ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION®
What trend or issue for professional development in CTE do I feel is going to be the most important this year? Simulation! Research shows that simulation is a very effective learning strategy that has many game-changing program and industry benefits. Simulation contributes to better patient outcomes in the medical field with military simulation saving lives and expenses. The positives are profound.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” The military can conduct fewer costly live exercises and instead, put troops in the cockpits and drivers’ seats of more affordable simulators. Airline pilots, train engineers, firefighters and police can effectively learn what to do in life-threatening situations. The auto industry can test safety measures through computerized performance tests and in the culinary world, manufacturers can even simulate the amount of required motions it takes to slice carrots or effectively model food production start to finish. It can optimize cafeteria and food service systems making more efficient food prep and production possible. During the planning phased of software development or in industry production, simulation can also be employed to determine whether a facility may have any faults, particularly with regard to its automation systems. Software has also been developed to virtually test a complete production plant before construction begins including all associated components, technical data, motors, pumps, and gear units. This process can ensure, for example, that a valve is opened before a feed pump starts; otherwise, the pump or the line would run dry and be damaged. Let’s not forget about sales or pharmacy training or any training or virtual testing in general. The sky really is the limit.
One of the strongest support areas of simulation is the medical field. Surgeons can practice complicated surgeries using robots and simulators away from the patient or brush up on techniques before actual procedures. In Nursing, simulation activities improve skills like recognizing a deteriorating patient, triaging emergency patients, managing stroke patients and more. With the use of computerized mannequins that exhibit a wide range of patient conditions, students can develop non-technical or interpersonal skills like patient handoffs or teaching diabetes self-management strategies to patients. Situations might include a mock hospital room, exam room, critical care room, operating room, labor suite, or even a senior citizen’s apartment. Computerized mannequin patients can range in age from neonatal to adult, and can be assigned names and medical histories, along with anatomically correct features like a pulse, specific pupil responses, talking, and even blood. The mannequins respond to student provided care and to medications with real medical equipment like IV pumps and crash carts. Instructors can remain hidden behind one-way mirrors in order to evaluate student performance without being physically present bedside.
Simulation saves businesses money and provides real-life experiences without purchasing expensive equipment. The training can also be repeated with accurate scenarios where students are allowed to make mistakes before being put into live situations. Simulation is transforming how we conduct business, make life decisions, and interact with our world. It is also changing how we educate and enhance performance. Sim worlds aren’t just for gamers anymore.
Submitted by Melissa Andrews, Associate Director for Career and Technical Education, Illinois Community College Board, Springfield, IL
Posted by Educators in Action at 09:00 AM | Permalink
Kevin L. is a student who came to Wake Tech Phi Beta Lambda extremely shy and unable to express himself out loud in a group. In the spring of 2015, Kevin placed second in a Marketing competition and was able to compete at the National Leadership Conference in Chicago. In general, he stuttered slightly and delivered a performance that would not land him on stage that weekend. Of course, he gave 100% during this competition, but the real change in him didn’t occur in front of the judges. The real change happened offstage at a workshop that held over 100 people. An advisor was speaking on best practices in running a club and finished her speech to make time for the question and answer portion of the evening. She asked if anyone had anything to say and Kevin slowly raised his hand to say, “I have a question,” and furthermore, “Can I come up there to the front and ask?” He waltzed up to the stage, took the mic from her and asked his question, thanked her, and sat down; all the while my co-advisor and I had practically dislocated our jaws from dropping them so quickly to the floor.
We don’t remember what he asked, or what caused him to speak up that day, but since that time he has been a changed person who is volunteering for more roles and he is taking on higher executive positions in Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) each year. He currently serves as the Secretary and Recruitment Chair and is the rising Vice President for our next season. The reason for his growth could be the time he has spent absorbing positive energy from other leaders or simply learning from trial and error through failure, eventually leading to a breakthrough moment of success.
At the North Carolina PBL State Leadership Conference in Charlotte last week, Kevin ended up taking first place in the Sales Presentation contest. He worked with his mentor, Jeff Myers, faculty member in the business administration department, and with his PBL advisors for several weeks practicing before the big event. Kevin impressed us all, and after 6 years with PBL he has now qualified to complete in National Leadership Conference representing North Carolina in Anaheim CA June 24-27. Submitted by:
Posted by Educators in Action at 12:00 PM in Student Success profiles | Permalink
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams
“Leadership through action.” That phrase resonates for me profoundly as an assistant principal in the Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS). Other important related phrases might include “leadership by example,” “leadership through innovation,” or “leadership through creation.” But no matter how one coins the phrase, the message remains the same: Strong leaders are people of action, who set good examples for those around them, think creatively, and inspire innovation. These qualities are important across the board – from Fortune 500 companies all the way to small local businesses and mom and pop shops – the size, net worth, mission or prestige of an institution is irrelevant when it comes to factoring its need for good leadership. John Quincy Adams spoke about leadership in terms of inspiration, and that’s how I see leadership every day in the CTHSS; from students, teachers, pupil personnel, and our administrative team, leadership shines through what we do, who we are, and what we represent.
