Category Archives: Instruction

CareerTech Essential to Meet Workforce Needs

A qualified workforce is critical to the state’s economic well-being and will be vital to its recovery following the pandemic. Oklahoma CareerTech, which has long been a major component of Oklahoma’s economic engine, will play a starring role in this recovery.

Through a network of 399 PK-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 13 skills center sites and 32 adult basic education providers, the strengths of Oklahoma’s CareerTech System include accessibility and flexibility.

Through partnerships with business and industry, Oklahoma CareerTech has responded quickly to the state’s immediate workforce needs by providing customized career training in a wide range of industries, including health care, agriculture, aerospace and energy.

Read more in CareerTech State Director Marcie Mack’s guest column in The Journal Record.

CareerTech employee receives Air Force Association STEM education award

Oklahoma CareerTech’s STEM program manager recently received an award for her work promoting STEM education.

The Air Force Association Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter presented Tonja Norwood with the Gerrity Chapter President’s STEM Education Award. Pictured are, from left, Col. Michael Tiemann, vice commander of the 72nd Air Base Wind; Norwood; and Janelle Stafford, AFA Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter president.

The Air Force Association Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter presented Tonja Norwood with the Gerrity Chapter President’s STEM Education Award.

Norwood has been the program manager for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education at the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education since 2018. She previously served as an information technology program specialist in ODCTE’s Business, Marketing and Information Technology Education Division.

“Tonja has been instrumental in expanding STEM educational opportunities across the state,” said Marcie Mack, CareerTech state director. “Her dedication and leadership are vital to the success of our students, educators and future workforce. Tonja is very deserving of this award and recognition from AFA. We are honored to partner with them for the betterment of our state.”

Oklahoma CareerTech has partnered with the AFA Central Oklahoma Gerrity Chapter to provide CyberPatriot and StellarXplorers, providing classroom space and equipment, volunteer instructors and more, said Janelle Stafford, president of the chapter.

“Because of CareerTech’s involvement, we have had a much wider and more pervasive reach for both programs,” Stafford said. “Tonja has been at the very heart of all of this with our chapter. She knows these programs inside and out. She put in the time to get both programs certified as curriculum for Oklahoma Promise credits. Most recently, she undertook the certification training for the STK software used in StellarXplorers just so she would understand it better — not an easy thing to do!”

Norwood is also leading an effort to establish a train-the-trainer summer camp for StellarXplorers and is involved in both CyberPatriot and StellarXplorer student camps this summer, Stafford said. The AFA chapter wanted to do something to show its appreciation for Norwood’s support, so it created the Gerrity Chapter President’s STEM Education Award, Stafford said.

“With the support of Tonja and CareerTech, the Gerrity Chapter will continue to grow STEM education in our state and invest in our future workforce,” she said.

About Oklahoma CareerTech

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 59 campuses, 399 PK-12 school districts, 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 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.

Purple Ducks place second in national space challenge

CareerTech represented TWICE in StellarXplorers VII top 10.

Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Purple Ducks beat out 209 teams from across the country at the national StellarXplorers VII High School Space Challenge.

(L-R): Bryan Kitzrow, Sean Rice, Renardus Herholdt, Samual Doerflinger (Team Captain), Clark Howard & Charles Koutahi

StellarXplorers is an Air Force Association program designed to inspire students to pursue education and careers in STEM fields that use space system engineering.

During the competition, teams defined orbits and spacecraft components and launched vehicles to meet a set of mission requirements. The students had to choose where to launch from, what equipment/sensors to choose for the payload while staying within the weight and cost constraints, and what orbit to select for the satellite to optimize its objective. The scenario used actual “real-life” situations, numbers, and constraints. Teams also gave a presentation to a panel of experts.

While preparing for and participating in the challenge, students develop skills such as teamwork, time management, communication, conflict resolution, leadership, risk assessment, critical thinking and relevance. They use problem solving-methods with complex open-ended situations.

The Purple Ducks team members were Sean Rice, Renardus Herholdt, Sam Doerflinger, Clark Howard and instructors Bryan Kitzrow and Charles Khoutai. The Oklahoma City students finished just a few points behind the Africanized Killer Bees, which represented Aurora Composite Squadron, Civil Air Patrol, from Portland, Oregon.

Charles Khoutai said teams get to work with STK, a software platform that allows students to analyze the complex missions and operations in space.

“We never know what skills will open doors to for our students,” Khoutai said. “But with the establishment of the newest branch of military, “Space Force,” the relevance of space missions becomes real. 

CareerTech offers a state-approved course that aligns with the competition and includes earning an STK certification in level one and two.

Along with bragging rights, each of Francis Tuttle’s second-place team members received a $2,000 scholarship from the Department of the Air Force STEM program.

“The AFA is very proud of all the students who competed in the StellarXplorers National Finals,” said retired Lt. Gen. Bruce “Orville” Wright. “Not only were they among the top teams this season, but they competed in the midst of a pandemic.”

