Archive for February, 2011

Memorial Tribute to Phyllis Dryden, Former NV State Director

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Former Nevada State Director Phyllis L. Dryden, 63, passed away Monday, Feb. 21, 2011, at her home in Carson City, Nevada after a valiant battle with cancer. She passed peacefully with family in attendance.

Mike Raponi, Nevada State Director shared with NASDCTEc that Phyllis Dryden worked at the Department of Education for nearly twenty years, and served as the Director for Career, Technical and Adult Education for fourteen years.  Mike also said that “Throughout the Department, Phyllis exhibited a passion for CTE and adult education that was contagious; across the State, she was known as someone who cared deeply about education.

Phyllis was a stable force in CTE, providing leadership during transitional phases when the discipline evolved from occupational education to workforce education to career and technical education.  And it was under her leadership when the State first developed state skill standards; standards exist for more than twenty-five CTE programs today.

Phyllis was also known for her work ethic.  She never slowed down, approaching each day with a can-do attitude in the face of a relentless work load. But for Phyllis, that work load was rarely a burden; rather, it represented a challenge she enthusiastically faced most every day.”

From Kimberly Green, NASDCTEc Executive Director: “Phyllis was a strong, passionate advocate for CTE and a warm, kind-hearted person. I will miss her dearly.”

Milt Ericksen, AZ State Director, shared “I first met Phyllis Dryden at the NASDCTEc spring 2001 meeting.  She had been in her position for several years and immediately volunteered to be a peer mentor/advisor when I had questions on any topic (I had hundreds).  During that first year we began what became a long-term friendship built on mutual respect and the desire to make our states leaders in CTE.   We would call and e-mail each other regularly, took turns serving as Board liaisons from our region and laughed, told stories and just plain had a lot of fun along the way.  Phyllis Dryden epitomized true leadership in CTE and will be greatly missed, but always remembered and revered by me.”

Vicki Newell, Executive Director of the Northern Nevada Literacy Council noted that “I’ve known Phyllis since December 1993 and feel privileged to have both a working relationship and friendship with her.  She had a “walk softly/carry a big stick” leadership style that I respected because I always knew where I stood with her.  She cared very deeply for those who worked for and with her and particularly cared about the students her department served.  She was a super individual.”

Phyllis’s obituary states “throughout her life she received many awards and commendations and in 2010, the year she retired, she received the “Bill Trabert Memorial Award” for lifetime achievement in education.”

The full obituary can be accessed online. If you wish to send a card to the family, please send to Phyllis’s son and daughter, Julie Campos and Ryan Hawkins, 813 Lexington, Carson City, NV 89703.

By Ramona in Advance CTE Announcements

Secretary Duncan and Secretary Solis Launch First Community College Summit in Philadelphia

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis gave remarks this morning at the first of four Community College Summits. The Community College of Philadelphia hosted 150 invited guests including regional community college presidents, students, and leaders from businesses, foundations, and the government. The focus of the first summit was “Transitioning Adult Learners to Community Colleges and the Workforce.”

Secretary Duncan once again lauded community colleges, calling them the “unrecognized gem” of institutions within the education continuum. He emphasized that both 2-year and 4-year institutions cannot just focus on access, but they must also be adamant about increasing completion rates to meet President Obama’s goal for 2020 – to have the highest proportion of college graduates worldwide.

Secretary Solis noted that the role of community colleges in training healthcare workers is critical, as healthcare will continue to be one of the fastest growing sectors in need of skilled workers. Solis also pushed for stronger partnerships between community colleges and businesses to meet regional challenges.

The panelists, most from foundations or businesses, also discussed partnerships between community colleges and businesses or foundations. They focused on using leverage to stretch funding and on the necessity of quality data to back community colleges’ progress. Particular attention was paid to the use of competency-based education and contextual learning opportunities to accelerate adult learner degree attainment.

Though she did not attend the summit, Dr. Jill Biden wrote an op-ed on the topic in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer.

The next Community College Summit will take place on March 9th at the Lone Star Community College District in Houston, Texas.

By Kara in News
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House Introduces Short Term CR to Avoid Government Shutdown

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

On Friday the House Appropriations Committee unveiled a short term continuing resolution (CR) that, if passed by the Senate and signed by the President, would fund the government until March 18, allowing time for a compromise to be reached on a longer term funding bill. Passage of this CR will prevent a government shut down that could otherwise occur on March 4. The CR contains funding to allow government agencies and programs to continue operating at current spending levels for the next two weeks, except for several programs that will be terminated or cut.

