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NPS: It's Electric! (Electronic, At Least)


March 12, 2013

NPS: It's Electric! (Electronic, At Least)

2013 National Policy Seminar Teacher of the Year

By: Robin McLean, ACTE Teacher of the Year

As I finish sending my last email to thank Senate and House staff who met with the New Jersey delegation during National Policy Seminar (NPS), I can finally sit down to share about the experience. Last week, I attended my first ever National Policy Seminar. I went with no expectations other than I might be tweeting a lot, so I packed a back-up battery for my phone. The presenters did not disappoint. Jim Stone with the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education provided a strong start with “Making the Case for CTE.” There was live tweeting from the session and the key takeaway points from the session entered my discussions as I made visits on Capitol Hill. I was equally inspired by Ashley Parker’s presentation, “Delivering the Message that ‘CTE Works’ to Media and the Public.” Although I am fairly active on social media, the tools for building relationships with news outlets will prove to be beneficial.

The real reason we were in Washington, DC was to visit with our legislators and help share the message that career and technical education works. As we visited our Congressmen and their staff, we made sure to issue an invitation to join the CTE Caucus. Our trio of New Jersey CTE teachers shared examples of what our programs were doing and how CTE helps prepare students with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, as well as to be career ready. Of course, I was taking photos and uploading them to Twitter to help build the story of #climbingthehill on Twubs. Additionally, following our time in DC, I tweeted a thank you to any legislators who had a Twitter handle.

Besides working on building relationships with legislators, I was able to further develop the relationships with some of the people I “follow” on Twitter and actually put real names and faces together. One of these meetings inspired the creation of a #CTEChat that will happen at 8pm EST on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month. Our first chat will be this Wednesday, March 13 and will be a debrief of NPS. Hopefully you can join the conversation.

Additionally, I was at NPS was to share my story as ACTE Teacher of the Year. Through the theme of “Tell Your Story,” I posed questions to hopefully get people thinking about how they can tell their own and their students’ stories of why career and technical education works. I hope I can live up to my own challenge issued towards the end: “How will you be a consistent advocate for career and technical education?” I know that electronic media from Twitter to email to the resources provided by ACTE can help me live up to that challenge.

Robin McLean is the current ACTE Teacher of the Year and an agriscience teacher and FFA adviser at Northern Burlington County Regional School District in Columbus, New Jersey. You can follow Robin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/rcmclean.

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