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CONNECTIONS volume 19 | issue 2 |

Fall 2020



CONNECTIONS volume 19 | issue 2 |

Fall 2020

CONTRIBUTORS Editor-in-Chief�����������������Dr. Aimee Brown Managing Editor��������������Carl Smith Associate Editor����������������Patrice Guilfoyle Editor��������������������������������Heather Craig Designer����������������������������Amanda Gronewold Writers������������������������������Heather Craig Will Graves Amanda Gronewold Carl Smith Brock Turnipseed The contents of this magazine — including stories, photos and other information — were submitted by their respective school districts or organizations unless otherwise noted.


Tupelo collision repair instructor Derek Bradley illustrates the difference in the sanding pattern between a dual-action sander and a grinder. Read more in Learning as They Go on p. 6.


f the spring semester could be summed up with one word, that word would be uncertainty. If someone asked me to sum up this fall semester with one word, I’d say adaptation. The emergence of COVID-19 in Mississippi fundamentally changed how we, as career and technical educators, go about the daily process of preparing our students for the future. Teachers were already tasked with meeting individual students’ needs inperson before the pandemic, but now, in the world of COVID-19, instructors must take into account those needs and a new swath of other concerns: the health, safety and welfare of their in-person students; how to deliver their specific class’ or pathway’s curriculum to e-learners through various digital avenues; and even whether their students have the technology at home to continue their distance learning, among others. In this issue’s cover story, three teachers from different school districts and pathways share how they adapted their instruction during COVID-19 to meet the specific needs of their students, communities and curricula (p. 6). We also tell the story of how professional development through the Mississippi Department of Education moved online (p. 18) and prepared new teachers for the world of blended instruction they’re experiencing this semester. Additionally, I (p. 10) and other career and technical education (CTE) administrators and directors (p. 30) share what we learned from the spring shutdown and describe what CTE looks like moving forward. We also list numerous online teaching resources and tips (p. 26) to assist teachers as they adapt to the ever-changing climate. Speaking of moving forward, we have two stories about new endeavors: a revamped work-based learning program provides students with crucial work experiences before graduation (p. 12) and new computer science curricula prepares learners for the digital work environments today and tomorrow (p. 22). We also have numerous stories highlighting efforts to better our communities during the pandemic. For example, Petal health science students held a blood drive that helped save lives (p. 4), while Lauderdale County students made hand sanitizer stations that were set up for public use at district football games (p. 21). There are also many other stories in this magazine from the pre-pandemic spring semester that remind us how different life was almost a year ago. It’s important for us to look back at those now so we can take stock of and be appreciative of the good things still happening in our classrooms and homes today. I’m proud of the resiliency our students, teachers, administrators and community partners have shown throughout this turning point for our way of life. Together, we will continue to persevere and create a new generation of leaders capable of adapting through their own future challenges. Dr. Aimee Brown Director, Office of Career and Technical Education Mississippi Department of Education


We want to hear about your success stories, awards and program accomplishments. Please submit your story ideas at 2 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020


Featured Areas

I  Petal Students Host Blood Drive������������������� 4 I  Cleveland Students Become Tech Master Scholars���������������������������������������������� 4 Learning as They Go��������������������������������������� 6 Educators Meet Student Needs During COVID-19

Insights From Mississippi's CTE Director���� 10 I  Forrest County Deputies Give Social Media Tips������������������������������������������������������ 11 I  DonorsChoose Supports Cleveland Teacher Academy Students���������������������������������������� 11 On the Job�����������������������������������������������������12

Work-Based Learning Provides Crucial Experiences for Students

I  Luncheon Provides Culinary Students With Hands-On Experience��������������������������������� 16 I  Neshoba, McLain Plumbing Launch Apprenticeship Program������������������������������� 17 I  KACTC, Milwaukee Tool Form Partnership 17 Navigating a Virtual Future�������������������������� 18 Organizers Adapt Professional Development Avenues During Pandemic

I  FCAHS Receives Financial Tools From Auctioneer�����������������������������������������������������21

Schools featured in Insights From CTE Leaders on p. 30

I  Business, Sports Medicine Students Tour NOLA��������������������������������������������������28 I  Pumpkin Project Joins FSCCTC Classes����� 29 I  FCAHS Students Receive PASS Training��� 29 Insights From CTE Leaders������������������������� 30

I  Lauderdale County Students Make Hand Sanitizer Stations�������������������������������������������21

I  Lauderdale County Teaches Financial Realities to Eighth Graders�������������������������� 32

Instruction Evolves��������������������������������������� 22

I  Lamar County Engineering II Students Modify Safety Vest for Crossing Guard������ 33

MDE Rolls Out New High School Computer Science Curricula

Curriculum Update��������������������������������������� 25 Online Teaching Resources�������������������������� 26 I  Rankin County Teacher Academy Students Spread Kindness�������������������������������������������28

I  KACTC Students Tour Local Armory���������� 33 Student Spotlight���������������������������������������� 34 Terra Quinn

Educator Spotlight���������������������������������������� 35 Jennifer Williams

Connections received many photos and articles taken and prepared in early 2020 before local and state entities enacted mask and social distancing guidance. These submissions are appropriately identified within this issue. Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 3

news & notes

Petal Students Host Blood Drive Health science students at Petal High School (Petal School District) partnered with United Blood Services in September to host a community blood drive as a way to learn leadership and organizational skills. Two students in each class led the effort as coordinators, while others conducted a variety of jobs during the drive. “When I found out [I was chosen as a student coordinator], I was both terrified and excited. I was scared of messing up, but at the same time, I was happy that I had the opportunity to be a part of the experience,” said PHS senior Abby Shows. Other student coordinators included junior Anna Beeson and seniors Breanna Cooper and Kaitlyn Jones. Due to the worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus, stringent safety measures were put in place to protect donors, students and workers. The drive exceeded its goal and collected almost 80 donations. PHS health science students host two blood drives each academic year, and organizers say they hope to hold another event in the spring semester.

Top left: Petal High School (PHS) senior Allison Kennedy donates double red blood cells during September’s blood drive. She is enrolled in Health Science II at the school.

Top right: PHS junior Lily James donates whole blood during September’s blood drive. James and her fellow Health Science II peers exceeded the amount of donations they originally hoped to receive this fall and are expected to host another blood drive in the spring.

Bottom left: PHS senior Kinsey Bellinger (right) checks a donor's temperature before she gives blood, while senior Kalyn King handles forms during September’s blood drive. Both students are enrolled in Health Science II.

Cleveland Students Become Tech Master Scholars Two Cleveland Career Development and Technology (CCDT) seniors — John Nick Delahoussey and Kelsey Jackson — graduated as Mississippi Tech Master Scholars in the spring semester of 2020. Tech Master Scholars have to meet stringent criteria, including having at least a 2.5 GPA, four CTE credits within the same program, 95% attendance throughout grades 9-12, no disciplinary issues and at least 40 hours of community service. Both students not only excelled in the classroom, but also in local and state competitions in their respective student organizations: SkillsUSA, HOSA — Future Health Professionals and the National Technical Honor Society. “We are so proud of Kelsey and Nick. They truly exemplify how students can take the CTE pathway to their chosen career field,” said Monica Mitchell, CCDT director. Kelsey is the daughter of Rosaland Richardson and Tracy Jackson and is attending Hinds Community College and majoring in forensic sciences. Nick is the son of Tony and Kristin Delahoussey and is attending Mississippi Delta Community College and majoring in nursing. 4 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

We can’t tell your CTE story until you tell us your


Want to have your students, program or career and technical center spotlighted in Connections? Here’s how:



IDENTIFY a new CTE activity, community service project or cutting-edge method of delivering instruction in your own classroom, school or district you feel should be shared across the state.


the release and photos with us via Be sure to include “Connections” and your school district’s/CTC’s name in the subject line, and contact information for yourself or the class/program teacher and links to your district’s and school’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts in the body of the email.



what’s happening in the classroom with pictures of teachers, students and professionals working together. Be sure to only photograph students who have returned signed photo release forms to the school district.



a press release with information about the activity or event. Well-written press releases and photo information blurbs answer the five Ws of communication: who, what, when, where and why.