These cuts and eliminations total $4 billion in spending reductions, however, Tech Prep is not one of the programs targeted for cuts in this bill. While this is significant, and shows that the advocacy efforts of the CTE community are making an impact, the fight is not over. This bill buys Congress additional time to work out a compromise, but Republicans in the House remained committed to deep cuts, of which Tech Prep could still be one.

Please continue to call your Members of Congress to urge them not to cut Perkins Tech Prep funding!

By Nancy in Legislation
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Community College Placement Tests: ‘Mismatch Between Interventions and Assessments’

Friday, February 25th, 2011

While over half of community college students enroll in at least one remedial course, a recent study finds little correlation between postsecondary remediation and increased student outcomes. In the working paper, Assessing Developmental Assessment in Community Colleges, researchers from Teachers College at Columbia University examine the role of assessment and placement within community colleges. They recommend that states and community colleges reform the remediation process by taking a closer look at the placement tests that land students in remedial coursework in the first place.

The authors found a trend towards state standardization of assessments and mandatory enrollment in remedial courses if placed, but remarked that “While standardization of an effective strategy may improve student outcomes, standardization of an ineffective strategy may worsen them.”

According to the paper, 92 percent of 2-year colleges administer assessments to determine whether remedial coursework is needed, most using the ACCUPLACER and/or COMPASS exams. While studies find both tests fairly valid measures of predicting students’ math, reading, and writing grades, they also find that the resulting placement recommendations do not seem to improve student outcomes. As noted by the authors, “This suggests a mismatch between interventions and assessments.”

The researchers suggest using a more comprehensive assessment (or multiple assessments) including academic, diagnostic, and affective measures, to better place students and to improve student outcomes.

By Kara in Research
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Dept. of Labor Announces Green Jobs Innovation Fund Competition

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced the Green Jobs Innovation Fund competition to increase green job training within existing career training programs. About $40 million will be awarded to five to eight national or state organizations running career training programs at the local level.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis remarked that “This grant program is an important effort in supporting green investments and equipping workers with the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to succeed in green occupations. The projects we expect to fund will enable workers to gain new skills that will make them competitive for industries and careers in demand.”

The grantees will use the funds to connect workers to green career pathways by linking Registered Apprenticeships with pre-apprenticeships and by providing skills training programs through community-based partnerships.

For more information on ETA competitive grants, visit ETA’s online tutorial. To request a grant application, visit or the Department of Labor grant website.

By Kara in News
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Webinar Reminder: Washington Update: State of the Union, Funding and the New Congress

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to register for today’s NASDCTEc webinar Washington Update: State of the Union, Funding and the New Congress

When: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 4 p.m. Eastern

Join Nancy Conneely, NASDCTEc’s Public Policy Manager, as she walks you through all that’s happening in Washington. You will hear about the President’s State of the Union Address and his proposed budget, Congressional plans for funding and other bills, and what impact the newly elected Congress could have on education policy in the coming year.

Attendee link to register/access:

Event number: 206 474 096   Event password: update

Questions? Call 301-588-9630.

By Ramona in Webinars
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Meet NASDCTEc Secretary-Treasurer Marie Barry of New Jersey

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

In order for our members to know the individuals who serve them at the national level, NASDCTEc is presenting a blog series called “Meet Your Board Members;” today we are featuring Secretary-Treasurer Ms. Marie Barry, from New Jersey.

Ms. Barry is currently director of the Office of Career and Technical Education at the New Jersey Department of Education.  In this capacity she administers all activities and plans related to the Carl D. Perkins Education Improvement Act and serves as the state director for career and technical education for secondary and postsecondary CTE programs.  She is also a member of the department’s cross-divisional team addressing secondary education transformation, and, specifically, provides leadership for the pilot program on the development of personalized student learning plans.

Ms. Barry has served in various capacities at the NJ Department of Education since 1999.  She has coordinated the High Schools That Work Initiative, administered initiatives related to career development and school counseling and coordinates with workforce development entities to promote articulation between education, the business and labor communities and other stakeholders.  During her tenure in the NJ DOE, Ms. Barry has also been responsible for the administration of programs related to career and technical student organizations.  She served as the liaison with the office of Special Education on issues related to developing plans and policies to promote the successful transition of special education students under the School-to-Work initiative.   

Ms. Barry currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association for State Directors in Career and Technical Education Consortium and serves as the State Director liaison to the FFA and ACTE Board of Directors.   In the past she has also served on the executive committee of the National Association for Workforce Improvement and the New Jersey School Counselor Association. She represents the Commissioner on the State Employment and Training Commission and the Governors School Board of Overseers.

Prior to joining the department, Ms. Barry worked as a career counselor and specialist where she served youth and adults in the community. She designed programs to address the varied career development needs of students, the entering workforce, displaced workers and incumbent workers.  She is a certified school counselor, a national certified counselor and a certified rehabilitation counselor.  Ms Barry holds a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University and a Masters in Education from Seton Hall University.

In reflecting on her office, Ms. Barry stated “It is an honor to be serving in this leadership position in such a critical time for career and technical education.  It is my goal to enhance the awareness of the potential of CTE to positively impact on our entire educational system.  To do this, it is imperative that we focus on evidence and outcomes that demonstrate success and strengthen our collaboration with our multiple partners in education and workforce development.  With the launch of the new vision, State Directors across the nation have a unique opportunity to elevate CTE to a new level and promote it as a vehicle for success for all students.”

We thank Ms. Barry for sharing her personal insight and goals for our organization. She can be reached at

By Ramona in Advance CTE State Director, News

House Passes Funding Bill That Would Cut Tech Prep

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

At 4:30 a.m. this morning the House voted 235-189 to pass H.R. 1, the continuing resolution (CR) that would reduce spending on federal programs by $60 billion below current FY10 levels. The bill includes cutting $103 million from Perkins Tech Prep.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) said of the bill, “Congressional Republicans have spent the last six weeks ignoring jobs and refusing to offer a plan to grow our economy. Today, they have made matters worse – passing a spending bill that destroys jobs, weakens the middle class, hurts schools and young adults, eliminates assistance to homeless veterans, and diminishes critical investments in our future.”

When the Senate returns from recess on February 28, they will take up the bill, but it is unlikely to pass. The Senate has said they will introduce their own short term resolution. Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner (OH) said that he would not vote for a CR that does not include cuts, but yesterday he said that a CR that could avoid a government shutdown would be ready “soon enough.”

Remember to call your Senator TODAY to ask them to restore Tech Prep funding!

By Nancy in Legislation
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Legislative Update: Appropriations, ESEA

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Debate on FY11 CR Continues in the House

The House planned to hold votes yesterday on H.R. 1, the continuing resolution (CR) that proposes to cut $100 billion from federal programs, including $103 million from Perkins Tech Prep. However, the vast number of amendments (many of which call for deeper cuts) has kept debate going late into the night this week. The House is now expected to conclude debate and hold a vote tomorrow.

The bill will then move to the Senate the week of February 28, where it is not expected to pass. The Senate has said they will introduce their own short term resolution, but House Speaker John Boehner (OH) has said that he will not vote for a CR that does not include cuts, which could result in a government shutdown.

Remember to call your Member of Congress TODAY to ask them to preserve Tech Prep funding!

President Meets with Congressional Leaders to Discuss ESEA

Yesterday morning President Obama with the “Big 8,” the education committee chairmen and ranking members, and subcommittee chairmen and ranking members of the committees that oversee K-12 education issues. This group includes Sens. Tom Harkin (IA), Mike Enzi (WY), Jeff Bingaman (NM), and Lamar Alexander (TN); and Reps. John Kline (MN), George Miller (CA), Duncan Hunter (CA), and Dale Kildee (MI).

According to the White House, the group discussed redefining the federal role in education, raising expectations for students and schools, boosting teacher effectiveness, and providing greater flexibility to support innovation and improvements. The timing of the meeting shows that the Obama Administration is committed to reauthorizing ESEA this year.

By Nancy in Legislation
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Quality State Data is Collected but Not Used Effectively

Friday, February 18th, 2011

With budget cuts to career technical education (CTE) looming, states must provide solid data to support the efficacy and value of CTE. Now more than ever, quality data analysis is critical to making changes that will increase student achievement.  According to the Data Quality Campaign (DQC), “states cannot do more with less without collecting and using quality data to determine which programs and policies increase student achievement and the state’s return on investment.”

DQC’s state-by-state analysis shows that states are making unprecedented progress in improving their longitudinal data systems. Though states have improved their longitudinal data collection, many have not taken the necessary actions to improve access so that the data can be effectively used. To make the transition from data collection to effective use, states must:

To view your state’s progress, visit the DQC State Analysis website.

By Kara in News, Research
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