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ways to use twitTer in the classroom







join us on twitter every friday @rcumsu

FACT: The average HS grad rate is 75%. For CTE students, it's 90%. To stay relevant, workers must continue training. CTE helps link that training to job stability. MS leads the nation in child poverty. CTE can help families find family-sustaining jobs. A desire for US-made goods is increasing. CTE helps train manufacturing students to produce those goods. Kids need relevant HS experiences. CTE does that AND prepares them for college. A shortage of skilled auto mechanics looms. CTE can help meet this need. MS students need skills to find lasting, meaningful employment. CTE gets them there quickly.

contents Fall 2012






Editors’ Note

Sustainable CTE: Construction students build Culinary Arts facility in Wayne County


cte profile: Janice gardner


5 FREE ways to use technology in the classroom


vip program unergoes renovation


School Buddies: Cte students foster connections with specialneeds peers


making the grade with homegrown teachers

The power of one: A MISSISSIPPI COUNSELING MODEL west point culinary arts: stirring up the next chef superstar? petal to the rescue: a small group of determined students make big changes in health education


Top 5 ways to use Twitter in the Classroom


summer conference embraces technology Helping teachers harness social media in the classroom



Interest to Inspiration: Engineering student turns lifelong passion into career path


awards and recognition

editors’ note editor-in-chief

Diane Godwin

Managing Editor

CONNECTIONS Contributors

Writer, Editor Writer, Editor Writer

heather wainwright diane godwin

Writer Designer, Photographer

Amanda Bolan

Designer, Photographer

joey brennan

Want your school featured

in Connections?

We want to hear about your success stories, awards and program accomplishments. If you have a story idea, please contact Kristen Dechert at kristen. The photos you see throughout this issue are Mississippi students. If you want your school photographed for the Connections library, please contact Amanda Bolan at amanda.bolan@rcu.msstate. edu.


Connections Fall 2012

Mississippi students are finding that career and technical education classes enhance traditional academics and lead to a path filled with prosperity when pursuing a four-year or two-year degree or a national certification. Case-in-point is the story of Wesley Haney (p.14), who used CTE to find his passion and to secure future career advancement and achievement. This draws attention to a very important point: Success can be found down alternative academic pathways. In fact, according to a recent report from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, there are 29 million middle-skills jobs in the country that pay $35,000-$75,000 on average and don’t require a bachelor’s degree. Now, many of us who work closely with CTE wouldn’t find that surprising, but the parents of the students we serve and many others in the state often don’t recognize the value of a CTE education. We hope you’ll take the opportunity each time it is presented to share these CTE success stories and to promote the value of the programs to education and economic development in Mississippi. When we were putting this issue of Connections together, we were excited to see stories of high-achieving students with interests from almost every CTE program and extracurricular area imaginable. Culinary Arts students in West Point are cooking up a delicious lunch for their peers twice a week (p. 8) while Construction students in Wayne County are building a brand new Culinary Arts lab from the ground up (p. 16). Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world,” and that is just what is happening in Petal, where 27 Health Sciences students have trained nearly 3,000 community members on CPR techniques (p. 10), and in New Albany, where a group of Family and Consumer Sciences students are partnering with their special-needs peers to help them become more integrated into the mainstream student body (p. 22). And the past few months have brought big news for educators as well, one of which is a new counseling model (p. 5). From the top-five lists on using Twitter and technology in the classroom, to our very first CTE profile on veteran teacher Janice Gardner, we hope you thoroughly enjoy this issue of Connections. And that you share it with your friends and colleagues to show them the value of CTE as well!

Diane Godwin Editor-in-Chief

Kristen Dechert Managing Editor

The power of one

A MISSISSIPPI COUNSELING MODEL By Diane L. Godwin and Heather Wainwright


hey come from families with limited English proficiency, where parents are unemployed or maybe working two jobs and still struggling to pay the bills. Some have grandparents as guardians because their parents have abandoned them. Others deal with a parent who is terminally ill or a single parent juggling work and life schedules. Then there are cases where multiple families live together in very small dwellings just to afford a roof over their heads and food to eat. These are the kinds of real-life pressures many of today’s young people wake to every day. Before they even step foot onto school property, these kids must navigate and manage more daily stress than any previous generation. According to Life Chances, a report by the Pew Charitable Trusts, “Increasingly, the middle class faces the dilemma of the poor, not enough time both to earn a living and care for one’s children.” That predicament leaves America’s teachers and school counselors to grapple with balancing oftentimes limited resources in order to accommodate students’ basic needs and to achieve goals of raising student educational achievement. Helen Black, a veteran teacher for Winston County’s Career and Technical Education Teacher Academy program, noticed significant differences in student serenity when she took a break from the profession to be a stay-at-home mother and then again when she returned to the classroom after earning her master’s degree.

stress is the #1 factor in academic disruption

“In my 20 years of teaching, each time I’ve returned to the classroom, I’ve noticed the kids are more emotionally needy, and you have to take the time to get them feeling safe and secure, you know, meet those basic Maslow’s hierarchy of needs before they are ever in the mindset to learn.” Indeed, there are a lot of requirements vying for a student’s classroom time. Educators fight the clock to help students deal with social and emotional conflict, learn required subject-area content and catch-up with remedial lessons. Students with test anxiety or the inability to test well also require additional support for taking exams required by the No Child Left Behind Act. Noting the convergence of these circumstances, the American School Counselor Association has conducted research that provides evidence that the teacher-counselor working relationship is more crucial now than ever because "student

outcomes are shaped by many aspects of students' lives that do not occur in the classroom." As a result, the ASCA is recommending that

the nation’s school systems adopt a national counseling model based on real-world insight, where teachers and counselors work together to create innovative lesson plans that teach subjectarea content and provide support and intervention for students.

1 in 5

students has felt too stressed to study or be with friends

1 in 5

have considered dropping out of school because of this

only 52% of freshmen say their emotional health is above average Connections Fall 2012




The Mississippi Department of Education looked at the state’s student data and heeded the ASCA’s advice. Betsey Smith, a former school counselor and now curriculum manager for the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University, wrote the Mississippi counseling model with support from school counselors around the state. Based on ASCA recommendations, the Mississippi model puts counselors in a proactive role in which they serve all students and interact with them on a day-to-day basis. Working with teachers and administrators, counselors join data teams to analyze the information and create educational programs and lesson plans that will make a difference in the lives of students. The goal is to combine expertise to create content and instruction that serve the students’ needs and prepare them to be ready for life after high school, which usually means some sort of postsecondary education or certification. Placing counselors in a strategic, front-line role is a dramatic break from what has become commonplace for the last 30 years in many schools nationwide. Due to budget cuts and staffing shortages, traditionally counselors have been expected to serve in various catch all roles, from test coordinators to substitute teachers, forcing them to put aside their counseling responsibilities until and only if an emergency or critical need arises. “This puts highly trained professionals in a reactionary position to provide skills and interact with students only when a problem occurs,” said Smith. Rather than let them continue in this underutilized capacity, this new model recognizes

"that counselors are key players, and they are key student advocates who work handin-hand with [administrators] to support their whole school mission."