From there, our staff will reach out to possibly develop and publish your story! There is no deadline for submissions, as our staff can publish your work on our Connections website and to social media at any time.



Learning AS THEY


Educators Meet Student Needs During COVID-19

Amanda Gronewold


hen the COVID-19 crisis reached Mississippi and school buildings closed, teachers scrambled to find ways to continue delivering instruction to their students. CTE teachers faced unique challenges compared to their traditional counterparts, including how to translate the hands-on learning required of many pathways to online learning. Three teachers from different pathways shared their stories with Connections. 6 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

Connecting Students to the Shop

Tupelo collision repair instructor Derek Bradley had a daunting task: transforming a traditionally hands-on shop class to one that could be replicated in students' homes with little to no tools or materials. He relied heavily on online videos to demonstrate his lessons to students. Even before the pandemic, he enjoyed using them to make information more accessible. “You never know what someone’s reading level is,” Bradley said. “And

reading out of the book, they might not comprehend [the lesson]. But a lot of my students say, ‘If I see you do it, I can do it.’” In addition to sharing videos, he sent packets filled with worksheets to students’ homes and experimented with online meetings. Meeting synchronously online proved to be difficult for students without reliable internet access, so he leaned even more into the videos, which were easier for students to view using smartphones. Among his favorite


Tupelo School District (TSD) instructor Derek Bradley (left) holds a laptop as online students watch junior Artavious Wade work on the hood of a car at the Tupelo Career and Technical Center (TCTC) during the fall semester. Bradley’s method of instruction allowed both in-person and virtual students to continue their career and technical classes during the COVID-19 outbreak in the 2020-2021 academic year.

videos to share were those from the Collision Repair Education Foundation and collision repair YouTube channel CollisionBlast. “I was just trying to get the hands-on knowledge as close as I could without the hands-on part,” Bradley said. Some students even took on additional hands-on instruction while earning a paycheck and work experience. Bradley owns a collision repair shop in New Albany, and he hired several students during the school closure to keep them honing their skills.

Automotive repair shops were considered essential businesses and were allowed to remain open. This fall, Bradley used what he learned in the spring as he taught about half of his class in person and the others through virtual means. He shared videos and used the Canvas learning management system for all of his students, preparing his in-person students for a smooth transition to a virtual learning experience should another shutdown occur. Bradley also encouraged his students to connect with one another in

social media groups with platforms such as Campus Knot. “It’s going to be a smooth transition if it happens again,” Bradley said. “I post videos, and I record myself doing different things. I’m in the process now of taking pictures of their classmates that are here actually working on stuff, taking their safety tests and doing hands-on activities to connect the two as best that I can.” The pictures mostly included a wrecked car in the class shop that will supplement several units of Bradley’s instructional content. As his in-person students received hands-on experience with the car, Bradley included his virtual class by sharing pictures of numbered sticky notes affixed to each area of damage on the vehicle. “I can take and post the pictures and tell students to identify the parts in the numbers, and it’s the same thing that their classmates are doing in the classroom,” he said. Bradley continues to work on ways to connect his virtual classroom with his in-person one. He has a large screen on which he broadcasts via Google Meet for a portion of the class time so all the students can interact before they break into in-person student groups to do handson shop work while allowing virtual students to complete the remainder of their work on their own time before a specified deadline. Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 7


“I’m just trying to see what’s going to work,” he said. “I’m trying a little bit of everything.”

Building an At-Home Business Learning Experience

When schools in districts with high poverty rates closed in the spring semester, delivering instruction in a way that is accessible to all students, regardless of internet access, became paramount. Gary Harris, who teaches in the business, marketing and finance pathway at Crystal Springs High School (Copiah County School District [CCSD]), relied solely on worksheet packets to continue teaching his students for the remainder of the spring shutdown. “Our district did not assume that all of our kids have internet access or computers, so we literally did everything by paper in March and April,” he said. Harris created packets for his students from the textbooks and workbooks he already had. The district created pickup points throughout the area for families to receive their packets, as well as dropoff locations where they could return the students’ completed work. He provided

links to YouTube videos as bonus material but did not grade his students on this content because not all students had internet access. Harris and other teachers attempted to connect virtually with students via Google Classroom with limited success. “It was too much of a struggle for parents that didn’t have internet access, so that was a huge challenge for our school,” he said. Harris’ community worked to overcome that challenge. As the shutdown continued, several businesses in the district began offering hot spots where anyone needing internet access could park and connect their device to a Wi-Fi network. In the fall semester, his instructional delivery methods leapt forward technologically from where they were in the spring. He taught groups of students on a hybrid schedule that alternated groups attending in person and virtually to reduce crowding in the school. He only taught a small number of students who opted for complete virtual learning. CCSD policy prohibits live broadcasting of lessons online due to privacy

issues, so Harris delivered pre-recorded materials to his virtual students via Microsoft Teams. As his school’s hybrid semester unfolded, Harris and other educators prepared students to learn completely from home in the event of another shutdown. “We are going to be more dependent on technology this point forward,” he said, “so we’ve been instructing our students on how to get signed into Teams, how to use Teams and how to complete assignments.” Harris said he is optimistic his district is gradually improving its ability to deliver equal technology-based learning experiences to all its students. The district received funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to supply students with laptops. Additionally, rural power associations in the area are building more internet connectivity spots. “If this thing continues and we’re still using this method of instruction in January and February, it’ll be a lot more inclusive than it is now,” Harris said. “Even one student being left out is not ideal at all.”

Left: Crystal Springs High School business, marketing, and finance instructor Gary Harris works with a student to identify countries that have mostly market or mostly command economies. Above: Harris instructs his class on the characteristics of economic systems in the world. 8 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020


Millsaps Career and Technology Center (Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District) health science instructor Jemeica Arnold (left) lectures to her class as both she and Starkville High School senior Mackenzie Montfort stand next to a medical manikin. Arnold used the global outbreak of COVID-19 as a way to teach her students about the implications of health choices during a pandemic.

Staying Ahead in Health Science

Millsaps Career and Technology C e nte r ( St arkv i l l e - Okt ibb eha Consolidated School District) health science instructor Jemeica Arnold, who also works part-time as a nurse at the local hospital, has grown her technological aptitude in leaps and bounds since the pandemic began. “I didn’t have any electronic communication for teaching at all. I was teaching mainly traditionally, standing up, lecturing,” she said. “I had to learn Canvas from the beginning and kind of build my Canvas classroom.” By the time fall classes began, Arnold’s classroom experience went completely paperless, even for her inperson students. She pre-recorded all of her lectures at home and played them for both her in-person and virtual students. “I’m really just a facilitator in the classroom. I’m not up talking and lecturing — it’s already pre-recorded, so that way the students at home are

getting the same me in person with the PowerPoint, and then the ones that are coming traditionally are getting it on the SmartBoard,” Arnold said. “Everybody’s getting the same information.” Arnold enhanced her students’ Canvas experiences with video-recording apps Loom and Screencastify. Even with help, student participation was a challenge, as many of her students were overwhelmed with as many as 10 courses — and their specific content — populating their student Canvas dashboards. Arnold offered Zoom office hours to provide her students extra help as needed and stressed to them the importance of working ahead. Working with the future in mind is a crucial part of Arnold’s efforts to adjust to the newly overhauled health science curriculum while staying prepared for the possibility of future shutdowns. “What I’m doing is going ahead and building the skeleton for those future curricula so when it’s time for them, all I have to do is plug the content in,”

she said. “I’m trying to stay a couple of weeks ahead.” Arnold’s expertise gives her a unique opportunity to teach her students about the pandemic and its implications in health care as it is happening in real time. She plans to discuss actual cases of the novel coronavirus in upcoming lessons with her second-year students. “I’ll probably just wait until we get to employability and the rehab part and try to add some COVID-19 real stories to kind of help them understand some things,” said Arnold. In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic amplified already-occurring societal issues, with the lack of equal access to resources at home for all students being a prime example. Teachers, schools and districts are still working diligently to fill in these gaps. Teachers are also adapting to new technologies as they find ways to offer both their inperson and virtual students fulfilling learning experiences — learning as they go while preparing for challenges that could be on the horizon. Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 9




In terms of CTE and its continued delivery to students, what is the most important thing you learned from the spring COVID-19 shutdown and the fall move to blended/ online instruction?

