This time last week we were in the midst of our 2016 Advance CTE Spring Meeting which brought over 150 participants from across the country together to dive into all things CTE. From unveiling our new vision to diving into the federal policy landscape, staff takes a look back at what they found most valuable at this year’s meeting in this two-part series.
Kimberly Green, Executive Director: Each year, Advance CTE hosts an annual awards ceremony that recognizes two categories of winners. The Stars of Education acknowledges leadership in our own community and those in Congress who fight the good fight on behalf of CTE. This year, Dr. Charisse Childers, State Director in Arkansas won the Rising Star award and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) won the Star of Education award. We also recognize high-quality programs of study through our Excellence in Action Awards. The selection committee has over 100 applications from 30 states to review and selected 11 winners, each in a different Career Cluster.
I had the honor to emcee this year’s awards ceremony and truth be told I had to hold back tears as some of the winners made their remarks. Their commitment, leadership, inspiration and dedication results in changing the lives of thousands of students each year. And this array of winners is proof that high-quality CTE can be successful in any and every community in our country.
What is common across all the winners is that they all have leaders who have an unrelenting commitment to quality, create cultures of high expectations, see obstacles as opportunities and put the learner first. My hope is by sharing and celebrating these winners, we both shine a light on their accomplishment but also position them as a beacon for others to benchmark against and learn from.
So to our winners, I say thank you. Thank you for reminding us that high expectations bring about excellence. Thank you for proving that excellence can be found in any zip code and reminding us that high quality programs for all students – ALL students – is an achievable goal. Thank you for reminding us why we do this work but mostly thank you for what you do every day to help students find their voice, their path and their success.
Kate Blosveren Kreamer, Deputy Executive Director: For me, the release of our new vision was the absolute highlight of the Spring Meeting and, in particular, seeing all of our members and partners sign their commitment to this new vision. After over a year of planning – from the early design phase, the Future of CTE Summit hosted with our eight co-conveners, and the work to synthesize the many (many) awesome and innovative ideas to come out of that Summit – seeing the new shared vision in the hands of our members, Putting Learner Success First, was an amazing experience. From the presentation by Advance CTE officers, the panels of our vision supporters and feisty reformers and the Enacting the Vision roundtable, Monday demonstrated how impactful this vision can and will be within and beyond the CTE community and I can’t wait to start putting it into action!
Steve Voytek, Government Relations Manager: Along with the roll-out of Advance CTE’s new vision, federal policy was top of mind for many at our Spring Meeting. While we heard much about the forthcoming effort to renew the Carl D. Perkins Act (Perkins) towards the end of our conference, Perkins was a recurring theme throughout many of the conference sessions during the week.
The recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) also took center stage with both bills providing unique opportunities (as well as some challenges) for the CTE community in the coming years. The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) also provided some timely updates for attendees on some national initiatives of interest.
All in all, it was a great week for Advance CTE members and attendees alike to hear from leading experts, Congressional staff, and other stakeholders about what the federal policy environment has in store for CTE.
Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate