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Archive for December, 2011

PLTW: A Bridge to Join an Educated and Qualified Workforce

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

By Jerry Nelson, Technology and Engineering teacher at Two Rivers High School

We live in a fast paced world with various challenges. This requires unique and innovative solutions for both the workforce and the businesses they strive to serve. In education we need to understand and mitigate as many of the challenges as possible. Whether we strive to make people “college ready” or “job ready” our challenge is daunting. Project Lead the Way is a pre-engineering program that provides us a bridge to join an educated and qualified workforce with a great business by bringing them together at an early stage with good business skills and a quality education.

My educational philosophy has always been “You can dig a ditch with an education or without an education, but to get out of the ditch you need an education.” Project Lead the Way provides a way out of the ditch.

Project Lead the Way teaches students how to learn, how to solve problems and how to communicate results. If we need students to unlock the future we need to provide them with the right keys. This is a great program and I am proud to be a part of it.

Project Lead the Way: Igniting imagination and innovation through learning!

SEOP: Plan for College and Career Ready

Monday, December 12th, 2011
Steven Shumway


Steven Shumway has had his SEOP meeting with his parents.* How About YOU?

The parent/student meeting with a school counselor is a key activity that is part of the individual planning component of the Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Program (CCGP).  Sometimes referenced as an “opportunity to celebrate the student,” the focus is definitely on you and the progress you’re making toward your education and occupation goals.  

Prior to the meeting with your parents, you will have had opportunities to establish future goals and develop future plans. Your counselor and others will have helped you understand the connection between your high school program of study and opportunities beyond high school.

Mr. Moreno, Steven Shumway, Steven’s Dad

The meeting with parents is a chance to share your goals and to discuss some topics related to plans you are making, such as:

        • Test scores.
        • Progress toward high school graduation.
        • Career development and decision-making.
        • Four- or six-year plans.
        • Career interest inventories.
        • Occupational information.
        • Work-based learning opportunities.
        • Financial aid.
        • College selection.
Find out when your SEOP meeting is scheduled, and take advantage of the time to celebrate your achievements!  If you have a favorite “SEOP moment” to share, please email us at UtahCTE@schools.utah.gov.  We would love to highlight your experience, too!

Reviewing SEOP: Plan for College and Career Ready

* Larry K. Shumway, Ed.D., State Superintendent of Public Instruction
* Mary Shumway, State Director of Career and Technical Education

February is CTE Month!

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Plan now to join the 14.4 million secondary and postsecondary CTE students nationwide in celebrating Career and Technical Education (CTE) during the month of February. This year’s theme is Career and Technical Education: Preparing Students for College and Career! Schools can pick a day, a week, or the entire month to spotlight CTE programs.

Resources are available to assist you in your district, school, and classroom celebration. Promote CTE by participating in statewide activities throughout the month.

CTE Month Activities:
> CTE Moment
> CTSO Events/Activities
> Career Day
> Job Shadow Day
> Entrepreneurship Week
> Social Media Advocacy Day

CTE Moment 2011

Details about CTE Month activities will be announced on Facebook and Twitter. Visit UtahCTE.org to join our communities today!

Consider making the following activities part of your celebration:
> Decorate your school with banners and posters.
> Post electronic announcements to your school website, marquee, and bulletin boards.
> Have an open house for parents and the community.
> Make a video profiling successful alumni and where they work.
> If your school has a Facebook page make a post about the CTE Month events at your school.
> If your school has a Twitter page tweet about the CTE Month events at your school.

Send your CTE Month stories, pictures, and videos to UtahCTE@schools.utah.gov and we will feature them on UtahCTE.org.

CTE Month is a great opportunity to promote your programs and advocate for CTE.

Have fun!

Engineering Students Are Awesome!

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

By Holly Barker, Technology and Engineering teacher at Two Rivers High School

Project Lead the Way pre-engineering classes provide students the opportunity to find out what is involved in various engineering fields, to learn and use the design process, and to apply mathematics used by engineers to solve problems. Students who take these classes greatly enhance their abilities to apply mathematics, to work in teams, to create and test their designs, to research, and to report results in both written and verbal formats. They learn the skills they will use to succeed in industry. Former students of mine, who have gone on to work toward their BS degrees in various engineering fields, have found that classes at the college or university level are easy for them. They know how to proceed with taking a project from inception to completion. Our students who have recently graduated have:

  • Become student leaders in their respective universities.
  • Designed products that are patentable.
  • Become so adept at accurate and thorough documentation that their professors comment repeatedly about their abilities.
  • Amaze our business partners with the skills they have developed.
  • Become highly sought-after employees by companies with whom they have served internships.

Not enough can be said about how awesome these students are! Yes, it’s hard. And yes, it is SO worth it to stay the course! No one who has returned to visit with me has ever had anything but positive things to say about their high school engineering experience.

Technology and Engineering Education: Hands-on, Minds-on Education

CTE Can Help Address Human Capital Issues

Monday, December 5th, 2011
By Mary Shumway
State Director of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
Utah State Office of Education

A national report, Developing Human Capital: Meeting the Growing Global Need for a Skilled and Educated Workforce, recently released by McGraw-Hill’s Adult Education and Workforce Initiatives, underscores the value of Career and Technical Education (CTE) in today’s market. The report notes that – as the area where business and education most overlap, CTE is in a prime position to maximize the efforts of educational institutions and business/industry as they work cooperatively.