Dr. Aimee Brown

The most important thing we learned is that we need to develop a comprehensive online learning plan for all CTE programs in Mississippi. We also recognized the importance of developing online instruction for CTE that still allows students to learn and demonstrate the hands-on skills that are vital to the majority of our CTE curricula. We have learned that the blended (hybrid) model works best for CTE instruction, and we are working with districts to ensure there is a quality and safe plan for blended CTE learning in each district.

What does CTE look like to you after the pandemic becomes a thing of the past? In other words, what are the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on CTE? The most important thing is ensuring we are able to allow students to develop hands-on and technical skills that are at the heart of our CTE programs. In the future, we will see many CTE students completing classroom tasks in an online setting and then completing small-group, hands-on activities in the lab or in a shop setting. We will also see the infusion of virtual reality and other immersive technologies, as well as virtual job shadowing and internships. I believe our future CTE programming will be more in line with the technology skills of our 21st century CTE learners.

Did your position provide insight as to how to improve instruction in the future? Through research and observation, I learned that the blended model of instruction is best for CTE. While there are some CTE programs that could be 100% virtual, the majority of our programs that are preparing students for the 21st century workforce require the attainment of quality technical skills. We want to put a plan in place to help all districts provide quality blended CTE instruction for students. We realize this may take a little time because there are some districts that chose the 100% virtual learning option for CTE students. We will need to work with district leaders, as well as parents and communities, to develop a plan of action that allows for CTE students to participate in a blended model that is safe and efficient for learning and acquiring hands-on skills. Even if the COVID-19 situation improves in the future, I believe that we will still see many CTE programs use the blended model.

10 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

news & notes

Forrest County Deputies Give Social Media Tips From left to right: Forrest County Sheriff ’s Department Deputies Scott Lees, Nic Latham and Nate Mosely, along with K-9 Barry, pose with Petal Middle School (Petal School District) students in September after discussing social and ethical issues related to digital citizenship and social media, including positive connections and inappropriate contact; cyberbullying; and the pros and cons of social media when used personally, educationally and professionally. Students asked questions relating to career opportunities within the law, public safety, corrections and security career cluster, and officers discussed employment requirements, including skills and education.

DonorsChoose Supports Cleveland Teacher Academy Students From left to right: Cleveland School District sophomore Shaleiyah Jackson, freshman Alyssa Evans, sophomore Taniya Williams and freshman Jaliyah Thompson show off copies of books donated to their Cleveland Career Development and Technology Center Teacher Academy class by DonorsChoose in the fall semester. The students received copies of Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption and R.J. Palacio’s Wonder. The books were used as additional instructional resources for their studies of diverse learners and the history of American education. Specifically, the two books provided valuable lessons about issues many Americans face daily.

CONNECTIONS read online + order printed copies

follow us @connectionsms    Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 11




Work-Based Learning Provides Crucial Experiences for Students Heather Craig


ississippi’s career and technical education (CTE) students have the advantage of earning credit for early work experiences through their local centers under a new course called CTE Work-Based Learning (WBL) this academic year. The WBL I and II courses were developed over the last year by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) in partnership with the Research and Curriculum Unit (RCU). Formerly called Career Pathway Experience, WBL provides opportunities for Mississippi students to gain work experience under the guidance of WBL coordinators at 12 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

their local CTE center. The update was necessary to align the program with 2019’s federal Perkins V agreement. “We want the students to have authentic work-based experiences,” Carol Ballard, the MDE’s WBL supervisor, said of the redesign. The updated courses and standards are designed to provide consistent guidance for WBL programs across the state. The standards emphasize getting students as much work experience as possible through as many hours in the workplace as business partners can provide. “There is still seat time built into the courses, but we really focused on getting

the students out of the classroom and into the workplace,” said Denise Sibley, a senior research associate at the RCU. Ballard and Sibley worked closely together to develop the new standards and guidance for the program. Ballard agrees the focus of the changed course is to get students into the workplace so they gain valuable experience and employability skills while still in high school. “We wanted to make sure students were learning on the job and not just in the classroom,” Ballard said. The new standards ensure students, teachers, parents and employers work together to make sure the program is


Opposite page: Northeast Lauderdale High School (NHS) (Lauderdale County School District) senior Tamara Goines (left) serves freshman Lauren Dupont from one of the Coffee Express Carts.

Above: South Panola School District’s Work-Based Learning students toured Pride Hyundai this fall and learned about the automotive industry, careers, the car-buying process and types of vehicles. Pictured from left to right are ZyKerria Sanford, Calvin Cole, McGheyla Patton, Riley Houston, Keontrae Ellis, instructor Robert Barnard and Tony Benson, the floor sales manager for Pride Hyundai. Left: Arionna Odom, a third-year Business, finance and marketing (BFM) student, works at her internship with Singing River Federal Credit Union (SRFCU) during third and fourth blocks of school. SRFCU recently opened a branch inside the library of Pascagoula High School and is looking at opening another at Gautier High School (Pascagoula-Gautier School District). Students from the BFM program train during the summer after their junior year and will work at the branches inside their respective schools then go to the main office and finish their day on the job. successful in providing the kinds of experiences that new-to-the-workplace students need to succeed. Many topics — from observation and employment law to résumé building and interviewing skills — are considered in the new guidance, which was written in such a way local centers can easily accommodate the program’s requirements, uninhibited by their own needs, opportunities and resources. “We were adamant about writing these standards in such a way that every center could apply them in their own situation. That’s not to say we lowered our expectations. The integrity of the standards is uncompromised,” Sibley said.

“We intentionally kept the diverse personalities of the centers in mind, making sure that the variability of resources available from center to center throughout the state was considered, and that the standards were written generally enough for each one to be able to adapt to the demands of the new course.” The updated standards and guide are only the beginning of the MDE’s efforts to provide increased support to WBL programs. “One of the things we’re working on is creating a resource page for the teachers,” Ballard said. “We want the teachers to have a way to connect with each other and share success stories and ideas.”

New outreach ideas are coming to Ballard every day. “We’re one of the best-kept secrets,” she said. “There are so many businesses out there that don’t know about us, so we’re working on a Mississippi workbased learning brand,” she said. This branding effort will be led by a task force of WBL teachers and students. Like most of the WBL efforts, the creation of this marketing campaign will provide students with work experience to which they would not otherwise have access. Ideas include creating a brochure, logo and sticker for businesses to Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 13





Work-Based Learning:


Work-based learning (WBL) is best suited to students who consistently excel academically.

All students — particularly those who are disengaged and need a challenge — can benefit from WBL instruction.

