Virtual tri-state event trains CTSO leaders

Welcome to our new series, COVID-19 Innovations. Here, we chronicle the innovative ways that career and technical educators continue to engage students as lifelong learners and prepare them for rewarding careers, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the 2020–21 school year.

This first article in the series describes how COVID-19 restrictions spurred the creation of a virtual FCCLA Tri-state Officer Development event.

Cross-state collaboration was key.

Normally, FCCLA officers hold in-person trainings for chapter officers in each state. When COVID-19 interrupted fall 2020 trainings, three FCCLA state advisers — Reeca Carver from Kentucky, Mary Jo Kohl from Ohio and Cynthia Rodrigues from Michigan — decided to collaborate on a virtual conference. These three states shared the heavy work of hosting a virtual event. Students and teachers benefitted from the opportunity to interact and share project ideas with FCCLA students and advisers from different states.

The event used a mix of live and pre-recorded sessions through Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other technology. The agenda featured keynote speakers, a networking session and training on leadership roles and responsibilities. Students participated in a companion virtual 5K, and three winners received medals. All race participants were entered into a drawing for an FCCLA Store gift card.

Virtual training event engaged advisers and students in CTE.

The conference included specific presentations that explored topics of interest for chapter advisers and student members. In addition, pre-recorded student sessions addressed topics such as:

  • Running for office
  • Presenting at professional conferences
  • Conducting community service projects
  • Enhancing diversity in FCCLA

State officers led these sessions, called Member RED Talks, for the benefit of regional and chapter leaders.

The event was deemed a success! More students participated in the virtual event due to the lack of registration and travel costs. Carver and her colleagues are reviewing survey data to consider future virtual events, even when the pandemic is over.

Do you have a COVID-19 innovation to share?

ACTE wants to hear about the innovative ways you are coping with the impact of the pandemic on CTE and career development. Please fill out this short form, and you could be featured in this series. For additional ideas on remote, blended and socially distanced in-person learning for CTE, check out ACTE’s comprehensive guide High-quality CTE: Planning for a COVID-19-impacted School Year and CTE distance learning lesson plan resources.