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Connecting the education of today to the careers of tomorrow

Mississippi Department of Education Office of Career and Technical Eduation Spring 2012 Edition

Staff Listing Editor-in-Chief Diane Godwin

Graphic Designer Amanda Bolan

Managing Editor Kristen Dechert

Photographers Amanda Bolan & Joey Brennan

Writers Kristen Dechert & Kimberly DeVries

In this issue

Opportunities abound in CTE education


Using numbers to tell the CTE story


Enterprising technology program


Robots help humans make connections in Gulfport


Helpful side of health sciences History in the making

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Pathways to Success and iCAPs being implemented CTE awards and recognition

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Opportunities abound in CTE education by Kimberly DeVries

Efforts are increasing around Mississippi to help students become career-ready; the MDE is introducing new avenues to help students focus on career possibilities earlier, and several Rankin-area schools are developing more opportunities for students to explore those careers. What is the aim of these efforts? To provide educated choices to Mississippi students, qualified employees to state businesses, and a needed boost to the state’s economy. Providing choices to students is the goal of several programs, including the Rankin County academies and the Hinds Career and Technical Center CTE programs. Heather Burch, director of curriculum and instruction for Rankin County schools, said, “We have three different avenues that we’re providing our students: they can go directly to the workforce and be successful; they could go on to a two-year community college; or they could go straight to an IHL [Institute of Higher Learning]. So at any point, we’re not trying to limit students through this; we’re just trying to provide them as many options as possible.” Students can stay at their home schools and apply for one of the three existing health academies, or for an emerging one; by 20122013, every Rankin County high school will offer at least one academy. Or they can go to the Hinds center, which offers career-readiness education to over 400 Rankin public school students and 150 Pearl High School students in at least 10 areas, ranging from Auto Collision Repair to Architecture and Drafting to Culinary Arts. These programs seek to incorporate a career path into the overall education; Brandon High offers classes, such as Health Sciences Language Arts, in an effort to “reinforce the Health Science curriculum throughout” the school day, according to Brandon High Assistant Principal Bryan Marshall. Eric Smith, CTE director at the center, said the goal is to “start getting students into that mindset to go into that 2

“So at any point, we’re not trying to limit students through this; we’re just trying to provide them as many options as possible.”

“We do try to meet the needs of every student … so it’s truly an individual education plan for every single student, and that’s the goal of it.” career choice, so they know how to write reports because their English is directly tied into the health science field. . . . It fits everything together.” In the Health Sciences program at Hinds, teachers Natalie Crawford and Keri Clark help educate students about their future options. In the first-year curriculum, students go on tours of healthcare facilities, learn to take patients’ vital signs, study medical terminology and anatomy and physiology, and become CPR certified. The second-year curriculum introduces different jobs in the healthcare field, discusses salary expectations and job requirements, and provides jobshadowing opportunities. Crawford reported, “ Coming through our classes, hearing terminology, [learning about] equipment and different careers that are out there, it puts them so much more ahead of your common, everyday student.” With the MDE’s iCAP program starting in eighth grade, students can decide whether to enroll in the academies in ninth grade or the Hinds center in 10th or 11th grade, giving them numerous choices and multiple chances to attain a career education. Smith said that starting earlier helps: “By starting in ninth grade, you have the opportunity to spend a lot of time working with that first-year ninth grader and showing them all the different areas that are involved with [the] health field, and that may break them out into something different as they go up.” The iCAPs are flexible; Burch explained that “[the students] meet every year to review their course work and for their projection plan. …They look at their iCAP, and they make decisions based upon their pathway selection.” Burch continued, “We do try to meet the needs of every student … so it’s truly an individual education plan for every single student, and that’s the goal of it.” The aim is to produce employable students. Donna Messer, instructor in the dual credit LPN program at Hinds Community College, works with many seniors who have completed the Hinds 2-year Allied Health program. Students can enroll in the LPN program their senior year and graduate within 7 months of high school graduation. Messer said, “The students who have participated in the health sciences program have a tremendous advantage over those who have not. Because they have already learned the fundamentals of nursing care, such as bed making, vital signs, and so forth, they are ready to focus on medication administration and the more involved technical skills.” Kelly Slawson, a former student in both the Health Sciences program and the LPN dual-credit program, agrees. Slawson, a current EMT student who completed the Health Sciences 3

“Coming through our classes, hearing terminology, [learning about] equipment and different careers that are out there, it puts them so much more ahead of your common, everyday student.”

program in May 2010 said, “I believe the more educated, the better, and this class is a great way to start that education.” Working with industry is key; Smith said that “with workforce the way it is today, we work very closely with industry in areas to find out what they are needing. They come to us several times a year and actually meet with our instructors and tell us what they’re needing, what they’re seeing from our students … and we make adjustments in our programs to make sure we’re meeting those needs.” Smith explained that the various programs are increasingly trying to attain industry certifications for their graduates, so a Simulation and Design student could go to California and be employable with a certification that is recognized industry-wide.The programs seek to provide a variety of experiences, so students are more employable; where the Hinds program may focus on Nursing, the academies are developing programs in Veterinary Technician and Sports Medicine. The desired end result is a boost to Mississippi’s economy. Burch said these programs’ approach “certainly services our economy tremendously: to have a high school graduate that comes out, that’s marketable and that’s able to already have their certifications right then, they are able to go into the workforce without the workforce having to pay for that training, or pay for that certification.” And while the hope of both programs is to have students completing advanced degrees, the aim is that even students with a high school degree can go to work immediately with skills and experience to make them employable, and thus begin contributing directly to the economy sooner. Burch reported that in developing the programs, educators in Rankin County have done projections as to what jobs will be most prevalent in 2018, and along with what students are interested in, those projections form the basis for the academies’ focus. If students are being trained in the job areas where there will be future openings and growth, then more students are employable. Smith believes the academies and the Hinds programs are successful because students are enrolling in these opportunities out of a desire to be a part of those careers and an expressed interest in their chosen field. With the iCAPs and career pathway plan, Smith said, “we know where that student wants to be when they graduate. So if we can get that student to their career choice and have that student ready to go, either into the workplace or into a postsecondary institution, then we’ve completed that objective for that student. We did not fail that student.” 4

in other news... Happy birthday to Hawk’s Nest Hawk’s Nest, the licensed child care center of the Hancock County Career Technical Center, celebrated its 20th birthday in December 2011. Opening in 1991 with four children, the center now has 20, with a waiting list of over 100. Hawk’s Nest is the laboratory school for the Early Childhood Education classes at Hancock County Career Technical Center, providing the students hands-on learning opportunities with the children. Many of the students from the Early Childhood Education class have gone on to become employees and directors of various child care centers, pediatric nurses and teachers; Whitney McCardle even returned to become the assistant director at the center under Hawk’s Nest Director and Early Childhood Education Instructor Sondra Adams.

What’s coming to new curriculum? Three brand new curricula are on the horizon! Focusing on Mississippi’s changing job landscape and economic needs, the MDE is preparing to unveil curricula for Logistics, Law and Public Safety, and Energy and to expand the Health Sciences curriculum. The Logistics curriculum will focus on teaching students to manage the movement of materials and supplies via road, air and water and to plan the logistics and computer support that makes these movements possible. Jackson Public School Career and Technical Center and Desoto County Career and Technical Center are planning to implement the program by fall 2012. The Law and Public Safety curriculum will focus on preparing students to work with homeland security officers, firefighters, police officers and correctional-facility officers by providing onsite training with professionals in each area. The Law and Public Safety curriculum should be operational in Columbus School District (McKellar Career and Technical Center) and Rankin County Career and Technical Center by fall 2012. The Energy curriculum should be in the developmental stage at Lamar County Career and Technical Center and Lawrence County Career and Technical Center by fall 2012; it will be implemented with help from members of the energy industry and will focus on preparing students to work in the fields of sustainable and renewable energy. The Health Sciences program already in place at many schools will be expanding, adding curricula related to programs in Informatics,Veterinary Science, Biotechnology, and Exercise Science and Kinesiology in order to meet the needs of Mississippi’s economy. 5

Using numbers to tell the

CTEbySTORY Kristen Dechert

What’s it all worth? With funding cuts and the recent recession, that’s the question Mississippi and national policy makers are asking about everything these days, including career and technical education. And with one 2012 report citing that 6.7 million high school and college dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24 who have been unable to hold a permanent job cost the U.S. $4.75 trillion dollars over their lifetimes, this is an important question to be asking. The MDE and the RCU are building a return on investment model to help Mississippi leaders assess CTE statewide. Although the numbers are not yet calculated, all parties involved think this model could make the difference in getting each Mississippi graduate prepared for a successful future.

Each year, Mississippi spends about $500 per student on CTE education, or $13.3 million statewide. Naturally, legislators, policy makers and educators want to know what the state of Mississippi is getting in return. Spearheading the ROI model development are Mike Mulvihill, the bureau director of compliance and reporting at the MDE, and Robin Parker, the manager of curriculum, instruction and assessment at the RCU. Parker said, “In the wake of funding cuts in Washington and in Jackson, we need to prove that CTE has a positive impact on our economy. We think that is happening, we have a feeling it is, but we need some hardcore data to show that kids are going to industry and that they are earning a sustainable income.” Also working on the project are Laura Kerr, Lisa Hardjono and Young Bin Lim of the RCU. To determine a particular district’s or program’s return on investment, the MDE and the RCU will compile various district- and program-level data, including MS-CPAS2 test scores, numbers of students enrolled in CTE programs, and federal and state spending dollars on those programs. Then they will look at county data for jobs and postsecondary programs in the area to determine projected earnings and job availability for students. The

Parker chosen to deliver webinar for ACTE Congratulations to Robin Parker, former Mississippi educator and an active member of ACTE and MS ACTE, who was recently chosen to lead a webinar as part of an ACTE series.The webinar,“CTE = Economic Development: A Five-step Process to Ensure a Strong ROI for Your Program,” was conducted in January 2012 and led participants through a resultsbased approach to calculating their CTE program’s return on investment. Parker, an assistant research professor at the RCU, hoped to educate participants on the potential of CTE programs to be a strong economic-development tool in their communities. 6

Each year, Mississippi spends about $500 per student on CTE education, or $13.3 million statewide.

