National Association of State Directors of Career
Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc)

Five Reasons to Attend NASDCTEC’s 2014 Fall Meeting

August 21st, 2014

For 94 years, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) has represented chief Career Technical Education (CTE) administrators from across the country. Through leadership, advocacy and partnerships, NASDCTEc supports innovative CTE that prepares individuals to succeed in education and their careers, and poises the United States to flourish in a dynamic global economy.


Bringing together creativity and expertise, NASDCTEc’s 2014 Fall Meeting is a cooperative professional development event where CTE leaders can confront challenges to the enterprise in collaboration with colleagues from across the country.

So, why join should you join us at the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting: Preparing for the Future, October 22 – 25, 2014, in Baltimore? Here are five reasons:

  1. Learn what works: Sessions at NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting are collaborative, led by expert moderators and presenters with vast institutional knowledge on major initiatives and emerging practices. From State Directors to national researchers to federal administrators, diverse and well-informed perspectives will guide constructive sessions to the cutting edge of the current practice and implementation and break new ground on the future of CTE.
  2. Share your ideas…: In discussion with your colleagues, you’ll have unparalleled opportunities to share your latest innovations and build solutions to the stickiest problems you face.
  3. …And develop new ones: Inspiration strikes when innovation meets experience, as it will at NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting. You’ll be able to apply new ideas and strategies learned to your own work when you get back home.
  4. Build your network: NASDCTEc’s Fall Meeting will be populated with a diverse crowd — not only our State Directors and Associate Members, but also national associations, researchers and top-class sponsors with deep commitment to the CTE. Over three days, you’ll be afforded opportunities to add to your professional network and start conversations that will carry on well after the meeting adjourns.
  5. Gain national exposure: Looking to expand your brand? Want to contribute to the national conversation on CTE? At the Fall Meeting, you’ll get the chance to join CTE leaders from across the country to contribute your own unique perspective to the national conversation.

Don’t wait, register now!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Announcing NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Registration

July 31st, 2014

As teachers and administrators gear up for the school year, we’re gearing up for our Fall Meeting! This year’s program will stimulate discussion between State Directors, Associate Members and a number of outside experts as we touch on exciting developments surrounding CTE today and how we can help CTE realize its full potential as learning that works for America. 

Join us in Baltimore from October 20 – 22, 2014 to expand your professional network and to gather examples of high-quality CTE programs nationwide to apply in your state or community.

More information on the Fall Meeting is available on the event homepage, including the agenda and logistical information. Keep your eyes open — our blog and homepage will be updated repeatedly with more details as we approach the Fall Meeting kickoff!

NASDCTEc Member and non-member registration portals opened July 30, 2014 and are currently featuring a $100 early bird discount (expires August 29, 2014). Don’t delay, sign up to contribute your perspective today!

Evan Williamson, Communications Associate

Fall Meeting Recap: Top Tweets

November 1st, 2013

Last week, NASDCTEc held its annual Fall Meeting, its first ever since joining Twitter. Below are some of the top tweets from the meeting, where participants joined the conversation using #CTEFallMtg

NASDCTEc @CTEWorks: 1st full day of #ctefallmtg with sessions on #eddata, #ccss, comp-based ed, @PARCCPlace@SmarterBalanced, #PerkinsCTE#careerteched & more!

NOCTI @NOCTI1: OECD report shows US post-sec system is diverse, flexible & responsive. Need more balance of quality, coherence & transparency. #CTEFallMtg

Academic Benchmarks @AcadBenchmarks: #ctefallmtg Excellent discussion of the realities of assessing career and college readiness. Next up: competency-based education.

NASDCTEc @CTEWorks:  Checkout from @DECAInc @SkillsUSA @NationalTSA
@nationalffa FBLA_National @NationalHOSA @National_BPA @NationalFCCLA @young_educators

NOCTI @NOCTI1: NOCTI is a NASDCTEc All Star Sponsor! We are big fans of CTE, recognizing its importance to our economy! #CTEFallMtg

Academic Benchmarks @AcadBenchmarks: #ctefallmtg Great presentation by Russ Weikle from CA DOE on integrating CTE standards into #CommonCore-arts,media,entertainment,and trades!

