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Pennsylvania Association for Career and Technical Education Fall 2011 Newsletter


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Exploring Careers at Camp

Summertime means break time for most students and educators. At the Lehigh Career and Technical Institute (LCTI) in Schnecksville, it means opportunity for career exploration.

Camp LCTI—Summer Fun Camp is “designed to expose elementary and middle school students to careers through the use of hands-on experiments, interactive projects and classroom participation at the institute,” said Rita Tatusko, Camp LCTI Coordinator. “They learn how valuable math, science, reading and problem-solving skills are to their success in a future career.”

The one-week experience for students in fifth through eighth grade is held in two separate sessions for students from public and private schools within commuting distance from LCTI. The students attend for a full day, can take the bus to attend and also receive lunch.

The 481 campers from 17 neighboring districts enjoy learning about the different career pathways that LCTI offers. Campers attend four different career programs each session, “allowing them to experience a whole host of careers and have fun doing it,” Tatusko added. “The camp gives kids the freedom to explore their dreams, to think about their future and to get them going.”

Now in its 11th year, this unique summer career camp features more than 40 different programs. Some of the programs include:

  • designing a 3-D key ring in the stereo lithography machine, interior design and floor plans
  • planning a dream vacation by researching hotels, transportation, history, points of interest, customs, climate and currency on the Internet, then using that research to make a movie with Windows MovieMaker software
  • testing powders and fingerprints found at a crime scene to understand crime scene investigation techniques
  • designing and building a stone castle
  • learning spa treatments like mini-facials, pedicures and manicures, light makeup sessions, hair designing and nutrition
  • developing video games and virtual reality simulation by using three-dimensional modeling, programmed motion paths and action scripts
PACTE Fall 2011 Newsletter Camp Photo 1

A new offering this year was on green technology and renewable energy that gave students the opportunity to learn about renewable energy by making a miniature windmill, flashlight and magnet. Students also cooked with a solar oven.

Camp LCTI targets fifth- through eighth-grade students because they are at a prime time to make career choices. The camp gives students a head start on choosing courses they need to schedule to be better prepared for their future career choices and, most importantly, which career pathway the student should choose based on likes and dislikes.

The Camp LCTI brochure and registration information is available online at www.lcti.org. 

LCTI hosts an open house prior to the start of camp in order to give the students and their parents an opportunity to find additional information about the course they signed up for and projects that they will create.

And the time spent in camp is paying off for LCTI’s enrollment. Tatusko pointed out, “According to our teachers, they see many campers return as students when they are in high school.”

PACTE Fall 2011 Newsletter Camp Photo 2

Fun on the Farm in Franklin County

Franklin County Farm Bureau Brings Agriculture Education to Local Fourth-graders and Public 

How do you make a non-agriculture public care about where their food comes from? Invite them to have some fun on the farm!


 It is this simple plan from the Franklin County Farm Bureau back in 1991 that has gained such popularity it is now a three-day event involving thousands of students and the general public in Franklin Fall Farm Fest.

This year’s show, held Sept. 15-17, will take place at the show grounds of the Cumberland Valley Antique Engine and Machinery Association and the dairy farm of Mark and Joyce Burkholder.

“The goal of the planning committee for this event, which comes under the farm bureau heading of the Promotion and Education Committee, is to do what the title suggests—promote and educate the non-farm public about agriculture and its importance to society,” said Gerald Reichard, coordinator for the event’s fourth-grade program. “We are gradually moving from a society where everyone had a direct connection to the farm to a society where only a small segment of the population has first-hand knowledge of what actually takes place on the farm today and what took place on the farm years ago.”

Titus Martin, who started with the event in 1995 and is a past president of the bureau, still sees the benefits after 20 years. “It gets the public on a working farm and lets them see exactly what goes on. A high percentage of people who come to the event have nothing to do with agriculture and they need some connection now that there is more distance between producer and consumer. “

Anyone interested in volunteering or learning more about the Franklin Fall Farm Fun Fest can contact the following people: 

Planning Committee Co-Chairs
Ernest and Anna Bert
Ryder’s Supply Company
539 Falling Spring Rd.
Chambersburg, PA 17202

Public Relations Contact
Linda Golden

Coordinator for the Fourth-grade Program
Gerald W. Reichard
Phone: 717-762-7793
Fax: 717-762-6713

Making the Farm a Classroom
Beyond the public event on Saturday are the lessons learned by the county’s fourth-graders who visit the farm on Thursday and Friday. The state’s fourth-grade curriculum touches on agriculture, and local educators advised the farm bureau that fourth grade would be a good group to involve. “At this age, the students are curious, eager to learn and to listen and most have an interest span to stay engaged in the presentations,” said Reichard.

Volunteer high school FFA members escort the students around a variety of stations. This year, there will be nine stations presented by professionals and highly experienced presenters, including blacksmiths, the Pennsylvania Hardwood Association, local farmers and others. One interesting station for years has been “Thru the Moo.” Students enter through a cow’s mouth and exit under a cow’s tail demonstrating what happens to feed in a cow’s digestive system.

At the end of the two-day school program, the farm bureau will have taught close to 2,000 students from 30 schools. “Having a properly informed public can help avoid problems down the road,” said Reichard. “We have had the opportunity to talk with fourth-grade students for long enough that several classes of them have graduated from high school and become adults within the community.”

Martin agreed. “It is about getting the word out. We plant the nugget that can start to grow. If you harvest the entire field, you will lose the crop.