job that students are qualified for when they graduate and the average income in that job is calculated into what is necessary for living standards in their region to determine if the money that was spent training them was spent wisely, said Kerr. “If they are able to graduate and support themselves without public assistance in a family-sustaining job, the return on value is considered good,” she added. But these numbers don’t tell the whole story. The team also wants to know what lies behind the numbers. Using the ROI data, the team will determine the top 10-25 programs and the bottom 10-25 programs and look deeper into these schools. “If someone tells you, ‘You’re not doing well,’ what does that really mean?” said Hardjono, “Without comparison, it’s hard to determine where you are,” she added. The ROI model will give schools that comparison and help them target areas for improvement. “The end result is a tool for the schools,” said Hardjono. Mulvihill hopes the ROI model will help validate CTE spending and make that spending more effective: “CTE competes with other programs for a relatively limited amount of funding, and I think what we want to do is tell our story and say ‘here is where we have been successful and here is where we think we can expand.’” Parker agrees and also thinks this model could translate to other areas of education. “Our overall goal is to get our students to a job, so this could eventually become an education return on value, not just one for CTE,” she said. Hardjono, Kerr and Lim are currently compiling information from the last 4 years for every district in the state. Mulvihill expects to have preliminary ROI data this fall, which the MDE will use to determine that the numbers are accurate and that the process is sound. Then the MDE will share those numbers with the districts. “We want to say to a district, ‘here are the five programs you are offering, and here is how we perceive your classes to be performing, and here is how your programs match up to business in your area,’” said Mulvihill. “What we want districts to do is take a look at these numbers and make strategic plans, so they can see if they need to tweak or change their offerings to make sure they are benefitting students, businesses and industries in their areas and their local communities,” he added. Certainly this data will be useful to local school districts, but others will want to see it as well. Team members mentioned state legislators, local school board members, and business and industry executives among potentially interested parties. Right now schools have data they use for federal funding reports, but this model ties that data to the local economy. By considering the economic outlook of an area, and the state at large, educators focus on more than just helping students be successful in the classroom; they can help them be successful in the future as well.“That’s what makes this model different,” said Parker. 7

Enterprising technology program by Kimberly DeVries

“A vital part of our mission is to establish a school program which reflects the values, needs and ambitions of our community.”

Enterprise High School’s website states, “a vital part of our mission is to establish a school program which reflects the values, needs and ambitions of our community.” That mission has faced obstacles, like recently when the Business and Computer Technology program ended and a new CTE program was needed. The 268-student, 20-teacher school in Clarke County is limited in resources, teachers and facilities, so implementing a new program required creative problem solving.

First, technology instructor Ashley Sisson explained, the school considered students’ preferences. “I really didn’t think the students would spend 2 years with me studying marketing or management, so I … picked Information Technology.” To implement the program, Sisson had to jump another hurdle: a required certification she did not yet have. Betsey Smith, curriculum manager at the RCU, advised that all career pathway programs have a 3-year window during which teachers can receive any necessary certifications they are missing, so that these requirements do not hinder CTE programs. After the choice was made, further obstacles loomed, including “scheduling, student participation and funding.” Sisson feared students with limited elective time would shy away from the 2-year program. Smith explained this is another way in which pathways offer flexibility: the sequencing of courses can range from one to four units of credit, depending on teacher availability and class scheduling. Another hurdle was equipment and facilities; Enterprise has overcome that by using many of the computers already at the school.Technology coordinator Chris Randall often allows the students to test their skills by maintaining and repairing the district’s computers. Some students have reported repairing computers for teachers in other classrooms, or even at home. Sisson hopes to expand the hands-on opportunities; she explained, “Fixing things in a simulation is okay, but the students show great pride in completing a job for another person.” 8

Resource and equipment shortages can often be tackled in this manner, by utilizing whatever is available for the program and remaining flexible. “It’s all about using resources wisely,” Smith said. Another suggestion for schools with facility, teacher or resource shortages is to partner with community colleges that offer similar programs or local businesses, such as hospitals, childcare centers or nursing homes that can offer a laboratory setting for a school without that facility, Smith advised. Smith stressed the flexibility of the program, and said, “The pathways program, like any curriculum, is designed with a range of school sizes in mind.” Certainly smaller schools face unique challenges, but many can be overcome, as Enterprise demonstrated. “Bringing everybody to the table is even more important with smaller districts,” Smith advised. She added, “If school board members, parents and industry leaders listen to how this is important and where this could go for their region, they’ll find a way to make it happen.” The point of pathways is to strengthen the core curriculum with real-world application, Smith explained. Sisson believes part of the appeal of the IT program is that real-world preparation; “I think students are realizing the skills gained through these programs give them an advantage in the world of work,” she said. She believes that these programs can keep students motivated to stay in school, knowing they are learning practical skills that will give them a competitive edge in the job market. “My program is not like the typical classes you see. We have lecture time. We have hands-on learning. There is a lot of application to this program. If a student wants to take the A+ exam themselves and become certified, they can do this.” She went on to explain that if a student is interested in entering the computer field, “the skills learned in IT are irreplaceable.”

“I think students are realizing the skills gained through these programs give them an advantage in the world of work.” she said.

