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Report Highlights State Directors’ Efforts to Improve CTE through New Vision

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Career Technical Education (CTE) is one education delivery mechanism that is redefining the mission of America’s high schools, according to a recent paper.

In the paper, the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a non-profit organization that creates research-based assessments, lauds NASDCTEc’s new vision for CTE as “a strong indication of the continuing efforts to improve CTE.” Specifically, the authors wrote about the State Directors’ intent to ensure that standards are internationally-benchmarked and a rigorous blend of academic and technical content. While the authors convey that more work is needed to improve CTE, they also support CTE’s integrated approach and opportunities for applied and academic learning.

The tremendous potential of CTE in America is evident when looking at the results shown by CTE internationally. For example, “Twenty-four percent of Japan’s secondary students are in vocational programs, as are 29 percent in Korea, and a whopping 72 percent in the United Kingdom. All of these countries had higher average scores in eighth-grade mathematics than did the United States in the latest TIMSS (Trends in Mathematics and Science Study) assessment.”

While educators in the United States have looked to high-scoring countries for examples of educational excellence, the report says, they often overlook a key point – these countries are using CTE approaches. The results are impressive: “Analysis of international data found that nations enrolling a large proportion of upper-secondary students in vocational programs have significantly higher school attendance rates and upper-secondary completion rates.” Still, the report points out, all students need more guidance and career counseling to help navigate options and prepare for college and careers.

NASDCTEc members, click “Career Technical Education” then “CTE Success Map” to view high-achieving CTE programs across the nation!

Read more about CTE in the “Different Pathways to Life Destinations” chapter of the ETS report.

Kara Herbertson, Education Policy Analyst

By Kara in Publications, Resources
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Spring Meeting Attendees – New Resources

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Secretary of Education Duncan’s remarks!  Dave Buchholz shares top CTE marketing tips!

We wanted you to know about two new resources for you from the Joint NASDCTEc/OVAE Spring Leadership Meeting.

Arne Duncan

You can view Secretary of Education

Arne Duncan’s remarks at the April 19 session:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYn1an3v5Yc

David Buchholz

For those of you who are looking for creative ways to implement the new CTE brand,  you can see David Buchholz share marketing tips in the CTE rebranding session:

“10 Ways to Market CTE Now”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mzb561lExu0

By Ramona in CTE: Learning that works for America
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Implementing CTE Vision Inspires Ambitious Initiatives in Nevada

Friday, March 18th, 2011

This year, as we have been moving forward with the vision for Career Technical Education (CTE), several State Directors have shared with us a mix of implementation stories that been enlightening, fascinating, and moreover, we believe to be very useful to share with other State Directors as a wealth of information, loaded with ‘toolbox’ strategies to use as they make the journey within their own states.

Mike Raponi, State Director from Nevada, has submitted his journey in his own words, which will now be shared with you.

Mike Raponi “I have felt as though I am in a very interesting position.  I have worked in CTE at the Department of Education for over 20 years and have served a long stint as acting director.  I have now been in this job officially for about six weeks and things feel very different, much different than I thought they would.  It is very exciting.

Looking at things from 30,000 feet now, I am very anxious to move forward on some initiatives to really help CTE in Nevada.  What we hope to accomplish would transcend all goals of the new vision for CTE.  A few key areas are shown below:

We would also like to accomplish a move from program areas to career clusters and market CTE systematically through planned, ongoing promotions, information bulletins, and accountability briefs.”

 Submitted by: Mike Raponi, Director

Office of Career, Technical & Adult Education

Nevada Department of Education

Thank you, Mike, for sharing your story. State Directors, if you would like to share your vision implementation story, please e-mail Ramona Schescke, NASDCTEc Member Services Manager at rschescke@careertech.org.

By Ramona in News
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Strength Lies in Focus on Common Purpose as Montana Shares CTE Vision Journey

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

State Directors and Members, as we have been moving forward with the vision for Career Technical Education (CTE), several State Directors have shared with us a mix of implementation stories that been enlightening, fascinating, and moreover, we believe to be very useful to share with other State Directors as a wealth of information, loaded with ‘toolbox’ strategies to use as they make the journey within their own states.

Today we want to share Montana’s journey with you, provided by Kathy Wilkins, Perkins Accountability Specialist of the Montana University System.

Montana contemplated a number of ways to get the word out about the new vision. 

Advisory Council Identified: We identified our advisory council as the perfect vehicle for helping state staff get the word out and at the same time, further define their roles as state leaders of CTE.

Vision Video Provides Context: The council meeting was set up to first reflect on where CTE has been nationally and in the state using the PowerPoint presentation put together by NASDCTEc (Note from NASDCTEc Staff: this video can be accessed from www.careertech.org).  In the past we’ve skipped over this orientation to CTE and it was a mistake.  The council appreciated knowing more about the national CTE history and about Montana’s journey. 

