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A Message from the RCU Director My ½rst 3 months as Director at the Research and Curriculum Unit (RCU) have ¾own by, and there is still so much more to learn. We are diligently working to focus our resources on what matters most as we provide assistance to our K–12 and community college clients. I think we all know the challenges we face in Mississippi in improving the “readiness” of our students to compete for jobs in the economic conditions of today.


In this issue CTE Courses offered at William Carey College Retired Agriculture Teacher Selected for Educator Award


Mississippi Career Cluster and Pathway Taskforce Meetings: Education with a Purpose

3 4 5

A colleague of mine used to say that “the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” Focusing on the “main thing” is important since the RCU is no different than every other education agency in managing reductions in funding over the last year. This era of funding uncertainty is leading us toward diversi½cation of services. Thus, you may hear about the RCU working on education-related projects around the state outside of those strictly targeting CTE and workforce training programs. I was lucky to inherit a very talented staff of education professionals when I assumed this job in October, and we will expand the scope of services as we move forward. We have made a few personnel changes at the RCU as a result of a reorganization aimed at improving services. Combining the curriculum development group with the assessment group into one team is already helping us be more ef½cient and timely as we improve the quality of services we offer. I invite you to visit our staff Web site at to see the changes. When funding for the secondary Redesign program ended, we found ourselves in a situation with some original programs and some redesign programs. However, it is time to move forward with consistent curriculum options for all programs. We are actively engaged with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) in planning this major curriculum conversion project for the new ½scal year along with our regular postsecondary revisions and the continuous process of updating items for MS-CPAS2. We have plans to expand our eLearning opportunities for professional development and as curricula resources.

Students Take Advantage of a Local Lastly, in order for our unit to move forward, I need your input. If you have any unmet needs or feedback in how we can improve our services, please contact me. One of my 2011 goals is Hot Spot to touch base with as many deans, directors, and coordinators as possible by phone or webinar. (Remember, budgets are tight, so we are not traveling as much.) Thank you for what you do to prepare Mississippi’s future workforce. Sincerely,

Life is Better with Art in it CTE Students Rank on Top Publicizing your Programs



Julie Jordan, Director Research and Curriculum Unit •


CTE Degrees offered at William Carey University William Carey University is now offering undergraduate and graduate programs in Career and Technical Education (CTE). Both programs are useful for any person interested in developing their skills as professional educators. Potential students include individuals who are interested in teaching their trade to others in secondary, post-secondary, military, or industrial settings. With the closure of the Technical and Occupational Education program at the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey is the only university offering degrees in this ½eld in the lower half of the state. The undergraduate program accepts twenty-four (24) hours of technical credits toward the undergraduate degree. Courses support educational requirements for the Vocational Instructor Program (VIP) program and have been approved by MDE. The undergraduate program is offered in both online and face to face formats. The graduate program is fully online and is offered as a 30 or 36 hour program depending on the student’s interests and goals. For groups of 10 or more, the CTE program courses can be offered at your location in a face to face or hybrid format. If you are interested in more information about these programs, or are interested in bringing these courses to your area, please contact Dr. Karen Juneau, Associate Professor and Chair of Career and Technical Education at

It is really a very exciting time in career and technical education in Mississippi,

and being a new program, CTE at Carey is

well suited to adapt to changing ideas and trends in career and technical education.

Retired Agriculture Teacher Selected for Educator Award LAS VEGAS – Lee J. James of Weir, Miss. is one of only six individuals nationwide who received the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Lifetime Achievement Award on December 3rd at the NAAE annual conference in Las Vegas. During his 31 year teaching career, James had a goal to find a place for every student in agricultural education, and to motivate each student to excel in his or her area. By teaching a wide variety of agriculture classes including production agriculture, horticulture, agriculture mechanics, environmental science and leadership, James made sure each student would find something in which he or she was interested. His students succeeded both in the classroom and in FFA, where he had 11 state of½cers, 46 junior state of½cers, 58 pro½ciency award winners and many state and national Career Development Event (CDE) contestants. Outside of the classroom, James was dedicated to advancing agricultural education through professional development, serving as an of½cer in multiple organizations. Starting in 1999, James served as the NAAE Region V Secretary for three years and as the NAAE Region V Vice President for an additional three years. He also served as the NAAE President during 2006-2007. Because of his dedication to agricultural education, many organizations have bestowed James with outstanding teacher awards. Most recently, James received the 2006 Mississippi Teacher of the Year Award and the Choctaw County Teacher of the Year Award. Each of the six regional Lifetime Achievement award winners received a plaque and recognition at the NAAE convention in Las Vegas. Ford sponsors the Lifetime Achievement Award as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. NAAE is the professional association for agricultural educators. Its mission is “professionals providing agricultural education for the global community through visionary leadership, advocacy and service.” The NAAE of½ce is located in Lexington, Ky.