And once they enter their chosen fields, Sisson hopes these skills will help them succeed. She explained, “I hope my students are building a good foundation in the skills they are learning. We also emphasize teamwork, character, job-hunting skills and just being a good citizen … I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these students.” Though their school is small and their challenges numerous, Sisson believes that things are very positive in this program. Enterprise currently has 20 students enrolled in the first-year course, and nine in the second year; the school also has a forestry program in the works. Sisson said, “You have to take baby steps to grow.” When asked what advice she would give to other small schools looking to implement quality CTE programs, she responded, “I would tell other schools to just go for it! You will never know what will happen until you try.” 9

Robots help humans make connections in Gulfport by Kristen Dechert According to a recent Mississippi Economic Policy Center report “The State of Working Mississippi 2012,” 46 percent of Mississippi’s labor force lacks formal schooling beyond high school, creating a skills gap that prevents employers from filling well-paying jobs. In Gulfport, students are counteracting this by gaining STEM skills and making industry connections through the robotics team.A member of the international FIRST Robotics Competition, Team Fusion is a group of about 40 students collaborating to build a functioning robot. During the six-week build session, students stay after school 3 days a week and meet on Saturdays to work on the project. At each team meeting, area engineers and college engineering students mentor the high schoolers through the design, production and assembly processes. For CTE teacher and faculty advisor Andrew Gunkel, this collaboration is the most important aspect of Team Fusion. “It’s more than just building a robot. … It is building relationships with the mentors so that [the students] understand how [the engineers] solve problems, how they design robots and how they work together,” said Gunkel. “That is the true purpose of the team.” Although he enjoys building the robot and going to competitions, Senior Daniel Through our partnerships with our Jantsch recognizes that those are just added business and industries … we allow our benefits to Team Fusion participation. “The students to gain the knowledge, skills whole purpose of the robot is to get a bunch of people together to solve a problem, and abilities to be successful in but that’s not really what Dean Kamen … entry-level work and also to see what the inventor of FRC had in mind when he it takes to move up the ladder in these developed this competition,” said Jantsch. professions.” “He wanted the students to work with mentors and engineers to see what the actual industry is like.”


CTE director David Fava agrees that networking with area professionals is a boon for these and other CTE students. “Through our partnerships with our

2012 Recognition for Team Fusion For the 2012 competition, Team Fusion built a robot that could play basketball. The team attended the Bayou Regional, held in New Orleans, La., March 15-17, and competed in a variety of categories. Despite some technical issues, Team Fusion took home the Imagery Award for attractiveness in engineering and outstanding visual aesthetic. In addition, Team Fusion mentor Steven Phillips of Dupont won the Woody Flowers Award for an outstanding job of using communication to motivate students and for challenging them to recognize the value of clear, succinct communication. For more information about Team Fusion, visit the team website at

business and industries … we allow our students to gain the knowledge, skills and abilities to be successful in entry-level work and also to see what it takes to move up the ladder in these professions,” said Fava. This approach of partnering with area professionals is paying off. A number of Gulfport graduates have gone on to summer internships and co-op jobs at companies they were first introduced to through Team Fusion. Current Mississippi State University mechanical engineering student Ryan Nazaretian has interned four times with NASA. By building a relationship in high school with someone from Stennis Space Center, Nazaretian has been able to secure internships throughout college and possibly even a job upon graduation next year. MSU freshman and electrical engineering student Nicholas Jones has benefitted from networking through Team Fusion. By connecting with an engineering mentor on Team Fusion, Jones may have an internship at Mississippi Power this summer. According to Superintendent Glen East, Team Fusion and other CTE classes and activities provide students more exposure to hands-on applications and problem-solving projects than traditional academic classrooms can provide. He said,

“CTE helps the children … understand that the world is about me getting in there, solving a problem, setting a goal and completing a project that benefits the company or organization.” President Obama recently said, “When students excel in math and science, they help America compete for the jobs and industries of the future.” CTE programs like Gulfport’s Team Fusion help students do just that. By connecting the theories learned in the classroom to real-world applications, the students are helping Mississippi and the nation meet industry demands in STEM fields. 11

Helpful side of health sciences by Kimberly DeVries

“I think the community awareness projects give them such a rewarding feeling of knowing that they have helped in some way to meet the needs of our community.”

At Louisville High School, students Hayden Stokes and Lesli Jayne Pickett are making a difference. Taking all the practical lessons from their health sciences education, the students have taken on a more personal project: raising support, money and awareness for Quinn Gregory, a local boy fighting a rare disease. Five-year-old Gregory suffers from MPS III Type A, a disorder affecting only 300 people throughout the United States that causes the sugar molecules in the body to not break down properly, creating buildup and organ deterioration. Gregory is also Stokes’ cousin, so when she was looking for a project for a Health Occupations Students of America competition last year, his cause seemed a perfect choice.