The Rankin County School District has seen the data and the difference counselors can make if these professionals are empowered to be leaders and have the vision to make a difference for their students. Lynn Weathersby, superintendent of RCSD, oversees a team of professionals who serve over 19,000 students a day. He realizes that great things happen in his school district every day, but he also acknowledges that there are situations that can have catastrophic, lifelong effects on students, and he wants to change those for the better. In fact, RCSD is the first in the state to adopt the Mississippi counseling model district wide. "We believe that empowering a counselor to work with a teacher to do the job they are professionally trained to do is an important priority and investment in our students' future," Weathersby explained. “No matter the issues that students bring to school, the bottom line is that we are charged to prepare every student with the skills necessary to be productive members of our community and society. Counselors and teachers working


Connections Fall 2012

together are in a prime position to help students by combining lessons in the classroom with the actual counseling piece.” Their teacher-counselor collaboration is working: RCSD is ranked as a high-performing district, even with one of the lowest tax rates of any school district in the Jackson metro area. Charlotte Christian, director of counseling, is consulting with Smith to train her team of counselors on how to incorporate and customize the counseling model so that it serves the unique culture and characteristics of each of the 27 schools in the district. “Each school will have the structure of the model to guide them, but their counseling plan will offer different programs based on the academic and social needs of the students in that school,” Christian said. “Right now, we’re teaching counselors to develop a plan and how to access and gather data about their students to develop programs that will meet their needs.” Jill Canoy,a counselor at Northwest Rankin High School, and her team has created Power of One: How will you make a difference?, a program based on the Mississippi counseling model. “We decided we were going to make our project purposeful and really serve the needs of the students and the teachers. It helped us find our vision and our school’s purpose. The Mississippi counseling model, based on ASCA recommendations, has helped us do that with the Power of One.” The Northwest Rankin High School team of four counselors used the Power of One to introduce the school counseling

THE POWER OF ONE model. The program was unveiled the first day of school to the students with posters, word-of-the-month banners and T-shirts funded by the athletic department. The program is extremely popular with students, teachers and administrators alike, and it has become a movement across the school that includes three components: Believe in yourself, find your purpose in life and live it out. “The teachers are incorporating the Power of One into their curriculum. For instance, we had an art teacher introduce all the famous artists in history and how they made a difference in the world by believing in themselves, finding their purpose, and living out their dream and passion by offering their unique talents to the world,” Canoy said. “It gave us all goose bumps; we were all so excited.” One of the challenges of implementing specific school-wide counseling plans is dispelling stereotyped expectations, convincing teachers and administrators that counselors can help make their jobs of teaching and managing easier, rather than adding to already-burdened workloads. “We’re using this program to show the teachers that we’re there in the classroom to make their jobs easier, not to just dump more curriculum on them,” said Canoy. The Power of One is student led, which further eases the burden on teachers. Each month, 170 students, one from each homeroom, lead the character activity of the month. The most recent activity lead by the students was on the topic of integrity.


to do with their beliefs, and that relates to our career pathways, Pathways to Success and helping them find what kind of career they want.” Knowing the personal, social and economic challenges that students face today, it is certainly not surprising that high school dropout rates are high, as are the numbers of several health and welfare concerns, such as teen pregnancy, obesity, drug and alcohol use and even suicide. Education has been proven to be a key factor in offsetting and even reverting these trends, so finding ways to help kids handle the many stresses in their lives and stay in school is paramount to their finding more successful outcomes. Counseling experts recommend that counselors need to be seen on the forefront of the school every day to let students, teachers and principals realize the value they can contribute to students’ education. The effectiveness of the Power of One and the other piloted counseling programs at RCSD is a hopeful example of teachers and counselors on the forefront, empowered to help empower students. Their ability to successfully implement the Mississippi counseling model and positively affect the lives of their students will undoubtedly inspire schools and districts statewide to adopt the model themselves. For more information on how your district can implement the Mississippi counseling model, please contact Betsey Smith at 662.325.3306 or

“One student, after our lesson, found a wallet with $50 in it and said, ‘I just found this wallet on the floor and I just remembered our lesson on integrity, so I wanted to return it,’” Canoy said. "We're teaching them that one person can make a difference, and together as a whole school, we have the power to make a huge difference." Canoy readily explained how a school-wide charactereducation movement improves student performance and the overall quality of student lives. “The whole philosophy behind it is helping them find out what they believe in, and in turn when they find out what their beliefs are, they find what their purpose is in life. Like why are they here and what do they want

To join the American School Counselor Assocation, please visit

CM Brewer Leadership Conference Center: New cabin groundbreaking The Mississippi FFA Foundation maintains and operates the C.M. Brewer Leadership Conference Center in Raymond, Miss., which was opened in 1992. The facility hosts student leadership conferences and educational workshops throughout the year, providing meeting and sleeping accommodations for students and educators who visit from all across the state. During the 2012 Mississippi legislative session, new funding was approved for expanding the center. On July 18, 2012, a groundbreaking ceremony at the center heralded construction of a fourth cabin, which will add space for another 48 beds.

submitted Connections Fall 2012


WEST POINT CULINARY arts stirring up the next chef superstar? By Heather Wainwright

The sounds of pots and pans clattering, food sizzling and water rolling to a boil echo through the hallway of West Point Career and Technology Center, which shares the south campus of West Point High School. The creators of the ambience are not who you might expect. Instead of the regular cafeteria staff, Culinary Arts students are preparing lunch to not only test their skills in the kitchen but also to discover if they have the knack for customer service, management and teamwork that is demonstrated by top chefs, restaurateurs and other foodservice providers who operate under high-pressure deadlines. Lanell Early, a 33-year veteran teacher and the Culinary Arts instructor at the WPCTC, is providing her students a “handson education for a hands-on career,” allowing her students to master their skills through a unique pairing of her Culinary Arts courses with the school lunch program. According to Early, this arrangement is the only one like it in Mississippi; it’s one that has been ongoing for 15 years and requires additional coordination with the state due to regulations governing school lunch programs. Starting the second week in October and running to the end of April, for two days each week, the Culinary Arts students prepare and serve lunch to 60-80 of their fellow students. All of the food is prepared and served in the culinary facility. The Culinary Arts students follow the school lunch program’s menu, although they are allowed to make adjustments as long as the cafeteria manager approves. Both first- and second-year students cover all the steps necessary to get the meal to the food line by fifth period, from retrieving the groceries from the cafeteria to preparing the menu items to serving their classmates who opt to dine in their facility. The only aspect of the entire process that Early completes, aside from her supervisory role, is the final paperwork, which students are not legally able to complete. This hands-on experience for West Point’s Culinary Arts students is intended to provide them with an opportunity


Connections Fall 2012

to understand the demands and expectations of working in culinary fields. The program is typically to capacity with enthusiastic students because, in most cases, the culinary arts have already “sparked a curiosity” in those who enroll. “It’s something that they think they might really enjoy,” said Early. She, in turn, harnesses that motivation and uses it to help her students translate that spark into the coursework and training. In her courses, the students learn all aspects of food service, from preparation and cooking to planning and management. A block schedule, equivalent to two consecutive class-periods gives her ample time to guide them through instruction as well as hands-on activities like the school lunch program.

New curriculum: Culinary Arts realigned with national industry standard The Mississippi Department of Education recently updated the Culinary Arts and Related Food Technology curriculum, and the Culinary Arts program at WPCTC is one of 10 sites throughout the state that is piloting the new competency and content guidelines this fall.