Mississippi Career Cluster and Pathway Taskforce Meetings:

Education with a Purpose

As Career and Technical Education (CTE) moves to the forefront of education reform, policy makers, industry members, and education practitioners at the state and local levels gathered together in October and November to revise and update the Mississippi Career Cluster and Pathway Model. Cluster taskforces were established by the Mississippi Department of Education, and members consisted of secondary CTE instructors and administrators, postsecondary instructors, industry representatives, professional organization representatives, and MDE leaders. During these important meetings, stakeholders examined Mississippi economic data and industry trends and issues to recommend improvements to CTE pathway programs and courses that will support economic development and prepare students for a skilled workforce. Additionally, the taskforce members made recommendations aimed to motivate and assist students in meeting their career and academic goals. Each member made an exerted effort to make suggestions on how to better provide a comprehensive education experience that is relevant and meaningful to young people. Each taskforce met in a face-to-face environment and held follow-up webinars to analyze current and future employment trends and projections. Each taskforce examined related industry certifications and standards. Then, the committee proposed improvements in curriculum and assessment content, educator licensure guidelines, and instructional equipment and materials that will prepare students for the future labor market and boost a smoother transition for students from secondary to postsecondary classrooms.

Cluster Meeting Area


Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources

Wilbur Chancellor

During the month of December, MDE leaders hosted Mississippi Career Cluster

Lee James

and Pathway online webinar meetings. The purpose of these webinars was to

Architecture and Construction

Andy Sims


Angela Kitchens

Health Sciences

Bill McGrew

Human Sciences

Diane Different


Andy Sims

Middle School Literacy Courses

Theresa Jones

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Kendra Taylor


Sam Davis

communicate the taskforce recommendations and solicit input from all state stakeholders at the secondary and postsecondary levels. A f t e r e a c h we b i n a r, s e c o n d a r y a n d postsecondary instructors were encouraged to complete a Mississippi Career Cluster and Pathway Validation survey. Comments from this survey will be used to finalize the Mississippi Career Cluster and Pathway Model. In Januar y 2011, face-to-face a d minis tra to r meetings will be held to communicate the final Mississippi Career Cluster and Pathway Model.

For more information, please contact the related program supervisor listed above.


Students Take Advantage of Local Spot to Practice White’s Creek Lake became the classroom for Computer Graphics Technology students to practice learned skills. While at the lake, students worked in groups to complete photography assignments. Students were required to search for “that perfect shot” to demonstrate skills that included close-ups, portraits, nature, and motion shots. Students reported that White’s Creek Lake was a wonderful backdrop for this lesson. Computer Graphics Technology students are Raishaunda Brantley, Miranda Cissna, Summer Douglas, Keven Fonseca, Craig Grif½n, Bridgett Jackson, Shaquila Johnson, Horacio Leal,

Attitudes captured in a Single Shot: Summer Douglas, Bridgett Jackson, Miranda Williamson, Tynisha Saffold, Raishanda Brantley, Miranda Cissna, Lindsey Williamson, Horacio Leal, D.J. Rambus, Andrew McKay, Craig GrifÚn, and Drake Walker

Andrew McKay, Jeremy McMinn, Baily Palculict, Tori Pate, D.J. Rambus, Juwan Roby, Tynisha Saffold, Keshay Townsend, Dalton Turner, Drake Walker, Leah Watson, Lindsey Williamson, and Miranda Williamson.

Student Examples


Life is Better with Art in it Traci Bokros, high school representative for the Arts Institute of Tennessee - Nashville, recently visited Computer Graphics Technology students at the Webster County Career and Technology Center. Although the Arts Institute (AI) offers programs in the areas of design, media arts, fashion, and culinary, Ms. Bokros focused her informative and interactive presentation on opportunities available for CGT students in design and media arts. She introduced classes to the skills one would gain in both program areas. In the design ½eld, AI students acquire skills and experience in drawing, design, layout, composition, illustration, color theory, and typography as applied to package design and advertising. Students are trained using industry-related technology and software, some of which are currently used in the Computer Graphics Technology classroom. The media arts program is designed for students who want to turn their passion for communication, creativity, and technology into a profession. Media arts is sectioned into ½ve categories: animation and special effects, audio, visual and digital media, game design, photography, and Web design and interactive media. Students in these ½elds gain fundamentals in areas such as color theory, video editing, storyboarding, scenic layout, 2-D and 3-D animation, texture mapping, typography, and digital manipulation. Students are trained on the latest industry-related equipment and software. Ms. Bokros explained that upon completion of the associate and bachelor degree programs, students leave with completed portfolios of their work, with interviewing and networking skills, and with industry insights that are necessary for entering today’s job market. CGT students viewed numerous AI student-created materials such as magazine layouts, logos, short animated films, and voice-overs. Ms. Dionne Hodges, Computer Graphics Technology instructor, received the Arts Institute’s newest 2011 calendar, which contains artwork that expresses the slogan “Life Is Better With Art In It!”