Stephen K. Gourley, StellarXplorers program director, said, “These very talented competitors represent the next generation of the technical workforce the nation needs. With the graying and passing of the Apollo-era cadre, the U.S. needs to find and challenge talented students, whoever and wherever they are. We are quite proud of the participants’ demographics, all backgrounds, races and genders drawn from urban, suburban and rural populations.”

Edmond North’s Alex Loney, national TSA vice president

According to the AFA, nearly half of the StellarXplorers are underrepresented minorities and over a third are female. Sponsors of the program include Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Air Force STEM Program and L3Harris, with additional support from the Educational Alliance of Analytical Graphics Inc., Space Center Houston and Coyote Enterprises. 

The Stars AFJROTC team from Edmond North High School also competed in the finals and placed in the top 10. One of the members of that team was Alex Loney, national Technology Student Association vice president: https://tsaweb.org/about/people/national-tsa-officers.  

The CareerTech STEM division partners with the local Gerrity AFA Chapter to support StellarXplorers teams in Oklahoma. The two partners will join forces with the FAA to provide training June 9-10 for teachers interested in competing and/or adopting the course next year. For additional information, visit the Oklahoma CareerTech website at www.okcareertech.org/educators/STEM and select Professional Development.

Related content: Oklahoma News Report story on StellarXplorers

Metro Tech announces new human cadaver lab

New human cadaver lab at Metro Tech offers training to first responders

A new human cadaver program at Metro Tech will offer training to first responders. Officials announced that Metro Tech is the first Oklahoma technology center to house a human cadaver lab program. On Mar. 31, over 40 first responders from Oklahoma’s Emergency Medical Services, Lawton Fire Department, Metro Tech health students and Great Plains Technology Center paramedic students practiced lifesaving skills on two human cadavers at the Springlake Campus located at 1900 Springlake Drive in Oklahoma City.

Metro Tech partnered with the University of Oklahoma’s College of Medicine and their Willed Body Program to host classes using donated human bodies. Utilizing human cadavers for medical training provides students with an exceptional learning experience and improved understanding over manikins alone.

Superintendent and CEO Aaron Collins said, “21st Century skills are created when partnerships come together serving a larger purpose. This is a great example of how we are helping our students and first responders in our state get real life training.”

Bill Justice is Deputy Chief of Special Operations for EMSA. As coordinator of the cadaver-procedure lab, Mr. Justice said, “We reached out to partner with Metro Tech to host the lab. Due to COVID, other cadaver labs were unavailable and remained limited to only full-time students.” He said, “By Metro Tech hosting this program, it will allow first response agencies to train on a more regular basis and allow individuals to obtain required skill checks for multiple levels of certification.”

The critical lifesaving skills taught were basic and advanced management of airway intubation, chest decompression, intraosseous (IO) vascular access and bleeding control techniques such as tourniquets, wound packing and compression dressing application. Brad Smith, instructor and physician assistant (PA) assigned to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Special Operations said, “EMSA recruits must complete the skills portion of the training before completion of their program. So, the ability to have a human cadaver lab ready to train in makes a world of difference.”

Smith received his training from the University of Oklahoma Physician Assistant Program in 2001, followed by adult trauma and pediatric trauma at OU Medical Center and has worked in Emergency Medicine for 15 years. Smith said, “There is no substitution for cadaveric tissue in critical skills training.” 

Jason Lankford, a critical care paramedic and now an adult instructional coordinator at Metro Tech said, “There are only a few universities that have this type of cadaver procedure lab. Mr. Justice with EMS and OU has been the driving force to make this possible. He is an excellent resource and we are proud to partner with him to offer this training at Metro Tech.”

This new lab will be used to enhance Metro Tech’s full-time health programs and offer a wide variety of specific one-day workshops to first responders who are paramedics, specialized law enforcement teams such as SWAT and the military. Lankford said, “We look forward to all of the possibilities this will provide our students, first responders and medical professionals in preparation of serving our communities.”

 Metro Tech’s original goal for a human cadaver lab was to customize one training event per quarter. However, based on interest, the frequency may change to once per month. For customized training, contact Jason Lankford at 405-595-4660 or Jason.lankford@metrotech.edu.

For More Information Contact:                                       

Cathy Story                                                                       
Public Information Officer                                                 
Metro Technology Centers                                                 
405-595-4403

Oklahoma’s first statewide Making Schools Work virtual conference planned

Registration is open for Oklahoma’s first statewide Making Schools Work virtual conference March 30-31.

Oklahoma CareerTech and the Southern Regional Education Board will host the two-day event, which will showcase best practices and strategies being implemented by high schools and technology centers across the state.

Sessions will focus on leadership for continuous improvement, aligned curriculum, engaging instruction, career pathways and systems of support. High Schools and Tech Centers That Work State Coordinator Twila Green said the sessions are open to anyone looking to enhance their teaching strategies and enlarge their professional circle.

