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Archive for October, 2013

FCCLA Capitol Leadership

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

By Lindsay Erekson, Utah FCCLA State President

This year as state officers for Utah Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) we had the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. for Capitol Leadership. As part of this training we attended classes teaching us how to become an expert, advocate, and leader in the things we love. The cumulative event of this training was the chance to use our new advocacy skills on Capitol Hill as we spoke with our congressional representatives on the importance of Perkins Funding for Career and Technical Education.


FCCLA State Officers with Congressman Jim Matheson

During our time in D.C. we got to experience firsthand the recent government shutdown. Our scheduled day to be on Capitol Hill was the first day of the shutdown. Therefore, we had the opportunity to see protestors on the Hill as well as to watch the debate taking place in the House of Representatives. However, the shutdown did not affect our meetings. In fact, it gave us the chance to speak about our concerns face-to-face with Congressman Jim Matheson and to briefly meet with Senator Orrin Hatch.

 FCCLA State Officers with Senator Orrin Hatch

Capitol Leadership was a beneficial event to attend and has benefited all of us greatly.

FCCLA: The Ultimate Leadership Experience

Become a Microsoft Office Specialist

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Students across the state of Utah have the opportunity to become certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) by taking MOS certified exams. Business teachers who have received training and are experts in this area are encouraging their students to take the exam in Word, Excel, and/or PowerPoint in order to be certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist. Becoming certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist gives students a competitive edge in the job market by displaying advanced Microsoft Office skills.

Brandon Jacobson, Business Education teacher at North Sanpete High School, tells about his experience with teaching, training, and giving MOS exams.

“MOAC, MOS, Certiport; some may think that this is a different language. It isn’t…it is the learning system within the Computer Technology class. In fact, within the first weeks of class these brilliant computer technology students have a pretty good understanding of what these strange, perhaps stimulating words mean. Students at North Sanpete High School are taking the challenge head-on to become a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS). This is accomplished by taking a certifying exam through Certiport Exams. These test are an industry standard offered worldwide. It is amazing that these students will become more qualified in Word, PowerPoint, or Excel than some of their parents and possibly some executives and associates in high paying salaries. The challenge then transforms into new talent, untapped aptitude, and expertise to succeed with confidence.

“A state representative has asked how we are helping students to compete in the job market and become prepared for advanced education and professional expertise. Our answer is simple; this is the class that will assist in both of those areas significantly. Papers, charts, financial applications, and presentations will be prepared, designed, and displayed in a way that allows for the enhanced learning, specific explanation, and overall comprehension of that work they have prepared…simply because they took pride and applied what they learned. As an educator, a sense of gratification and satisfaction is felt when students have elevated their work by applying the concepts and skill set they acquire while in your class(es).

“Last semester (Spring 2013), when the last week was upon us many students were eager to skip the designated times of signing yearbooks, and hanging with their classmates in order to have the opportunity to take a certification exam. It seemed a little strange when some students would ask if they could come and take an exam prior to the school year being over. I mentioned many times that their grades were final and that it would not add any extra credit. However, I feel they valued the demonstration of skill and advancement in knowledge. During that spring semester we experienced a total of 87 certifying exams. 75 total students passed exams. 75 passed Word, of those 75 that passed Word, 7 students tried and passed Excel, and 5 had enough time to take and pass PowerPoint. 75 individuals have become better prepared for employment and college.

“I am now teaching about 120 students. This will reflect upwards of 360 tests by the end of January 2014. Did I say tests? I meant certified exams accomplished and passed. That is four times more than last year. I hope to see each student excel and accomplish his or her own goals. I look forward to them gaining skills and confidence in themselves and this program. This MOS platform, albeit very detailed and quite complex, has the propensity to challenge and trigger genuine growth.

Microsoft Office Specialists at North Sanpete High School

If you’re interested in becoming certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist talk to the business teacher in your school for details.

Meet CTE Teacher Chris Humbert

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Meet CTE Teacher Chris Humbert: From Designing Buildings to Designing Curriculum

The bell marks the end of the school day, but Chris Humbert is still going strong. Students are slow to leave his classroom, and there are some who walk in from the hall to say ‘hi.’ Mr. Humbert obviously has the respect of his students at Kearns Junior High School, and is quick to acknowledge their strengths and contributions. Given his ease in this classroom setting, you would never guess that he hasn’t spent his whole career here, but in truth, Mr. Humbert was an architect for many years before pursuing his teaching credentials. There were a number of steps involved in making his way to a full time teaching position at Kearns Junior about three years ago, and he credits Granite School District’s Great Beginnings pedagogy classes for giving him a big advantage as he moved from industry into teaching.

Mr. Humbert encourages students to participate in Career and Technical Education – especially Technology and Engineering, and is constantly on the lookout for new ways to communicate all the advantages that CTE courses have to offer. His web page offers his students in CTE Intro (7th grade), Gateway to Technology (8th grade), and Gateway to Engineering (9th grade), a central location for finding course information and more. Mr. Humbert has also just started a Twitter account (follow @MrHumbertKJH) and is eager to find ways to use Twitter and other social media to communicate and share with students and their parents.