Leadership is so important in CTE because it’s inherent in our mission and our purpose. We prepare students to be both college and career ready, while at the same time we make sure they are proficient in trade specific skills and competencies to ensure they are viable candidates for field employment immediately after high school. Beyond that, we teach students about employability skills like workplace ethics, professionalism, confidentiality, punctuality, organization, interpersonal communication, reflective practices, and yes, leadership. It is profoundly important that our students understand not only how to conduct themselves in the workplace and how to be “good” at their jobs, but also how to be strong leaders in their place of work and in their communities. Unlike most traditional high schools, technical high schools have the responsibility of preparing students dually for college and/or careers, and the majority of our student body enters directly into the latter after graduation. If they don’t know how to be leaders and how to inspire those around them, then we have not fully met their needs.
Moreover, students in CTE fields have more responsibility in their school day than most other students. CTE students are responsible for OSHA and safety training, for handling expensive and dangerous equipment and machinery, for completing projects against industry standards, and for meeting the transient and progressive demands of our ever growing workforce; our students need to be responsible leaders at young ages in order to be entrusted with these responsibilities, and our teachers are the ones who form our students into leaders by setting good examples, being inspirational, and finding innovative ways to teach curricula to build competency.
Our students are capable of so much at such young ages. I have the honor of seeing high school aged students perform incredible feats each and every day. I have the privilege of being a “customer” to many of these students who are practicing their skills, and I get to watch them grow and lead with confidence and enthusiasm. Our students and teachers inspire those around them, myself included, to dream more, do more, learn more, and become more. To me, that makes them the best type of leaders there are.
Submitted by: Jayme Beckham, Assistant Principal at Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury, CT
Posted by Educators in Action at 11:10 AM | Permalink
While the United States is seen as a global leader in post-secondary education and training, it has lost its once unquestioned leadership position in elementary and secondary education and now struggles to compete with many other “developed countries” as demonstrated by its international test scores. As a result, education and training leaders at all levels have turned to international benchmarking to as one way of determining how to prepare the nation's future workforce for a global society and economy.
International benchmarking—the alignment of standards, instruction, professional development, and assessment to those of the highest-performing countries—was mentioned in the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Amendments of 2006 as a possible means to broaden the objective of Career and Technical Education (CTE), that is, where appropriate, to link CTE skill standards to world-class standards.
In any country, the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders, with leadership from employers, is critical to the success of the development of occupational/skill standards. In most European countries, there are four parties at the table in determining the definition, approval and management of their skill standards systems and qualifications frameworks: representatives from business and industry (often company specific and tied to their apprenticeship protocol), education and training subject matter experts, labor organizations, and government agencies. In Europe, more emphasis is placed on defining the ‘end product’ – their CTE programs strive to prepare students for mastery of an occupation that becomes their career with clear cut options for climbing the ladder within their version of a career pathway.
While the very nature and content of Occupational/Skill Standards dictates that the primary input and validation come from employers, this is not always the case. In the U.S., educators (as opposed to employers) are often the prime movers in the occupational standards development movement. Furthermore, skill standards often reflect what is being taught as opposed to what should be taught; historically, U.S. educators have used skill standards to define instruction, whereas most of the developed countries we compete with have used them to define assessment or “qualifications.” This makes it more difficult for us to make comparisons with other developed countries whose standards are more occupational in nature. The United States does excel in the development of third party industry-driven occupational certification systems such as ASE, AWS and NIMS.
As long as the U.S. education system continues to place more emphasis on academic course-taking, there will be less time at the secondary level for the taking of important electives in Career and Technical Education, Arts and Music. The real elephant in the room that has to be addressed when comparing the U.S. to other countries is just how “vocational” or “technical” we really want to be in terms of defining outcomes. In other words, do we want to graduate students who know about occupations within a broad career pathway that’s articulated to the next level, or students who can demonstrate that they can carry out workplace related activities before they are deemed “qualified?” In observing the significant investments European nations have made in apprenticeship systems and/or workplace programs that often start early in high school, it appears our competitors have chosen the latter.