 Advisory Council Acts: We then called the committee to action to transform and lead by dividing the 5 principles into 3 focus areas.  Committee members were then required to participate in a task force devoted to one of the 3 focus areas.  The initial purpose of the taskforce was to choose a future meeting time and date and select a chairperson.  We purposely left the focus group discussions until the end of the day and a limited amount of time, feeling like this would be an easy wrap up task. 

 What Made the Difference: We significantly underestimated the enthusiasm and brainstorming that went on.  In fact, the focus group discussions went way over the allotted time with the wrap up reports given after the meeting was over.  In previous council meetings, members were anxious to leave and often did not stay through the whole meeting.  We feel what made the difference was the focus on a common purpose and ability for each member to contribute.  These factors really engaged the council members.  We had set a goal for groups to meet at least once before the next council meeting in February of 2011.  The committees exceeded our expectations meeting numerous times and developing a number of action items for their groups to tackle.

Montana has experienced almost a complete restaffing on the postsecondary side which has stalled the process slightly but also gives the new staff a fantastic foundation.  As NASDCTEc informed you in a recent blog, Montana recently welcomed a new State Director, Dr. John Cech.

 Montana will keep states posted with our progress.  

Submitted by Kathy Wilkins, Perkins Accountability Specialist of the Montana University System. Ms. Wilkins can be reached at kwilkins@montana.edu.

 You can share your state’s vision journey too. Contact Member Services Manager Ramona Schescke for more information at rschescke@careertech.org.

By Ramona in News
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NASDCTEc Fall Meeting: Levers of Change

Friday, November 5th, 2010

During a workshop session facilitated by Langdon Morris of Innovation Labs, Fall Meeting attendees learned about the “levers of change” though a series of case studies aimed at highlighting how companies have transformed their brand, their strategies and their vision. Lessons learned at this session were translated to how State Directors and the CTE community can transform CTE by putting the new vision, Reflect, Transform, Lead, into action as attendees worked together in small groups.

One of the takeaways from this session was that failure is not always a bad thing because the faster you fail, the quicker you can reach success.

We also learned that the closer you get to changing a system, the harder it pushes back. Therefore, each movement, company or organization needs three players to make change happen:

These three players must work together in order for change to happen. Who serves in these roles in your organization?

By Nancy in Meetings and Events
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NASDCTEc Fall Meeting: Leading to Transform

Friday, November 5th, 2010

In theme with our Fall Meeting — Leading to Transform: Taking Us Where We Should Be — members last week explored the principles of innovation and transformation.  The discussions were led by Langdon Morris, author of Permanent Innovation, who underscored the critical need for organizations (businesses to non-profits) to keep pace with the changing world.

Every organization has a life cycle and arrives at a point where its future rests on its ability to adapt at a critical, transitional time. If an organization does not have a strategy, they will likely become obsolete. In the world of education, State Directors must take a leadership role to implement change, applying the critical traits of strategic thinking, communicating, planning, managing. The global economy, technology and other influences of the changing world requires CTE to be ready to embrace change.

By Erin in Uncategorized
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The Love of Learning, Joy and Meaningful Work

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Joy – to “fill with ecstatic happiness, pleasure, or satisfaction.” freedictionary.com

Gladwell photoIs this a word you associate your work? How many students do you think characterize their experiences in the classroom as joyful? Yesterday, I had the great fortune of hearing Malcolm Gladwell speak at Apple’s Education Leadership Summit. He spoke about the necessity of creating the conditions under which students and workers can produce meaningful work. What constitutes meaningful work and why is it important?

Gladwell argues meaningful work is“one of the most important things we can impart to children.” Meaningful work requires curiosity and a love of learning. It requires driven passion that is derived from the sheer enjoyment of doing work you love, work you believe has meaning and work you believe has impact. Gladwell shared three necessary conditions for meaningful work to exist:

1. Autonomy –Meaningful work is work that is autonomous. Autonomy, while often characterized as independence, is really about empowerment. Empowerment to be in charge of your own destiny and to make decisions.

2. Complexity – Meaningful work is complex. People are motivated by work that is challenging, brain-stretching and hard-to-solve. The process of finding a solution to a complex challenge involves accessing information and partnering with others; it means trying and failing and having the persistence and passion to push forward and try again. Gladwell framed it as work that is “beautifully difficult.” What a powerful description!

3. Connectedness between effort and reward – Meaningful work requires there to be a relationship between effort and reward. People are motivated by daily progress and movement toward a goal. Getting up each morning and knowing you have another shot at the challenges that face you is exhilarating to those who have meaningful work. The connectedness between effort and reward encourages curiosity and experimentation. One who has meaningful work chases ideas with enthusiasm and seeks out new challenges.

In summary, meaningful work = motivated, dedicated, happy (joyful) employees who are reliable, innovative and successful.

I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to do meaningful work each and every day. Do you? As leaders, what can you do to create an environment that promotes meaningful work?

By Kimberly in Research
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NASDCTEc Spring Meeting: Reaction to the Vision Paper

Friday, April 9th, 2010

The unveiling of NASDCTEc’s new vision paper at the Spring Meeting last week spurred comments from partners/education stakeholders who said the vision can set CTE on a course that breaks through silos constructed by bureaucracy, legislation and traditional approaches to education. They advised the CTE community to move forward in that direction.

Representatives from the Institute for a Competitive Workforce, National Education Association, National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the National Governors Association provided insight on their views of Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education – NASDCTEC’s new document intended to guide the transformation of CTE as the nation responds to the global economy. While all panelists held different perspectives, they shared interest in the vision paper’s concept of developing CTE into a comprehensive program that prepares students of all ages for the workforce through college and career readiness.

Business and Industry

Indeed, business and industry are seeking more students who fit that readiness criteria, said Karen Elzey, ICW Executive Director. In fact, industry is searching for more students who earn certifications or industry credentials from two-year institutions. That means CTE would best work with industry if it can show demonstration of or interest in creating programs – from secondary to postsecondary — that set students on course to earn such credentials, Elzey said. The challenge will be collecting and providing return on investment data that proves programs can or have the potential to educate and train students. This effort would require partnerships with secondary and postsecondary institutions, and business and industry.

Further, to gain support from industry, the CTE community will have to do a better job at providing clearer, simpler explanations of what programs of study are and how advocates can become involved in their success, Elzey said. The lack of clarity makes it difficult for the two sectors to communicate and find common ground. Somehow, education and industry need to find a common language so they can work together.

Elzey urged members to address some main issues to strengthen business and industry partnerships:

Teachers and Administrators

Policies play a significant role in how CTE can be implemented. A broad approach to delivering comprehensive CTE programs to all students should open discussions about legislative opportunities beyond the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, said Donna Harris-Aikens, NEA Policy Advisor. She suggested NASDCTEc explore alignment opportunities in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and policy-driven projects such as the Common Core. Also, NASDCTEc should conduct outreach to all congressional members, not just those who belong to the CTE caucuses. Take hold of any opportunity to cross-pollinate the message about CTE, she advised.

The message of CTE is traveling through the circles of school principals, said Mel Riddle, NASSP Associate Director of High School Services. He said many but not all principals recognize that CTE provides students with multiple pathways to success. Riddle said more needs to be done to increase the presence of CTE in secondary schools. Currently, principles are bounded by shortage of CTE classes and increased core graduation requirements, which make it difficult to usher students into good CTE programs.

Policymakers

Perhaps access to CTE programs would increase if the value of CTE was clearly and effectively articulated, David Wakelyn, NGA Center for Best Practices Education Division Program Director. He suggested a marketing effort that would underscore the value of CTE and programs of study as a way for “people to commit their kids to something that shows the future for them.” He also noted policymakers’ outdated recollection of CTE, which still brings visions of limited, skill-focused vocational education courses to mind.

Also, Wakelyn embraced the vision paper’s notion of ridding of the “false dichotomy of college and career readiness.” He added that college included two- and four-year institutions, saying that other nations in Europe have increased their college success and competitive advantage by stepping up student achievement at two-year institutions.

As conversations move forward regarding common academic standards, Wakelyn told NASDCTEc to be equipped to demonstrate where technical standards align with the Common Core. CTE is expected to be part of that conversation.

By Erin in Public Policy
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NASDCTEc Concludes Spring Meeting, Embarks on New Vision

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Vision signedNASDCTEc wrapped up a momentous Spring Meeting this week and kicked off its new vision with the support of members, partners, and, in particular, the Office of Vocational and Adult Education. While the campaign to gain support for and implement the vision has just started, the momentum brought on by the discussions and brainstorm sessions will likely only increase as efforts move forward.

OVAE Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier called NASDCTEc’s new vision document, Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for CTE, an “extraordinary step forward.”Brenda

“I pledge to you whatever I can to help this vision become a reality,” she said.

A range of OVAE officials expressed their support, noting the potential the value they recognize CTE has in a range of legislation and policies outside of Perkins. That includes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Workforce Investment Act and the Race to the Top Fund. The sentiments reflect NASDCTEc’s new vision, which broadens the scope of CTE’s reach and more clearly connects CTE with college and career readiness – a topic that is present in nearly all education efforts. Clearly, we have the potential for a mutually-rewarding relationship.

WorkingAnd work is already underway. During the meeting, State Directors and partners participated in working sessions to create plans to implement the new vision in their state or within their organizations. NASDCTEc is in the process of developing a comprehensive plan that will lead our organization to successfully achieving the aspirations of our new vision. This is just the beginning.

By Kimberly in Uncategorized
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Reflect, Transform, Lead: A New Vision for Career Technical Education: Recording Available

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

After an extensive and deliberate process the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium has developed a new vision statement on the future of CTE which will highlight the significant role CTE will play in our new economy. The vision was developed through in-depth discussions among state directors, associate members, valued stakeholders from business and industry, and education groups. The vision statement consists of a set of forward-thinking principles that will serve as a guiding tool for CTE leaders as they develop and implement programs for their communities. Recording

Press Release

By Ramona in NASDCTEc Announcements
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