PDE Informs LEAs that the 2020-2021 CATS Secondary Program Approval File is Now Open (February 18, 2020)

On February 18, 2020, Dr. Lee Burket, PDE Director of the Bureau of Career and Technical Education, released a PennLink memo titled 2020-2021 CATS Secondary Program Approval File – OPEN.  The memo urges LEAs to share the information provided with 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. It states that the 2020-21 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 Bureau of Career and Technical Education recommends that approval for programs of study (POS) be sought for all programs for which a POS exists.  For programs for which a POS has not been developed, seek Career and Technical approval.  All approved programs must be delivered as POS or Career and Technical.  All industry certifications MUST be entered for the teacher and students.  The deadline for seeking new program approval is May 29, 2020. CATS can be accessed at the login on PDE’s homepage.

The memo further states that the Career Pathway Option is a program consisting of a minimum of two related classification of instructional programs (CIPs) that are POS approved programs and offer the same foundational technical curriculum the first year. The newly updated CATS Secondary Program Approval Instructions are available on the PDE website.

In addition, any secondary institution 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 crosswalked to the task grid and aligned to the course where the tasks are taught. The approved POS will provide the benefit of the articulated credits indicated by the statewide group of postsecondary institutions on CollegeTransfer.net.

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