Only the best and brightest will represent their schools well enough to qualify for WBL. WBL partners understand they are training young, inexperienced employees and welcome the challenge of helping students who may appear to lack direction or may not be star students. WBL instructors have it easy because their students are not always with them. WBL instructors have serious responsibilities to juggle, including making sure partnerships with businesses remain strong, that students are treated with respect and fairness and that students are trained in workplace skills and are consistently showing up to work. WBL instructors do not have much to do once their students start working. WBL instructors conduct observations, travel to and from students’ places of employment, meet with local business leaders to create partnerships, gather evaluations from employers, track hours and manage student-employer relationships, in addition to checking the pulse of their students’ learning and offering lessons catered to students’ needs. WBL students can learn the workplace skills they need in a traditional classroom setting. Ideally, WBL teachers help students connect with employers, educate students on soft skills and assist them with creating successful work experiences. WBL is just another name for College and Career Readiness (CCR). WBL students will receive a CCR credit, but CCR has more seat time, with students working on résumés and soft skills in the classroom. CCR does not have the hands-on work-experience element that WBL includes. WBL is the application of CCR skills. WBL is an opportunity for students already involved in career and technical education (CTE).

WBL is open to all students, including academic students who have never participated in CTE before.

WBL opportunities only happen outside of the school. Depending on the instructor's assessment of his or her students’ needs, WBL teachers have the freedom to meet their students where they are. Teachers whose students may not have the resources to travel to and from a job site often create work opportunities within the school. These businesses range from coffee shops and snack bars to T-shirts sales and school supply stores.

14 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020


From left to right: NHS seniors Tal Griffith, Tamara Goines, and Carley Monsour use coffee carts as a COVID-friendly replacement for the Coffee Express they typically run from the café in their Work-Based Learning classroom. This fall, teachers requested the carts by email. Some used the visits as an incentive, while others invited the cart daily or weekly.

display and show off their partnership, and other recognition opportunities for partners. While the classes are offered in CTE centers, it is a common misconception that WBL is reserved for students already taking other CTE classes. “WBL is available to any student interested in job shadowing and developing valuable workplace skills,” Ballard said. Beyond being open to all students, Sibley said she finds the program vital in encouraging success among underserved students. “I want WBL teachers to feel encouraged to consider students who may be overlooked for WBL opportunities based on their academic success,” she said. “Sometimes we make the easy choice by looking at a student’s academic aptitude in deciding whether or not they would be a good candidate for WBL, when there are all kinds of reasons a student who is not a stellar academic would be a great employee and could benefit from this early, guided work experience. “What we’re doing pushes them to find what they love to do and take off from there,” Ballard added. “We hope this is a launchpad for many students to get to do what they love to do.”

The Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit is preparing another season of Webinar Wednesdays — a series of short online video tutorials to help teachers and administrators promote their CTE programs — for the 2020-2021 academic year. This season will cover: • •

Adobe Spark Video production

• •

Letters of recommendation Digital etiquette

Previously covered topics available for viewing online include: • • •

Social media Graphics and photos College admissions

• • •

Promoting student organizations Media outreach Newsletters

For this season’s schedule or to view previous webinars, visit Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 15

news & notes

Luncheon Provides Culinary Students With Hands-On Experience Culinary arts students from Sumrall and Purvis gained invaluable hands-on experience during the Downtown Hattiesburg Association’s annual awards luncheon and meeting when they assisted Flathau’s Fine Foods with setup, service and cleanup last academic year. The students, who attended Sumrall High School’s (Lamar County School District) culinary arts program under the instruction of Tricia Griffin, saw firsthand what it is like to work a catered event when the banquet was held in the spring semester.


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spring 2018

news & notes

Neshoba, McLain Plumbing Launch Apprenticeship Program Neshoba Central High School and McLain Plumbing and Electrical Service of Philadelphia launched an apprenticeship program last academic year that allows seniors to graduate with a high school diploma and earn industry credentials and experience. Neshoba County School District Superintendent Lundy Brantley and Phillip McLain of McLain Plumbing said the program is a win-win for the district, its students and the Philadelphia industry. “It’s a rare situation where everybody wins,” Brantley said, “and it doesn’t cost us a dime.” Participating students’ weekly schedules Pictured from left to right are Philadelphia Community Development President will be tailored to work one or more days David Vowell, Neshoba County School District Superintendent Lundy Brantley, each week at McLain Plumbing. They must be Phillip McLain of McLain Plumbing, Mississippi Construction Education 18 years old to participate in the apprentice- Foundation Vice President of Adult Craft Training Brent Bean, Neshoba Central ship and have completed most of the required High School (NCHS) Assistant Principal Dana McLain and NCHS Principal classes for graduation. Jason Gentry. McLain said the first students received onthe-job training in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) service. The apprenticeship benefits students who want to live and work in Neshoba County after graduation, Brantley said. “There are great jobs here, and if you stay and make a career, you can do pretty well,” he said. When announcing the program, Brantley and McClain were joined by David Vowell, president of the Philadelphia Community Development Partnership, and Brent Bean, vice president of adult craft training for the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation. The group cited local, statewide and national needs for HVAC workers, sheet metal technicians and plumbers. They also noted careers in those fields typically bring with them higher salaries compared to many entry-level jobs. “HVAC techs, sheet metal and plumbers are in such high demand,” Bean said. “For whatever reason, people are not wanting to go in those fields even though they are the higher paying skilled jobs. They are really higher paying now because there is such a demand for them for lack of a workforce.”

KACTC, Milwaukee Tool Form Partnership The Kosciusko-Attala Career Technical Center (Attala County and Kosciusko school districts) and Milwaukee Tool partnered last academic year to provide tools for classrooms and career information to students. Students from the construction, welding and automotive service programs toured the company’s Greenwood plant in the spring and learned about internship programs and career opportunities. Milwaukee Tool officials also donated tools to the three career tech programs. The tools are a great addition, and students were excited to receive them. Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 17



Organizers Adapt Professional Development Avenues During Pandemic Brock Turnipseed


his year’s Mississippi Association of Career and Technical Education’s (MS ACTE’s) summer conference was expected to be a unique event. Organizers chose “navigating the future” as its theme as educators charted a new course for CTE under the new requirements of Perkins V, and the conference itself moved to Biloxi for the first time. In March, however, the theme took on a new meaning as teachers and administrators had to navigate distance learning and the uncertainty facing them for the 2020-2021 academic year. Thanks to MS ACTE 2020 and New Teacher Induction (NTI) training, both new and veteran educators received 18 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

tools to help prepare them for chal- into their schools in the fall, whether lenges brought on by COVID-19. through face-to-face, virtual or blended instruction. MS ACTE Goes Committee members decided it was critical to orient more sessions toward From Beach to Screen When it became clear in April that providing support for distance learning. the pandemic would alter plans for the While sessions focusing on curricMS ACTE conference, its planning com- ulum updates and pathway-specific mittee began exploring options for safely guidance were held, organizers develproviding a quality event. By mid-May, oped numerous sessions that enveloped the committee decided to move the con- various pathways to cover Canvas, techference online. nology tools for teachers, introductions With two months to plan, the group to online platforms and distance learnnot only had to coordinate the logistics ing in CTE. of simultaneously hosting more than Erik Shows, the CTE director at 1,000 participants and 25 breakout ses- Forrest County Agricultural High sions online, but it also had to address School, said he and his teachers gathered how to prepare educators to step back at their center both days and enjoyed


Achieve 100 Percent Award Winners The following centers were recognized at MS ACTE 2020 for having 100% paid membership in ACTE:

County Vocational and  Amite Technical Complex County Career and  Choctaw Technology Center County Career and  Forest-Scott Technology Center

Opposite: Hannah Patrick (right), a graduate of the eighth cohort of New Teacher Induction, assists McLaurin High School (Rankin County School District) junior Aren Spann in the completion of his personality disorder research project. Above: Bill Johnson, a sports medicine teacher with the Choctaw County School District, and fellow New Teacher Induction participants collaborate on an assignment during the cohort’s opening session at the Mississippi State University Hunter Henry Center in 2019. the sessions, especially those focused on distance learning. “Nothing’s going to 100% prepare them for what we’re going through, but [the sessions] did a good job helping us get where we need to be to teach our students in person and virtual,” he said. Shows highlighted two sessions — one on new Perkins V requirements led by Aimee Brown, the statewide CTE director for the Mississippi Department of Education — and another on Edpuzzle, Flipgrid and other educational technology tools led by project managers at the Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit. Lenora Hogan, the CTE director at the Millsaps Career and Technology Center in the StarkvilleOktibbeha Consolidated School District,

also said the technology tools session was “so good and so needed. The session really helped my teachers feel more comfortable with using the platforms that were shared.” For Hogan, Brooks Harper’s keynote speech and his book, 7 Skills to Make Mill$, also struck a chord with her. She said his message serves as a reminder that no matter the method of educational instruction, the main goal of educators should be making sure students are prepared for college or career. “A lot of times we get so caught up in the logistics that we forget our main task is to produce kids who are ready for the workforce or college or whatever it may be,” she said.

