Category Archives: Instruction

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Lawson TLawson Thompsonhompson – Carney Public Schools

Ag educator says students gain “purpose, preparedness, and professionalism.”

THEN: A self-described sports fanatic growing up in a small town, in a sports-minded family. Lawson Thompson aspired to play college sports, like his mom, dad and brother had done. That was before he got involved in agricultural education. In his senior year at Deer Creek-Lamont High School, Lawson decided to give up sports to dedicate his energy toward his new passion, FFA. He served as a state officer that year and went on to Oklahoma State University for a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences and natural resources. Lawson said devoting himself to agricultural education and FFA was one of the greatest choices of his life.

“It’s a lot more than cows, plows and sows,” he said. In FFA, Lawson developed skills he uses every day, including

  • Communication – the value of clearly communicating with people of all ages in various settings, as well as public speaking.
  • Leadership – how to be a better leader, mentor and role model.
  • Time management – active participation in numerous ag and non-ag activities helped him learn how to manage his time.

“I utilize skills I gained from agricultural education/FFA every day,” Lawson said. “I would not be an effective educator, mentor, husband or person if I didn’t understand values such as hard work, dedication, discipline, leadership and service.”

NOW: Agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser at Carney Public Schools. Lawson’s FFA chapter was chosen as one of the top 10 chapters in the country. His students also nominated him for KFOR-TV’s Thankful 4 Teachers award, and he was one of the top 10 nominees in the state. Sponsor Air Comfort Solutions recognized Lawson with a $5,000 check.

“I strongly believe that if an employer interviews a candidate who came through any one of CareerTech’s eight student organizations (FFA, FCCLA, HOSA, DECA, TSA, BPA, SkillsUSA or NTHS) and one who did not, that candidate who was a CTSO member will get the job 10 times out of 10.”

Lawson Thompson, agricultural education instructor
(former Oklahoma FFA state officer, former Oklahoma CareerTech ag education intern)

ACTE Announces Oklahoma Graphic Communications Instructor as 2019 National Teacher of the Year

Liz-Dinkins-214x300The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announced Liz Dinkins, Graphic Communications Instructor at Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma as the 2019 National ACTE Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes the finest career and technical education teachers at the middle/secondary school level who have demonstrated innovation in the classroom, commitment to their students and dedication to the improvement of CTE in their institutions and communities. The Teacher of the Year Award is sponsored by Express Employment Professionals.

Student success is the top priority for Dinkins. Recently, after consulting her advisory board, Dinkins has enabled her students to determine what order they want to learn curriculum, based on their interests. This keeps students engaged.

Student assessment is conducted through a project-based curriculum, in which students get to show their creativity based on a set of conditions. Similar to industry expectations, project-based learning exercises prepare students for the workforce. Standards and competencies are aligned to each course and prepare students for Adobe Certified Associate certifications in three software programs. Dinkins uses engaging instructional strategies in this curriculum wherein she personalizes students’ learning tracks. Dinkins’ CTE program of study curriculum, instruction, materials, and assessments are inclusive, nondiscriminatory and free from bias.

All of Dinkins’ students are Business Professionals of America (BPA) members. Dinkins integrates BPA into her coursework, and the students compete at state and national levels.

“The nominees for ACTE Teacher of the Year are an incredibly distinguished group of educators who are inspiring the next generation to rise up and fill the skills gap in the current workforce,” said Bill Stoller, Express CEO and chairman of the board. “I extend my congratulations and appreciation to this year’s honorees, as they all continue to embrace innovative teaching methods that will develop the up-and-coming leaders of tomorrow.”

Dinkins was one of five finalists for the 2019 national title. The national winner was announced at the ACTE Awards Banquet, a dinner and award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event took place on Wednesday evening, November 28, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2018 conference in San Antonio, Texas. The Awards Banquet was sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, the US Army, CareerSafe, Goodheart-Willcox, and Stratasys.

About ACTE
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, school counselors, guidance and career development professionals and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.