Stokes and Pickett have together tackled the project this year. The two kicked off the year by appearing at the Cotton Gin Festival in Noxapater and have since visited Oktoberfest in Philadelphia, the Stew Stomp in Louisville and WPOK in Meridian. Highlights of their efforts were an appearance at the homecoming game at Noxapater School, where Gregory ran out with the football team, and a conversation with the governor regarding Gregory’s condition. The girls are currently planning a lift-a-thon event at Red Hills Fitness in Louisville. Throughout the project, the girls’ goal was to get the word out about Gregory, raising almost $6,000 to aid in his cause, but also to increase awareness of the disease. Toward those efforts, they have made brochures, distributed T-shirts and answered numerous questions about the effects of the disease and how the community can assist in their efforts. Health sciences instructor and HOSA advisor Penny Wells commended their efforts: “I think the community awareness projects give them such a rewarding feeling of knowing that they have helped in some way to meet the needs of our community. They are able to see that healthcare is about helping to meet the needs of others.” Community awareness is more than just their personal goal; it is also one of the goals of the HOSA organization. The students’ project will be entered into the HOSA competition’s Community Awareness category; the two will present a brief oral report, as well as a compilation of their efforts and motivation for choosing the project, complete with pictures, a manual book of the people and finances involved, promotional items and documentation of the over 500 hours spent on this project. 12

The Community Awareness project is designed to bring recognition to causes that are often overlooked or where more information is needed. Stokes said of their topic, “We just wanted to branch out on something different that no one had heard about outside of our county, so we’re bringing something new to the table.” Pickett added that the focus is all about awareness; for example, the promotional items are distributed in hopes that “whenever somebody wears a T-shirt, and they go to a different town, [and someone asks] ‘oh, well who’s Quinn,’ … they can explain. So we’re just hoping that they will help spread the awareness too.” The pair has incorporated many aspects of education in their project; aside from their personal desire to help Gregory, they have relied on support from HOSA, as well as lessons from their health sciences classes. Both Stokes and Pickett have won numerous scholarships through competing at state and national HOSA events throughout high school. And in return, the girls have both cemented their desire to work in the health field upon graduation.

“Oh, well who’s Quinn,’ … they can explain. So we’re just hoping that they will help spread the awareness too.”

Stokes, a senior planning to attend East Central Mississippi Community College for her associate degree and continue on to Mississippi University for Women to become a nurse practitioner, attributes working with Gregory as part of her motivation to enter the nursing field. “Until I started working with Quinn, I hadn’t had the opportunity to reach out and understand what’s wrong with a child.” Stokes’ goal is to help others in similar situations, and her work here shaped her goals; she said, “Now that I’ve seen what I can do, it definitely helps make my decision.” Pickett, a junior returning to the health sciences program next year as an assistant teacher, also plans to become a nurse practitioner, hopefully in the ER. Through health sciences classes, Pickett has participated in clinicals at the ER and at a veterinarian’s office. She certainly believes these courses, and her participation in HOSA, will give her future a boost. Pickett said, “I have advised everyone who wants to go to nursing school to take this class. … They need to go through this to see what it’s going to taste like when they get there.” The goal of Wells’ program is to teach practical skills through clinicals, job shadowing and classroom practice in order to give students necessary tools for their future education and careers. Stokes described the skills learned in


“Even if people don’t go into [the] health field, [they] can take these lessons and the skills … with [them] all throughout life.”

their classes: “bed making, moving patients, labor and delivery, hand washing, vital signs, weight care … things you’d normally do your first year of nursing school.” Through health sciences courses such as this one, these students are better prepared for future careers in healthcare. Wells said, “This course offers a world of knowledge for all careers in healthcare and gives them the opportunity to explore before jumping into college and not knowing for sure what they want to do. … My goal is to help students to learn all that they can about the college or career … they want to pursue and motivate them to go for it.” Stokes said these skills and lessons are useful for everyone; she added, “Even if people don’t go into [the] health field, [they] can take these lessons and the skills … with [them] all throughout life.” Practical skills, personal goals and community awareness have been the hallmarks of the influence of the health science program in Louisville. Not only has this HOSA project influenced the health and life of a young local child, but it has increased awareness throughout the community and provided an educational opportunity for health sciences students. Ultimately, this project also inspired two students to enter the health sciences field, passionate about their goals and prepared for the future. 14

in other news... Digital media class takes the field The Petal High School digital media students took their classroom to the football field in October. In conjunction with Fox 23, WHPM in Hattiesburg, broadcasting the Panthers football game, two students from the class, Joseph Bastine and Priscilla Barron, were able to assist the TV crew in broadcasting the game, including actually filming during the third quarter. Bastine and Barron took over videographer roles for that quarter, wearing headsets, filming the game and following the director’s instructions. An interview with both students was featured during the game broadcast. Future plans for the Digital Media Technology class include collaborations that will allow the students to broadcast more athletic events, as well as other activities, such as show choir, theatrical productions and band performances, via the Internet on the Petal High School’s “Panther Web.”

Propulse options growing to better equip teachers Updates in the Propulse testing process are here! The Propulse assessment tests the technology skills of educators and is now an option for those whose programs do not require IC3 certification.The assessment covers basic technology skills relating to software, hardware, computer management and the Internet. For those who want a review before the certification testing, a 40-hour, 4-week Blackboard course is available. Propulse testing is now available at more locations around the state; until recently, this testing was only available in Starkville. At this time, there are 14 testing sites and 31 proctors trained to conduct the testing. More proctors and test sites are still needed, particularly in the northern part of the state, so that more teachers will have nearby sites for the testing. Proctors are required to be certified in either IC3, A+ or Propulse; participate in the training webinar; and complete the proctor quiz. For more information about how to become a proctor or a testing site, contact Suzanne Tribble at the RCU at 662.325.2510 or To sign up for the Blackboard course or the Propulse Assessment, visit