MS ACTE Award Winners w Administrator of the Year: Tony Holder (Kosciusko-Attala Career Technical Center) w Career Guidance of the Year: Tracy Hardy (Kosciusko-Attala Career Technical Center)

County Agricultural  Forrest High School County Career  Hancock Technical Center

 Jackson County Technology Center Career  Kosciusko-Attala Technical Center County Center for Technical  Lamar Education County Technology and  Lawrence Career Center County School District  Lowndes Career and Technical Center

 Madison Career and Technical Center Career and Technology  Millsaps Center (Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District)

Career and  Newton Technology Center Career and Technical  Pearl-Rankin Center/Hinds Community College

 Petal High School  South Panola High School Career  Vicksburg-Warren and Technical Center/Hinds Community College

w Teacher of the Year: Debbie Miller (Oak Grove High School, Lamar County School District)

Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 19


NTI Cohort Becomes Virtual Learners

In the summer of 2019, the RCU's NTI began training more than 80 new CTE teachers to lead their classrooms after previously working as industry professionals. Little did they know, the in-depth training would prove beneficial months later as their young teaching careers faced the uncertainty of the COVID19 pandemic. “I don’t know how I would have been expected to do my job efficiently without the resources they provided during our trainings,” said Bill Johnson, who completed his first year teaching sports medicine at the Choctaw County Career and Technical Center in the Choctaw County School District. Hannah Patrick, a first-year health, nutrition and wellness, child development, family dynamics and human anatomy and physiology instructor at Rankin County School District's McLaurin High School, also said NTI staff prepared them for a move to distance learning. “They made sure that even though we were virtual, we could still get a successful lesson done,” she said. “You can still

have the assignments and the handson stuff, even if the kids are doing it in front of a camera in their house.” While some of NTI’s hands-on, kinesthetic-based methods and strategies became more challenging in a virtual setting, NTI coordinator Jenny Campbell said its staff remained dedicated to providing the same intentional instruction despite format changes that included moving teachers’ final classroom demonstrations, pathway field trips and graduation online. As part of their commencement, the group was treated to guidance and wellwishes from Marcia Tate, the author of the cohort’s book study Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites. In the virtual gathering, Tate expounded on her 20 strategies for comprehending and retaining information and provided educators valuable insights they can use with their students online or face-to-face. Johnson and Patrick said they have incorporated some of Tate’s strategies into their own classrooms. “As a physical therapist, I want tools that work. Dr. Tate’s book works,” Johnson said. “There are all kinds of different instructional strategies

Marcia Tate — including games, humor, mnemonics and role-playing — that I use. They stick.” “Getting to hear her stories and how someone who’s successful said that she’s struggled just like we all do was very humbling and rewarding in the sense that I don’t feel I’m doing something wrong,” Patrick added. New teachers and veterans alike have seen the struggles of educating students in the face of a pandemic. Thanks to how many outlets and organizers of professional development programs in Mississippi have adapted to the ongoing crisis, educators will be prepared to navigate the future, regardless of how that might look.

• Posters • Handouts • Research • Tips for

Download free tools to help you promote your programs at 20 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

• Using social media • Media outreach • Newsletters • Photography

• & More!

news & notes

FCAHS Receives Financial Tools From Auctioneer Forrest County Agricultural High School (FCAHS) received a generous donation of teaching materials from local business owner Jeff Martin this fall. Martin, the president of Jeff Martin Auctioneers, Inc., donated materials from best-selling author Dave Ramsey’s Foundations in Personal Finance series. These materials will be used in resource management classes to teach students the importance of financial literacy, debt-free living and saving for their futures. “Being able to give an opportunity to others to keep them from financial pitfalls is important to us as a family,” Martin said. “The local school is such a valuable place for our children in Forrest County. I want everyone to be able to have a child who can one day say, ‘That course really made a difference in my life.’ Maybe FCAHS students will learn something they can teach their parents as well.” Jeff Martin Auctioneers is a leading construction auction company in the United States with locations in Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina and Texas.

From left to right: Jeff Martin, president of Jeff Martin Auctioneers, Inc., and Erik Shows, Forrest County Agricultural High School’s career and technical education director, display a book written by financial guru Dave Ramsey. Martin donated materials from the author’s collection to help students learn how to avoid the pitfalls of poor financial planning.

Lauderdale County Students Make Hand Sanitizer Stations West Lauderdale High School (WLHS) juniors Cade Shannon and Logan Johnson (left) cut metal that would be used to build hand sanitizer stations for district football games in the fall semester. Danny Johnson, who teaches Agriculture and Natural Resources for the Lauderdale County School District, is also an assistant football coach for WLHS.

Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 21


INSTRUCTIONEvolves MDE Rolls Out New High School Computer Science Curricula

22 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020


Lafayette High School (Lafayette County School District) freshmen computer science students Ethan White (left) and Andrew Jordan collaborate in the school's computer lab during the fall semester.

Mississippi’s CTE instructors and students enrolled in computer science courses have a unique opportunity to learn and apply innovative computer technology skills in a global community. Dr. Louella Mack-Webster Mississippi Department of Education STEM program supervisor

began offering the Cyber Foundations (CF) I and Exploring Computer Science (ECS) courses this school year. The implementation of these new curricula provides students with more opportunities not only to reinforce their foundational computing concepts, but also to challenge them to build on that knowledge by making real-world connections that can better prepare them for today’s high-tech workforce and the jobs of tomorrow. Technology is an ever-evolving field and is now an integral aspect of many jobs, so it is vital students have a solid foundation of computing and criticalthinking skills. The CF I curricula is designed to do just that. Students focus on their foundational computing skills by exploring areas in digital citizenWill Graves ship, technology applications, career exploration and fundamental computhe beginning of the 2020-2021 ing concepts, such as problem-solving academic year brought new and coding. Although school districts can offer changes to high school computer science education thanks to the this course to students as early as sixth continued efforts of the Computer grade, the course is a career and techniScience for Mississippi (CS4MS) cal education (CTE) pathway available Initiative. to both middle and high school stuWith official approval from the dents. School districts may also choose Mississippi State Board of Education for classes to contain mixed grades if in 2020, school districts across the state local district policy allows. Beginning


in the 2021-2022 academic year, CF II, the subsequent course to CF I, will be available statewide and will complete the two-phase transition of the new curricula in CF. Students who are more advanced in their computing and technology learning trajectory can now take the ECS course, which is available to freshmen and older students and allows for mixed-grade classes depending on local policy. What initially began as the first pilot of CS4MS, the new ECS curriculum is designed as a survey course to explore the breadth of the computer science field. Students begin the course by focusing on foundational problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, with special attention given to algorithmic development. It then takes students through units that introduce them to basic Web development, programming, robotics, data science and artificial intelligence. Due to the nature of these units, it is highly recommended students complete Algebra I prior to or in conjunction with ECS to ensure they grasp the algorithmic concepts in this course. The ECS curriculum is engaging and exploratory for students, so they have many opportunities to collaborate and Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 23