"We are very proud to be a pilot site for the new curriculum. We like working with ProStart, and we like

trying to give our students opportunities to be certified, so we want to do everything that we can to enable them to do that,” said Early about her school’s role in launching the new curriculum. Since 2008, the number of secondary Culinary Arts programs in Mississippi has risen from 29 to 39, and 14 additional teachers have been hired. That jump in interest and enrollment is partly what instigated the recent changes to the Culinary Arts curriculum. As with past curricula, this new curriculum is aligned with and utilizes resources from ProStart, an industrydriven education and certification program supported by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and state restaurant associations. Designed to incorporate

WEST POINT CULINARY ARTS and complement the most current version of the ProStart curriculum, Mississippi’s current curriculum provides students both classroom-based and real-life opportunities to master a combination of technical knowledge and managerial skills.

prostart certification


Certified in ProStart

20 2nd level training


1st level training

According to Dianne Different, state coordinator of Family and Consumer Sciences (a career cluster that includes the Culinary Arts program), the updates to the Culinary Arts curriculum are part of a new approach that has two primary focuses: (1) facilitating all Culinary Arts instructors achieving ProStart certification and (2) incorporating the national ProStart exams as part of student assessment to encourage student certification. “MDE’s hope is that every student that completes the 2-year program will obtain the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement,” said Different. To earn the national certification, students must pass two ProStart exams, demonstrate mastery of required skills and work 400 hours in a mentored internship. Although demanding, earning the certification provides an excellent foundation for students to pursue postsecondary culinary education and careers, and it is recognized industry-wide. In fact, according to the ProStart website, students who earn the certification are then eligible for NRAEF and other scholarships as well as articulation and work-experience credits for culinary arts programs at several colleges and universities in the nation. Early and Different both acknowledge that their collaboration with the Mississippi Hospitality and Restaurant Association has been critical to the strength of the Culinary Arts programs in the state. This partnership provides Prostartbased expert training for teachers and students as well as future jobs for the students who complete the programs.

Help wanted: Thriving hospitality and restaurant businesses need Culinary Arts graduates In Mississippi, the hospitality and restaurant industry is booming, creating a demand for Culinary Arts graduates. The Culinary Arts program at WPCTC demonstrates the depth and



spectrum of knowledge and skills that the new state curriculum is designed to provide in order to help prepare students for ProStart certification and answer the call for practitioners of the culinary arts. In the process, the program and its graduates, like others in the state, are revising perceptions about the value and need for career and technical education. “Years ago, I think sometimes there was a misconception that our students who couldn’t do anything else went to vocational education, but that is not the case. Culinary is a very highskilled type career in most areas. It demands the technology, the math, and the English skills and problem solving,” reminded Early. She acknowledges that not every student who participates in the Culinary Arts program ultimately chooses that career path; however, she noted proudly that even if students pursue a different career or studies, many still use what they learn in the program to secure culinary arts jobs that support them while they are in college, and still others eventually return to the field. And even in these difficult economic times, it is a field with opportunities outpacing general job growth in the country. “It’s a thriving industry; it survives good and bad times; therefore, those jobs are still there. They may fluctuate some, but there are still opportunities,” Early said. In fact, according to statistics from the National Restaurant Association’s 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 12.9 million people, or 10% of the U.S. workforce, are employed in the restaurant industry, a number expected to rise by 1.4 million jobs in the next decade. The NRA also reported in their 2012 Mississippi Restaurant Industry at a Glance that in the state of Mississippi, every additional $1 million in restaurant sales generates 30.1 jobs for the state. With that consistently growing demographic, restaurant service and other culinary careers will continue to contribute to the economic recovery and growth of communities nationwide. The Culinary Arts program at WPCTC and others like it in Mississippi demonstrate what an impact career and technical education can have in students’ lives. Lanell Early has dedicated her teaching career to helping her students prepare for careers in the culinary arts. In fact, through CTE, she has provided them opportunities to learn and discover that better prepare them for national certification exams, further studies or immediate employment than any academics-only approach could achieve. And the outlook is bright, especially for the students who have been expertly trained through programs like the one at WPCTC. Perhaps even the next chef superstar will be among them.


Connections Fall 2012


PETAL to the rescue

a small group of determined students makes big changes in health education By Emily Keith-Johnson

Students in Mary Hill’s Health Science class at Petal High School wanted to find a way to make a difference. They wanted to take on a project that would make a real impact in their community, and they found inspiration within their very own classroom, with their teacher. In her previous position as an intensive care unit nurse, Hill saved many lives with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, commonly known as CPR. From Hill’s nursing stories, the students realized that equipping more people within their community with the lifesaving skills that CPR provides would make the long-term impact they were looking for. Thus Petal to the Rescue was born. For this project, Hill’s students planned a 10-month campaign, with a goal of teaching CPR to 60 percent of the city’s population. “Immediate CPR can triple a victim’s chance of survival from a sudden heart problem,” commented Hill. “Our campaign should make our city a safer place to live for many years to come.” While it has taken many dedicated individuals to make this project a success, one student in particular really helped get the project off the ground. In March of 2011, Hill convinced Sam Hendry to work with her on a plan for Petal to the Rescue as his senior project. Hendry was responsible for setting up a course to prepare 28 Health Science student volunteers to take the American Heart Association instructor course. “Sam was also instrumental in developing a project plan that could be presented to prospective supporters,” commented Hill. With Hendry’s efforts, a total of 33 Petal High School Health Science students became certified as American Heart Association CPR instructors.

to the Rescue received 30,517 votes, the seventh highest in the nation, and was awarded one of the 40 available grants. The campaign kicked off in May, when students taught CPR to 60 City of Petal employees – including Mayor Hal Marx. Their next feat took place in August when the students taught the lifesaving procedure to 550 Petal School District employees, including teachers, administrators and staff.

To date, 27 Health Science students have logged 6,245 community-service hours teaching 23 classes to a total of 2,940 Petal residents. They will hold

additional classes at least once a month through March in hopes of reaching an even larger number of people. Before the end of this project, there are also plans to teach CPR to all 7-12th graders, over 1,700 students. With a final total of over 4,600 trained, the ripple effect of 27 industrious students and one dedicated teacher will truly be felt citywide.

All of the students involved in Petal to the Rescue have contributed with enthusiasm and have a great deal of pride in being a part of this ambitious project. It has not only been a success within their community, but it has now gained attention from outside organizations, a testament to its importance. These students have definitely proven that they can make a difference in their community.

After securing instructor certification, the group moved on to their next task: funding this ambitious undertaking. Deborah Reynolds, president of the Petal Chamber of Commerce, offered a solution. She told the group about State Farm’s Cause An Effect grant program, which is a crowd-sourced, philanthropic initiative that relies on local nonprofit organizations to identify and then create solutions to community issues. As one of over 3,000 submissions to the Facebook competition, Petal


New location and new name for CTE center in Ocean Springs The Elizabeth H. Keys Technology Center in the Ocean Springs School District has undergone some big changes in the last year. In commemoration of the first African-American principal in the district, the Elizabeth H. Keys building will remain so named, but it is now home to the district’s Alternative Education Center. The CTE center is no longer in the freestanding facility but has been relocated to the new, high-tech Ocean Springs High School. Reflecting its 10 Connections Fall 2012

integrated relationship with the high school, it is now named the Ocean Springs High School Career and Technical Education Center. The center provides seven programs that serve students in the entire district: Automotive Service Technology, Construction Trades, Culinary Arts, Health Science and Early Childhood, as well as Teacher Academy and Marketing, both of which are new this year.


5 FREE ways to use Twitter in the classroom hashtags


Twitter can be used as an information network where students can ask questions in real time as they are learning in the classroom or when they are at home.

Using hashtags (#) on Twitter can be beneficial to students who are absent or would like to look up content after class. Students who miss class can search the hashtag for that lesson and catch up.

pop quizzes

Twitter can be used for pop quizzes in the classroom. For example, a teacher could send a question (or a few), and the first five students to answer correctly could get bonus points for that day.

collaboration Twitter can be a venue for students to collaborate on projects with teacher supervision. They can communicate with one another, and the teacher can chime in if they get off track or have questions. Being a public forum, all students can keep up with one another’s progress.