Article reposted with permission from Jarrod Nagurka jnagurka@acteonline.org

Student Engineers Solving Real World Problems

October is national Manufacturing Month and Oklahoma CareerTech student engineers are solving real-world problems.

Students at Northeast Technology Center saw an everyday problem at Hopkins Manufacturing and developed a solution that saved money and created a safer workplace.

CTE Issues, Research & Dialogue

Are you spending your time scouring the Web searching for information onangry-robot_crop career and technology education? The Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement has identified and vetted websites, articles, and resources that can assist you with instruction, assessment, professional development, policy, and more.

Make sure you bookmark CTE Issues, Research & Dialogue and visit often. Don’t miss out on any new updates!

Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement Highlights Industry/Workplace Data and Trends

CTLogo_RCCTABesides offering educational resources and help with instructional design, the Resource Center tracks industry/workplace data and trends. Click HERE for this month’s featured links.

 

The Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. The staff of the Center research educational materials and best practices to disseminate throughout the state CareerTech system. The Resource Center also provides support in identifying curriculum, assessments, professional development and other instructional delivery resources on request.

Aerospace Impact – Want One?

Oklahoma’s Aerospace industry employs more than 200,000 Oklahomans, and the industry is growing. Oklahoma CareerTech offers training in a variety of aerospace careers.

Click HERE to locate Oklahoma’s technology center districts and to discover careers in aerospace and more!

 

CareerTech unveils Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education in Stillwater has created a new online resource center to help educators make the most of their work.
CTLogo_RCCTA
The new division, known as the Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement, took shape over the past several months before going live at the end of July.

Francis Tuttle, known as the architect of Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, created the curriculum function at the state agency in 1967. The new Resource Center is a natural next step, said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director.

“Oklahoma was known for 50 years for its competency-based instructional materials for what was then called vocational education, now career and technology education,” Mack said. “That curriculum was developed, printed and delivered to teachers across the state and throughout the nation from the agency headquarters here in Stillwater.”

Increasing competition from national publishers made it difficult to continue to develop new printed products, but paved the way for a new digital opportunity, she added.

Staff members of the Resource Center research educational materials and best practices to distribute online for free throughout the state CareerTech System. They also adapt select curriculum content into smaller resources for teachers, such as rubrics, PowerPoint files and handouts. The Resource Center also provides support in identifying curriculum, assessments, and other instructional delivery resources on request.

Although the focus is on the needs of CareerTech teachers and administrators, public school teachers will find helpful resources as well, Mack said.

The Resource Center website features categories of resources for teachers, trainers, career counselors, administrators and decision-makers, which include tools for teachers and trainers; resources about standards, credentials and assessments; employability and adult basic education resources; and career and academic connections resources.

Planners and researchers can also find something useful on the Resource Center website. An industry/workplace data and trends category provides links to dozens of recent studies, reports and other publications from sources including state and federal agencies, think tanks, foundations, industry groups and education research organizations.

“The new Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement is a comprehensive source for teaching and planning resources,” said Mack. “It brings together a wealth of expertise and research from across the country so that teachers and administrators can focus on applying that knowledge to the benefit of their students.”

Leaning on its legacy of curriculum development to initiate a digital resource center made sense, said Justin Lockwood, a deputy director at the state agency.

“Today’s teachers can access online textbooks with built-in gradebooks. Students can use their tablets or even their smartphones to access digital content, including video, anytime and anywhere,” Lockwood said.

Instead of competing with the national publishers to provide the textbooks, ODCTE saw an unmet need for digital resources to help teachers enhance their lesson plans, he explained.

“With so many online courses and textbooks available from a variety of sources, it creates a need for supplemental resources that can assist a new or experienced teacher in building a comprehensive learning experience for students,” he said.

One of the most popular resources from the Resource Center is a digital version of a longtime print resource known informally as the web book. When the internet was new, teachers spent a lot of time searching for useful online resources, said Craig Maile, ODCTE curriculum manager. The web book was Oklahoma CareerTech’s answer.