Ron McCage, now retired, previously served as the Executive Director (September 1980-February 2007) and President (February 2007-September 2012) of the Career and Technical Education Consortium of States (CTECS) (formerly VTECS), a not-for-profit organization that specializes in performance based instructional design and assessment strategies for career and technical education. He developed a full-length report on international benchmarking in CTE five years ago for CTECS and the State of Arizona. His research included a thorough review of CTE systems in fifteen countries, with special attention given to Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
Posted by Educators in Action at 12:12 PM in International CTE | Permalink
Platt Tech and Abbott Tech meet Vigo, Spain and Guangdong, China
The Connecticut Technical High School system prides itself on innovation, diversity, and broadening its cultural and technical horizons. We understand at the building and district levels that CTE is a global market, and we can all learn from one another. For this reason, we continuously seek out and take advantage of opportunities to network and partner with our international counterparts so we can not only learn what others are doing in the CTE fields, but also to showcase what we do here in Connecticut. One of our district’s tenets is that we want to be “The Best Career Technical Education System in the Country,” and we understand that reaching that goal depends on how much we learn from others globally, and how we utilize that knowledge to help us grow. In this article, I will highlight two experiences, of which I had the privilege of being a part, where the CT Technical High School System collaborated internationally.
In April of 2016, Platt Technical High School located in Milford, CT, had the unique and eye opening opportunity to host a visit from three women who were CTE instructors from the IES Politecnico in Vigo, Spain. Ms. Maria Theresa, Ms. Maria Jones, and Ms. Antonia Garcia were able to meet with Platt Tech’s administrative team, as well as many students and teachers as they toured the school and observed our trade technologies and students at work. Vigo is an industrial town near the northeastern coast of Spain. There are approximately 300,000 people who live in the city. Vigo’s vocational school system, including IES Politecnico, is renowned, offering programs that allow students to enter the workforce, attend university, or continue to pursue their CTE field after graduation. The instructors from Spain came to CTHSS to learn about our school and programs, and see CTE in action by watching our students build, create, and innovate. In turn, Platt Tech was able to gain insight into what CTE programs look like in Vigo, Spain. It was a mutually beneficial and enlightening experience.
The second opportunity of which I was a part came in the fall of 2016 at Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury, CT. Scholars from Guangdong, which is a coastal province of southeast China bordering Hong Kong and Macau, came to Abbott Tech to tour our school and speak with our instructors and students about what CTE looks like in Connecticut. The Guangdong scholars were treated to a delicious lunch in Henry Abbott Tech’s “Thyme Café,” and then were given a tour of our building and CTE facilities where they met with students and faculty to gain knowledge about what we do here. Many of Abbott’s students made gifts for the Guangdong visitors and showcased the projects they were working on in their career technologies. The Guangdong scholars were very complimentary of the work we are doing at Abbott Tech, and the overall mission of CTE in the Connecticut Technical High School System. Through a translator, Guangdong students were able to share some of what they do in CTE with our teachers and students; the reciprocal collaboration was inspiring.
In each instance, CT Technical High School students and faculty were exposed to CTE internationally, and were able to see that Technical Education is of global prestige and importance. We were able to share ideas and practices with the instructors from Spain and scholars from Guangdong, and in turn they shared with us valuable resources and information regarding how CTE plays an important role in their countries and cultures. By ensuring we have access to global applications of CTE, and collaborate internationally, we can continue to provide a holistic and rich CTE experience for our students and teachers.
Posted by Educators in Action at 03:00 PM | Permalink
From the early controversial cloning of animals to the recent developments that allow the brain to fully control robotic limbs, biotechnological advances are a clear indication of the role technology plays in furthering medicine. The same pattern is holding true for career and technical education (CTE).
In general, enhanced application of technologies in STEM fields are driving a greater demand for qualified specialists in some areas more than others. In particular, the application of technology in medicine has produced some of the greatest breakthrough discoveries of recent years that have saved countless lives and provided a higher quality of life for many. Specialization, however, requires competency, and no other segment of education is better able to provide competency-based education than CTE.
The unraveling of discoveries afforded through biotechnologies is reflected in the competency-based program offerings in CTE. Numerous CTE institutions either have taken steps—or are currently pursuing—ways to streamline health and technology programs consistent with the labor market to ensure the preparation of a qualified workforce. As the demand for a qualified workforce in STEM fields continues to rise, CTE is responding appropriately by supplying competent individuals to meet that demand. In fact, CTE institutions (spurred by legislation in many states) are encouraged to attract students in areas with most growth and foster work-based learning relationships with businesses in those industries.