Twitter can be used to share reminders about class, such as what to bring, time changes, and project or lesson updates. Connections Fall 2012


Summer conference embraces technology Helping teachers harness social media in the classroom By Emily Keith-Johnson

While high school students were still enjoying their summer break, career and technical education teachers from across the state were gearing up for the new school year. To gain new knowledge and skills for their classrooms, educators attended the 2012 Mississippi Association for Career and Technical Education/Mississippi Department of Education Summer Conference held at Hinds Community College – Rankin Campus and other locations around the Jackson metro area. Education is constantly changing, and this annual conference aims to help teachers stay abreast of the most current resources in the field. Social media is a trend in today’s world, and it is also quickly becoming a widespread resource for education. This year’s conference included sessions that echoed that trend, including “Twitter in the Classroom” taught by Craig Jackson of the Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit. In this interactive lab, teachers learned valuable tips on how to integrate social media into their everyday lessons. Jackson recommended having separate accounts for professional and personal tweets and tweeting regularly, including links and mentions. “This will assure that only things regarding your classroom, profession, or things of a professional nature are tweeted to your students, parents of students or peers,” said Jackson. “It will also help generate followers and retweets, as well as establish you as an expert in your field,” he added.

In addition to the invaluable knowledge shared in the sessions, a few lucky attendees received a bonus from the RCU’s social media campaign during the conference. Attendees who elected to participate in social media via Twitter or Facebook during the conference earned chances to win prizes that would help them in the classroom, including a Kindle Fire, marketing materials and more. The contest was established to help teachers become more familiar with and comfortable using social media and to give attendees another way to interact with one another during the conference. The RCU promoted the contest through emails, its Twitter and Facebook accounts and at the social media booth at the conference. Sharlet McKnight-Moore of Fayette Vocational Center and Kathy Dawkins of Millsaps Career and Technical Center received personalized Pathways to Success marketing kits to use in promoting their programs to students. This package included 10 cluster books as well as customized brochures, flyers and posters tailored to that teacher’s pathway/program area. Moore was especially vocal about the campaign. She said she was already fairly active in social media, so it was an easy transition for her to utilize it during the conference. She added that the thought of winning a prize motivated her to participate daily and often. Excited about her win, she added, “I think this prize will be beneficial for me as well as my students because we have limited resources due to budget cuts.”

“This will assure that only things regarding your classroom, profession or things of a professional nature are tweeted to your students, parents of students or peers.”

12 Connections Fall 2012



Save the Date


Aimee Brown, principal of the Madison Career and Technical Center, won a book by Andy Masters, the conference keynote speaker. Brown said, “The book has been a good resource to use with all of the students in my school. I plan to buy several copies for my counselor, student services coordinators and GED instructors.” Quinten McCardle of Pearl River Central High School was the lucky winner of the Kindle Fire. Entering the contest was easy for him. “I am very into social media. I post to Facebook and tweet regularly,” he said. McCardle considers his new Kindle Fire to be a valuable resource within the classroom that he regularly uses for interactive games and videos. “I think the technology is great. I wish students were allowed to use the same technology with their smartphones and iPods,” he added. "I firmly believe social media can be an

invaluable asset to career–technical education."

There were a variety of other prizes aimed at benefitting teachers, including free registration to the National ACTE conference awarded to Dana Harwell-Bonds from the Tishomingo County Vocational Center. And there were several winners of a free registration to next year’s MS ACTE/ MDE conference: Josh Davenport of Booneville High School, Ann Endicott of Byhalia High School, Laura Honeycutt of Mooreville High School, and Paul Chrestman of DeSoto County Vocational Center. Overall, the 2012 MS ACTE/MDE Summer Conference and the RCU social media campaign were a huge success. The participants gained a stronger understanding of social media best practices and enjoyed participating. The RCU looks forward to hosting another campaign during the 2013 MS ACTE/MDE Summer Conference, which will be July 2326, 2013, at Hinds Community College – Rankin Campus. Registration and session details will be available soon on the RCU’s website,


July 23-26, 2013 Hinds Community College – Rankin Campus, Pearl, Miss.

Connections Fall 2012


interest to inspiration

Engineering student turns lifelong passion into career path By Heather Wainwright

“I have always wanted to know how things worked, for as long as I can remember,” said Wesley Haney, a sophomore mechanical engineering student at Mississippi State University. But Haney did not wait until college to satisfy his curiosity. After taking the Technology Discovery course in 9th grade at Amory High School, Haney knew what path he wanted his high school studies to take; he enrolled in the Technology Application course with instructor Jerry Larkin at the Amory Vocational Center, which shares a campus with AHS. In fact, special arrangements were made to allow Haney to participate in the course as a sophomore rather than waiting for his junior year like most other students do. Larkin, who has a background in industry and construction plus 10 years in education, recognized Haney as mature beyond his years and ready for the advanced course work. With Larkin, Haney studied mechanics-based engineering. He got to explore the workings of pulley systems, pneumatic machines and electrical systems. In Larkin’s technologydriven, interactive class, Haney’s understanding of math and science came to life. Instead of those subjects being “just numbers on a chalkboard, ... [the course] helped to engage me in something I was actually interested in.” That response is exactly what Larkin strives to illicit from his students as he gives them the chance to apply what they learn through handson experimentation. “If I can get them to think, then I’ve done my job.” In turn, students like Haney are motivated to explore

the principles of engineering. “Instead of longing for school to be over, I looked forward to the next day and what I would be able to create. And it taught me how things actually work in a job and team setting,” said Haney. To facilitate this exploration, Larkin’s students are introduced to the computer-aided design software SolidWorks. When he was in the Technical Applications class, Haney started using this industry-grade program with minimal instruction, and he credits Larkin with giving him the freedom and confidence necessary to develop his problem-solving and design skills using the software. “He showed me the basic information, and then he would let me take my ideas and run with them.” Through this iterative, hands-on approach, Haney mastered the CAD software, even how to utilize its finite element analysis tools, as well as the machining equipment that translated his renderings into 3-D objects. “Once I began to really learn the program, I realized the potential that CAD offered me in terms of design and manufacturing.” And Haney put that realization to good use, designing the most aerodynamic car ever produced in Larkin’s class. To provide an additional educational and experiential advantage for his students, Larkin has arranged a job-shadowing program with industry partner Concepts in Production, who also provides the SolidWorks software to the school. Haney took advantage of this opportunity as well. He worked alongside a mentor – an AVC alumnus – to expand his basic knowledge of CAD to real-world applications, tackling unique, complicated design challenges. The three years of engineering courses that Haney took with Larkin proved pivotal to his future. Taking CAD classes in high school gave Haney quite an advantage in his freshman engineering courses at MSU. “Not only did I have the knowledge, but I was proficient with the same software that the class was based on, which allowed me to get extra credit throughout the class with little effort,” said Haney. But even more than having a head start in the classroom, Haney believes that the ability to transfer what he learns in class to extracurricular activities is his most significant gain from CTE, for it is those opportunities that have further propelled him along his career path. As a member of the Technology Student Association at AVC, for instance, Haney placed first at regional and state

14 Connections Fall 2012

INTEREST TO INSPIRATION “Instead of longing for school to be over, I looked forward to the next day and what I would be able to create.”


competitions multiple times in CAD engineering, dragster design, and modeling and manufacturing. These competitions provided the chance to apply his knowledge to solving realistic design challenges.

