PDE/BCTE PennLink Provides CATS Info to LEAs (February 16, 2021)

On February 16, 2021, Dr. Lee Burket, Bureau of Career and Technical Education Director, sent a PennLink communiqué to all LEAs titled 2021-2022 Career and Technical Education Information System (CATS) Secondary Program Approval File. The memo urges recipients to share this information pertaining to the re-approval of the CATS Program with your high school principals, career and technical education (CTE) supervisors, curriculum coordinators, applicable department chairs, business managers, school counselors, CTE instructional staff, and school support personnel.

CATS Program Re-Approval
For the 2021-2022 school year, the Pennsylvania Department of Education/Bureau of Career and Technical Education (PDE/BCTE) in accordance with Chapter 339.4(a)(2), will begin to review all existing secondary approved programs currently being offered at career and technical centers (CTCs) across the commonwealth. School district approved secondary programs will be re-approved during the 2022-2023 school year. The CATS file is a series of individual pages containing data elements pertaining to various aspects of approved programs. All school entities with approved programs must ensure that all data element information in CATS is accurate. Failure to comply may result in programs no longer being approved. Professional staff from the PDE/BCTE will be contacting all CTCs to assist with the re-approval process. CTCs have until May 31, 2021 to update the data elements in CATS. CATS can be accessed at the login on PDE’s homepage.

2021-2022 CATS Secondary Program Initial Approval
The 2021-22 CATS Secondary Program Approval file is now open for new secondary CTE program approval requests. The CATS file is a series of individual pages containing data elements pertaining to various aspects of approved CTE programs. The newly updated CATS Secondary Program Approval Instructions are available on the PDE website. BCTE recommends that approval for Programs of Study (POS) be sought for all programs for which a POS exists. Programs for which a POS has not been developed, approval must be sought for a CTE delivery. All approved programs must be delivered as POS or Career and Technical Education. All industry certifications MUST be entered for the teacher and students. The deadline for seeking new program approval is May 31, 2021.

CATS can be accessed at the login on PDE’s homepage.The Career Pathway Option is a radial button in CATS to connect two or more Classification of Instructional Programs (CIPs) that are POS approved programs and offer the same foundational technical curriculum the first year. This pathway allows students to experience several related CIPs in a POS Pathway and require specific elements for pathway approval.  Any secondary school may submit a request for POS approval. Currently, there are 43 POS available on PDE’s website. The competency/task grid for each POS is the foundational curriculum framework for the CIP. Therefore, all competencies/tasks must be addressed in the approved program. POS competency/task grids have been revised and are posted on the PDE website. Local Education Agencies must use the most recent list available. Additional competencies should be added as recommended by your Occupational Advisory Committee. Each course in the scope and sequence must be cross-walked to the task grid and aligned to the course where the tasks are taught in the specific information tab in block 2.In addition, your approved POS will provide the benefit of the articulated credits indicated by the statewide group of postsecondary institutions on CollegeTransfer.net.

Questions should be referred to Tammy Keisling, at (717)783-6996 or email tkeisling@pa.gov.