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ACTE Excellence Awards

Changes to the ACTE Excellence Awards



In an effort to make the ACTE Excellence Awards more accessible for our members and more manageable for our state associations, we have made some significant changes to the awards, the applications, and the application process! The highlights of these changes can be found in this flyer. Detailed information on these changes and the transition is outlined below. These changes go into effect beginning Jan. 1, 2014. 

New ACTE Awards and Guidelines

New Online Application Process

Actions and resources for state leaders

New ACTE Awards and Guidelines

For years, ACTE has received feedback that the Excellence Awards applications are too long and complicated to attract members to apply at the state level, and that the awards themselves are often confusing. In response to these concerns, the ACTE Board of Directors assigned a Task Force to assess the current awards and suggest improvements that would enable us to better serve our members. During the July 2013 board meeting, the Board of Directors approved the Task Force's recommended changes to the awards, award categories, and guidelines.

The ACTE Member Awards
These awards recognize excellence and dedication within the field of career and technical education among our association members. Only ACTE members are eligible for these awards. States submit their winners in each category by March 1 to compete at the region level. Region winners are then moved forward to as finalists for the national awards, which are announced and presented at ACTE's Awards Banquet during CareerTech VISION. Changes to the 2014-2015 Member Awards are outlined below:

  • The Outstanding Career and Technical Educator Award will be divided into two awards. The Task Force recommended this because the "Educator" label created confusion, and the Task Force also believed it would give postsecondary teachers and administrators an equal opportunity to be recognized.
  • The Outstanding Teacher in Community Service will be combined with the Carl Perkins Community Service Award. The Task Force found these awards to overlap, so they were combined as a member award. In 2014, the ACTE Carl Perkins Community Service Award will be open to all members, not just teachers.
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award was moved to the Member Awards, since it is open only to members and the Task Force felt it made more sense to include it in this category. This means that we will ask for nominations for this award to come from the states in 2014. Because this award is new to many at the state level, ACTE will accept ANY NUMBER of completed nominations that are received from each state by March 1, 2014. This will hopefully take the pressure off states to judge this award at the state level this year. In subsequent years' competitions, we will only accept one nomination from each state.




Teacher of the Year

ACTE Teacher of the Year

full-time classroom/laboratory CTE teachers at the middle or secondary school level

Outstanding Career and Technical   Educator

ACTE Postsecondary Teacher of  the Year

full-time classroom/laboratory CTE teachers/educators at the postsecondary level

ACTE Administrator of the Year

full-time administrators, program specialists, coordinators, and other CTE personnel/staff

Outstanding New Career and Technical Teacher

ACTE New Teacher of the Year

full-time classroom/laboratory CTE teachers (at the middle/secondary/postsecondary level) with 3-5 years' experience

Outstanding Teacher in Community Service

ACTE Carl Perkins Community Service Award

individual ACTE members who have contributed  to CTE's positive impact on communities and the  lives of individuals

Career Guidance Award

ACTE Career Guidance Award

full-time school counselors and guidance professionals

Lifetime Achievement Award [Nominated Award]

ACTE Lifetime Achievement Award

individual ACTE members whose dedicated contributions have been identified with the work  and purposes of the association over an extended period of time

The ACTE Image Awards (formerly the Nominated Awards)
Due to overlap and confusion about the purposes of the former Nominated Awards, this entire category has been transformed, resulting in the removal of several awards. The new "ACTE Image Awards" recognize individuals or entities (from within and outside the field) that have contributed to the success and promotion of career and technical education, thereby positively impacting the image of CTE. This category is held separately from the Member Awards for the following reasons:

  • There is no membership eligibility restriction for applicants, but all must be nominated by an ACTE member.
  • Nominees compete at the national level only; winners are selected by the ACTE Awards Committee and are approved by the ACTE Board of Directors in July.
  • The deadline for ACTE Image Awards is May 1; submissions go directly to the national ACTE Awards Committee.

These changes should not affect your state awards. However, if you have any strong candidates in your state for one of the new Image Awards, we encourage you to nominate them by the May 1 deadline. Here are the new Image Awards that will be presented in 2014: 

  • ACTE Business Leader of the Year (for individuals)
  • ACTE Business of the Year (for businesses)
  • ACTE Advocate of the Year (for individuals/groups and organizations)

New National Application Guidelines
We are very excited to announce that the ACTE Excellence Award application guidelines have been simplified! We hope these changes will give candidates more flexibility on how to express their qualifications for their award:

  • New Criteria - all member award candidates will be scored based on:
    • Accomplishments and innovations that exhibit the quality of the candidate for the award
    • Contributions to the CTE community (can include activities within their institutions, communities, ACTE and other organizations)
  • Sections A-D have been removed and replaced with:
    • Letter of Introduction (to provide a brief background/bio of the candidate.) 350 words maximum.
    • Support Information (where the candidate can assert their qualifications for the award as they align with the criteria.)  1000 words maximum.
  • Incomplete applications will NOT be accepted.