Once at MSU, Haney sought similar opportunities, which led him to the university’s EcoCAR2 team. Sponsored by MSU’s Bagley College of Engineering and Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, the MSU EcoCAR2 team participates in the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors EcoCAR2: Plugging Into the Future competition, a three-year event during which 15 university teams are challenged to design advanced electric powertrains for a Chevrolet Malibu that improve the car’s efficiency but retain its performance, safety and consumer acceptance. As it turned out, what Haney learned to do in high school with Larkin and in the TSA competitions translated immediately into what the EcoCAR2 team needed, and he became integral to its success from the beginning of his involvement, even as one of the youngest members, due to his skills with CAD. As he pointed out, “I was able to add value to the team early on, helping with designs and reports,” while his freshmen peers on the team were still largely in learning stages. As the competition progressed, “I was more knowledgeable with the unique software that we use and was able to add more and more to the project, until I eventually began to manage all of the CAD work for the team as well as the overall CAD assembly of the car,” Haney recalled. He obviously fit the team well: MSU brought home first-place overall and many other honors in 2012, at the completion of the first year of the competition.

Haney plans to continue working with the EcoCAR2 team for the duration of the three-year competition. As further proof of his contributions, this year Haney is serving as one of the system team leaders. He is also hopeful that he will be successful at securing additional internships with corporate sponsors. In addition to earning his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, he intends to earn the Automotive Engineering Certificate offered by MSU. The real-world experience and hands-on training in Larkin’s engineering program at AVC have dovetailed well into Haney’s college education and extracurricular activities. He has enjoyed a distinct advantage in both the classroom and the high bay because of his secondary CTE foundation, which has allowed him to play an integral role in the EcoCAR2 competition as well as secure additional training in internships. Looking forward to a promising future in the automotive industry, Haney has turned a lifelong interest in cars and machines into his inspiration. Thanks to CTE and his hard work, he was well prepared for college and now is on his way to achieving his career goals.

Technology Day at New Albany School of Career and Technical Education Since 2008, STEM teacher Jalon Bullock and Health Sciences teacher April Voyles have coordinated a Technology Day for New Albany High School. Hosted by the School of Career and Technical Education, this all-day event held each May is attended by all NAHS students, CTE students from all four Union County schools, as well as special needs students from New Haven Adult School. Regional businesses and industries set up exhibits to demonstrate the diverse, often advanced technology they use. Students visit the exhibitor areas where they get to participate in hands-on activities, interacting with the vendors and their showcased devices and equipment. The experience also introduces students to the many career opportunities available that use these technologies.

submitted Connections Fall 2012


sustainable cte

Construction students build Culinary Arts facility in Wayne County By Kristen Dechert

For Wayne County Career and Technical Center Director Bobby Jones, being as self-sufficient as possible is paramount to his school’s success and his students’ development. "Anything we can do for ourselves, we do," said Jones. That mindset was the genesis for a unique collaborative project. This year, about 20 students began construction of a brand new Culinary Arts lab for their peers. When the school decided to replace Home Economics with Culinary Arts, a program that places more emphasis on commercial kitchen use and cooking, teacher Sarah Waller needed a new, commercial-grade facility. Currently, Waller can divide her classes of 15 into just two groups because there are only two stations. The new lab will double that capability, allowing for four stations and four groups. Each station will include a sink, range, oven, counter space and other standard kitchen components. Not only will these improvements bring the culinary facility up to required specifications, they will provide students more hands-on experience that mimics the type of work they might do in a commercial kitchen, a restaurant or other food-service facility. Rather than hire private contractors to do the renovation work, Jones saw the opportunity for Construction teacher Drew Miller’s students to participate in the effort. Tearing out an old computer lab and home economics kitchen, the students started the project in January 2012 and worked all year to finish in time for Culinary Arts students to use the facility in the spring of 2013. From hand-mixing and pouring cement, hanging sheet rock and wiring lighting and outlets to installing plumbing fixtures, shingling a roof and laying tile, the students are completing

every task on the project except installing the air-conditioning unit, range hood and walk-in freezer, which must be professionally installed due to regulations. In other words, the work these students are doing is not a simulation, not a test run. The facility they are building will be a permanent part of the school and will be used by actual students. Therefore, it must meet proper building codes and engineering specifications. Although Miller admitted that the students have had to “tear something down and start over a couple of times,” he carefully monitors their progress and is able to catch most mistakes early on. Through this project, Miller’s students are mastering the competencies of the state Construction curriculum, but they are doing much more. For example, while hanging sheet rock is not in the curriculum, the students have mastered that skill for this project, and the same is the case for a number of other tasks they have completed. "It's hard to run a program where you're teaching plumbing, electricity, carpentry and masonry, but in this project, they’re doing all four,” said Miller. Most important, Miller said, these students are learning valuable hands-on skills that they wouldn’t learn on a smaller project. “After you use the tools every day for a year, you actually learn a lot about the tools and how to use the tools a lot better. Experience is sometimes a better teacher than just [me] teaching [the students] how to do something.” Although the Construction students are doing most of the work, the Culinary Arts students have helped with planning the layout of the kitchen. Waller has let them determine which areas will be preparatory space, where they would like to place certain appliances, and the color of the tile and walls.

"It's hard to run a program where you're teaching plumbing, electricity, carpentry and masonry, but in this project, they’re doing all four.”

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The two groups of students have also formed a bond through this project. Miller and Waller both said they have gotten to know the other’s students well through this collaboration, and to show their appreciation, Waller’s students cook for Miller’s once or twice a week. The Culinary Arts facility is just the most recent example of Wayne County students’ contributions to their own property. Students also built a sawmill shed for the Forestry department and a handicapped-accessible entry to the career and technical center, and the Agriculture students maintain all school landscaping. For Jones, this approach just makes good sense and is a vital part of education. “I’ve never been one to ask for help when I can do something myself, and I’ve always tried to instill that in our students so that when they leave here they have self-sufficiency as well.”

Even before they graduate, several students put their new skills and self-sufficiency to good use outside the classroom, working in their chosen CTE fields. Miller noted that he has students who work as carpenters, plumbers and electricians in the summer months and on the weekends, and nearly all of his students have helped him on outside projects as well. Waller’s students often work for restaurants, catering companies and grocery stores, and she has one who hopes to become a chef. Through this project, Wayne County students are not only developing the technical skills they need for their future careers but the life skills as well. While they are learning to lay tile or practice safe food handling, they are also learning to work together, to appreciate their peers and to contribute to their school’s needs. These experiences and others they have in their CTE classes will help them to transition to postsecondary programs and the workplace when they graduate.

First-time achievement in the Precision Machining pathway


Brothers Joe and Thomas Hunter, students of Precision Machining instructor Charles Lurie of Pascagoula Applied Technology Center, recently passed industry credentials through the National Institute of Metalworking Skills. Their achievement is a first for the state, as no other high school student in Mississippi has ever earned this credential. The NIMS assessment is a nationally recognized certification for metal-trade professions. Joe Hunter has since graduated and is continuing his studies at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College – Jackson Campus, while junior Thomas Hunter is enrolled in Lurie’s second-year Precision Machining class and intends to complete five more certifications before the end of the school year. Connections Fall 2012


cte profile: JANice GARDNER A 33-year veteran teacher shares a few career highlights before retirement Name: Janice S. Gardner School and subject area: Webster County Career and Technology Center, Early Childhood Education

Alma Mater: Mississippi State University, B.S. in home economics; University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University, M.S. in agricultural and extension education with a cognate in home economics

Years teaching: 33 What brought you to the career? In high school, I planned to major in math, but a scholarship through the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service from the Ball Company for majors in home economics influenced me to pursue a career in family and consumer sciences. What is the best advice you've ever received? Not all children have a home, a mother or daddy, or maybe even a bed to sleep in each night. Teach every student as though he or she were my very own child. Treat every student as I would have a teacher treat my child. Remember, school is my home and life. Involve my family in my school activities. What is your favorite memory from teaching? Once I was teaching a group of male and female students to make a pair of Hawaiian-print jam shorts. The boys were all football players and a bit embarrassed to be sewing, so they covered the glass panel of the classroom door so no one could see them. They all assured me they would never wear those shorts, but to my surprise when I arrived at a senior party later in the spring, all the students were wearing their jam shorts. What a nice surprise and joy in my heart! How do your students inspire you? Many of my students inspire me because they come from homes that are not familiar with

the many resources the world has to offer, especially to further their education or to enter the workforce. I find myself pushing students to perfect résumés, make reference contacts and locate information for college-entrance requirements on the Internet. I do not want a student to not further his or her education because he or she is unaware of the resources available.

