Challenging the Status Quo: Innovation in CTE

At NTHS, we consider ourselves both honored and fortunate to be surrounded by such an amazing group of educators and professionals. They are our advocates and our supporters, and they strengthen our organization with their knowledge and experience in Career and Technical Education.

Recently, our NTHS board member, Alexander Bell from Jamaica, New York was published in the ACTE‘s blog, “Educators in Action,” and we thought you’d like to hear some of his thoughts…

“In my many years as a teacher of technology in the New York City public high school system, I’ve found that my drive to not follow the status quo—whether it’s integrating something new into my classes each school year or finding fresh ways to advocate for my program—has been a constant underlying factor to my success as a CTE instructor. Not only that, “innovating” has truly made – and continues to make—my teaching career vastly engaging, tremendously satisfying, and even therapeutic in the midst of the hard-lined politics that surround the business of education.

Despite the challenges we face as teachers, I thrive on the success stories of my students. I’ve lost count of how many of my former students have created rewarding careers and comfortable lifestyles because of the technology skills they directly acquired and still utilize from their tenure in my CTE classroom.

“Innovation” to me has been integral to two main areas of my role as an instructor:

Developing learning components that are unique to my class

Finding new opportunities to partner and expand my program’s reach”

To read more about what Alexander Bell has to say, click here.

Wanted: Skilled Tradespeople

We believe there is more than one pathway to a successful career, and we’re thrilled to see so many states taking steps to support and fund Career and Technical Education. There is a true need and a high demand for skilled tradespeople in the U.S., and we think California is right on the money in the direction they’re heading.

From PBS Newshour:

“FONTANA, Calif. — At a steel factory dwarfed by the adjacent Auto Club Speedway, Fernando Esparza is working toward his next promotion.

Esparza is a 46-year-old mechanic for Evolution Fresh, a subsidiary of Starbucks that makes juices and smoothies. He’s taking a class in industrial computing taught by a community college at a local manufacturing plant in the hope it will bump up his wages.

It’s a pretty safe bet. The skills being taught here are in high demand. That’s in part because so much effort has been put into encouraging high school graduates to go to college for academic degrees rather than for training in industrial and other trades that many fields like his face worker shortages.

Now California is spending $6 million on a campaign to revive the reputation of vocational education, and $200 million to improve the delivery of it.

“It’s a cultural rebuild,” said Randy Emery, a welding instructor at the College of the Sequoias in California’s Central Valley.

Standing in a cavernous teaching lab full of industrial equipment on the college’s Tulare campus, Emery said the decades-long national push for high school graduates to get bachelor’s degrees left vocational programs with an image problem, and the nation’s factories with far fewer skilled workers than needed.”

To read more, click here.

Back to School Savings

We’ve been working hard to add even more value to your NTHS membership, and we’re proud to unveil our new partnership with the national office supply chains, Office Depot and Office Max!

Now, all our members, advisors, and friends of NTHS can enjoy up to 80% off preferred products, free next-day delivery with online orders (over $50), discounted printing prices and much, much more! And we’re so pleased to be announcing this program just in time for Back to School!

 

And here’s the best part: For every dollar you spend through this program, a portion of it will go towards our NTHS scholarship fund!

For more information on how to start saving on school and office supplies, and get your personalized store purchasing card, visit our page today!

The Annual NTHS Board of Directors Meeting

Every year in July, we set aside a weekend to host our annual Board of Directors meeting. Our board members from all across the country converge here at our headquarters in Flat Rock, NC. 

It’s an event that we all look forward to, and the highlight of the weekend is on Saturday after all the business has been taken care of and complete. The NTHS staff, board members, and their families gather on our office back patio for dinner. It’s a great evening of food and fun, and such a lovely way to end the weekend, that we thought you might enjoy some of the pictures from this year’s gathering!

Bi-Partisan Action for CTE

From Forbes contributor Nish Acharya:

“Sometimes, when we aren’t looking, things can actually get done in Washington, DC.  In late June, the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act – a law critical to our education and workforce development programs.   Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) and Republican Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) were the chief co-sponsors of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353).

Preparing the American workforce for the growth industries of tomorrow is widely considered to be one of the most important challenges facing our society today.  Technology is advancing at an incredible pace – with rapid advancements in information technology, the Internet, life sciences, Big Data and countless other fields.  On the other hand, it takes universities and training programs years to understand industry trends, develop education programs and attract students.  And companies don’t do enough to assist the curriculum developers in a timely manner.  In a famous example, Sun Microsystems once gave multiple grants to education organizations in the early 2000’s to develop high-school level curriculum to teach Java programming.  By the time its partners had completed the curriculum and rolled it out to pilot sites, Sun had announced that it was offshoring thousands of Java programming jobs abroad.

One of the most important tenets of the current legislation is that it provides flexibility to states to design their career and technical training programs to be regionally-relevant.  Western agrarian states don’t have to use their funds in the same way as a New England life-sciences driven economy.  In addition, the legislation connects training programs more closely to new sectors of the economy that are currently in demand by American companies and employers.  And the legislation allows for greater flexibility in measurement, the use of innovative practices and flexibility for students.”

To read more about the steps our politicians are making in placing importance on CTE, click here.

Reframing How We Talk About CTE

For so long, Career and Technical Education (CTE) has labored under the stigma of being a “lesser” path to a successful career… We loved the fair-minded approach David Etzwiler, the CEO of Siemens Foundation took in this article!