“We look forward to sharing strategies, struggles and successes during two days of learning, collaborating and networking,” Green said.

Many of the state conference presenters have spoken at the national SREB conference. Joe Hendershott, author of three books on the effects of trauma on learning and behaviors and working with wounded students, will share his research and practical experiences as a teacher and administrator. Hendershott founded Hope 4 the Wounded.

The conference is open to any employee of any educational entity. For more information or to register for the free conference, go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfzJq2XDQJvmMAhHoFF6gOK7ZtMBeGEkTHBSm2ePFeoK4y6YA/viewform.

About Oklahoma CareerTech

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, 399 PK-12 school districts, 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 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.

About SREB

A nonprofit, nonpartisan interstate compact, SREB was created in 1948 by Southern governors and legislators who recognized the link between education and economic vitality. SREB states are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Northeast Tech gets Google grant

Northeast Technology Center was recently awarded a $55,000 grant by Google for its virtual welding training project.

The donation will help Northeast Tech use virtual tools to improve the hands-on learning process for students in the welding program, said Roger Crutchfield, superintendent. For more, about the grant, visit the News on 6 website.

ODCTE featured in HVAC trade publication

Ric Russell, technical program specialist in ODCTE’s Trade and Industrial Education Division, talked to the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News about how Oklahoma CareerTech students are learning during the pandemic.

Students in heating, ventilating and air conditioning programs are learning in a hybrid model, with alternating lab days, live online training, simulations and recorded trainings, Russell told the publication. An unexpected benefit, he added, is that programs are able to increase the student population.

Schools in Georgia and Los Angeles were also featured in the story.

Continue reading HERE

The 53rd Annual Oklahoma Summit

Oklahoma Summit - 53rd Logo

  • Registration is open.
  • Summit dates are Aug. 4-5.

The 53rd Annual Oklahoma Summit will be held virtually this year.

Online Registration

All participants are strongly advised to register in advance to provide a quicker, more efficient log-in experience. Beginning July 8, online registration requires you to fill out your personal information for the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education to enter into its new data storage system. After you complete your information for ODCTE, you will continue on to the OkACTE website to verify your personal information with OkACTE. From there, you will proceed with registration and membership options. The online registration/membership is located on a secured site. When registering, please be sure to print your paid receipt. This will help facilitate your log-in process.

Register Here for Oklahoma Summit 2020

For any questions or assistance with online Summit registration, please contact the OkACTE office at 405-525-8906 or

Oklahoma Technology Centers Virtually Teaching Students, Helping Businesses

Working remotely and having adjusted work environments to fight COVID-19 doesn’t DeliveryArms.jpjgmean Oklahoma CareerTech’s delivery arms have stopped offering services.

Like the state’s preK-12th grade public schools, CareerTech’s statewide network of technology centers has entered the world of distance learning for its secondary and postsecondary students. The tech centers are continuing to provide education — including classes and assignments — through web-based technology and, if needed, paper packets.

An auto collision and refinishing instructor at Metro Technology Centers in Oklahoma City is allowing students to see what he is working on with live feeds from his shop at his home. A diesel technology instructor at Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee is creating videos of repairs he is doing in his own shop in addition to having Zoom meetings, assignments and quizzes.

“The good from this is finding yet another way to teach,” said Ed Jolly of Gordon Cooper Tech.

A service careers instructor at Canadian Valley Technology Center’s El Reno campus has created YouTube instructional videos and is giving his students assignments based on each video’s information. Some are hands-on, like mowing lawns or using certain landscape tools, said instructor Jayson Floyd, and others are written.

Some of his students, however, do not have internet access, he said.

“For those students, I will be calling them three times a week and directing them to a hands-on activity they can perform within their house that is related to what I teach,” he said.

ODCTE is posting tech centers’ distance learning plans at okcareer.tech/Techplans. Students can contact their technology centers to receive information about the tech center’s distance learning plans and requirements.

In addition, the technology centers continue to offer training to Oklahoma business and industry clients when possible. Businesses with workforce training needs can contact their local technology centers to explore distance learning options.

To help support career and technology educators across the state, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education has instructional resources, okcareer.tech/CTinstruct, and guidance on financial, educational and other issues as well at okcareer.tech/CTFAQs.

“Oklahoma CareerTech is here to support our stakeholders, and we will make it through this situation together while continuing to provide education that meets the needs of our students and our state,” said Marcie Mack, ODCTE state director.

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, 394 K-12 school districts, 16 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 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.

Oklahoma CareerTech: Developing a World-Class Workforce

Oklahoma’s Career and Technology Education System is focused on developing a world-class workforce. This comprehensive system delivers educational experiences through 394 PK-12 school districts, 29 technology center districts, 16 Skills Centers sites and 32 adult basic education providers and to more than 6,900 businesses.

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