Center Hill Middle School (DeSoto County Schools) Cyber Foundations I teachers Ashley Hileman (front) and Alecia Reese work on developing distance-learning plans for their students in the fall to make sure students had some normalcy, consistency and security in their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing a continuation of stable daily learning agendas and a means to connect virtually. discuss ideas. The first unit of the course focuses on human-computer interaction, which guides students into the course by broadening their understanding of the many types of computers and how we use them. “Within our human-computer interaction talks, we have discussions about defining what a computer actually is and then begin the great debate of determining what devices are actually computers,” said Corey Burt, an ECS teacher at Lafayette County School District’s Lafayette High School. “Our discussions get extremely intense at times, and it's just fun to open their minds up to all of the different types of computers around them daily.” Another interesting aspect of the course is how students begin to understand what data is and how it is collected and used through their online presence. Burt uses classroom activities to show 24 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

his students the importance of data and how it can affect people. “They're given data-privacy scenarios that are real-world issues in which people's lives are affected by the data they emit,” he said. “In groups, students have to present to the class who was at fault and if the data should've been kept private. This assignment really hits home with them because they don't realize how much data they give off daily. They soon begin to realize the need for protection of their sensitive data, as this could affect their life in the future.” As students deepen their understanding of computer science concepts through these new courses, the goal is to develop valuable critical-thinking skills that will assist them throughout their educational journey and enhance their employability when they join the workforce. By providing access to these new learning opportunities, today’s

students will be even more prepared to take on the challenge of adapting to the technological advances of the future by becoming innovative thinkers. “Providing employability skills is essential to workforce development,” said Dr. Louella Mack-Webster, the Mississippi Department of Education’s STEM program supervisor. “The new computer science curricula will train students via preparatory fostering of perceptions, technology application, problem-solving, CTE and industry and business opportunities. Mississippi’s CTE instructors and students enrolled in computer science courses have a unique opportunity to learn and apply innovative computer technology skills in a global community. The new curricula are a welcome addition to our current CTE STEM programs.”

Curriculum UPDATE Curricula up for approval by the State Board of Education this academic year and expected to go into effect for the 2021-2022 academic year:

•  Advanced Manufacturing •  Computer Science and Engineering •  Digital Media Technology •  Food Products (Meats) •  Forestry

•  Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning •  Horticulture •  Industrial Maintenance •  Keystone •  Television and Broadcasting

Curricula expected to go before the State Board of Education in the 2021-2022 year for approval and into effect for the 2022-2023 academic year: •  Architecture and Drafting •  Automotive Service Technician •  Collision Service Technician

•  Entrepreneurship •  Furniture Manufacturing •  International Business •  Law and Public Safety

•  Cosmetology

•  Lodging, Hospitality, and Tourism

•  Diesel Service Technician

•  Transportation Logistics

•  Early Childhood Education

•  Unmanned Aerial Systems

Download the latest curriculum resources at For the latest curriculum revision schedule, click Pathway Resources and then Proposed Revision Cycle. Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 25


Exams given online should always be timed, and the time should reflect the expected difficulty of the exam.

Shuffle Questions and Answers

Setting as many options to shuffle as possible will help prevent students from getting the same exam. While students may all receive the same questions, the questions (and their answers) will appear in a random order, making it difficult to cheat.

Allow Only One Question at a Time

Allowing only one question to be viewed at a time prevents students from comparing exams side-by-side.

Do Not Allow Students to Return to an Already-Answered Question

Preventing students from returning to an already-answered question can, again, prevent them from comparing exams side-by-side.

Limit Student Access to Correct Answers in Completed Exams

When students have completed the exam, speaking with them one-on-one about the correct answers or limiting their access to those answers will prevent them from lifting your exam material.

Use Question Banks — The Larger, The Better

Using question banks increases test randomization, which means students will be less likely to get the same exam. While you maintain control of the questions asked, question banks randomize which of your preselected questions students will be able to answer.

Require an Access Code

This is a checkbox option under quiz settings in Canvas that prevents students from taking the quiz without the correct code. This feature can be used to make sure students are taking

the quiz at a specific time or in a certain location; this works especially well for students who need to take a test in the testing center or with a proctor.

Quiz Availability

In general, to maximize quiz security, it is best to have a quiz open the least amount of time as possible.

Additional Considerations

These measures are most effective when implemented together. The more measures you take at once, the more protected your information will be.

Visit the Academic Integrity tab of the RCU Online Teaching Resources page at for more information.


Curated and coordinated by the experts at Common Sense, Wide Open School is the result of a collaboration among leading publishers, nonprofits and education and technology companies. Wide Open School features a free collection of the best learning experiences and activities for kids, organized by grade band and subject.

Khan Academy

Visit Khan Academy at 26 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

Visit Wide Open School at

Khan Academy is a personalized learning resource for all ages — ­ offering practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalized learning dashboard — that empowers learners to study at their own pace inside and outside the classroom. Khan Academy offers lessons in math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics and more.



The following pathways have informational webinars. They are accessible through the CTE Pathways tab of the RCU Online Teaching Resources page at •  Agriculture and Environmental Science Technology •  Agricultural and Natural Resources •  Agriculture Power •  Aquaculture •  Food Products •  Forestry •  Horticulture •  Intro to Agriscience •  Engineering •  Polymer Science •  Furniture Design and Manufacturing

•  Simulation Animation Design

•  Precision Machining

•  Automotive Service

•  TV Broadcasting and Production

•  Collision Repair

•  Business, Marketing, and Finance

•  Diesel Service

•  Health Care and Clinical Services

•  Teacher Academy

•  Sports Medicine

•  Early Childhood Education

•  Culinary Arts

•  Law and Public Safety

•  Contemporary Health

•  Family and Consumer Science

•  Digital Media Technology

•  Keystone

•  Entrepreneurship

•  Fire Science

•  International Business

•  Architecture and Drafting


•  Metal Fabrication

•  Keystone

VIDEOCONFERENCE SAFETY •  Avoid sharing virtual meeting links on public platforms and social media. •  Require a password for users to enter a meeting. Change that password as frequently as feasible. •  If you’re the host, be ready to disable a user’s audio or video, or kick them out of the meeting entirely if they’re causing a problem. •  Choose the invite-only option for virtual meetings when possible. Once everyone who’s invited joins the meeting, use the lock function to keep uninvited guests out. •  Disable private chat functions to prevent individual users from branching off into separate conversations.

CANVAS RESOURCES The RCU compiled an extensive directory of links to articles and videos to guide educators and students in the use of the Canvas learning management system, as well as information on working with master course cartridges in Canvas. These resources are accessible through the Canvas Resources tab of the RCU Online Teaching Resources page at

MICROSOFT WHITEBOARD Microsoft Whiteboard integrates with Office 365 and is a free tool that can be used to bring a whiteboard into an online learning environment. Additionally, Whiteboard can be configured to share to a class or organization on the fly using Microsoft Stream. Video tutorials of Microsoft Whiteboard are accessible through the Online Tools for Educators tab of the RCU Online Teaching Resources page at or by visiting the Microsoft Whiteboard YouTube channel. Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 27

news & notes

Rankin County Teacher Academy Students Spread Kindness Brandon High School (Rankin County School District) Teacher Academy students and educators led the way for Kindness Week 2020 in the previous academic year. They spread good vibes throughout the school with name tags introducing positive characteristics and traits. Participants worked tirelessly to create the name tags for the almost 2,000 students, staff and educators that comprise the school.

From left to right: Brandon High School (Rankin County School District) students Katie Kelly, Beth McGhaughy, Tanaka Ridge, Mary Kate McCreary and Sian McGregor.

