Off and Running

By: Coleen Keffeler

Hello everyone! I apologize for the delay in updating; anyone involved in education knows how busy the Coleen_Keffeler.upg first several weeks of a new school year can be. While it is busy and sometimes frustrating, I do enjoy this time of year!

In addition to my teaching duties at Sturgis Brown High School (SBHS), I coordinate the Teachers as Advisors program, serve as a senior class advisor and serve as the CTE Coordinator, which involves all responsibilities related to the Perkins grant—writing the grant, ordering approved items, monitoring the budget and inventory, collecting and submitting the data, utilizing the data to justify programs and equipment requests … It is a big responsibility and one that I take seriously. Without the Perkins grant, SBHS would not have the quality CTE staff or programs to assist our students in the pursuit of their career/education goals. Many of you wear more than one hat in your school or career center as well. Thank you for what you do to assist students in reaching their career goals.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the NCLA Best Practices Conference in Hot Springs, AR. The conference is a well-kept secret in the field of career and technical education. The keynote speakers shared statistics related to education-levels and job availability. The break-out sessions focused on career fairs, integration of math and automotive standards, green technology and jobs, career counseling, and other related topics. A highlight of the conference was touring the National Park Community College. Director David Hughes served as tour guide and showcased the programs available to area high school students as well as sharing how students can take the high school CTE credits and transfer them to the postsecondary institute sharing the same campus. If you have not attended the NCLA Best Practices Conference in the past, I encourage you to consider attending next year’s conference. Watch the ACTE Web site and Techniques magazine for details.  

Additional activities I am involved with include the continued planning and preparation for the Leadership Training Program scheduled for November 19 in St. Louis. The Leadership Task Force has been busy finalizing the details for November as well as working on the March session to be held in conjunction with the National Policy Seminar. If you are interested in seeking a leadership position at the state, regional or national level or just want to learn more about association leadership, please consider participating in the Leadership Training Program. While a Memorandum of Understanding is required to be eligible for the travel stipend, anyone may register and attend.

As South Dakota prepares for the 2012 Legislative Session, I will be working with the SDACTE Legislative Committee to update our CTE data brochure (it is available on the SDACTE Web page ) as well as reviewing the governor’s proposed budget and its impact on education. If you have not yet reviewed your 2010-2011 CTE data, please schedule time to review it with other CTE instructors in your school/center. Are your students meeting the standards for language arts/reading, math and technical skills attainment? Where are your students going once they graduate? If you serve secondary students, how do CTE concentrator graduation rates compare to the school as a whole? If the data is positive, have you shared it with your administrators, school board, advisory board, and state and federal legislators? If the data is less than favorable, what needs to change? How can you utilize limited resources to better meet the needs of the learners you serve? ACTE staff is working hard to promote career and technical education and preserve funding streams. Help make their jobs easier by promoting your programs in the state and national legislators as well as with the local board of education.

I hope you have had a successful start to the school year. Continue to collect the data that proves what we all know—CTE is an important component of a student’s secondary education and a vital link in getting our economy back on track by providing relevant, timely education for adults.