Superintendent’s Memo #330-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

Department of Education

December 16, 2011

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Call for Examples of Best Practices of Virginia’s 16 Career Clusters

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is seeking nominations of “best practices” to promote Virginia’s 16 Career Clusters. Career clusters help students investigate careers and design their courses of study to advance their career goals.  Within each career cluster, there are multiple career pathways that represent a common set of knowledge and skills, both academic and technical, necessary to pursue a full range of career opportunities within that pathway – ranging from entry level to management, including technical and professional career specialties.  All career and technical education (CTE) courses are aligned with one or more career clusters and career pathways.

The VDOE is requesting high schools and the current Board-approved Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Academies to submit applications to showcase demonstrated best practices of the 16 career clusters.  Approximately 26 applicants will be selected to create promotional videos.  The VDOE will award each selected applicant a $2,000 mini grant for the production of a 3-5 minute video.  The video should be student-centered and may include activities in labs and classrooms along with interviews from various stakeholders such as CTE administrators, teachers, school counselors, business and industry partners, advisory committee members, parents, and students.

Attachment A contains the criteria and required application for the Governor’s STEM Academies and Attachment B contains this information for the high schools/centers.  Attachment C contains the Student Release Form for Use of Photograph, Image, Voice, Performances and Appearances.  The timeline for this initiative is as follows:

Schools and academies will be recognized for the video creation.  However, the video will become the property of the Department of Education and will be made available on the Web site for all school divisions to use in the promotion of career clusters across the Commonwealth.

You are encouraged to nominate exemplary examples of the career clusters being implemented in your school division.  Your continued support of career and technical education and this initiative are greatly appreciated.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Sharon Acuff, specialist for marketing & related career clusters at or at (804) 225-3119.



  1. STEM Academies Application (Word)
  2. High Schools and Regional Technical Centers Application (Word)
  3. Student Release Form for Use of Photograph, Image, Voice, Performances and Appearances (Word)