Getting the Program Together
An event like this takes an entire community to pull off. There are usually around 250 volunteers on the grounds for the three days. Volunteers come from high school FFA clubs, the farm bureau and local agricultural businesses.

There is also the financial and in-kind support from the community. The community raises about $8,000 for the show, according to Anna Bert, planning committee co-chair. In addition, machinery dealers generously provide tractors, wagons and recreational vehicles.

A generous host is also needed to share their farm and close their business for several days. Last year’s hostess, LuAnn Horst, said their experience was incredible. “It is a huge educational process, even for those that live on a farm,” she said. “I would encourage other farmers to do this. It takes hundreds of volunteers, but it gives others a chance to get involved if you just open up your farm.”

PACTE Fall 2011 Newsletter Farm Fest Photo

Putting Leadership at the Center of CTE

Director Conducts Study to Find What Works in Leading a CTC 

When it comes to school leadership, doctoral candidate and director of Cumberland-Perry Area Vocational Technical School Mary Rodman found countless research on leadership in the comprehensive high school, but not one single article on school leadership in a CTC.

Rodman has recently finished three years of research on leadership in CTCs to find the qualities leaders possess that have the most impact on student achievement. What she discovered was learning-centered leadership. A model out of Vanderbilt University, the learning-centered leadership style combines many attributes that CTCs need in order to greater influence student achievement.

The Keys to Learning-Centered Leadership
Learning-centered leadership is a set of outcomes (key components) and a series of activities (processes) that work together under an administrator. The key components include:

  • High expectations—No matter the type of school, every student must feel like staff members are pulling for them to reach their full potential.
  • Rigorous curriculum—Rodman said this is different for CTCs because of the technical components and the greater practical applications than what is needed at the comprehensive high school.
  • Quality instruction—This is the same for a CTC as a comprehensive high school. “Good teaching is the same in Algebra 2 as it is in a health field class,” said Rodman. “You also have PSSAs, NOCTI scores and non-traditional student enrollment data to assess quality instruction.”
  • Performance accountability—“For CTCs, the performance accountability is somewhat built into Perkins and the Pennsylvania TAP program,” said Rodman.
  • Culture of learning and professional behavior—“This is the outcome that ties everything together,” she said. “You can have all the makings of a great lesson and still not reach students. You need to be able to answer why that is.”

There are also six key processes that administrators must use to successfully sustain these components in their centers:

  • planning
  • implementing
  • supporting
  • advocating
  • communicating
  • monitoring

Rodman said to imagine the six components and processes on a grid. You must go through each process with each component. It is the intersection of the components and processes that was the focus of her research.

The Principal Evaluation
The main piece Rodman examined was principal evaluations to understand leadership styles in CTCs. “Not many directors evaluate principals as it relates to student achievement,” she explained. “I thought I was doing a good job of evaluating my principals. Two times a year we would go over the job description and goals, but nowhere were we tying it back to student achievement.”

Rodman researched 17 state CTCs on learning-centered leadership. She used the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education system for her study. She received special permission from Vanderbilt University to have the system validated for CTCs.

According to Rodman, the study helped many stakeholders at the CTCs. For the center’s 37 teachers, they now know that there are six activities their administrators should be doing (the processes) and six outcomes (the components) to be met.

Administrators also benefit from an evaluation of their abilities. “The administrators now know how they will be evaluated and the evaluation will never be a surprise,” Rodman explained. The six components and processes can help principals with their professional development, as well. “Before I had the six components, I focused my professional development on what I was interested in. Now I can target areas where I am weak and that would have the most impact on student achievement. I could have a greater ROI on professional development if I knew where to go and what to do.”

The next step in the evaluation process for the principal and two assistant principals at Rodman’s center will be developing their weak areas in the 12 keys. For example, Rodman is developing a culture of learning and professional behavior using professional learning communities. “Before we were trying to learn everything but learning nothing well. Now we are mastering a few areas and applying it to different situations.”

Influence on the Centers
Rodman believes focusing on learning-centered leadership has put CTCs front and center in student achievement. “Before an administrator was managing the schools, making sure the welding teacher knows how to weld safely,” she said. “We are now being held accountable for a student’s performance.”

“Everybody at the CTC is looking at achievement data and the principal is responsible for what teachers are doing. And now there are questions being asked. Let’s say, year after year, NOCTI scores are going up except in carpentry. We ask is it IEPs, is it equipment or is it the teacher?”

Her center is also working on performance accountability. “NOCTI scores are done in a student’s senior year, but waiting until senior year is too late. You have to do it in 10th grade.” Center staff are using more intermittent benchmarking on the nearly 1,000 students attending the center to test what is covered.

This is the center’s second year implementing performance accountability, and teachers are deciding what they want to do about student achievement. “It was easier before to say ‘your plan does not work’ when the administrator plans your professional development. With performance accountability, the teachers are developing their own strategy.” Rodman said the center staff is conducting group readings and working and planning together. “The subject matter the staff teaches is not important. The techniques work across subject matter.” This year, several staff members are examining grading procedures to make students’ grades more consistent.

Rodman sees her research, which will be completed later in the fall, hopefully assisting those who deliver Pennsylvania Inspired Leaders programs as continuing professional education credits and those who deliver core certification programs that prepare principals for their future roles in career and technical education. “I would love to be involved in the state’s principal assessment pilot,” Rodman added.

PACTE Fall 2011 Newsletter Leadership Photo

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The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities.

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ACTE is committed to enhancing the job performance and satisfaction of its members; to increasing public awareness and appreciation for career and technical programs; and to assuring growth in local, state and federal funding for these programs by communicating and working with legislators and government leaders.


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