Category Archives: CTE

ACTE Region V Recap

The ACTE Region V Conference is one of my favorite conferences to attend. It is small enough that you can easily network with others and you get to steal/borrow ideas from other states to apply them into your school or state. This year’s conference was no exception as it provided some informative sessions and great chances to talk to fellow educators. Here is a brief recap of the sessions I attended:

  • Leadership 101 – While I attended this one late due to a flight, I still got some great information about advocacy and was able to identify some other state leaders to discuss the benefits/drawbacks of potentially being a unified state later in the conference.
  • First Time Attendee Reception – This is not my first Region V conference, as part of the Membership Committee, I attended this conference and discussed the things I wish I knew at my first conference. That lesson was to network with others and not to be afraid to talk to those who have been attending the conference for years and in some cases decades.
  • Working Together for Success: Core & CTE – This session was led by one of the teachers I work with and I was there for moral support and to answer some logistics questions about how we run school-wide PBL activities.
  • Industry Tour at Harley-Davidson – This was probably the one thing that went really wrong. We showed up 10-15 minutes late (despite leaving on-time) and were refused a tour of the manufacturing plant.
  • ACTEAZ Circle of Distinction – This was a very informative session on how Arizona ACTE utilizes the decision-makers in companies to help them advocate for CTE which they desperately needed this year. It is definitely something that I want to incorporate in Nevada and I also learned that I don’t want to move to Arizona.
  • Introduction to Effective Advocacy Techniques – When it comes to advocacy, you can’t get enough tips and ideas. This was a great session that gave me some ideas and was interesting to see how California CTE has been advocating for such a large state.
  • State of the State – This is the business meeting. I gave Nevada’s state of the state, but it is interesting to hear about the educational climates in other states and how states are dealing with legislators and membership concerns.
  • Leadership Networking – This was an informal meeting that involved adult beverages. It was another chance for state leaders to ask questions of other leaders and to get some advice.

While I couldn’t stay to the end of the conference, I did enjoy my short stay in Kansas and at Region V. Next year, it is in San Diego and it looks like they have some great things planned.

We Have to Stop Pretending – CTE Version

Based on Scott McLeod’s (@mcleod) blog post “We have to stop pretending“, I have decided to create my list of five focused on career and technical education.

We have to stop pretending…

  1. that CTE is only for those students who are not going to college.
  2. that students going to college do not need CTE courses.
  3. that CTE students do not do well on state exams or will not graduate.
  4. that CTE students are taking courses that do not need high skills or technology.
  5. that core academics cannot integrate CTE concepts into their classes.

Apps from Leslie Fisher’s NACTE 2014 Keynote

I plan to post some more information from the NACTE 2014 conference, but I wanted to share the apps that Leslie Fisher (Twitter, Website) presented during her keynote address on Thursday.

3 Educational Things – Random Act

Career and Technical Related:

Last weekend, one of our teachers and a student participated in the kickoff event for the Congressional App Challenge. I know that more of our students are planning to participate in this event and events similar to this. It is a great opportunity for students to be mentored by industry professionals and to provide a relevant deliverable that will be judged by others.

Educational Technology Related:

Mailbox is an app that I have started to use lately. I hate to see red flags, or badges on my iPhone, iPad, or computer that indicates a new email. I have started to use Mailbox because I can read what is important or basically snooze the emails that I want to look at later when I have more time. This allows me to not worry about every email in my inbox since I know the emails will pop back up later in the day or whatever setting I snoozed the emails to.

In the Classroom:

I didn’t get to see too many classes today because of a visit to our campus and a few meetings that I was in today. I managed to visit one classroom today due to the Random Act of Coyoteness Award that we give to one staff member or student each Monday. The weekly recipient has confetti thrown on them in front of their students or peers and gets a trophy to keep for the week. It is always a great feeling to see the reaction of the person who receives the award knowing that a staff member nominated them to receive the award. It is a great way to start a Monday.

3 Educational Things – White House Film Festival

Career and Technical Related:

Qualifyor – One of my former students wrote this article on filling the gap between education and employment in Las Vegas. Qualifyor is a big supporter of career and technical education in Las Vegas and I am glad to have a community partner who is helping students transition from school to work.

Educational Technology Related:

Penultimate – I am a big Evernote user and I am trying to branch out into new ways of using tools that will sync with Evernote. Despite the fact that it has been installed for a long time, I started using Penultimate today to take my random notes instead of using a dozen post it notes. Hopefully, I will save a tree or two and speed up my inbox processing every night.