What advice do you have for new teachers? Prepare, prepare, prepare. Follow through with your preparations, but be prepared

for interruptions. Lesson plans are simple guides that often must be adjusted to accommodate immediate needs of the students, not the teacher. Proudly be an active member of your professional organization. You learn so much from networking with other teachers and through informative workshops in your professional area that will enhance your daily teaching experience. Be an active adviser in your student organization. The student organization can improve a student’s entire outlook on school and life.

What has been your proudest moment in your career? One of the proudest moments in my career began when a special

needs student with verbalizing problems (sound deaf) asked me if she could compete in the state FCCLA competitions. With reservations, I said, “Yes.” She learned her 5-minute script and competed. She did not place. I saw the disappointment and heaviness in her heart. The next year she asked again to compete. With reservations again, I answered, “Yes.” She struggled and learned her 5-minute script. When her name was called out as the state first-place winner, my eyes filled with tears and I trembled all over to think of how far she had come. She still wears her gold medal at night and to many functions. She now has a full-time job and is self-sufficient.

What would your students be surprised to know about you? My students would probably be surprised to know that I grew up on a farm hand-milking cows and feeding chickens. I showed sheep in 4-H and competed in horse shows for many years. What do you plan to do in retirement? When I retire, I plan to travel without needing a substitute or having to leave lesson plans behind for a substitute. I will get to be involved in my grandchildren’s extracurricular activities. I will also begin handling everyday affairs of our mini-storage business and gophering for my husband’s GTO Golf Kars business in Mathiston. 18 Connections Fall 2012

TECHNOLOGY 5 FREE ways to use technology in the classroom apps Use software and apps to demonstrate concepts, such as molecular views, Earth’s climate and the human body. There is free software online at The Concord Consortium,

studying Use online study tools to help students retain information. Study Blue offers online tools for making flashcards, taking notes and studying for tests. Free Study Blue software can be found at www.

Pinterest Use Pinterest as an encouragement tool. Pin pictures of your school culture, student success, articles relevant to your classroom, ideas for projects and so forth. By using a tool that students are excited about, you can grow a bond with your students while encouraging them to continue learning. Free accounts are available at


Use interactive tools to help upper graders prepare for the SAT and the ACT. Front Row Vocab is an app that teaches vocabulary by using contextual interactions, spaced repetition and competitive elements to encourage growth. The free app can be found in the iTunes store; search for “Front Row Vocab.”

reminders Encourage digital organization with apps, such as Evernote. Evernote allows the student to stay organized across every device they use: all computers, smart phones and tablets. You and your students can take photos, leave notes, create todo lists and record voice reminders for assignments and tasks. This is a great tool to help students and teachers stay organized. Connections Fall 2012


vip program undergoes renovation By Diane L. Godwin

Mississippi is modernizing its teacher-education section of the Vocational Instructor Preparation program. The magnolia state is one of several pilot sites across the nation that is inducting new career and technical education instructors into the teaching profession with a new curriculum format. Oklahoma and Vermont are in their second year of implementation while Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Washington State and Mississippi are revising the instruction to teachers based on research recommendations from the National Research Center for CTE and the Southern Regional Education Board. “Career and technical education needs more industry-based instructors that have the workplace skills; however, many lack the classroom management and teaching background to inspire learning. This program delves deeper into the content topic areas through an intensive year-long program,” said Marilyn Bowen, professional learning manager at Mississippi State University’s Research and Curriculum Unit. Teachers enrolled in the 2012-2013 New VIP Teacher Education class are the first to study under the 11-month program that includes a 10-day summer institute, three two-day regional follow-ups during the teachers’ first year of teaching, three

NEW TEACHER education

summer 2012: 48 teachers enrolled in pilot • 11 month program • initial 10-day summer institute • three two-day regional follow-ups during first year of teaching • three onsite coaching visits • final 10-day summer institute

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onsite coaching visits and a final 10-day summer institute to wrap-up the program. The previous program involved a oneweek workshop plus up to six online modules spread over a three-year period. “Just like the real world, education needs to transform itself to stay relevant and keep up with the supply and demand of business and industry. We needed to revamp the course content and timeline, so we can deliver ‘just-in-time’ practical information. Traditional delivery of college courses is not as flexible and beneficial to the teachers and the industry we serve,” explained Jean Massey, associate state superintendent of the Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technical Education. The current VIP program consists of a teacher-education section, an occupational-education section and a generaleducation section. Each section has been revamped over the last three years, and the teacher-education piece is the last to come into place. Teachers will still have three years to complete all licensure requirements in a timely manner, and educators enrolled and in the process of earning their accreditation in


“Career and technical education needs more industrybased instructors that have the workplace skills.”


the three-year program timeline will be allowed to graduate. However, the traditional teacher-education segment will eventually be phased out. “Teachers will be supported by their local administrator, an assigned mentor teacher and onsite coaching visits from a professional-learning instructor during the school year. These support mechanisms will provide the new teacher a wealth of teaching and industry experience to help them make a smooth transition into the classroom setting,” Bowen said.

Other benefits to enrollees include a tuition-cost savings of $200 and an assigned mentor from their district with years of teaching and industry experience. The class upgrades are designed to give teachers the latest instruction and classroommanagement tools that will help students reach their full potential. Constant changes and technology updates in the workplace require CTE educators to deliver timely content and to collaborate more with business representatives in the community and to partner with employers to develop integrated curricula. The new program allows CTE teachers to say abreast of new technology that changes the way people live, work and learn. Leanne Long, assistant research professor for Mississippi State University’s RCU and project manager of the program, oversees the implementation of the innovative strategies to meet the industry-based instructors’ professional-development needs. “It’s important to offer multidimensional training that will help new teachers transfer their real-world knowledge into the classroom to create student-learning experiences that are engaging and authentic.”

