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By: Coleen Keffeler

The SDACTE Conference was once again an opportunity for learning, catching up with old friends while making new friends, and getting rejuvenated and ready for the upcoming school year.

Erika Oliver, keynote speaker, kicked off the conference with an outstanding presentation in which she challenged participants to find their “happy.” I purchased her book set; check out her Web site, www.erikaoliver.com.

ACTE President Jim Comer brought greetings from ACTE and sat in on sessions on alternative certification, welcoming the first timers to SDACTE, and changing the image of CTE in South Dakota. His comments were timely and provided many with things to think about as we try to promote CTE and increase membership. 

I presented two sessions at the conference. The first was titled "Changing the Image of CTE in South Dakota." Participants received copies of the April Techniques issue as well as the ACTE issue briefs. The session concluded with a discussion challenging those in attendance to develop a common definition of CTE for use by their school and staff and developing strategies for a media tour to promote CTE programs.

Brad Bies, South Dakota Office of Curriculum, Career and Technical Education (OCCTE) staff, and I co-presented a session titled "Using Data to Promote CTE Programs." While we had a very small crowd, the discussion was lively and focused, and we were able to answer questions and share why it is so important to share CTE data, and anecdotal stories, with policymakers.

SD Department of Education staff presented several sessions on integrating academic standards into CTE courses. While the Sturgis Brown High School (SBHS) Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) instructor attended a session focusing on integrating math and reading into AFNR programs, the SBHS Transportation instructor and I attended a session on integrating literacy into CTE programs. We all came away with strategies to try and an opportunity to brainstorm and share resources with other South Dakota CTE instructors.   

Interns for OCCTE developed a Twitter following (@SD_CTE) by offering a chance to win technology prizes to those responding to questions posted throughout the conference. As I really want to win the iPad, I learned how to set up a Twitter account and tweet. This is no small feat as I, according to all the studies, am a baby boomer who does not use social media sites. The iPad will be given away once the conference survey site is closed, which should be next week. SO–send happy thoughts my way and, just maybe, I’ll win that iPad. 

The final speaker for the conference was Terry Nebelsick, superintendent of Huron Public Schools, Huron, South Dakota. His thought-provoking message has given me much to reflect upon as I get ready for the upcoming school year. I would like to share his seven key points with you.

  1. Set goals: personal and professional. Identify what matters and what doesn’t.
  2. Pack a great attitude. Claim it and embrace it for only you are responsible for your attitude.
  3. Genuinely care about people.
  4. Understand/teach/model cause and effect. Claim responsibility for what is yours.
  5. Be truthful to yourself. Model right and wrong.
  6. Set priorities and keep them straight. Put the family together and the world will be together.
  7. Make real connections with real people. Who is on your personal board of directors? Whose board of directors are you on?

Once again, there were more sessions I wanted to attend than time permitted. I hope you found the same at your state conference. This week I am back at ACTE Headquarters working on the leadership program. If you have suggestions, topics or strategies you would like to see covered, please e-mail me at ckeffeler@acteonline.org.

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