.  Effective academy counseling will increase attendance rates, graduation rates and students who are on track for successful transition into college and career.  Participants will leave with actual documents and tools that will change how you and others view your school counseling program!  Two-day training.

Data, Data, Data: The Knowledge and Tools You Need to Effectively Use Data in Schools, Classrooms and/or Counseling Programs - Do you and your colleagues feel overwhelmed with all the data available to you from your state and district?  How do you know what to spend your time reviewing and what is just for the politicians?  This workshop will help you determine the key data elements and reports that are essential to Academy and student success.  Participants will explore demographic data, attainment data, achievement data, student behavioral data, opportunity data and much, much more.  You will learn which data to prioritize as you set goals for your Academy, classroom and counseling program. You will leave feeling confident in knowing how to sort through the myriad of data out there so you can target what is most important as an administrator, teacher and/or counselor in ensuring student success for all. One-day training.

Developing Programs of Study - Selecting Academy Pathways and Courses Vertically Aligned with Postsecondary and Workforce Opportunities - Arguably, the most critical exercise when framing a college and career academy is the identification of academy pathways and courses. Ensuring that the selected pathways are fully aligned with local and regional postsecondary offerings and workforce opportunities is essential. Participants will learn the key non-negotiables of undertaking this work and will experience identification and decision-making in real time. The customized training is two- to three-days based on the needs of the client.

Training Up Your CTE Teachers - One of the core components of a robust, high-quality college and career academy model is ensuring CTE educators receive ongoing, progressive training and professional development so that their instruction is fully reflective of the pathway, course standards and current industry work environments. Unfortunately, this critical element is often underdeveloped as districts and schools execute their CTE-related pathways. If this oversight is left unchecked, then even the best academy models will be for naught when it comes to what the students actually learn and experience in the classroom. Training will focus on how toset and provide instructional expectations, training, and the right conditions for the long-term success of CTE educators and students. Two-day training.

Delivering a Robust Work-Based Learning (WBL) Program - For any college and career academy, work-based learning should be an integrated, proactive strain bridging the gap between classroom learning and high-demand, high-skill careers for students. WBL exposure begins by helping students develop a broad understanding and awareness of industries and possible careers that are available to them. Over time, these experiences narrow in focus and intensify in skills development as students progress through their chosen pathways. To develop and deliver this progressive WBL continuum in complement with academy pathways requires purposeful employer placements in concert with intentional classroom reinforcement. Training will unpack how to develop an appropriate WBL framework, including employer recruitment and program measures. One-day or two-day training based on the needs of the client.

How to Select Industry-Valued Certifications and Ensure Your Academy Pathways Align to Them - The plethora of work-related credentials that are being promoted by various vendors can lead even the most informed K-12 administrators and high school teachers feeling confused and uncertain as to which are valued by industry and which are worthless. Becoming an informed consumer ensures that students are earning the right certifications that are fully reflected in their pathway courses and that are fully valued by industry. This one-day training, which can be expanded to two days based on client interest, will provide the essential identification and validation tools and processes necessary to vet and align academy pathways with appropriate industry-valued certifications.  

Crafting a Robust State and/or Local CTE Plan Under the New Carl Perkins Act

With the passage of the reauthorized Carl Perkins Act, which provides Federal funding for Career and Technical Education at the K-12 and postsecondary levels, state agencies and local school districts must craft and then get approved their submitted plans/applications. Technical assistance will include an unpacking of key requirements, steps to ensure plan and funding alignment with robust college and career student pathways, framing of notable process phases and deadlines, and critical feedback of plan/application iterations leading to final submission and approval. Given the complexities of this work, technical assistance will be customized to meet the needs of the client. 

NCAC Pricing for adult workshops:

# Attendees                        #TRAINERS      1 DAY                   2 DAYS                3 DAYS

0-60                                                1              $4,600                    $7,000                    $10,350

61-120                                           2               $7,000                    $11,600                  $15,750

120+                                              3               $13,800                  $15,750                  $23,700


Academy Action Plan - NCAC will work with school leaders to design a three-year action plan written in a SMART format and aligned with the Ten National Standards of Practice.  This action plan will serve as a three-year guide for implementation of quality career academies.  This three-day workshop includes the design of a graduate profile and a college and career continuum of experiences for 100% of your students. Three-day workshop at a cost of $25,000...includes follow up, plan edits, and a final copy of the action plan delivered.

Student Ambassador Leadership Training: Word of mouth is the most effective and efficient way to communicate the benefits of career-connected education - and there is no better way to employ this strategy than through a Student Brand Ambassador Program. Student Brand Ambassadors should represent the diversity of your school and include students that are thought-leaders. NCAC’s Student Brand Ambassador Certification Program ensures that your Ambassadors have the training they need to successfully represent their Academies, High School and district. And, by coming to your district, NCAC trainers make sure the students are prepared in their own environment and in a cost efficient manner.  Choose from a customized one, two, or three-day training package. For detailed information and to see the list of Modules go to the Student Ambassadors page

NCAC Pricing for student workshops:

# STUDENTS      #TRAINERS        1 DAY        2 DAYS       3 DAYS

      0 - 75                      1                   $4,600             $7,000         $10,350

      75 - 150                  2                   $7,000            $11,600        $15,750

       150 +                     3                  $13,800           $15,750        $23,700

Students will receive an NCAC Student Brand Ambassador Certification for a one-day training.  Adding a second day of training, students will receive the NCAC Student Brand Ambassador Certification with Distinction!


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