e-learning designed to fit your life, your schedule

Professional Learning Center

Offering classes to fulfill CEU and SEMI requirements

For more information about the New VIP Teacher Education Program, please contact Leanne Long at 662.325.2510 or Connections Fall 2012


school buddies

cte students foster connections with special-needs peers By Heather Wainwright

“I saw my buddy in the hall today, and she came up smiling and gave me a big hug. it made my day!” That’s the kind of elated feedback that New Albany High School Family and Consumer Sciences instructor Nannette Ballard is hearing from her students. They are volunteers in a project that pairs them as school buddies with classmates who have special needs. The mission for this project is to help the specialneeds students become more integrated into the mainstream activity of the student body, mitigating the mobility and other restrictions that they must manage daily and which oftentimes limit their participation in school activities. Ballard, who is also the sponsor of the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, has spearheaded the evolution of this project. Previously, as part of her child-development course, Ballard arranged opportunities for her students to interact with their special-needs peers in order that they might better understand the challenges associated with having a child with disabilities. Many of these students and those who have taken her other five courses have also been involved in the FCA with her. Combining her classroom activity with the missionoriented FCA, Ballard initiated the buddy program this year, and the student response has been extremely enthusiastic. In fact, three to four students, most of them from her Family and Consumer Sciences courses, volunteered for every special-needs child participating in the program. A luncheon at the NAHS Career and Technical Center for all the partnered students and the CTC staff kicked off the program. Instructor Anita Alef’s Culinary Arts students joined the effort, decorating for the occasion and managing the potluck buffet. The student-buddies exchanged friendship bracelets and played football-themed games. The gathering was so well received that Ballard plans to have monthly luncheons throughout the school year. One of the most visible impacts of the program has been during this fall’s football season. For the school’s pep rallies, a traditional rite-of-passage for high school students, the volunteer partners sit with their buddies, many of whom cannot sit with their peers in the grade-designated areas. The volunteers also visit their buddies in class to help them read, sit with them during lunch in the cafeteria, and celebrate birthdays or other special occasions with small gifts or cards. Also, the student volunteers enrolled in one of Ballard’s classes dedicate one period a month to an activity with their buddies, 22 Connections Fall 2012

submitted such as reading, teaching, and assisting in creative projects or physical-fitness activities. Even just a couple months into the program, all of the students involved have benefited from the experience. The special education teacher, Amee Cox, confessed that her students were initially apprehensive about being paired with the other students, but now they eagerly anticipate the visits from their buddies and sitting together at pep rallies and assemblies. Ultimately, the students involved in the program have developed relationships with fellow classmates whom they might otherwise not ever have known. The time the buddies spend with each other has even inspired some students to inquire about special education or physical, speech or occupational therapy as possible career paths. Also, several students who did not initially volunteer, after watching their peers interact, have decided to get involved in the program, too. "My students have learned that the more they expose themselves to different people and take the time to build relationships with them, the more 'alike' they are than they thought," observed Ballard. Key to Ballard’s approach for the Family and Consumer Sciences program is instilling in her students a sense of community connectedness, which she hopes will make them better citizens and leaders as well as improve family stability in our society. Ballard credits the buddy program with not only breaking down barriers to foster connections but also with helping all of the students gain confidence and leadership skills. And Ballard believes that by developing confidence in a variety of situations, these students have a better chance of achieving their career goals. At NAHS, the collaboration between career and technical education and the FCA is going a long way toward “opening up many possibilities for all of [the students].”


join us on twitter every friday @rcumsu

FACT: The US needs 34% more students in STEM to keep up w/ economic demand. CTE helps meet that need. Too many MS students drop out, often because they don't see real-world value of a degree. With CTE, they connect learning to work. 13K people with 4-yr degrees have re-entered MS community colleges to gain job skills. CTE prepares them for a profession. 20M+ in the US are un/underemployed, yet 3.4M jobs are unfilled due to skills gaps. CTE gives students the skills they need to find work. Employers value real-world, hands-on job experience. With CTE, MS students gain this experience early and qualify for more jobs. STEM ed is crucial to US competitiveness in technology. CTE helps get kids in those fields faster. By 2018, the US will need 22 million associate or higher degrees to fuel the economy. With CTE, MS students will be ready.

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making the grade

with home-grown teachers By Diane L. Godwin

“My Teacher Academy student was truly inspired when she helped a 3rd grader at Fair Elementary reach his accelerated reading goal,” said Helen Black, Teacher Academy instructor at the Winston County Career and Technical Education Center. “I was so excited for this young lady who wants to be a future teacher because teaching is all about those kinds of rewards. You can’t put a value on our product; it is priceless.” Most people, especially parents, would agree with that statement. Certainly students of all ages, at one time or another, doubt their ability to master the skills needed for their lifelong journey of learning, but often a great teacher intervenes to squelch that self-doubt and help those students unlock their potential. Great teachers have the ability to tap into students’ intrinsic talents and change the course of their lives for the better. As Arnie Duncan, the United States secretary of education, observed, "It's no surprise

that studies repeatedly document that the single biggest influence on student academic growth is the quality of the teacher standing in front of the classroom – not socioeconomic status, not family background, but the quality of the teacher at the head of the class.” Knowing the impact these special educators have on student outcomes, educational experts register one of their top concerns as the fact that the number of great teachers is dwindling. In Mississippi, as elsewhere in the country, that issue is coupled with another startling trend: urban and rural low-income areas are facing teacher shortages because they are losing experienced instructors to retirement. When these two factors converge, yet another predicament arises: when a top teacher leaves a lowperforming school, only one in 11 potential teacher replacements will be of similar quality, according to The Irreplaceables, a 2012 report from The New Teacher Project, a national nonprofit founded by teachers to end education inequality. While there is an adequate supply of new teachers to initially fill the gap, one out of every three of them is leaving the profession

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within five years, which is costing low-income school districts millions of dollars in recruitment and training costs, not to mention the impact on students’ educational achievement. Studies indicate that lack of administrative support, inadequate classroom management training, the inability to read and use data to differentiate and improve instruction and to boost student learning, low pay and student behavioral problems all contribute to the short-term commitment of new teachers. But there is a possible solution: Mississippi’s Career and Technical Education Teacher Academy. The approach is unlike the Mississippi Teacher Corp and Teach for America alternative-route teacher-certification programs that promise graduate degrees or to pay off student-loan debt in exchange for two or three years of teaching service. Instead, the state has implemented an adaptable, “grow your own” program, and the best part of it is that high school students across the state are requesting it for their school districts.



The state’s educators discovered this unexpected student interest in teaching after attending statewide Pathways to Success training sessions to help middle and high school students identify their interests and connect their career goals to academics. "As a result of our PTS individual career and academic plan trainings, teachers and administrators went back to their schools and surveyed the students to identify what professions they were interested in. Student responses heavily favored teaching,” explained Betsey Smith, curriculum manager at the Mississippi State University Research and Curriculum Unit. “In fact, the career and technical education Teacher Academy is the number one student-requested program revealed by the iCAP surveys.” Most administrators and teachers were shocked by the individual career and academic plan, or iCAP, survey response because it contradicts the presumed unpopularity of the teaching profession that has been extrapolated from the results of National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future studies, which report that 46 percent of all new teachers will leave the profession within five years. The Teacher Academy program is unique in that it offers a secondary curriculum that not only guides students interested in pursuing teaching careers but also provides real-world, practical experiences such that students discover what the profession demands. Typically, “beginning teachers have idealistic expectations because of little or no experience of managing a classroom and hands-on practical teacher training,” Smith said. "Teacher Academy gives middle and high school students, before they ever enter a college program, a realistic picture of what the profession is like and the expectations they will face if they become a teacher." By comparison, Teach for America places more teachers in the Mississippi River Delta than any region in the country, and experts say they are planning on doubling those numbers. In addition, the Mississippi Teacher Corp program places teachers

in Mississippi high-need districts. “Those programs are great and have made a difference, but they are not sustaining the positive outcomes because those teachers fulfill their contract and leave in two years,” explained Smith. “We’re hoping the Teacher Academy ‘grow your own’ approach will work to recruit new teachers” who either pursue their postsecondary education in the state or return to Mississippi after graduation, added Smith. Rather than accepting only short-term commitments and then moving on, these homegrown teachers are here or come back to stay, to make a difference in their communities. In other words, "[t]hey have ‘roots’ and will live in the community. They know the culture, the family histories, the advantages and disadvantages and most importantly the student needs,” said Smith. “So they are already way ahead of the teacher who may be relocating from another state and is thousands of miles away from home.” Four Teacher Academy programs were implemented in 2008. In response to the growing student interest, there has been a recent explosion of growth, with 25 schools implementing Teacher Academy programs in 2012 and 53 more requests on the waiting list. In return, Mississippi education experts hope the new teacher retention numbers will be higher. They plan to collect and analyze four-year data beginning in 2013, when the first group of Teacher Academy students will graduate from IHL teacher-education programs and enter the state’s classrooms. Henry Adams said, “A teacher affects eternity – he can never tell where his influence stops.” The current U.S. administration and Mississippi education experts have said that teaching has never been more important, and the need for more student success has never been so urgent. Mississippi is hoping its Teacher Academy program will help recruit, train and retain the best talent for the profession. If the efforts prove successful, it will undoubtedly affect the quality of the state’s education future.