In 2014, these new applications will be completed and submitted via our new online application process on ACTE's Awards Portal

The New Online Application Process

Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, ACTE will adopt a new online application process. In the new process, candidates will complete and submit their applications on our new ACTE Awards Portal. All state applications must be entered in the Awards Portal by March 1 to move on to the region competition.

What is the ACTE Awards Portal?
The ACTE Awards Portal is a stand-alone website where candidates can submit their applications directly online. It is not a part of the ACTE website, but links to the Awards Portal will be provided on our website wherever the awards are mentioned. It can be accessed at acte.nonprofitcms.org/awards.

How do members apply on the Awards Portal?
Candidates will enter their applications directly into the website. After navigating to the Awards Portal, applicants will click on the award they are applying for, and this will take them to a page of state associations. After choosing their state association, they will be prompted to start an account, after which they will be taken to the online application. Applicants will be able to save their information and return at any time, and after they have finalized their applications they will not need to resubmit for any other stage of competition.

How will the application review process work?
There are two other types of users who will interact with the Awards Portal: judges and administrators. Administrators will be assigned for each state competition, and will have the power to view all complete and incomplete applications and assign judges. Judges will be able to view all complete applications after the deadline to submit has lapsed, and if they choose will be able to score applications based on a built-in rubric. Once the judges have scored all applications, the administrator will promote the winners of the state round on to the subsequent regional round, and from there onto the national round.

Why is ACTE transitioning to this new process?
It is our goal to streamline and simplify the process for our members to apply for the ACTE Excellence Awards. We also want to make it easier for our state association volunteers to manage their state awards and navigate the transition to the regional competition. The Awards Portal is an accessible and manageable solution. Here are some of the main changes that will occur with this transition:

  • A Common Destination: ACTE will be able to advertise the same destination to all members who want to apply for a member award. Members from all states will be able to submit their applications to the same place, and they will only need to do it once. Administrators at each level of competition will be able to view and score applications within the system, with no need to print off applications or comb through email inboxes to make sure they have them all. After the winners are chosen, administrators will be able to promote them forward with one click.
  • A Consistent Process: All members applying for an ACTE Member Award will be using the same application and guidelines at the state, regional, and national levels. A scoring mechanism following the national rubric will be built into the application for the convenience of all administrators, if they choose to utilize it.
  • Ease of Communication: With the Awards Portal, important follow-up communications between the administrator and applicant are automated, such as notifications when an applicant has not entered required information, reminders when the deadlines are coming up, and confirmation emails when candidates have completed and submitted their applications.

We expect the Awards Portal to revolutionize the application process, but we need your help to make it a success!

Actions for State Leaders

While ACTE is very excited about these changes, we recognize that these will be big adjustments for our state leaders and awards administrators. The ACTE Excellence Awards depend so much on our state awards programs to sustain the level and integrity of competition at the region and national levels, and we have been grateful for the support you have given us so far in improving the national program. While we hope that all states will eventually adopt our new applications and utilize the Awards Portal, we understand that change takes time and do not expect the majority of states to begin utilizing the Portal at the state level right away. It is important to us that our state leaders and awards administrators will be comfortable promoting their winners to the region competition in 2014. To ease the transition, we have thought through the following steps that we hope you as a state leader will take with us to make this transition a smooth one.

Transition Steps

  1. Communicate with members. The success of this transition will rely on excellent communication to our members and between the state and ACTE, and we hope that you will contact ACTE staff with any questions or concerns you may have about these changes.  We encourage you to think about using the Awards Portal for your state competition in 2014, and we hope you will discuss the option with your state association leaders and members. ACTE staff plan to announce the new applications and online process to our members in August.
  2. Provide ACTE staff with necessary information. In order to activate your state on the Awards Portal,  ACTE staff will need the following information confirmed by Sept. 30, 2013.
    • State Awards Chair for the 2013-2014 Awards Year (this person will be appointed as your state's administrator in the Awards Portal. It is possible to appoint more than one person.)
    • State Awards deadline for 2014 (we encourage states to give us a hard deadline that we can input to the system and advertise to members.)
  3. Become informed about the new online process. ACTE staff will be offering several opportunities for training our state leaders and awards administrators on how to work within the Awards Portal:
    • Aug. 27 at 11:30 a.m. ET, Awards Portal Webinar (will also be recorded and put online)
    • Tutorial at VISION (location and time TBD)
    • Video tutorial and step-by-step guide available on our main awards page
  4. Submit state winners for the region competition. While the process to nominate your winners will be different this year, we hope this won't dissuade your state from putting forward its nominees for the region competition! ACTE staff will work with your awards coordinator to make sure your state winners are put forward by the March 1 region deadline. We have outlined two processes that states should follow in order to nominate winners for the region competition, depending on their state deadlines:

My state awards deadline is before January 1, 2014.
Instead of emailing your winner applications to ACTE staff, the applications will need to be uploaded on the Awards Portal by March 1. This can be done by either your award winners or your awards coordinator. See below for information on how to integrate old applications onto the new Awards Portal application.