History in the making by Kimberly DeVries

Three years ago, a pilot MDE program at McComb Business and Technology Complex was born with a focus on digital media technology, hoping to increase the education of media-savvy students and help them prepare for their high-tech futures. Today, that program has managed to combine mass media with individuals’ stories as part of the McComb Legacies Project, creating a website focused on the history of McComb, Miss. The local cultures class at McComb High School has been engaged in a long-term project to gather interviews of those involved in the civil rights movement in McComb. Under instructor Vicki Malone, that group conducted and filmed interviews.When the digital media class was piloted, CTE director Tom Catchings hoped the classes could collaborate, and indeed they have. “I just saw it as another tool we could use on top of all the other things digital media does,” Catchings said. As part of a quest to “understand, preserve and share” McComb’s history, as instructor Falana McDaniel put it, the digital media students have filmed interviews, edited the interviews in their computer lab, and created a website,, to tell their town’s story. The students learned about the roles of historians and researchers and connected with others. They collaborated with students from California at the Urban School, which has done a similar project documenting the stories of Holocaust survivors. Students from both schools shared ideas and tips through visiting each other’s schools and through communicating via Skype. The project is an ongoing one, allowing current and future students the opportunity to film, edit and manage the online side of the videos. McDaniel explained that “the website is designed to share the history of McComb … with an emphasis on the stories of working people of all races, women and young people and how they have strived for equity in labor, civics, education, economics and the arts.” McDaniel believes the strength of projects and classes such as these is that they allow students to be creative while thinking critically because “these skills require a higher level of thinking,” she commented. The approximately 40 students in the 2-year digital media program have also created short films, documentation films of different teachers and classes and promotional films on iCAPs and Pathways to Success. The class also has created recruitment films for the Business and Technology Complex to be shown to ninth-graders before their tour 16

“The website is designed to share the history of McComb … with an emphasis on the stories of working people of all races, women and young people and how they have strived for equity in labor, civics, education, economics and the arts.”

of the center. Students in the program also learn about the various aspects of digital media, including business ethics; they also experiment in graphic design and animation. The program seeks to offer certifications in Adobe software and Final Cut Pro as well.

Speakers from Apple and WLBT in Jackson have visited the class, explaining their careers and discussing various opportunities. McDaniel is confident that this program will impact student’s futures; already one student has an internship this summer with WLBT, where she will use her video-editing skills gained through this class, and another student changed his major to graphic design and is planning on attending ITT Tech upon graduation. “The students are allowed real-world experiences with projects such as this one,” McDaniel said. And those real world experiences will help these students prepare for careers; these experiences offer the students a range of learning opportunities that will serve them well as they continue their educations. Catchings said, “[I] think it’s the way of teaching in the future. … I just think it’s a course that could be duplicated in a number of ways; it’s just a fabulous course.” The students have been recognized nationally for their work by Story Corps, a nonprofit organization promoting the telling of history as a means to emphasize connections. The students are involved in competitions as well. In February, the Digital Media students submitted a documentary about the Burglund High School walkout in the National History Day competition at University of Southern Mississippi, and they placed second in the state. They will go on to compete nationally in Washington, D.C., this summer. The students will then have an opportunity to accomplish their goal: to share their website, their stories and their history with the nation. 17

Pathways to Success and iCAPs being implemented across the state by Kristen Dechert As the new Pathways to Success initiative gets underway, students around the state are being introduced to career clusters and pathways that their districts offer. Although all schools choose from the state-approved clusters and pathways, no two schools’ methods of implementation are alike. Some are hosting career and technical education interest fairs. Others are allowing students to sit in on classes in particular pathways. To facilitate their future planning, each student will build an iCAP, or individual career and academic plan. Built in the eighth grade and revised each year after, the iCAP helps students tailor their course selection to their future education and career goals. Here are just a few ways schools around the state are helping their students build iCAPs and moving them even closer to their career goals.

Petal High School Although all schools choose from the state-approved clusters and pathways, no two schools methods of implementation are alike.

Petal High School hosted a recruitment event called Choices 2012 to inform students of the STEM clusters and pathways the school offers and the requirements for each. All students rotated through eight CTE programs and spent about 15 minutes at each watching demonstrations, listening to presentations, or participating in activities, said Counselor Colleen Morris. All activities and presentations were delivered by CTE students, and each group gave something to the students that represented its class. For example,

Business Fundamentals/Marketing students gave away lip balm with a label that read “Business Fundamentals is the BALM,” and Culinary Arts students gave away cookie cutters shaped like paws to represent their school mascot, the panther. Prior to the event Morris distributed flyers for each program and a letter to parents explaining what they would be doing over the next 3 days. To further help parents, the school held an evening meeting to distribute information about Pathways to Success and the different graduation options available to the students. Following these career-exploration and information sessions, Petal’s eighth-, ninth-, and 10thgraders created iCAPs. The CTE rotation was beneficial in helping students know what programs interested them, said Morris. Not only did the students have a good time, but with their iCAPs in place, they are now ready for the next step.


Brandon Middle School Teachers and counselors at Brandon wanted students to quickly make the connection that what they chose to do in high school would affect their futures. They showed the students typical salaries of professions and typical monthly breakdowns for household expenses. Teacher Mary Dunaway said they wanted to get students thinking about potential jobs before the discussion of Pathways to Success. After the students had an idea of jobs that interested them, teachers and counselors explained Pathways to Success. Because the school already has academies, the students were able to easily recognize the clusters, said Dunaway. “For the most part, the [Choices] Cluster Finder was very accurate in classifying students,” she added. Brandon High School plans to use these results to group students into homeroom classes. After identifying their clusters and pathways, students will deliver presentations to their classmates about their chosen careers and the type of education or certification required for them to succeed. Following these presentations, students will build their iCAPs and gear up for high school this fall.