Business, Sports Medicine Students Tour NOLA Petal High School (Petal School District) business and marketing students and sports medicine students visited New Orleans in the spring semester before the outbreak of COVID-19, where they heard from a New Orleans Saints athletic trainer and two New Orleans Pelicans marketing team members. Students experienced the shopping and tourism the city has to offer by visiting the French Quarter, French Market and Jackson Square. Top: Damian Willis (standing left), an athletic training intern with the New Orleans Saints, and Jesse Nantz, a senior group sales account executive with the New Orleans Pelicans and Saints, spoke to Petal School District students last academic year in New Orleans. Center: Pictured from left to right are Petal High School (PHS) sophomores Ella Brook Seymour, Sarah Brook Russell and Mallory Foster. Bottom: Pictured from left to right are PHS students Myesha Richards, Leasia Keys and Rayaa Cao. Keys is a graduate of PHS, and both Richards and Cao are seniors this academic year. 28 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

news & notes

Pumpkin Project Joins FSCCTC Classes Forest-Scott County Career and Technology Center’s Health Care and Clinical Services (HCCS) II and Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) classes collaborated on a project last academic year that provided numerous hands-on learning opportunities with pumpkins. HCCS II students removed seeds from the pumpkins to practice their skills in surgical asepsis. Aseptic techniques are surgical practices and procedures used to prevent contamination from pathogens. The strictest sterilization rules are applied to minimize the risk of infection. Health care workers use aseptic techniques in surgery rooms, clinics and health care settings. After the simulated surgical procedures, the students saved the pumpkin seeds and gave them to the ANR class. The agriculture class washed and dried the seeds before storing them until planting time. In the spring semester, the agriculture class inventoried, documented and planted the seeds to see if they were still viable. Both groups monitored the growth of the pumpkins and documented the processes that took place. The instructors then led students in discussions and evaluations of the activity, which allowed students to collaborate across curricula and gave them experience with the scientific method, teamwork and problem-solving.

FCAHS Students Receive PASS Training Forrest County Agricultural High School Law and Public Safety students receive a great deal of hands-on training with real-world equipment. Last academic year, the Forrest County Fire Department loaned the class an electronic fire extinguisher to help students learn the proper technique for fighting fires: pull, aim, squeeze and sweep, also known as PASS. Students, under the guidance of course instructor Todd Smith, also practice search and rescue while blindfolded and wearing turnout gear, simulating a fire situation in which vision and mobility are limited by smoke and the weight of firefighting equipment. Above: Forrest County Agricultural High School student Conner Walley prepares to use the pull, aim, squeeze and sweep (PASS) method with a fire extinguisher during a simulated exercise. Walley was a first-year student of the FCASH Law and Public Safety class in the last academic year. Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 29




In terms of CTE and its continued delivery to students, what is the most important thing you learned from the spring COVID-19 shutdown and the fall move toward online/blended instruction?

More training was needed before the shutdown. In our last faculty meeting in March, we discussed being prepared for the unknown. We also saw that 70% of students had the needed technology to complete virtual assignments. What we learned is that we were not prepared for the schools to shut down and for all students to learn virtually. More training, broadband internet services and technology are needed for students and staff. Jerry Morgan

Jackson County Technology Center director

For most of us, COVID-19 is an ugly word. But at Career Tech West, this pandemic has pushed us into an uncomfortable zone where learning takes place. Our greatest lesson has been that students need us. They need us more than ever. They need the hands-on training and cooperative learning and the push for creativity that helps them forget about the virus and remember they are important to our future. Allyson Killough DeSoto County Career Technology Center West principal

One crucial factor that has presented itself is the ability for flexibility in delivering content in various methods. This flexibility even continues in our center, primarily where skill attainment must be taught and demonstrated. We are on the virtual model, but I think the hybrid model is an excellent way to operate career and technical education. Adrian Dorsey

South Delta Vocational Center director

30 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

During the shutdown, the most important thing that I learned (I think my teachers did as well) was how important it is to utilize the resources that are available. Thanks to the RCU and the MDE, CTE is blessed with Canvas, national certifications, student organization sites and several other valuable resources that accent the hands-on skills that students experience on a daily basis. I also learned how important CTE is to our students. When students were not able to come back to school, they were happy to upload recordings of themselves doing activities that ranged from cooking for our nutrition and wellness class to demonstrating the proper handwashing procedures for health science. Students in Ag and Natural Resources shared pictures of bird houses that they built during the pandemic via Canvas/email. Our horticulture plant sale went from what normally entails the community coming in to purchase plants at the building over the course of two months to a three-day, drive-thru sale. Students were disappointed that they did not get a chance to complete national certification exams like NCCER, CNA and WorkKeys. Lenora Hogan

Millsaps Career and Technical Center (Starkville-Oktibbeha) director

Communication is key to our success. Teaching and learning must go on. Online/blended instruction is here to stay, and we must adjust and adapt. Reflecting on and re-evaluating what worked and what does not work is key. Monica Mitchell

Cleveland Career Development and Technology Center administrator



What does CTE look like to you after COVID-19?

Biloxi High CTE teachers have continued to model and maintain a posture of excellence by exemplifying positive attitudes while continuously digging deep for creative ways of providing the best model of blended education and instruction for our students. Since the start of COVID-19 and its uncertainties, CTE is a blend of traditional and online education, providing virtual activities, organizational meetings, instructions, application labs, collaborations and assessments for distance learners.

After COVID-19, school in general has a different look. CTE has transformed, hopefully temporarily, in that the work-based learning opportunities — including guest speakers, field experiences and service hours — have been compromised due to restrictions. Virtual opportunities have proven to be a great alternative to face-to-face experiences. In the midst of uncertainty, we at Ocean Springs High School continue to seek alternatives to provide students as much exposure to career interests as possible. Tiffany Hodge

Ocean Springs High School Career and Technical Education Center director

Sheneatha McDaniel

Biloxi Career Tech Center director

I think CTE will look a lot different in the future. I see the results of this pandemic and the opportunities that this pandemic has brought about allowing all CTE programs to become more proficient in the use of technology. When you stop and look at most industries today, you will realize that the equipment has become so advanced that most have an information technology department inside the company. As a superintendent, I am excited for our CTE students to have the experience of having the most up-to-date training in CTE. Tony Elliot

Tippah Career and Technology Center director (2019-2020) and South Tippah School District superintendent (2020-2021)

After COVID-19, I believe CTE will continue to be an important priority for training students for the future workforce. We will need an educated workforce to help meet the challenges that COVID-19 and other crises have brought upon our quality of life. Leaders and educators will have to develop innovative solutions to protect students while providing them with CTE opportunities. CTE has been and will be a pivotal component of sustaining the economy. Terence James

Vicksburg-Warren School District Career and Technical Center administrator

I am convinced that communities will want to invest more resources and effort into ensuring students have the knowledge and skills to be productive citizens in a post-COVID world. CTE will need to step up as a primary means to educate and train the next generation of essential workers. Steve Hurdle