NASDCTEc @CTEWorks: Great resources from @WisconsinDPI on disc literacy and the #ccss… #ctefallmtg

Dan Brown @DanBrownTeacher: Career and technical education today is not your father’s vo-tech. Relevant, engaging, real-world learning. Readiness for life. #CTEFallMtg

NASDCTEc @CTEWorks: See the smallest pie of the funding pie? That’s all of our federal funding for education#ctefallmtg

NASDCTEc @CTEWorks: Thank you @Certiport for your Diamond Level sponsorship! #ctefallmtg

Certiport @Certiport: @CTEWorks Thanks for allowing us to participate! We too believe in the value of #careerteched in helping students to succeed! #ctefallmtg

NASDCTEc @CTEWorks: Thanks to @Gradcast a diamond level sponsor of #ctefallmtg

NASDCTEc @CTEWorks: We’re very proud to announce the release of “State of #careerteched: An Analysis of State CTE Standards” #ctefallmtg

Academic Benchmarks @AcadBenchmarks: #ctefallmtg @CTEWorks 1st ever analysis of state approves standards for secondary and postsecondary CTE!

John Fischer @fischer_vt: #ctefallmtg NASDCTE Executive Director Kim Green introduces Common Career Tech Core

NASDCTEc @CTEWorks: #careerteched needs to be for all students.” @IBM‘s Maura Banta. Amen! #ctefallmtg

Academic Benchmarks @AcadBenchmarks: #ctefallmtg @CTEWorks @SkillsUSA @IBM @actecareertech @MeridianTech One of the best panels of the conference!

Tim Hodges @TimHodges402: @fischer_vt with brilliant #ctefallmtg closing statement that should be obvious:  “postsecondary” doesn’t always mean traditional higher ed. #readybyexit #multiplepathways

NASDCTEc @CTEWorks: Big day for @CTEWorks! Released report on state CTE standards, closed our #ctefallmtg &hit 200 followers on Twitter!

PARCC Place @PARCCPlace: Thanks for having us & @SmarterBalanced yesterday @CTEWorks! Great questions from your state leaders. #askPARCC

Fall Meeting Recap: Common Core State Standards & Career Technical Education

October 29th, 2013

CCSS LogoLast week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Fall Meeting,  which featured a panel of state CTE leaders sharing their strategies for implementation the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Kicking off the panel was Meredith Liben, Director of Literacy at Student Achievement Partners (SAP), who described the three major instructional shifts within the CCSS in English Language Arts/Literacy, which in essence boil down to “texts worth reading, questions worth answered and work worth doing.” Liben highlighted the challenge among CTE teachers who often don’t have a literacy background in internalizing such shifts within their classrooms, and gave a sneak peek into the work SAP plans to take on in this space moving forward.

Next up was Katharine Oliver, Assistant State Superintendent of Career and College Readiness at the Maryland State Department of Education who described the state’s efforts to identify ways to measure student growth in CTE through the development of student learning objectives (SLOs), as well as the professional development that brings interdisciplinary teams of teachers together to collaborate to understand and identify complex texts. An early lesson learned is the importance of keeping teachers in “like groups,” as CTE teachers want to be able to see literacy through the lens of their own content areas rather than for all CTE subjects. Oliver also mentioned a new Blackboard site where the state will be posting lessons in “those difficult to teach areas” including CTE.

Russ Weikle, Director of Career and College Transition Division at the California Department of Education framed much of the work in his state as “deliberate” alignments to the CCSS. The approach California took when modifying their CTE standards framework was to create anchor standards (a term borrowed from the CCSS’s ELA/Literacy standards) that are consistent across all Career Clusters, making them “CTE standards that CTE teachers can own, while still teaching CCSS.” Under the anchor standards are performance indicators that are specific to the state’s Career Pathways. Next, the state convened educators to review the Career Pathway-level standards and look for “substantial and natural alignment” between them and the CCSS. The task put before them was to determine if a pathway standard would enhance, reinforce or apply a specific core subject standard.” The result of this effort are Academic Alignment Matrices for each of the state’s 15 Career Clusters.

In addition, 500 educators in California have gone through a train the trainer module around disciplinary literacy and are not replicating the training in their schools and districts. The module can be found here.

Sharing Wisconsin’s efforts to date, Sharon Wendt, Director of Career and Technical Education at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction discussed the state’s efforts around literacy, jumpstarted by the adoption of the CCSS and the launch of a Governor’s Task Force on literacy in 2010. With CTE engaged in the task force from the get-go, it has allowed for that work to inform the revision of the state’s CTE standards and for CTE to inform the broader statewide discussion of college and career readiness.   One major takeaway Wendt shared is how the CCSS are helping core academic teachers better understand what happens within CTE classrooms through such inter-disciplinary professional development and resources being developed. Wisconsin has some terrific materials for disciplinary literacy, which can be found here.