In the Classroom:

This is not as much what I saw in the classroom today, but what I saw outside of it. Groups of freshman working on their White House Film Festival entries all around campus filming with iPods, iPhones, and iPads. While this Business Software Applications often gets bogged down in the boredom of learning Microsoft Office, it was nice to see the students away from their computers and using 21st Century technology to create something new.

3 Ed Things – Contact Groups and More

Career and Technical Related:

While not a direct correlation to career and technical education, I read an article on how Broward County schools are incorporating more computer science into their schools. I know that our district is trying to expand the number of schools that are incorporating a computer science program of study because of the high job demand in Las Vegas. The article gave me a little bit more hope that we can get more high schools in Clark County to have four-year programs of study in computer science.

Educational Technology Related:

I read an article on using contact groups in Google to share documents. Each month I share the program leader meeting agenda with the same 18 teachers. After creating my contact group, I think sharing a Google document with the group instead of typing in each teacher’s name will save me a few minutes and every minute counts.

What I saw in a Classroom Today:

I watched a web design and development classroom today while their teacher was recognized at a school student and teacher of the month luncheon. These juniors were working on creating and editing the code for a WordPress site. It was fun to watch them try to find the solutions to their problems with no specific guidance from me. The students shared ideas, trial and error, and the used the occasional swear word under their breath when it didn’t work. Hopefully, I will be able to visit this class when they are closer to completion.

ACTE Vision2013

For the past four days, I have been attending the ACTE Vision2013 Conference (online program). Networking, listening to keynote speakers, learning new information is always great, but I have some mixed impressions about this conference for a variety of reasons that I will highlight below:

The Good:

  • Three keynote speakers and all three were excellent. Probably the best keynotes I have seen at an ACTE conference.
  • Technology – Free WiFi and it was fairly fast, ACTE Mobile App, text messages for Vision2014. This was a significant improvement from the last few years where there was no WiFi or it was $20 per day.
  • Information – The information in the sessions I did attend was helpful and I plan to use it in the near future.
  • Leadership Training (pre-conference) – I didn’t know what to expect, but I learned a lot from these two sessions.
  • My first conference as a state leader. This meant some required events where I got to meet some new people from a variety of other states.
  • Nevada receiving a QAS award for it’s association.

The Not as Good:

  • The conference was in a town that I live in. It was hard to stay motivated to attend networking events when my family and warm bed were waiting for me.
  • My first conference as a state leader meant that there were sessions I could not attend because of the required events. Being in the state leader meetings will more than balance out the missed information especially since the presentations will be online.
  • Session length – 90 minutes was a little long for the sessions. I liked last year’s format with 2 hour “Deep Dives” in some topics and 1 hour “Idea Labs” for others. I realize this is logistically difficult, but I thought ACTE did a great job last year with it and disappointed they bailed on it after only one year.

Using Dual Credit to Solve Multiple Problems

One of the first items I read every morning is my Career Tech Update from ACTE. It is great to see what other schools, districts, and states are doing to further advance career and technical education. It is also a little depressing seeing what other districts can do, but, for some reason, my district cannot.

The biggest of these, in my opinion, is the number of high schools that are increasing the amount of dual credit or tech prep with their local colleges. While my district does have a tech prep agreement with the local community college, it is extremely flawed. There are not enough credits available to high school students and in some program areas of study the amount of seat time to earn three credits is up to four times what a college student would need to receive the same credit.

Tech prep programs like ours do not cost the student, high school, or college any money because of Perkins funding. Students are collecting college debt by the truckloads and there is a general push to get more students into post-secondary institutions. By increasing tech prep and dual credit programs, society can address both of these issues.

There are always high school students who are on the border between going to college and joining the workforce immediately after high school. If students could earn more college credits while in high school, they likelihood of the students continuing post-secondary course work would increase – even if it was as a part-time student.

In addition, students who earn tech prep or dual credit do not have to take or re-take these courses in college. This is hard-earned money that these students could be using on upper-level courses. I have actually lost track of how many of my students who have attended the local community college told me that they were bored in their major classes because it was the same content we covered in high school. Why should these students be paying for classes where they already know the content?

Increased tech prep and dual credit programs will encourage more students to take college classes that normally wouldn’t and decrease the amount of student loan debt.

ACTE Vision 2012: Days 2 and 3

I know that I promised a post on My Vision 2012 sessions yesterday, but it was a busy day and I didn’t get back to the hotel until late last night. The second day sessions were just as good as the first day’s.

Session 1: Imagine Tomorrow: Where Information Technology Projects Are Interactive, Student-driven and Engaging From Conception to Completion

I will admit that I am biased about this session because two of my fellow Southwest CTA teachers were the presenters, but this was an excellent sessions. The focus of the presentation was on developing student-driven projects that are not only meet the course goals but also engaging and interactive. The presenters described how the senior class has created a company that builds websites for clients. The students created departments, apply for jobs, and assign tasks for projects while the instructor is there for guidance. Students in their other classes have created a virtual tour of the school through QR codes and hosted a technology conference for middle school students through these student-driven projects. It is a great opportunity for students to take ownership in their education.

Session 2: Implementing a Successful Credentialing Program

This session was not on my original list, but after hearing the things that are going on in Virginia Beach, I decided to attend this session. The number of credentials that this district is using is incredible. While this is not something I can’t directly use in my classroom, it will help me advocate for getting certifications in my classroom and other classroom in my school. Students and employers see the true value of these credentials and it is a great way to make sure students are career ready.

Session 3: Effective State Leadership for CTE
I had not planned on attending a session during this time slot, but my principal encouraged me to go. I have seen Dr. Daggett’s presentation before on our campus and it was great to hear some of it again. I was impressed with what the state of Georgia is doing with their performance framework. While the main components of the framework are similar to ours, it was interesting to see the areas where schools could earn bonus points. These included capstone projects for seniors and portfolios in the 5th grade. These ideas are not earth shattering or particularly difficult and make great sense, it makes me worry about where Nevada is headed because it seems like we are slow to include reforms like these.

Session 4: The Globalization of Technical Education Partnerships

Another sessions where there were not a lot of things that could go directly into my classroom, but provided me with some advocacy information that I can take to others. The partnerships that the panel members have formed in countries like Germany, Morocco, Greece, and China are incredible. They have formed great relationships that is a win for all parties.

I didn’t attend any in the final time slot because I was attending a Nevada ACTE board meeting to start planning our summer conference. It is a rarity when most of the board is together in one place so it was great to be in a room together to start hashing out the structure for our conference.

Day 3:
On the final day, I did not attend any individual sessions, but I did attend the closing session. Roland Fryer was the perfect final day speaker. He was funny, engaging, informative, and in the end gave us something to think about. It is with positive speakers like him and conferences like ACTE that give me hope that education is moving in the right direction.

I can’t wait for ACTE Vision 2013 in Las Vegas. I have great expectations for the sessions there since each year I attend ACTE, I learn more and more through the sessions.

ACTE Vision 2012 Part 2: The Excellent

Based on my previous post, many of you may think that my ACTE experience so far has been negative. It hasn’t been because the sessions are awesome. Here is a summary of the individual sessions that I attended today. Please email or post a comment if you want my full notes.

Session 1: The Economic Vitality Formula of Success

This was a great session that as a teacher/community partnership coordinator was well above my pay grade, but at least I was in the room so I can share these ideas with those who have the right pay grade. I also game up with a great project for me to work on at school as well. The focus of this session is that the combination CTE and workforce development with local industry will equal economic vitality for the city. Students in Virginia Beach are working towards receiving industry credentialing as well as a workplace readiness skills test. The school district and the economic development board can showcase the skills that students are learning in the city when they go to recruit new businesses to the area. By focusing on the skills and talent that the city is producing locally, they are able to help persuade companies to move their business to the area because the workforce is educated and prepared with the skills those companies need. This gave some great ideas to bring back to Nevada to highlight what is happening in the career and technical academies as well as the schools that incorporating CTE programs of study.

Session 2: The New Middle Skilled US Employment Marketplace: The How and  Why Higher Education Will be Changed Forever

This session focused on how employers are changing the way that they look for candidates and how candidates are changing to be prepared for careers. Frank Britt discussed how the paradigm in education needs to change to be focused on real learning and not necessarily seat time. The explosion of MOOCs are giving candidates a chance to focus on skills that they need for a career and are more competency-based. Mr. Britt explained that companies are now starting to push for more competency-based degrees and that higher education schools are becoming retailers of education. Students will not be able to afford the average annual increases in tuition forever and alternative methods to learn skills will are required to work in industry. Education needs to change their thought process in how they deliver content because there are so many options for students that prefer to learn digitally.

Session 3: Changing Student and Community Perceptions of Manufacturing

This session focused on methods to get students interested in the manufacturing industry. There is a large skills gap in manufacturing and that gap is going to get larger as baby boomers start retiring. The problem is that many students, parents, and educators perceive manufacturing as a low-wage, low-skill job or that all the manufacturing jobs are in China. The truth is that these manufacturing jobs require a high-skilled workforce and pay well. This presentation focused on what the Connecticut Community College System is doing to recruit students through camps, expos, tours, and internships to name a few. The system has shown success and hopefully other states can replicated it to meet the 600,000 manufacturing jobs that currently need to be filled.

I will post summaries of my sessions from day two tomorrow evening.