“Our curriculum staff listed links to supplemental resources based on their work developing curriculum. Every few years, we’d produce a new edition of the web book and give it away to teachers at conferences and workshops,” he said.

A 2018 digital edition with hundreds of links to resources organized by career cluster is available on the Resource Center website.

“Our next most popular free resource is a notepad with a grid on it,” Maile said. “We’ll probably continue to print that one.”

The Resource Center for CareerTech Advancement website is at https://www.okcareertech.org/educators/resource-center. Visitors can also find it as one of the divisions of Oklahoma CareerTech at www.okcareertech.org.

CAREERTECH CHAMPIONS

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Adam Lettkeman – Meridian Technology Center

From homeschool to higher ed, pre-engineering grad is building a future for himself.

Lettkeman

Adam Lettkeman – Meridian Technology Center

THEN: A boy who loved creating crazy buildings and dragons and spaceships from a pile of Legos. Adam Lettkeman grew up with 10 brothers and sisters. His parents homeschooled him until he was old enough to find a formal outlet for his love of building things, along with his passion for graphic design. He enrolled in Meridian Technology Center’s pre-engineering academy and Project Lead The Way in hopes of channeling his interests into a career path.

Adam was a year younger than his classmates when he started the program, but he quickly became very active, competing in robotics competitions, building model airplanes and more. Adam said the engineering program and the instructors at Meridian Tech

  • Helped him choose architecture as his career path.
  • Fueled his love for creating things, from circuit boards to buildings.
  • Helped him adjust to a classroom setting for the first time and prepared him for college classwork.
  • Offered advance math and science classes that he said were more rigorous than some of his college courses.
  • Introduced him to 3D modeling software programs, which are a huge part of his architecture design studios in college.

“My instructor, Debbie Short, helped me not only in the classroom but also in my personal growth,” he said. “I will always remember how much joy she brought to the program and how much she helped me along the way.”

NOW: Adam has completed his first three years of a five-year architecture program at Oklahoma State University. He is interning at Guernsey, an Oklahoma City architecture firm, and will take time out from his internship to study in Europe with the OSU College of Architecture. His goal is to work in New York City next summer, accumulating additional internship hours that will apply to his architecture licensure requirements.

“PLTW really kick-started me into believing that my dreams could be accomplished if I set my mind to it.”

Adam Lettkeman

CareerTech Champions

Each year, thousands of Oklahomans reap the benefits provided by Career and Technology Education. CareerTech Champions tell the story of how individuals apply learning to become successful employees, entrepreneurs and leaders in business organizations.

Cammi Valdez – Enid Schools – DECA and TSA

From TSA to Ph.D., Harvard scientist urges girls to pursue STEM careers.

THEN: At Emerson Junior High School in Enid, Cammi Valdez followed her sister’s lead

CammiValdez

Cammi Valdez – Enid Schools (TSA and DECA)

and got involved in CareerTech student organizations. She eventually served as a state officer in both Technology Student Association and DECA, and by the time she graduated from Enid High School she had competed in everything from building balsa wood gliders to public speaking. That technology education and TSA involvement – as well as an influential instructor and mentor – were the first steps on her way to a career in science, technology, engineering and math. Cammi earned both a B.S. Professional degree in chemistry and a B.S. in mathematics in just four years at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, and she received a Ph.D. in biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard University.

She says she still draws from her experiences in TSA and DECA, including:

  • Leadership qualities she learned as a state officer. (At SWOSU she became president of the math honor society and her chemistry club, and at Harvard she held a number of leadership roles on her graduate student council, including two years as president.)
  • Public speaking and networking.
  • A love of all things STEM.

NOW: Assistant director for undergraduate research and fellowships at Harvard, she runs a fellowship program primarily for humanities and social sciences students – from underrepresented backgrounds – who are interested in careers in academia. She also runs a summer research program that prepares undergrads for STEM-related graduate programs.

Cammi says a STEM background can lead to job security, intellectual stimulation and more career opportunities than ever.

