News & Happenings

Launched during the summer of 2021 and supported by funding from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, FCSN is coordinating a statewide effort to develop parent-friendly, language-accessible information about vocational, career and technical education programs in Massachusetts.

Phase 1: Information Gathering

During the month of October 2021, the Federation organized multi-language surveys, focus groups and interviews to hear from families from around the state and from diverse language groups. The goals of this information gathering were to:

  • Understand the level of awareness about these schools and programs.
  • Solicit input into messaging and information channels for increasing awareness.
  • Gather feedback and suggestions to enhance the Massachusetts School Finder.

The full report can be read on here, and a summary of the findings is under development and will be translated into Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Arabic.

Phase 2: Developing Family Friendly Informational Materials

We are working closely with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to create brief, plain-language, and translated information for students and families that respond to the information gathered in Phase 1. In addition, DESE is actively working to integrate recommendations from our report, including:

  • Implementing human-translated versions of the School Finder Website – beginning with Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Chinese and Vietnamese. Already in place as of November 2021, this work began as soon as early feedback from the SOFE project confirmed its importance. More languages may be added in the future.
  • Adding a map to the School Finder Website
  • Refining and improving the accessibility of language used in student and family-facing communications
  • Developing plans for sharing information developed in through the SOFE project with CVTE schools and middle school guidance counselors in districts state wide.

Future Phase: Information Campaigns

  • The SOFE Project will be hosting combined information-sharing and feedback-gathering sessions in January 2022.
  • We are in the process of developing family-friendly resources that will be posted on the DESE website, in the Parent Portal.
  • Translated resources that may be helpful to schools in their own parent communications will be distributed as they become available.
  • We are also developing quick guides, FAQs and social media infographics.