DMT students produce news segment for local Fox affiliate Hattiesburg High School’s Digital Media Technology students, taught by Tanya Evans, are broadcasting on local channel Fox 23. Each week, the students produce a weekly sports wrap up called Tiger Nation Sports. In this segment, students recap the previous week’s sports news, interview athletes and coaches, look ahead to the upcoming games, as well as cover other HHS news. Tune in to Fox 23 each Friday at 6:30 a.m. for the segment.


Connections Fall 2012


awards & Recognition achievement in mississippi

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Three Mississippians were National Association of Agricultural Educators 2012 award winners: Wilbur Chancellor, retired, Lifetime Achievement Meredith McCurdy-Rhodes, Oxford-Lafayette Career and Technical Center, Teachers Turn the Key Jill Wagner, Newton County Career and Technical Center, Outstanding Young Member, Region V



Dianne Young, Culinary Arts instructor at Amory Vocational Center, completed the National Restaurant Association ProStart Summer Institute Level III and passed the final exam.

Terrius Harris of McComb Business and Technology Complex placed first in the state DECA competition in the category of Apparel and Accessory Marketing. He also participated in the national DECA competition.

FBLA Several Mississippians were recognized at the 2012 FBLA national leadership conference: Amory High School, Gold Seal Chapter William Bartley & Hunter Gatlin, Desoto County Career Center, Digital Video Production, eighth place Ginger Burns, Union High School, Local Advisor of the Year Janise Mark, Desoto Central High School, Impromptu Speaking, eighth place Krissy Winstead, Union High School, Who’s Who

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FCCLA Students from McComb Business and Technology Complex placed at the 2012 state FCCLA competition: • Alexis Lewis, Quick Breads, first place • Regine Thomas, Baking and Cake Decoration, first place

Several Mississippi students placed at the 2012 national FCCLA conference: From Poplarville Career Development Center: • Christopher Alexander, Entrepreneur, silver • Alexis Edwards, Chapter Service Project Display, silver • Alexis Seal, Career Investigation, bronze • Nikki Seal, National Program Action, bronze • Skylor Shamp, Entrepreneur, silver

From Amory Vocational Center: • Wes Colbert, Focus on Children, gold

From South Panola High School:

• Jacob Tutor, Kimbreanna Chapman, Jakira Williams, Chantryece Mooris & Demarkes Battle, Parliamentary Procedure, bronze

From Okolona Vocational Center: • Tyson Eddie & Tracy Young, Illustrated Talk, gold

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From West Point Career and Technology Center: • Darnesha Doss, Quanesha Neely & Ahakis McCoy, Chapter Showcase Display, bronze • Glynis Ivy, Teach & Train, bronze • Terrance Lash, Early Childhood, bronze • Haley Wilson, Job Interview, bronze

From Hattiesburg High School: • Ariana Redeemer, Chapter Service Project Display, silver

FromWebster County Career and Technology Center: • Sarah Mitchell & Katie Coslett, Focus on Children, gold

From Carl Keen Vocational Center: • Elissa Ann McCool, National Program in Action, silver • Miracle Williams, Chapter Showcase Display, bronze



TSA SKILLSUSA The McComb Legacies Group (Digital Media) presented the film “The Burgland High School Walkout of 1961� at the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland and placed seventh out of 53 entries. This same film won second place in the state TSA competition in the Senior Group Documentary category. The film can be viewed at Several students from McComb Business and Technology Complex placed at the 2012 TSA state competition: Devon Barton & Trevante Bouie, Game Design, third place McComb Legacies Group, Senior Group Documentary, second place Dominique Taylor & London Ray, Web Design, third place Steven Thompson, Speech, second place Mississippi students placed in middleschool competitions at the 2012 TSA national conference: Chelsea Boone, Margaret Green Junior High School, Essays on Technology, finalist

Mississippi students placed at the 2012 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference: Drake Broome, Lamar County Center for Technical Education, Sheet Metal, ninth place Jonathon Ryals, Petal High School, Telecommunications Cabling, bronze Adam Gable of West Point Career and Technology Center won a mikeroweWORKS scholarship to help pay for his trip to the 2012 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.


Blake Mollett, Lauderdale 4-H member and Clarkdale FFA student, earned first place in Agricultural Engineering/Welding at the 4-H Club Congress. Sponsored by Henderson Steel, Mollett represented the state of Mississippi at the National 4-H Engineering Challenge Event.

Jessica Simmerman, Batesville Junior High School, Flight, first place

Connections Fall 2012



ms acte/hosa

MS ACTE/mde hosa Several Mississippians were recognized at the 2012 Mississippi Association for Career and Technical Education/ Mississippi Department of Education summer conference: Mike Mulvihill, bureau director of compliance and reporting at the Mississippi Department of Education, Outstanding Educator of the Year Graham Broome, Lamar County Center for Technical Education, Student of the Year Lori McGee Holland, Career Pathways instructor at Itawamba Agricultural High School, Teacher of the Year

Several Mississippi students placed at the 2012 HOSA national competition: Katie Myers and Graham Broome, Lamar County Center for Technical Education, CPR/First Aid, fourth place Cassie Simer and Henry Brubaker, Jackson County Career and Technical Center, Forensic Medicine, top ten Hayden Stokes and Lesli Pickett, Winston-Louisville Career and Technology Center, Community Awareness, first place

Jill Gore, Culinary Arts instructor at Pearl/ Rankin Career and Technical Center, CTE Program of the Year

Winston-Louisville CTC, Outstanding HOSA chapter, HOSA newsletter & HOSA week

Lisa Wilburn, Career Pathways Experience instructor, Grenada Career and Technical Center, CTE Teacher Community Service Award

Alisha Sifuentes and Dakota Wright, Philadelphia/Neshoba County CareerTechnical Center, Health Education, third place

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2013 Conference Dates


2013 FEA January 24-26 Marriott, Jackson

FFA June 3-5 Colvard Student Union, Mississippi State University, Starkville

Skillsusa February 26-27 Mississippi Trade Mart, Regency Conference Center, and Hinds CCRankin, Pearl

FCCLA March 6-8 Natchez Grand Hotel and Convention Center, Natchez



Regional: Northern: January 31 Northeast Mississippi Community College, Booneville Central: February 14 East Central Community College, Decatur Southern: February 7 Jones County Junior College, Ellisville

April 10-12 Natchez Grand Hotel and Convention Center, Natchez

State: April 11-12 Marriott, Jackson

PBL February 25-27 Natchez Grand Hotel and Convention Center, Natchez


February 20-23 Marriott, Jackson collegiate DECA

March 3-5 Summit Hotel, Tupelo


February 7-8 Whispering Woods Conference Center, Olive Branch

MS ACTE/MDE Summer conference July 23-26, 2013, Muse Center at Hinds Community College-Rankin, Pearl

Connections Fall 2012


The Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Career & 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 2012  

MDE Biannual newsletter

Connections Fall 2012  

MDE Biannual newsletter

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