“The biomedical sciences field is exploding,” she said. “And the world is also becoming more reliant on computer science.”

The Harvard scientist has become a role model for young women considering a career in STEM.

 

“I remember having teachers who told me you don’t need to be good at math or science because you’re a girl…I hope students today have access to people who say, ‘You CAN do it.’”

Cammi Valdez, biomedical scientist at Harvard University

 

Farm-to-fork, with a twist

From farm to fork, Vinita FFA members serve up fresh, healthy options from their food truck and catering business.

 

They catered more than 4,500 dinners last year, including about 20 weddings. They have a successful farm-to-fork food truck. They even have their own farmers market, where they sell fresh produce, meat, dairy products, eggs, baked goods and their own homemade salsa.

A company like this would be no big deal in a metropolitan area, but this company is a pretty big deal. It’s based in a town of just over 5,000 people, and its employees are high school students. If the company had a CEO, it would be Carolyn Piguet, who also happens to be the agricultural education instructor and FFA adviser at Vinita High School.

Vinita’s FFA chapter purchased the food truck in 2017, and from March to September Piguet and her students set up each week at the student-run farmers market. They offered made-from-scratch breakfasts, including their now-famous homemade fritters. Once customers tasted the peach, blueberry, apple and pumpkin pastries, they were hooked.

Piguet hasn’t always taught agriculture. Before coming to Vinita’s ag ed program she taught science and was a school counselor, testing coordinator and even a school principal. This latest chapter in her career unites all of her passions.

“I love agriculture,” she said, “and there’s not a better scenario in which to build leadership, independence and project gratification than in agriculture.”

More than corn and crops

The food truck and farmers market are built around her chapter members’ individual projects. They bring their products to the market and receive payment for their efforts. In addition to agricultural concepts, they learn planning, production, catering, marketing and communication.

Piguet also has students involved in vinyl sign-making, welding, wood projects, wildlife and more. She says she tries to help students find projects that match their interests.

“We’re breaking the stereotype that everybody has to have an animal or everybody has to be growing a crop, because there are so many more things in agriculture than just the production end of it,” she said.

There is quite a bit of growing going on, however. The FFA chapter uses land provided by a community member to grow a chapter garden each year. Last year the farmers market sold close to 500 pounds of tomatoes, 11,000 ears of corn, nearly 200 dozen eggs, three beef carcasses and more than four pork carcasses, sold by the cut.

Through the farmers market and the catering business, students learn money management, record keeping, licensing and customer service. They take health department food-safety classes as well as chapter instruction to learn how to prepare, present and market their food products, all the while tying it back to agricultural education.

The FFA members aren’t the only ones learning through the farm-to-fork program. The Vinita community also benefits, according to Piguet, through increased availability of clean products and awareness of healthy foods. The farmers market also provides a community event the whole town can enjoy.

The farmers market is closed for the winter, but the Vinita FFA catering team offers several year-round menu options for special events. You can order the traditional pulled pork and barbecue brisket dinner, of course, but they can also take it up a notch. One sit-down dinner option includes smoked tri-tip, rosemary chicken breast, baby bakers, bacon-wrapped green bean bundles and wedge salad with blue cheese and balsamic reduction. And of course they’re prepared to satisfy a diner’s sweet tooth, with offerings such as butter cake with chocolate ganache and chocolate molten cake.

Oklahoma FFA is one of seven co-curricular student organizations associated with the Oklahoma CareerTech System. These organizations provide opportunities for personal growth and scholastic achievement, as well as developing skills in public speaking, planning and organizing. The other organizations are BPA, DECA, FCCLA, HOSA, SkillsUSA, and TSA.

The Agricultural Education Division, of the Oklahoma Department of CareerTech, administers agricultural education offerings in 360 high schools. These programs prepare students for careers in production agriculture, agribusiness and other emerging agricultural-related occupations.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 395 comprehensive school districts,15 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 30 Adult Basic Education service providers.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

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