The authors suggest “The U.S. and other developed nations need to devote more resources to career and technical education – not just for young people still in school, but even more critically for adults who face barriers to employment due to lack of formal education, English language or other skills.”

You are encouraged to read the full report (which includes a conversation between Association of Career and Technical Education Director Janet Bray, and National Association of Workforce Boards CEO Ron Painter), but here are a few highlights:

Workplace Needs:
Economic, social and technological changes demand corresponding change in the relationship between employers and employees, and between business and education.

  • Technical credentials have the potential to outpace the wages of bachelor’s degree holders.
  • Low-skilled jobs are disappearing. Some other jobs have the same traditional titles, but require new skill sets.
  • The demand for high-skilled, well-trained workers is strong and growing stronger. 71 percent of “growth” jobs through the year 2016 will require postsecondary credentials.
  • “Soft skills,” including the ability to work effectively with others, continue to be important “21st century” skills.

Workforce Realities

  • Approximately one million U. S. high school students a year drop out before obtaining a diploma.
  • Eighty-eight million U. S. adults have at least one major educational barrier to employment (e.g., do not speak English well).
  • As the population ages and baby boomers retire, the percentage of working-age adults with a high school education is destined to decline.

The Remedy

We must define a remedy for the disconnect between education and business. Here are some strategies we propose to assure that CTE programs in Utah better meet the needs of business/industry, and the needs of the students we serve. We must:

  • Continue to work with business and industry partners to ensure alignment of our programs with their needs;
  • Communicate the value of CTE to policy makers to ensure adequate resources;
  • Assure that students and their parents understand the value of participating in CTE Pathways to achieve the associated marketable skills that will help them achieve success in the 21st century workplace.
  • Promote experiences to ensure that students perceive the relevance of their educationto their future lives. Assure students have the information they need regarding:

Graduating from high school and being prepared for career and college will give young people a huge advantage as they progress in life. Partnering with business and industry, CTE can reduce barriers so that students continue to receive the training, academic knowledge, and skills they need in order to be productive, highly-trained employees.

Two Rivers High School: A Leader in STEM Education

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Two Rivers High School, in Weber School District, was recently named a “Model School” for their leadership in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, for the 2010-2011 school year, by Project Lead the Way (PLTW). They were one of 16 schools nationwide to be recognized with this award and were the only school selected in Utah. “We are excited to recognize these schools for their exemplary work with students on a daily basis,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. Two Rivers High School is the only school in Utah who has been recognized for their innovation and excellence with this award. (Read the press release here.)

Project Lead the Way is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM education curricular programs nationwide. PLTW pre-engineering classes provide students the opportunity to find out what is involved in various engineering fields, to learn and use the design process, and to apply mathematics used by engineers to solve problems.

To qualify for such a prestigious award schools are nominated by individuals in the PLTW Network. PLTW then sends each nominee an application asking for detailed information about multiple aspects of the schools PLTW program. Schools are awarded points demonstrating key elements of the quality indicators as outlined by PLTW. Schools are judged by 37 performance indicators within five quality indicator categories— program implementation, postsecondary relationships, communications and outreach, professional development and student engagement. Model schools are then evaluated by select PLTW State Leaders and Affiliate Directors.

The Project Lead the Way assessment scores at Two Rivers High School are consistently the highest in the state. Four courses had a 100 percent pass rate with the other two courses scoring 96 and 98 percent. This is a tribute to the dedication of teachers and quality of instruction at Two Rivers High School.

The engineering program at Two Rivers High School is now in its eighth year. The program began in 2004 with two teachers offering two courses to 134 students. Now the program has five teachers, with multiple PLTW certifications, offering seven courses to 386 students—grades 9-12.

The programs 13-member advisory committee has partnered to develop a true work-based mentoring program consisting of guest speakers, field trips, job shadowing, and five-month senior internship opportunities. Companies have also offered summer employment and scholarships for engineering students. Engineers from local companies volunteer as consultants for the Engineering Design and Development course. These industry-engineers motivate students, listen to presentations, and judge the capstone engineering projects. Many of the senior engineering projects have been real engineering challenges associated with the needs of local companies.

The Two Rivers High School Engineering program has also received the following awards and recognitions during the past several years.

  • Utah Technology and Engineering Program of the Year 2010-11
  • Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce Education Partners in Education Award 2009 and 2010
  • SME Foundation Grant 2006-07

“The Engineering program at Two Rivers High School is unique in its recruitment, student retention, depth of curriculum offerings, year-end assessment scores, collaboration with industry partners, internship program, university linkage, and frugal development. However, the heart of this outstanding STEM program is the instructors. They are totally invested, excited about their curriculum, and committed to student success,” said Darrell Andelin, Technology and Engineering Specialist at the Utah State Office of Education.

Utah CTE gives a BIG shout-out to the following educators for their dedication to students and making the engineering program at Two Rivers High School a huge success.

Dale Pfister, CTE Director
Reed Newey, former CTE Director
Glenn Prisk, CTE Coordinator
Holly Barker, Technology and Engineering teacher
Christopher Davidson, Technology and Engineering teacher
Jerry Nelson, Technology and Engineering teacher
Kevin Waters, Technology and Engineering teacher
John Donley, Technology and Engineering teacher