My state deadline falls after January 1, 2014, and those winners will be the ones who go on to the Region competition in 2014.
If this is the case, your state will have the option to be one of the first to adopt the Awards Portal for your state competition! Should you choose to take advantage of this exciting opportunity, the process of promoting your winners to the region competition is very simple and can be done with one click. Go to acteonline.org/awards for a detailed tutorial on judging and promoting winners within the Awards Portal.

If your state chooses not to use the Awards Portal at the state level, you will be following the procedure outlined in a). However, since ACTE will be advertising the new application and Awards Portal to all members, it is possible that your state will receive applications via the Awards Portal regardless. ACTE staff will be able to monitor all the applications that are submitted in the Portal and can work with your state awards coordinator to make sure those applications are also received and reviewed for your state competition.

Reconciling the Old Application with the New Application on the Awards Portal

How to reconcile the old application with the new application will depend on what application your state uses for its competition.

If your state did not, or will not, be utilizing the current 2013 national application, your winners will need to make sure they fulfill all the requirements of the new Awards Portal application to move forward. The new application guidelines can be found on the main awards page and on the ACTE Awards Portal.

If your state candidates completed the old national applications, they will not need to rewrite any of their application materials. Their applications may be integrated into the new ones on the Portal as such:

Old Application Sections

Where They Belong in
the New Awards Portal Application

Section A:  Description of innovative programs and/or significant accomplishments in career and technical education

Section B: Description of career and technical education memberships and/or affiliations

Section C: Description of community involvement

Support information

Section D: Personal Story

Letter of Introduction

(Note: Since the old national applications are longer than the new ones, we will not be strictly following the word limits for the new application this year. In subsequent awards seasons, the word limits will be upheld.)


What do these changes mean for my state candidates who have already submitted applications or will submit applications before 2014?
Nothing - state awards administrators will be in charge of making sure the state winning applications are manually uploaded to the Awards Portal. Candidates who have completed the old national application will not have to rewrite their application materials (see above for more information.)

I'm worried that my state members won't understand how to use the Awards portal in time for the transition.
ACTE staff will have been advertising this change for over five months by January 1. We anticipate that the application process will be relatively straightforward. However, we will also make a video tutorial and a step-by-step guide available online for those who have difficulty using the Awards Portal, in addition to making ACTE staff available for troubleshooting.

My state currently uses a different application than the national application. Does my state have to use the national application at the state level?
If a state chooses to use the Awards Portal for their state competition, they will have to use the new national applications that will be integrated into the online system. If your state does not choose to use the new applications, your winners can still compete at the Region level on the Awards Portal. Please see above for information on how to integrate the old applications onto the Portal.  We hope that all states will eventually utilize the national application and the new process, but it is up to your state to do what's best for your awards program. ACTE plans on making the Awards Portal available to members from all states by January 1. ACTE staff will work to make sure that any candidates who submit applications online for your state competition via the Portal will be received by your awards committee.

My state awards nomination process actually begins at the Division level.
If your state receives applications from the Divisions before the state round begins, your Divisions should advertise the new online process at their level of nomination. Since Member Awards solicitations on the Awards Portal only begin at the state round, division leaders will not be able to score the applications within the system. However, they will still be able to view the applications within the system and can work with the state coordinator to make sure their candidates move forward for state consideration. See the Awards Portal tutorials on our awards page for more information about working within the Portal (available in September).  

My state gives out other awards in addition to the national awards.
If your state presents additional awards, we urge you to communicate the difference in application processes to your members when advertising the awards. The Awards Portal is only equipped to manage the national ACTE awards.  

My state doesn't have an active awards program.
If your state doesn't have an active awards program, or doesn't have a program that supports the national awards, this is the perfect way to start! For very small state associations, ACTE staff can offer to help you manage the administrative aspect of the Awards Portal. We will work with your state association to set a convenient deadline, advertise the application process to your members, and assign one or more judges from your state to choose your state winners to move on to the regional round.

My state awards deadline is before January 1, 2014. Can my state make the transition to the new awards and process sooner?
The Awards Portal will be set up for state use with the new awards by the beginning of September. If your state has an awards deadline in November or December, you may be able to begin using the Awards Portal sooner. Please contact ACTE staff at awards@acteonline.org to discuss this option.

If you have any questions about the transition to the new ACTE Excellence Awards, please contact the awards liaison.

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ACTE Excellence Awards

Changes to the ACTE Excellence Awards

In an effort to make the ACTE Excellence Awards more accessible for our members and more manageable for our state associations, we have made some significant changes to the awards, the applications, and the application process! The highlights of these changes can be found in our "Changes to the ACTE Excellence Awards" flyer. Detailed information on these changes and the transition is outlined below.  These changes go into effect beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

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