Most of the conversation was focused around the ELA/Literacy standards and the panelists did admit much less work had been done in mathematics to date in part because they are not technically required for CTE educators and because there is more resistance from the mathematics community to integrate. Maryland is working to develop senior year transition courses in mathematics, particularly for students who do not meet the college- and career-ready determination on the state test, with a heavy emphasis on mathematics applications. Another idea on the table in Maryland is to identify where a CTE course or sequence of courses with enough math may count as a fourth-year math requirement.

While it is too early to measure results with implementation still underway, all of the panelists noted “appreciative teacher”s and “positive feedback” from core academic educators as early signs of success.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Resources Available Online

October 29th, 2013

The National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Fall Meeting last week in Baltimore, Maryland. Many State Career Technical Education (CTE) Directors and other CTE stakeholders were in attendance during the three-day event where a variety of presentations and panel discussions took place on a wide range of topics.

Presentation resources are available online. We are awaiting a few more documents to finalize the collection of all the resources, but in the meantime, please take advantage of the resources now available here.

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

Fall Meeting Recap: State Policy Update

October 24th, 2013

Earlier this week, the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc) held its annual Fall Meeting, which had a strong focus on state policy. To lay out some of the major trends being led by legislatures, state agencies and state boards across the country impacting Career Technical Education (CTE), Amy Loyd, from the Pathways to Prosperity Network at Jobs for the Future, Jennifer Dounay Zinth, from the Education Commission of States, and Robin Utz, from the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) at the U.S. Department of Education participated in the State Policy Update session.

Dale Winkler, Associate Commissioner, Kentucky Office of Career and Technical Education, moderated the panel and opened by describing three major pieces of legislation passed over the last few years in Kentucky impacting CTE, strengthening the state’s CTE standards and accountability, pathways and governance. Jennifer Dounay Zinth provided an overview of cross-state legislation and governors’ agendas citing five overarching trends: career-ready performance indicators, governance structures to facilitate better CTE and industry alignment, finance through accountability and incentives, CTE pathways or industry-based credentials being embedded into high school graduation requirements, and greater coordination between K-12, postsecondary and workforce development/industry.

Amy Loyd shared some highlights from the eight states working within the Pathways to Prosperity Network to better connect their education and workforce development systems to support more seamless student transitions. An early takeaway from that work is the importance of cross-agency efforts. The most successful states are those that bring together the major state agencies – such as state departments of education, higher education commissions, workforce development boards, governors’ offices, and economic development commissions – to develop common language, common goals and metrics, and even common funding as possible.

Finally, Robin Utz discussed some of the work OVAE is supporting in states and trends emerging around career pathways and programs of study. Specifically, she mentioned performance-based funding, graduation requirements recognizing or even requiring programs of study, legislative support for Career Technical Student Organizations, and dual and concurrent enrollment as some of the major levers being pulled across states in support of CTE. She, along with the other panelists, all agreed that this widespread interest in CTE and improving career pathways is the result of the economic uncertainly and persistent skills gap, along with the broader support for the college- and career-ready agenda, which has led to CTE being “invited to the adults’ table.”

Among the common themes that emerged as policy areas that still need more attention were dual/concurrent enrollment, credit transfer and articulation agreements, career guidance and counseling, and structures and incentives for more work-based learning experiences.

Kate Blosveren, Associate Executive Director

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Blog Series: Certiport – Leading Certification in Validating Student Workforce Skills

October 11th, 2013

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in the Baltimore, MD area October 21-23, 2013. Today’s guest blogger is Aaron Osmond, Vice President, North America Sales of Certiport (a Pearson/Vue Company), and Utah State Senator.

Certiport Helps Millions of Students Earn Industry-Recognized Certification in CTE Programs

Certiport, a Pearson VUE business, is the world leader in performance-based certification exams and practice test solutions for academic institutions, currently delivering nearly 2 million certification exams each year around the world.

Certiport-Pearson-Logo-Final (214x51)

There has never been a better time for Career Technical Education (CTE) programs to implement certification.  The global job market is increasingly competitive, and the U.S. government continues to push schools to improve their CTE programs to prepare students to enter the workforce.  The quality of CTE programs varies greatly across the U.S., but certification can be a universal equalizer.

By arming students with an industry-recognized certification, CTE programs can simultaneously boost student resumes while satisfying state assessment requirements.  In North Carolina, for instance, the Department of Public Instruction entered a statewide licensing agreement with Microsoft and Certiport to give their students, wherever they lived in North Carolina, the opportunity to earn valuable information technology credentials such as the Microsoft Office Specialist or Microsoft Technology Associate.