Oxford School District CTE director and principal of the Scholastic Institute

Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 31

news & notes

Lauderdale County Teaches Financial Realities to Eighth Graders Lauderdale County School District (LCSD) Cyber Foundations II teachers promoted financial literacy to eighth grade students through a districtwide event last academic year. The 2019 Reality Fair provided students with a simulation on balancing spending for necessities versus wants and other luxury items. Each student was randomly assigned a job and an average, career-specific salary. Local businesses helped students spend their income on needs — housing, groceries, transportation and insurance, for example — and non-necessities including pets, cell phones and gym memberships. Students also spun the Wheel of Reality to account for unexpected windfalls — an inheritance, for example — or expenses such as repairing or replacing a flat tire. Students kept records of their balances after each expenditure and visited credit counselors to find solutions to financial dilemmas including loans and second jobs. First sponsored at Northeast Middle School (NMS) by MUNA Federal Credit Union under the leadership of its president, Bo Pittman, and implemented by NMS counselor Terisa Pittman and Cyber Foundations II teacher Sheri Thornton, the fair included Clarkdale Middle School, Southeast Middle School and West Lauderdale Middle School. Debbie Smith (Meridian Mutual Credit Union), Rebecca Cooper (First Mississippi Federal Credit Union) and Darlene Wilkerson (Mississippi Air National Guard Federal Credit Union) also helped facilitate this Top: Northeast Middle School (NMS) students Furas Al-Awdi and David Mohamed spin the Wheel of Reality. experience for the students of Lauderdale County. The Reality Fair included a tour of the Meridian Community College (MCC) Workforce Development Center. There, stu- Bottom: NMS student Audrianna Green (center) realizes just dents saw technical education classrooms where MCC students how expensive housing is while other students scramble to find learn skills necessary for construction-related fields such as car- affordable apartments. pentry, welding and electrical installation. MCC instructors explained the importance of work ethic and skills development. The LCSD program began with Cyber Foundations teachers at all four LCSD middle schools helping students with goal setting, career exploration and educational planning, placing an emphasis on financial literacy. Teachers provided lessons on needs versus wants, salary, deductions and budgets. Lesson plans included speakers from local businesses, online financial literacy programs and teacher-created activities to help students learn how to handle personal finances. These lessons culminated in the LCSD Reality Fair, where students applied what they learned about income and expenses. The Reality Fair and the preparatory lessons provided students an eye-opening look into the world of personal finance. When students returned to school, they shared their thoughts with teachers and expressed a deeper appreciation for their parents. “The Reality Fair was a fun way to help students develop financial literacy skills,” said NMS Future Business Leaders of America President Itzel Gomez-Moreno.

32 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

news & notes

Lamar County Engineering II Students Modify Safety Vest for Crossing Guard

Dexter Husband, a crossing guard in Purvis, wears a safety vest augmented by Lamar County CTE students. The students’ modification added 27 light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in three custom enclosures to the vest, thereby increasing Husband’s visibility as he helps students arrive at school last academic year.

A Purvis school crossing guard was safer on the job last academic year thanks to Lamar County Center for Technical Education (LCCTE) students. After several close calls with traffic in the early morning hours, Dexter Husband purchased a yellow, light-reflecting safety vest and asked Engineering II students at the LCCTE if they could increase the vest’s visibility. The students deliberated and applied the engineering design process they learned in Engineering I. They decided to install 27 super-bright, amber-colored light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in three custom plastic enclosures across the jacket. Students utilized a 3-D printer and SolidWorks, a computer-aided design program, to produce all the plastic parts needed for the vest, including the plastic housings for the electronic control board, battery and power switch. The Engineering II students continued to meet with Husband after delivering the modified vest to see if any other changes or additions can be made to increase his safety. For these students, the project served as an introduction to the types of challenges an electrical engineer faces in day-to-day jobs, and it offered them the opportunity to develop a practical, working solution to solve an everyday problem.

KACTC Students Tour Local Armory Students from the Kosciusko-Attala Career Technical Center participated in Guard X training and received hands-on experiences with drones, computers, radio communication devices and paladin operations in the last academic year with the Mississippi National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 114th Field Artillery group at the Kosciusko National Guard Armory. Students were shown a video concerning the benefits of military service, given refreshments and spoke to different personnel concerning their military roles. Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 33




What is your favorite school subject? My favorite school subject is science because I love how deep and detailed it is to explain everything in life and everything around humans.

TERRA QUINN Junior West Point High School West Point Consolidated School District

34 CONNECTIONS Fall 2020

Who is your favorite teacher or school employee? At my previous school, Hamilton High School, my math teacher Ms. Isbell was my favorite. She pushed me to be better even when I thought I was at my limits. She encouraged me to keep trying even when I felt like a failure. Plus, she let me get away with eating in her class and kept me laughing. What accomplishment as a student are you most proud of? An accomplishment as a student I’m proud of is learning how to weld. I’m proud of it because I became good at it, and I can use this trade for my future career.

What club, organization or sport do you enjoy participating the most? The organization that I enjoy the most is FFA. I was able to do a hobby I loved to do, meet new people and be my goofy self without being judged because people loved a laugh. What jobs or careers interest you the most? Anything that is dealing with mechanical engineering I am very interested in because I like to know how things work and how things are put together.

Below: Hamilton Attendance Center instructor Jennifer Terrell (right) inspects the penetration of then-sophomore Terra Quinn’s weld last spring. Quinn was HAC’s first female welding team member and attended the school in the 2019-2020 academic year.




Why did you become a teacher? I became a teacher because I have a real passion for helping students grow and learn. I can remember growing up and always wanting to pretend we were in school, and I was the teacher, of course. It was my favorite game to play with my friends and siblings. I would teach them topics through fun games. I also had very influential teachers in my life who showed me how special being a teacher can be. I walk into my classroom daily with the mission to influence my students somehow, whether through the lesson or just connecting with them. I often say being a teacher is for special people, and I feel that God picked me because he knew there would be children who needed me in their lives. Therefore, I decided to become a teacher, and it is one decision I do not regret making. How do you motivate your students? I am one of my students’ biggest cheerleaders because I motivate them daily to do their best. I consider my students as a family. They are informed on the first day of school that we are family; I am their mother, and they are my children. I gain their respect and show them I genuinely care about their well-being. Once that level of trust is established, I begin my journey to change their lives and make a lasting impact. I often send out random announcements filled with motivational quotes. The messages remind them of how great they are and how special they are to me. When they see someone else believes in them, they tend to think more of themselves. I teach them not to use the word cannot and always look for something

they can do in a situation. My students also know I have high expectations for them, which encourages them to never settle for less and to strive for more. Even after leaving my class and entering adulthood, I am still there serving as a mentor. They often reach out and share updates on college and life. When I hear from them, it warms my heart because I feel that I am important enough to be included in their journey. What advice would you give first-year teachers? My advice to a first-year teacher would be to make sure your seat belt is buckled and you are prepared for a bumpy ride! I say this because there will be days where things will be perfect and days where you will want to give up, but giving up is not an option. You have little people who are watching you, rooting for you and needing you, so you must keep pushing forward. Learn as much as you can and ask as many questions as possible because teachers are there to help each other. It is okay to make a mistake or do something wrong because it is all a learning experience. After all, mistakes help you to grow and become a better teacher; however, remember that even on your worst day, you are still a good teacher. What has been your biggest success as a teacher? My biggest success as a teacher is when I provide my students with a quality education that allows them to become productive members of society who contribute to the communities in which they reside. I have always taught

JENNIFER WILLIAMS Cleveland Career Development and Technology Center Cleveland School District Teacher Academy them learning never stops and in every situation, there is a learning experience. I strive to be the best teacher I can be for my students. I have been awarded Teacher of the Year for the Cleveland Career Development and Technology Center for the 2016-2017 and 20182019 school years. In my 14 years of instructional experience, I have served as a mentor teacher, classroom teacher, a member of the curriculum revision team and IAD team for Teacher Academy, and an Educators Rising board member. Every opportunity I get to better myself as a teacher enables me to serve my students better. Fall 2020 CONNECTIONS 35

Teachers Adjust to Delivering Instruction During COVID-19������������������������������������������������� p. 6 From left to right: Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District instructor April Dill reviews material with the tabletop game Connect 4 with Teacher Academy I sophomores Caitlin Adams, Nate Pruitt and Indya Sparks, junior Daniella Pinzon and sophomore Markida Williams at Starkville High School. Mask use to fight the spread of COVID-19 is commonplace in schools across the state following the spring outbreak and subsequent shutdown.


The Mississippi Department of Education Office of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or disability in the provision of educational programs and services or employment opportunities and benefits. The following office has been designated to handle inquiries and complaints regarding the nondiscrimination policies of the Mississippi Department of Education: Director, Office of Human Resources, Mississippi Department of Education, 359 North West Street, Suite 203, Jackson, Mississippi 39201. 601.359.3511.

Published by the Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit.

Connections Fall 2020  

Connections Fall 2020  

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