The impact of biotechnology is dramatically changing how CTE is delivering competencies in health sciences. The matching of school and work activities is preparing students to sharpen their skills in college and/or apply them in career employment. Regardless of the direction students pursue, the growing breadth and depth of student competencies in biotechnology is only going to increase their opportunities for employment in health science fields as the applications for biotechnologies become virtually limitless.
Submitted by Indrit Vucaj Graduate Teaching Assistant School of Teaching and Curriculum Leadership College of Education Oklahoma State University Stillwater, Oklahoma
Posted by Educators in Action at 09:30 AM | Permalink
My name is Tommy Hamilton and I am the 2017 ACTE Fellow for the Business Education Division. When they told me I was going to have a mentor, I thought, “Great, another micromanager to steer me to the finish line.” But as it turns out, the word “mentor” can be both a noun and a verb.
Rich Flotron was a Fellow last year. This year, he is my mentor (noun). He will mentor (verb) me this year as I learn educational leadership. As I spoke with Rich, I began to form a picture of who he is and what his passions are. I did this before I looked at his photo, to see if I could match the persona and the face. Once again, it was a big no. This further reinforces my belief that book covers do not reflect what is actually inside them. As educators, it is incumbent upon us to always remember the book cover is not the same as the inside.
I have been in public education for a total of three years. I have also taught for the Federal Government. The majority of my time, though, was spent in industry, and I am rapidly discovering that there is a growing population of industry folks transitioning into education. Rich told me of his diverse background, of his family, and especially of his love of educational leadership. Ruining my perceptions again, Rich told me of his passion for education. What he said did not do justice for what I heard. What I heard was passion, drive, and real dedication, inspired by the desire to make a real difference.
The next thing I know, I am using that thing we call critical thinking. Oops. Here we go. ACTE is an organization where Rich and I and people like us get to expand our horizons. Perhaps make a networking contact, or even a friend for life. More importantly, ACTE allows us to move outside our sphere of influence to see how “other people” do this thing we call education. Then it dawned on me. Mentors are guides for the areas where we have little or no experience. As it turns out, I don’t know everything, and I do need a mentor (noun) to mentor (verb) me. Someone somewhere chose Rich for me. After talking to him on the phone, I feel certain a better selection could not have been made.
Tommy HamiltonBusiness Education DivisionMoore Norman Technology CenterNorman, OK
Posted by Educators in Action at 08:00 AM in ACTE Fellows | Permalink
Have you ever had a conversation with somebody that seemed curiously timely? I just had one of these conversations when I spoke with my mentor, Rachael Mann. Despite it being only February, this year has presented itself with several challenges that left me questioning why I am in education. As we began talking, I quickly realized that her fresh perspective was something I needed to hear. Throughout our conversation, I was reminded of two simple truths about working in education.
Try to say yes to new experiences. Anything you try can lead to something new. New opportunities will come your way and it's easy to just say no, but where is the fun in that? You never know where an opportunity will lead you and who you will meet. These experiences can transform your career by allowing you to expand your network or learn a new skill. Rachael and I talked about how neither of us were active in ACTE in our first years of teaching, but each recently decided to become more active. It was exciting to her that through her involvement, Rachael found herself growing as an education leader, and has begun making an impact on her local community. We encourage our students to say yes, so we must heed our own advice and be open to trying something new as well.
Remember what you're in it for. We all went into education to make a difference in the lives of students. It is easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day activities of teaching, but we need to remember the students we have made an impact on. It was refreshing to exchange stories with Rachael of students we have positively influenced and reflect on why we do what we do. I was particularly impressed with her anecdote of reaching a student already written off by other educators, and hearing that this student has now grown into a successful professional and advocate for CTE. Remember that the students you see in front of you are tomorrow's success stories.
At the end of our conversation, Rachael asked me a question I was not fully prepared to answer. "What do you want out of this mentorship?" My reply was a jumbled mess of incomplete sentences, with an apology in the middle for sounding more negative than I intended. But, by the end, I realized that I wanted someone to talk about the simple truths of our profession, and someone able to give me honest feedback about new ideas. Rachael agreed, and I look forward to working with a newfound colleague and mentor.
Robert Van DykeRegion VColorado Community CollegeDenver, CO
Posted by Educators in Action at 08:00 AM in ACTE Fellows | Permalink
It has been a pleasure to work with my mentor, Mr. Patrick Biggerstaff, who serves as the Director of Area 31 Career Center in Indianapolis. Patrick is a former ACTE Region III Fellow and was recently elected as the VP-Administration Elect for ACTE.