From Huffpost:

As the White House shines a spotlight on workforce development to address the skills gap, the German model of apprenticeships has been appropriately offered as the gold standard from which the United States can learn. Every year in Germany, close to a million students participate in the nation’s dual system of education. Programs combine classroom with on-the-job training and a clear pathway to higher education and a quality job, contributing to Germany’s low youth unemployment rate and its leadership in advanced manufacturing.

But even if the United States could create our own version of the dual system today, we would still be at a relative disadvantage due to something much more fundamental: the stigma attached to vocational education, or what the U.S. calls career technical education (CTE). That is the first hurdle to address.

America’s CTE system provides many students with similar benefits to that of the German program. It enables students to enhance their core high school academic courses with technical, real world skills that prepare them for the future. In other words, CTE is a powerful tool already addressing the skills gap. It can open millions more doors into the middle class and is an important part of the prescription to what ails us today.

But one disadvantage CTE has compared to the dual system is that it isn’t fully embraced by students and parents, or they simply aren’t aware of it. In Germany, the dual system is as prestigious as university. In the U.S., CTE is often mischaracterized as an inferior educational pathway to college prep. For some time now, CTE enrollment rates have been flat.

To read more, click here.

A Mother’s Last Wish

We were so touched to hear the story of NTHS member Samantha Parrotte from Saranac, NY a few weeks ago, and we wanted to share it with you as well!

Samantha’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and a rare autoimmune disease, and her only wish was to see her daughter graduate from Champlain Valley Technical Center (CVTC) before she passed away.  So, CVTC and Saranac schools worked together to bring a special ceremony to her mom’s hospital in Vermont.

Our deepest condolences go out to Samantha and her family, but we’re so very proud that she stuck it through, finished her classes, and was able to make her mother so very proud!

To hear more of Samantha’s beautiful story, watch the video below or click here.

FOX Carolina 21

Silver Star of Excellence: Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology

NTHS is committed to the recognition of excellence in every arena of career and technical education – student achievement, community service, outstanding chapters, and contributions from business, industry, and educational professionals. We encourage our members to get  involved outside their classroom, and every once in a while, we notice a chapter that really goes above and beyond that call.  That’s why we have the Silver Star of Excellence Outstanding Chapter Award.

The focus of this national award is to recognize NTHS chapters that maintain an active chapter based upon our seven core attributes; skill, scholarship, honesty, service, responsibility, citizenship and leadership… With that being said, we’d like to introduce you to the chapter at Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology (CAVIT).

This year, the NTHS chapter at CAVIT participated in the “Run, Hide, Fight Community Service Project.”

CAVIT’s local newspapers The Florence Reminder and the Blade Tribune report:

“The NTHS chapter partnered with our Medical Assistant program, instructed by Jeffrey Wooley and West Elementary School to provide ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ education,” Martinez said. “These eight visits to Diane Self-Thompson’s fourth grade class focused on lessons in childhood obesity, proper nutrition, appropriate exercise, cleanliness, healthcare prevention, and bullying.”

The lessons were aligned to Self-Thompson’s fourth grade curriculum, making the partnership a win-win situation for all.

 “CAVIT students traveled to West Elementary weekly to present the lessons, along with activities such as making a fun, healthy snack, playing a soccer game, and more,” Martinez said. “The partnership ended with Ms. Self-Thompson’s class visiting CAVIT to take a ‘final test’ and to tour the campus.”

Martinez explained it is “truly an honor to earn the Silver Star of Excellence award, since CAVIT does strive to provide quality community service through our clinics and other activities.”

CAVIT staff saw partnering with Self-Thompson’s class as a natural fit – a sentiment Wooley echoed.

“The location is close, but even more so these fourth graders get to learn valuable health information from a high school role model,” Wooley said.

Thank you for making such an amazing difference in your community!

Silver Star of Excellence: St. Clair County Technical Education Center

NTHS is committed to the recognition of excellence in every arena of career and technical education – student achievement, community service, outstanding chapters, and contributions from business, industry, and educational professionals. We encourage our members to get  involved outside their classroom, and every once in a while, we notice a chapter that really goes above and beyond that call.  That’s why we have the Silver Star of Excellence Outstanding Chapter Award.

The focus of this national award is to recognize NTHS chapters that maintain an active chapter based upon our seven core attributes; skill, scholarship, honesty, service, responsibility, citizenship and leadership… With that being said, we’d like to introduce you to the chapter at St. Clair County Technical Education Center.

Apparently St. Clair TEC is pretty well known in their community, not only for their workforce skills, but also their commitment to helping others in their community. Throughout the year, they’ve held numerous fund raisers and food and clothing drives, including a “Polar Bear Plunge,” where they raised over $4,500 for children in need by taking a dip into the 40 degree waters of Lake Huron this past December. We are so very proud of their creativity and compassion! Take a look at their story:

 

Silver Star of Excellence: South Georgia Technical College

NTHS is committed to the recognition of excellence in every arena of career and technical education – student achievement, community service, outstanding chapters, and contributions from business, industry, and educational professionals. We encourage our members to get  involved outside their classroom, and every once in a while, we notice a chapter that really goes above and beyond that call.  That’s why we have the Silver Star of Excellence Outstanding Chapter Award.

The focus of this national award is to recognize NTHS chapters that maintain an active chapter based upon our seven core attributes; skill, scholarship, honesty, service, responsibility, citizenship and leadership… With that being said, we’d like to introduce you to the chapter at South Georgia Technical College.

These guys have been involved pretty much all year long to better their community and the world around them, and we could honestly not be any prouder of them! Take a look at their story:

We are so thrilled and honored to share your story with the rest of the world! You guys really are what makes NTHS such an amazing, world-changing organization!