Now, more than 100,000 students and teachers have earned certifications in North Carolina and Aaron Fleming, Director of CTE for Lee County Public Schools, is proud of what the program has accomplished.  “The Microsoft IT Academy allows students to prove to employers they have a specific skill that is in-demand.  Certification is one way to close the skills gap – it’s one way for employers to find someone to fill exactly what they need in an open position.”

Certiport manages a sophisticated portfolio of leading certification programs including: the official Microsoft Office Specialist certification program, the Microsoft Technology Associate certification program, the Adobe® Certified Associate certification program, the HP Accredited Technical Associate, the CompTIA Strata™ IT Fundamentals, the Autodesk Certified User certification program, the Intuit QuickBooks Certified User certification program and the Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC³®).

To learn more about how Certiport can help your CTE program teach and validate in-demand workforce skills with industry-recognized certification, stop by the Certiport booth at the Fall Meeting or visit

The NASDCTEc Fall Meeting will be held October 21-23, 2013 at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel in Linthicum, MD. More information

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

NASDCTEC Fall Meeting Blog Series: Our Future Depends on Putting Tech Education at the Core

October 10th, 2013

This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in the Baltimore, MD area October 21-23, 2013. Today’s guest blogger is Cullen White, Cisco Academy Instructor at Fairmont Heights High School in Washington, DC.

“Does this class count as an Advanced Placement course?”

It’s been a common question of my returning IT Academy students. My courses are demanding. I expect them to read and write daily, to meet online after school for concept and skills reviews, and to practice using skills that will help them in college and career. They view my Cisco Networking Academy and computer science courses as college-level, and want others to view them that way too (in addition to the grade inflation that accompanies AP courses). Unfortunately, the courses that I teach aren’t a part of the core curriculum. Instead, they’re seen by many as electives and therefore expendable.  Cisco-corp-logo (200x111)

They shouldn’t be.

My classes offer too much opportunity for academic and professional growth to be viewed that way. The things we explore together are far too interesting, too important. In one class, we’re learning how data moves from device to device, and how to build our own networks. In another, we’re building Web apps while learning how to obtain feedback from users and analyze data. There is never a dull moment. Students are constantly engaged by the meaningful, hands-on experiences that my classroom provides. Why wouldn’t they be? They know that what we learn matters, because my courses mimic the same online, tech-enabled world that they grew up in. What we do is immediately relevant to them.

There is no reason for computer science or system engineering courses to be ranked as “non-essential” in favor of more traditional English, math, and science courses that so often teach knowledge and skills out of context. Especially when the very same knowledge and skills can be taught — when they ARE taught — in technology classrooms like mine. It’s time to start thinking about how we can change the core of our education system to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving, tech-savvy world. It’s time to move computing education classes to the core. And it’s time to save our students from the same class schedules that bored us to death.

This is important. If we don’t make technology education a priority, we will face a crisis of epic proportions. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 4.2 million jobs in IT and computing. There is no way we can fill those jobs with American students and an education system that doesn’t adequately prepare them. Reframing computing education courses as a part of the core curriculum is an important and necessary step in ensuring that our students can meet the challenges of an ever-changing global economy.

Making technology education a part of the core won’t be easy. There is, however, a logical way to proceed:

1. Educate Decision-Makers at Local Levels
I’ve been fortunate to work with school and district administrators who support my students and me as much as they possibly can. Still, I question whether admins truly understand how exceptionally important technology education is for our students, community, and nation. It’s not surprising either, given how challenging it is to understand major networking or computer science concepts when you haven’t been in the industry. Helping local leaders understand and gaining their support is key in making necessary changes. Here is where industry giants have a responsibility to get involved as well.

2. Change the Way Students View Technology Education
Above all, we have to increase the value of technology education in the eyes of students. They need to understand what opportunities they will have by pursuing higher learning in computer science or network administration. Districts need to work with instructors to develop multi-year technology education programs, then aggressively recruit students for them. Outreach through social media will be exceptionally important, but nothing is more so than making sure students have good teachers. At the very least, we need to make sure that technology education courses count as graduation requirements.

3. Raise Expectations for Technology Education Teachers
We have to develop clear and specific certification pathways for technology education teachers. As it stands, a number of states don’t have certification processes for educators in computing-related fields. This leads to confusion and permits low expectations for teachers. Our students and teachers deserve better.

4. Encourage Technology Instructors to Adopt and Integrate the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Literacy and Math
Core classes, English and math specifically, have been favored in the implementation of the CCSS for obvious reasons. Technology education classrooms are uniquely positioned, however, to integrate both English and math standards in a meaningful way. So much of what is done in computer science and systems engineering already requires the application of fundamental mathematics. Integration of the English language arts standards should be natural, given the need to explain solutions to complex technical problems through writing and speech.

