Category Archives: K-12 Education

K-12 Schools in the Oklahoma CareerTech Education System

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School Grades 6-12 Offer CareerTech Career Training

Most of Oklahoma’s career and technology education students at the secondary level are enrolled in CareerTech programs in their local schools. In FY17, a total of 1,319 CareerTech teachers in 391 K-12 public school districts served a total enrollment of 139,598.

These students are in Grades 6-12 and are enrolled in one-period CareerTech programs including agricultural education; business, marketing and information technology education; family and consumer sciences; health careers education; science, technology, engineering and mathematics education; and trade and industrial education.

Value Added

Such programs add value to students’ high school careers. Not only do they meet the same academic standards required of all other students, they learn skills to manage the challenge of living and working in a diverse society. Their career and technology education classrooms provide a hands-on learning environment where they can increase technological proficiency, develop entrepreneurial skills and gain practical experience. In addition, technology education programs, designed for Grades 6-10, also provide students the opportunity to explore and experience potential careers.

Student Organizations

These K-12 school programs focus on producing well-rounded students. Students learn theory in the classroom, practice their skills in labs and shops, and gain vital leadership and teamwork skills through their participation in one of seven career and technology student organizations. These organizations include:

  • BPA – Business Professionals of America
  • DECA – Marketing
  • FCCLA – Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America
  • FFA – Agriculture, food, and natural resources student organization
  • HOSA – Future Health Professionals
  • SkillsUSA – Architecture and construction student organization
  • TSA – Technology Student Association
  • NTHS – National Technical Honor Society

More than 88,000 students join these seven organizations annually. These organizations afford them the opportunity to participate in both leadership and skill contests at the local, state, and national levels.

Success Starts on the Front Line

The success of the Oklahoma CareerTech system begins on the front line. Instructors with real-world experiences strive to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Each year, instructors are offered opportunities to participate in educational development and training programs designed to hone their technical and teaching skills. Classroom curriculum is available through the Curriculum and Instructional Materials Center. In addition, program specialists from the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provide technical assistance to instructors.

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.

Tiffany Kinsey – Tri County Technology Center

Tiffany Kinsey1THEN: A high school student torn between two vastly different programs at her local technology center. Tiffany Kinsey was interested in taking both culinary arts and welding at Tri County Technology Center. She chose welding because she liked the idea of learning a little about a lot and admitted she didn’t know much about welding — at least not then.

Tiffany Kinsey2

At Tri County Tech she learned enough about welding to know she liked it, and she learned that she had a passion for the fine detail associated with it. After graduating from high school and Tri County’s welding program, she attended Spartan School of Aeronautics to learn how to X-ray welds. Three years into her career, she was bringing home a six-figure salary. Tiffany said because of Tri County Tech she

  • Discovered a passion for welding.
  • Learned basic welding techniques.
  • Has no college debts.
  • Is highly recruited in the oil and gas industry.

“The teachers are great at Tri County Tech,” Tiffany said. “They are involved in their students’ education and are true role models.”

NOW: An advanced ultrasonics technician for Element Integrity in Bartlesville, inspecting pressure valves at plants and pump stations. Tiffany is studying how infrared drones can help look for leaks. She specializes in nondestructive testing and examination.

“CareerTech students are able to get into the industry and find out what they like, what their passions are, and go to work.”

Tiffany Kinsey
Welder, Element Integrity

Developing a Personalized Learning Network for CareerTech Educators

PLN Word Cloud

Lifelong learning is important for any career, but sometimes opportunities for professional development are limited. Because of this limitation, it is important for every individual to develop a personalized learning network.

What is a PLN?

According to Tom Whitby in Edutopia, a PLN is “a tool that uses social media and technology to collect, communicate, collaborate and create with connected colleagues anywhere at any time. Participating educators, worldwide, make requests and share resources.” Just remember that your PLN is not limited to online interactions, but it is the online, global interaction that makes it unique.

How do you create a PLN?

The basic premise of a PLN is to learn and share with others. Networking, or the ability to share, is a wonderful way to learn, but it should not be limited to formal meetings or to random encounters with other professionals. Technology allows for a global learning experience that will occur 24/7.

Begin by connecting with people who have an interest in career and technology education. This group may primarily include family, friends, educators and experts, but it should also include people you meet at conferences and meetings or any other place where face-to-face meetings have occurred.

How do you add peers into your PLN?

  1. Twitter: Create a Twitter account that focuses on CareerTech educators and leaders. For many, Twitter is the foundation for establishing a PLN. Use popular CTE hashtags, g., #careerteched, #CTE or #Vision18, to locate and connect to others. Consider using a Twitter aggregator like Hootsuite to provide organization and simplify your Twitter life.
  2. RSS feeds: Use RSS feeds to stay connected to your favorite education and CTE websites, blogs and publications. Instead of visiting websites on a daily basis, you can use the RSS feeds to gather headlines from those sites and feed them directly to your computer.
    • Get started by downloading an RSS reader. There are several free and commercial readers, extensions and apps available online.
    • Visit your favorite websites and look for the RSS link.
    • Click on the RSS icon RSS Feed or copy the URL to the RSS feed for the site.
    • Paste the RSS URL into your RSS reader.
    • Repeat these steps with all your favorite sites.
  3. Social bookmarking sites: Diigo, Delicious, Pinterest, Reddit and Google Reader are just a few sites that allow you to tag a webpage so it can be easily accessed at a later time. The advantage to a social bookmarking site is that you are saving these sites to a web-based tool so you can log into your account on any device and review your saved articles/web pages from remote locations.
  4. Facebook: Create a Facebook account, add your interests and like Facebook pages in which you have a professional interest. Then comment on and share pages.
  5. Google+: This is an online social networking site that allows the user to organize peers into groups called “Circles” and then filter the information you share by group. You can also search for existing educational communities and simply join them and begin to learn and share your own knowledge and experiences.

Create a goal for your PLN

Spend 20 minutes a day sharing and learning. It’s a great way to start your day or a welcome alternative to watching commercials during your favorite TV show. A PLN will take effort — to add peers and sites to your technology devices, but also to add to the conversation. It’s a wonderful feeling when people begin to follow you and ask you to share your knowledge and experiences.

Resource: How do you know which educational hashtags to search by?Hashtags (002)

CTE 101

Learn how CareerTech prepares learners for their futures while closing the skills gap for employers across the country.

Advance CTE: State Leaders Connecting Learning to Work is the longest-standing national non-profit that represents State Directors and state leaders responsible for secondary, postsecondary and adult CareerTech Education (CTE) across all 50 states and U.S. territories.

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

 

This is CareerTech

A look at the various delivery arms of Oklahoma CareerTech and the impact those have on Oklahoma’s education and business communities.

 

 

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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