Clarke County Career and Technical Center By examining student-interest surveys and community and industry needs, Clarke County CTC has decided to revamp its CTE offerings as it ushers in Pathways to Success. CTE Director Mark Hudson found that students often couldn’t take the CTE courses that interested them or that had seats available. He noticed that some programs were overflowing while others struggled to get enough students. To help the center best address the needs of the students and the school, Hudson and his staff “developed a survey to not only determine student interest and needs but to also help identify courses which would cause a more even distribution of first-year students in all CTE courses offered.” Initially, the group only expected to replace one program, Business and Computer Technology, but through the surveys, it realized another program, Construction, had low student interest as well. Early Childhood Education and Culinary Arts fared well in the student surveys and will help better distribute enrollment in all of the Clarke County CTE offerings, said Hudson “A better alignment of student interest, community needs, academic courses and CTE-program offerings … will serve as a complete package to motivate our students to begin and complete the education or training [needed] to be


successful in their chosen career field,” he added. To help smoothly implement these changes along with Pathways to Success, all high school course offerings have been entered into the Choices program, the junior high counselor will be attending iCAP training soon, and the district hopes to have all of eighth-graders complete an iCAP by the end of the year. “[Early Childhood Education and Culinary Arts] have stirred more interest and excitement toward CTE in our district than anything I’ve seen in my 15 years here,” concluded Hudson. Excitement about the future, change based on students’ career goals, and planning for Mississippi’s industry needs is what Pathways to Success is all about. Events and changes like those going on at Petal, Brandon and Clarke County are happening all around the state where educators just like these are helping thousands of students better prepare for their futures. And with better prepared students joining a more resilient workforce, Mississippi is on a pathway to success as well. 20

“A better alignment of student interest, community needs, academic courses, and CTE-program offerings … will serve as a complete package to motivate our students to begin and complete the education or training [needed] to be successful in their chosen career field.”

in other news...

CTE Capitol Day CTE Capitol Day was held this year on February 17 in the rotunda of the Capitol Building in Jackson. As a part of a celebration of National Career and Technical Education month, the event sought to inform legislators and the community of the programs offered by the MDE’s Office of Career and Technical Education to students throughout the state, both through classroom experiences and student organizations. Students and teachers participating came from all over the state, including Brandon High School, Byhalia High School, Clinton Career and Technical Center, Madison County Career and Technical Center, Oak Grove High School, Pisgah High School, Puckett Attendance Center and Winston-Louisville Career and Technical Center.

Construction students building futures In instructor Bill Goldman’s Construction Technology class at McComb High School last year, a house was being built. This was not just a project for a laboratory but a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity to build a new home for a family. The students constructed the building first in their shop, and then when the site was ready, the house was packed up and taken to the new home site. There, the 30 students erected the walls and reconstructed the house. Career and Technical Education Director Tom Catchings said that this experience gave the students a sense of ownership. “This was more than a wall they were going to build and tear apart; this became their house,” he added. The students were able to attend the home’s grand opening and meet the new owners and were recognized by the mayor for their contribution. Plans are in place to build more homes in the coming years, giving the students, and the new homeowners, a solid foundation for the future.



SkillsUSA Awards A number of Mississippi high school students attended the state competition at Hinds Community College in Pearl, Miss., March 22-23, 2012, and took home these awards: Action Skills: Zack Auvil of George County High School won third place. Architectural Drafting: Ryan Groth of Harrison County Vo-Tech Center won first place. Andy Thatcher of Forrest County High School won second place. John Lumbly of Hinds Community College – Vicksburg/Warren County Campus’s secondary program won third place.

Mississippi flavors win regional competition Young chefs put a Mississippi twist on a brunch favorite to create the winning entry in the first-ever Southern Regional 4-H Seafood Cook-Off, held in New Orleans. Adriana Wilson, Sarah Soares, Cory Martin and Jarod Harris, seniors in the hospitality and tourism management program at St. Martin High School, prepared their Mississippi-Style Crabmeat Benedictine for the cook-off. Instead of the usual English muffin, the team substituted a pan-fried cheddar biscuit to give the dish a little crunch. They topped the biscuit with a poached egg, Hollandaise sauce spiced with cayenne pepper and Dijon mustard, and sautéed Mississippi Gulf Coast blue crab. A side of asparagus gave color to the plate, which was garnished with diced Roma tomatoes and paprika. Finally, a chilled watermelon salad with mojito syrup and a fresh mint garnish served in a sugar-rimmed porcelain salad dish offered a sweet Southern taste to the judges, who were impressed. The cook-off required the team to prepare the dish in 60 minutes in front of an audience and with videographers looming over their shoulders. Soares said it was nerve-wracking to have the video cameras in her face. “But after a while, you forget that they’re there and just focus on your cooking,” she said. Judges praised the team’s personality, creativity and culinary imagination. Two of the judges gave the team perfect scores in all three areas: dish presentation, creativity and flavor. “We worked hard on perfecting our dish all summer, making changes to fit the southern Mississippi style,” said Martin. The experience has strengthened the resolve of each team member to continue the pursuit of culinary perfection both in next year’s competition and beyond. “We will have to return next year and compete as reigning champs,” said Wilson, whose experience in the competition confirmed her dream to own a restaurant someday. “I’m expecting some more brainstorming and practices to come out of ‘the dream team’ soon.” Condensed and reprinted with permission from Mississippi Landmarks Fall 2011 issue. Content written by Keri Lewis.