Patrick is very passionate about Career & Technical Education (CTE) and has been in Administration for 5 years following his time as a business teacher. During our discussion, Patrick provided a great deal of information regarding his ride on the CTE train, and I have summarized his knowledge below, in “Three Keys to Success in CTE.” 1. Network, Network, Network Networking plays a huge role in what we do as CTE educators. The relationship-building that takes place, when done right, can lead to opportunities for not only educators, but all of the stakeholders that we serve. A good mentor is key in networking, as they are able to connect you with a variety of individuals who can assist you on your professional journey in education, as well as provide opportunities for the students you serve. Patrick shared that networking and strong mentors have provided a plethora of personal growth opportunities for both him and his stakeholders. 2. Always Be Flexible In order to be successful in CTE, flexibility is critical. Every day in education brings its challenges and rewards. However, having the ability to build a strong network and having good mentors and colleagues is what will get you through the tough times. Sometimes we are called on to diffuse situations, find replacement teachers in the middle of a school year, serve as the dishwasher in the culinary arts kitchen, and even do a little substitute teaching to fill a need. We typically cannot control everything that takes place on any given day, and we also cannot always control the decisions that are made at the local, state, and national levels. BUT, we can remain flexible and consistently be good advocates of education who lead by example. 3. Hard Work Pays Off The rewards will come when the work is put in. You should not expect magic overnight, but with good mentors, consistent follow-through, and a supportive team of colleagues, not only will you be rewarded, but you will be respected by your peers and students. This respect creates a nice place to work and a feeling of accomplishment. The best reward for Patrick is being encouraged by the success of his students and staff.
Mari SwayneRegion IIIMetropolitan School District of Pike TownshipIndianapolis, IN
Links to Helpful Mentoring Articles/Resources for Teachers & Administrators http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may99/vol56/num08/The-Good-Mentor.aspx
My mentor for the 2017 ACTE Fellows program is Shelly Rust, Advanced Culinary Arts and Baking Pastry Instructor at the Kokomo Area Career Center in Kokomo, Indiana. She is a 2014 ACTE Fellow and is currently the Indiana ACTE President.
Like me, Shelly came into the Career Tech arena from the restaurant industry. She has spent 28 years in the restaurant industry, getting her start when she was only 14 years old, and has been teaching Culinary courses for the past 11 years. In that time, her program at Kokomo Area Career Center has grown from 13 students to 146 students.
Her mom has been a big influence in obtaining her dream job of teaching. According to her mother, Shelly began insisting that she wanted to be a teacher when she was only three years old. James Little, with Career Tech, has also been a big influence on her decision to teach.
She belongs to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), and encourages her students and other culinary students to get involved in the association. She is involved with the Indiana Association for Career and Technical Education, and is currently serving as President.
She enjoys reading about Career Technical Education, Restaurant News, and Smart Brief. Staying current on these topics improves her knowledge of the business side of the restaurant industry. Smart Brief covers interview skills, information she passes on to her students.
Shelly loves to see the passion in students’ eyes when they are engaged in the culinary arts. She knows that in some ways, technology is replacing student hands in the industry, which frustrates her.
Though she enjoyed her journey to success, if she were to do it all over again, she believes she could have gained more knowledge, as well as worked harder to teach her students work ethics, an area they are lacking in.
If her job were suddenly eliminated, Shelly knows that she could use her skills anywhere in the hospitality industry. Her managerial skills could bring her success in a variety of industries, particularly in a medical office.
Networking is an important skill that Shelly possesses. She enjoys networking with other culinary teachers around the globe. She seeks them out and observes how they teach different skills in their classroom. She then applies these skills to the students in her classroom at the Career Tech Center.
She feels students in Career Tech are lucky because they have different educational options in today’s environment. Before Career and Technical Education, she saw that students weren’t taught any life skills to apply to their daily lives.
Making sure that government recognizes the importance of Career and Technical Education in student’s lives is a challenge we need to address. Giving up on just one student cannot be an option when they have skills to invest.
The main challenge Shelly faces today is reaching her leadership goals and challenging herself to change up the culinary curriculum that she teaches. She is always challenging herself to teach in a different and better way to reach all students.
“The Association of Career and Technical Education offers a lot of professional development to make myself better and improve my impact that I have on my students,” said Shelly. “My thoughts on attending the National Policy Seminar is to apply ourselves and keep the students in the forefront of all our conversations.”
Ernie GomezOK PACE DivisionMoore Norman Technology CenterOklahoma City, OK
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