Pictured above: Hope Wright, Shalondria Bryant, Leah Watson, Shadi Payton, Shanekwa Gee, Brittany Bryant, Chekeydra Allen, Summer Douglas, Lindsey Williamson, Miranda Williamson, Bianca Yates, Raishaunda Brantley, Bridgett Jackson, Tynisha Saffold, Horacio Leal, Ms. Traci Bokros, Andrew McKay, Drake Walker, Craig GrifÚn, and D.J. Rambus 4

CTE Students Rank on Top Pearl/Rankin Career and Technical Center Marketing students come out on top again! They are the top students for Mississippi in Virtual Business Challenge Retailing as well as Sports Marketing. The top team in the retailing game consists of Keera Crump, Ashton Swartzfager, and Xiandria Long. These three students are enrolled at Northwest Rankin High School. The top team in the sports marketing game includes Jamieon Davis, Daniel James, and Robert Tolar. Jamieon and Robert are from Brandon High School while Daniel attends Florence High School. The Sports Track of the DECA VBC encourages DECA members to test their skills at managing a football franchise individually or as a team. This competition is a free event for due-paying DECA members. Participating members utilize a competition version of the Virtual Business–Sports classroom software, which is currently being used in over 4,000 classrooms in 50 states and Canada.Virtual Business is a software program that was created by Knowledge Matters. The initial feasibility research was funded by a U.S. Department of Education SBIR Contract. The Retailing Track of the DECA VBC encourages DECA members to test their skills at managing a retail convenience store. This competition is a free event for due-paying DECA members. Participating members utilize a competition version of the Virtual Business–Retailing classroom software, which is currently being used in over 4,000 classrooms in 50 states and Canada.Virtual Business is a software program that was created by Knowledge Matters. The initial feasibility research was funded by a U.S. Department of Education SBIR Contract.

Publicizing your Programs

Matt Howell Grenada Career and Technical Center

In a time of budget cuts and high public scrutiny, it is easy to become bitter and disheartened about our future as educators. Often the complaints of low pay and long hours drown out the chance to see opportunities for growth, both personal growth and growth for our programs. Every year in Grenada, we have a Downtown Jubilee. This is nothing more than a celebration of civic pride and a chance to come together as a community. There are food vendors selling things like foot-long corn dogs and lemonade. The school show choirs sing and dance in the square. Local craftspeople come and display their handiwork. There are programs to honor servicepeople, local police, and ½re½ghters. It is a typical, small town get-together where kids, parents, city of½cials, and normal everyday citizens meet each other and simply say “Hi.” As well as our city was represented at last year’s Downtown Jubilee, one aspect of our community that I noticed was not represented was our schools. With everything going on at the festival and the large number of people that were going to be there, I proposed to my administrator Dr. Cliff Craven that the Career and Tech Center have a booth at the upcoming 5

Downtown Jubilee. He agreed that it would be a good opportunity to show off our programs and meet some people who may not know about the Career and Tech Center. With Dr. Craven’s approval, I set out to organize. My main focus was to promote and advertise what we offer students at the Grenada Career and Technical Center. The best way to do that is to simply SHOW the people. I asked that each class (seven in all) prepare a plastic board that advertises what its class teaches, pictures of the students, and anything else that shows the general public why its class is an important one. With the teachers and their students preparing their class materials, my next step was to get promotional materials together that cover the entire center in a form that the people could take with them. I decided on two paper materials, a Z- Fold pamphlet and an 8.5-in. by 11-in. full color folded lea¾et. These would list all the classes and descriptions, as well as have essential contact information. The teachers’ names and the phone number to the Career and Tech Center would be listed for any future contact the people may need. I wanted one handout with contact details and one handout to catch the eye. One thing that people, kids especially, want when they visit a booth is something to take away with them. I located some promotional materials from years past: carpenters’ pencils, two types of ball-point pens, and some rubber bracelets. I simply went looking around the Career and Tech Center and found everything I needed. I knew that the free things did not need to be fancy. They just needed to have our Career and Tech name on them…and they all did. So, we spent zero dollars on the give-away items for this jubilee. On the day of the Downtown Jubilee, I arrived at 7:00 a.m. and signed in. I drove to my booth location and proceeded to set up my booth. After the awning, banner, and table were in place, I set up the boards that the teachers and kids made as well as the promotional materials. As the day went on, more and more people came in and wanted me to tell them about the Career and Tech Center. It was surprising to me the number of people who did not know about what we offer. I took great pride in telling them about our programs and what we offer to our students. Many people left my booth with a better understanding of the Grenada Career and Tech Center; more importantly, many kids and parents learned about the Career and Tech Center. Hundreds of people walked away from my booth reading our materials, with a pen in their pockets and a rubber bracelet on their wrists. Your programs are only valued by people who know about your programs. If a person in your community does not know about your programs, he or she does not care about your programs and what they can offer to students. You and your center should use every opportunity to educate the public about what you do. You will be surprised by the number of people who would have been your allies much sooner if they only knew about your programs. If I learned one lesson while manning and organizing this booth it is simply this: It is my responsibility as a teacher to do what I can to ensure that the value of my program, as well as the other programs at the Grenada Career and Technical Center, are known by every member of this community.


The Mississippi Department of Education, OfÚce of Vocational 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 beneÚts. The following ofÚce has been designated to handle inquiries and complaints regarding the nondiscrimination policies of the Mississippi Department of Education. Director, OfÚce of Human Resources Mississippi Department of Education 359 North West Street, Suite 359 Jackson, MS 39201 601.359.3511

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