FFA AWARDS The Mississippi FFA attended the National FFA Career Development Events and Agriscience Fair in Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 19-21, 2011, and took home a number of awards: Agricultural Mechanics: The Booneville FFA Chapter received Silver. Team members: Dylan Penna, John Carey, Zach Parrish and John Tull Creed Speaking: Ben Garrett from Mantachie received Bronze. Dairy Cattle Evaluation: Newton County received Bronze. Team members: Sarah Freeman, Katie Sanford and Amy May Dairy Foods: The Sumrall FFA Chapter received Bronze. Team members: Nate Hutson, David Bond and Taylor Deen Environmental and Natural Resources: The Millsaps FFA Chapter received Bronze. Team members: Rob Wilbourn, Austin Harris, Hannah Miller and Sandor Dibble Extemporaneous Public Speaking: Krystal Broom from the Sumrall FFA Chapter received Bronze. Farm Business Management: The Sumrall FFA Chapter received Bronze. Team members: Natalie Zortman, Wren Russell and Katie Patterson Floriculture: The Millsaps FFA Chapter received Silver. Team members: Michaela Mills, Duncan Watson, Jack Bryan and Morgan Patterson Forestry: The Greene County FFA Chapter received Silver. Team members: Eric Kittrell, Deonna Thurston and Logan Moss Horse Evaluation: The Kossuth FFA Chapter received Bronze. Team members: Chantel Combee, Mercedes Steele, Hannah Rinehart and Alesha Wilbanks Job Interview: Keith Pickell from Mendenhall FFA received Bronze. Livestock Evaluation: The Kossuth FFA Chapter received Bronze. Team members: Mack Mitchell, Brittney Killough, Keri Crum and Sayde Turner

FFA annual breakfast

Meats Evaluation: The Mantachie FFA Chapter received Bronze. Team members: Dayton Funderburk, Michael Lindsey and Colton Sullivan

National Agriscience Fair: Byhalia received Bronze. The FFA celebrated its annual Nursery Landscape: Millsaps received Silver. Team members: Kieran Davis, Legislators and Sponsors Justin Gandy, Mark Putt and Ashley Albritoon Breakfast on February 21 in Parliamentary Procedure: Biggersville received Bronze. Jackson. Hosted by the team of state officers, the event is held Poultry Evaluation: Carthage received Silver. Team members: Caleb Woods, each year as part of National FFA Matthew Tucker, Brooklyn Stewart and Courtney Moore week to honor Mississippi Prepared Public Speaking: Abby Styers from Lafayette received Bronze. legislators and FFA Association sponsors and to promote awareness of the FFA organization, the largest student organization in the world. Over 600 attended this year’s breakfast, including FFA members from across the state, parents, advisors, sponsors, legislators and several national FFA guests. National FFA Secretary Jason Troendle spoke, along with Mike Mulvihill, bureau director of compliance and reporting at the MDE, U.S. Congressman Gregg Harper and Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture Cindy Hyde-Smith.

POLYMER SCIENCE AWARDS Five students from Petal High School competed in the Polymer Science High School Competition at the University of Southern Mississippi in November 2011. The students won several individual awards and the quiz bowl. They also earned the Best Overall School award.

Hattiesburg student De’AndrE StaffordMay recognized for scientific research One senior at Hattiesburg High school is making quite an impression with his work in polymers. De’André Stafford-May’s project, which compares traditional heat-cured resins in Kevlar to newer UV-cured resins, earned him first place in chemistry and all three armed service recognition awards at the Mississippi Science and Engineering Fair, where he was also the Region 1 overall winner. At the state-level fair, Stafford-May again won first place in chemistry and the Naval award for excellence in research. He will compete in mid-May at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pa. Stafford-May’s polymer teacher, James Brownlow, said Stafford-May could have bypassed the state science fair, but he wanted more experience in answering judges’ questions about his research before going to the Intel fair in May. In addition to these numerous awards, Stafford-May’s work has been recognized by RadTech, an international association in the field of polymer science. RadTech honored Stafford-May, along with his University of Southern Mississippi mentors, doctoral candidates Joshua Hanna and James Goetz, at the RadTech Conference, in Chicago, Ill. in April. During this all-expenses-paid trip, Stafford-May was recognized for his incredible research efforts in UV coatings. Bursting with pride, Brownlow said it perfectly: “His story is amazing.”

Congratulations to these schools that earned ACTE’s 2011 Achieve 100 Award: • Webster County Career and Technology Center • South Panola High School • Pope School • Petal High School Career and Technical Education • Newton Career Center • Madison Career and Technical Center • Choctaw County Career and Technology Center Achieve 100 recognizes schools in which all career and technical staff are ACTE members. 25

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 Spring 2012  

bi annual MDE newsletter

Connections Spring 2012  

bi annual MDE newsletter

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