Additionally, it is our classrooms that can lead directly to careers. Embedding the standards will further allow us to demonstrate that we are truly preparing our students for college and/or career, especially if they are linked to professional-level certification.

Finally, successful integration of literacy and math standards will help prove that our classrooms belong with other core subject areas.

5. Allow districts to develop pathways of study that work for their students and teachers.
As mentioned previously, districts have to create K-12 course pathways that ensure students are continually exposed to technology-related concepts. Allowing districts to pick their flavor of technology education allows them to play to the strengths of their staff and better meet the needs of their students and communities. Additionally, the demand for certain tech-related roles differs by region. This is exceptionally important to consider in low-income communities, as success in the right tech education courses can quickly provide opportunities for upward social mobility to students and their families.

Let’s face it: The next life-changing app isn’t going to come out of English class, unless the students have already learned how to program. Our reliance on technology is here to stay. There is no doubt that we have to rethink our current model of education. And not just for the next 10 years either. We have to build a model that is agile and ready to adapt. We have to build a model with technology at the core.

To learn more about Cisco Networking Academy courses available at high schools, colleges and universities across the country, visit

The NASDCTEc Fall Meeting will be held October 21-23, 2013 at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel in Linthicum, MD. More information

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Blog Series – NOCTI: Still Looking Forward

September 27th, 2013

NOCTI--Navy-11-2009This blog series provides readers with insight on the valuable content that is being shared at the NASDCTEc Fall Meeting. Guest bloggers are partner organizations, supporters and other experts that will be present at the national gathering in the Baltimore, MD area in October.

About this time last year we touted the resources contained in “The Career Pathways Effect”, a joint publication between NASDCTEc and CORD that offered many practical applications for CTE stakeholders.  The publication deserves to be mentioned again because it provides not only a context for policy conversations, but also a roadmap of sorts for program implementation at the local level.  This article still believes that it is the credibility and applicability of program assessment that will drive improvements to all phases of CTE. These assessments provide reliable, valid, and actionable data for continuous improvement.

NOCTI, a not-for-profit entity  governed by an unpaid board elected by the state directors of CTE in all 50 states, works solely for the CTE community to provide the data and support that schools and students need.  NOCTI works closely with ACTE, NRCCTE, NASDCTEc, and the Institute for Educational Sciences (IES), just to name a few.  New collaborations and initiatives are underway. Here are just a few worth mentioning:

  • Additional Certification credentials have been added to the NOCTI line-up including the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Green Education Foundation (GEF).
  • Discussions continue with the International Baccalaureate regarding the Career-Related certificate (IBCC) and with College Board.
  • College credit is now available to CTE students for over 50 assessment titles, with the remainder slated for the 2014-15 school year.
  • A new Student Growth Measures package is being implemented as a tool to assist with the new teacher evaluation requirements.
  • Reports aligning common core standards to all NOCTI technical assessments will be available in 2014.
  • Free modules to assist with training new CTE teachers regarding assessment and the use of data have been completed and are available for use.
  • A strategy for digital badges in CTE assessments will be beta tested this spring.

Contact us at [email protected] to see how we can help you.  NOCTI is also a gold sponsor of the NASDCTEc fall meeting; stop by and say hello!

The NASDCTEc Fall Meeting will be held October 21-23, 2013 at the BWI Airport Marriott Hotel in Linthicum, MD. More information

Ramona Schescke, Member Services Manager

NASDCTEc Fall Meeting Update – Special Reservation Rate Ends Today

September 20th, 2013

Have you made your hotel reservations for the Fall Meeting yet? Today is the last day to get the group rate!

The reduced group RESERVATION rate will end today, September 20. After that date, special rates and room availability are not longer guaranteed.

The Fall Meeting will be held at the Marriott BWI Airport Hotel and is geared toward professional development, sharing of best practices, state policy updates and other topical sessions. An important topic covered at this meeting will be the release of “The State of Career Technical Education: An Analysis of State CTE Standards.” It is a national report examining how states organize and implement CTE standards, using the Common Career Technical Core as the benchmark.

The agenda includes confirmed presenters and will provide the professional development and content you need to stay on top of all the latest Career Technical Education happenings.

  • Access the robust Fall Meeting AGENDA to see confirmed presenters!
  • Early bird REGISTRATION rate is available until September 23; main registration available September 24 through time of meeting
  • Meeting location: Marriott BWI Airport Hotel, 1743 Nursery Road, Linthicum, MD 21090 (near BWI airport – Baltimore area)
  • Meeting dates: October 21-23, 2013

Make your plans to attend the Fall Meeting in Baltimore, MD.