Adventure is out there, so reach for the sky

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

By Victoria Pierce, Utah FCCLA VP of Public Relations

On September 24 and 25 Utah FCCLA had their annual Fall Leadership Conference. At the conference the state officer team introduced the 2013-2014 FCCLA theme, motto, and goals. Our theme is “Adventure is out there!” Our motto is “Reach for the sky!” We had workshops for members to learn more about this year’s theme and goals. The fun didn’t stop there. Utah FCCLA had not one but two amazing keynote speakers, Johnny Covey and Porter Ellett. Johnny Covey reminded us to stay in our heart and not in our head. Then Porter Ellett shared his message, “DOn’t quIT”. Remember to “Reach for the Sky” because “Adventure is Out There!”

Alexandria Palmer, chapter president at North Sanpete High School, said this about the conference, “I learned quite a bit at the conference. It was very informative to me, a first timer. I enjoyed the speakers and thought the workshops were put together very well.”

“At Fall Leadership, chapter officers were given helpful tips and tricks on how to improve their chapter, received helpful information about FCCLA to share with their members, and learned how to become better leaders in their own community! Fall Leadership was my chance to meet other FCCLA members who are as eager to learn more about FCCLA as I am! I was inspired by the dedication of our members and shared in the excitement of being a part of a truly amazing organization!” said Mikaela Bingham, Utah FCCLA 2nd Vice President.

2013-2014 FCCLA Theme, Motto, and Goals

Theme: Adventure is Out There!

Motto: Reach for the Sky

Membership — “Jump Aboard”
Each chapter increases chapter membership from the previous year.

National Programs/Participation — “Complete the Journey”
Each chapter has members complete one National Program, other than Community Service. Each chapter submits at least one National Program to Nationals.

Partnership/Publicity — “Get Your Search On”
Each chapter works to expand community awareness of FCCLA through formation of new partnerships and public relations.

Communications and Community Service — “Imagine the Possibilities”
Each chapter completes a meaningful and beneficial service project with emphasis on Share Our Strength and high member involvement. Projects will be submitted to Share Our Strength or the National Program, Community Service.

“I always love to attend Fall Leadership because it is so fun to see all the leaders in training. The [FCCLA student members] do such a great job and their energy revitalizes me for the upcoming year,” said Auralee Brooks, FCCLA adviser at North Sanpete High School.

2013-2014 FCCLA State Officers


Three Things You Should Know About CTE and High School Graduation

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

By Mary Shumway
State Director of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
Utah State Office of Education

To be ready for life after high school, students first need to graduate. To follow are three often-cited reasons that students drop out (Johnston, J. H. (2010) Dropout Prevention: A Research Brief. Fairfield, CT: Education Partnerships, Inc.,) followed by some examples of ways that Career and Technical Education (CTE) can help prevent students from dropping out.

1.       Academic Factors
Students who receive poor grades are more likely to drop out, but CTE concentrators improved their 12th grade NAEP scores by eight points in reading and 11 in math, while students who took no CTE courses did not increase their math scores and their reading scores improved by just four points. (Department of Education, National Assessment of Vocational Education, 2004) A ratio of one CTE class for every two academic classes minimizes the risk of student dropping out of high school. (Plank et al, Dropping Out of High School and the Place of Career and Technical Education, National Research Center for CTE, 2005)

2.       Occupational Aspirations
Without a clear picture of the opportunities available to them, students are at risk of dropping out. Most careers are made up of a series of jobs, each requiring higher skills and more experience than the one before. By participating in Career and Technical Education, students are exposed to, and prepared for, the first rung on their career ladder. In addition, research shows that CTE students develop problem-solving, project completion, communication, time management, critical thinking and other cross functional skills in demand by today’s employers. (Society for Human Resource Management and WSJ.com/Careers, Critical Skills Needs and Resources for the Changing Workforce, 2008)

3.       Disengaged Students
There are many students who don’t feel connected to their school experience, perhaps even feel that there is no one there who is interested in or cares about them. A recent report (Making the Case for CTE: What the Research Shows, National Center for CTE, 2013) claims that boys, especially, are struggling. But the hands-on, project-based learning strategies that are standard in most CTE programs appeal to a wide variety of students. In addition, students who participate in Career Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) enjoy higher academic motivation and engagement. (Looking Inside the Black Box: The Value Added by Career and Technical Student Organizations to Students’ High School Experience, National Research Center for CTE, 2007)

Utah CTE Fact Sheet — Career and Technical Education Produces Results

Become Better and Ignite Your Potential

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Utah FFA Association,

I hope that your first few weeks of school have been amazing and that you are fully enjoying a new year full of great opportunities to learn and ignite your potential as FFA members. You are part of the greatest organization available to high school students and I encourage you to take full advantage of that opportunity. This new year provides new experiences and opportunities which will aid in developing your potential for premier leadership, career success and (I know it’s out of order) overall PERSONAL GROWTH.

You all can become better this year, every single one of you. It may take work, commitment, and sacrifice but it will be worth it. Becoming better this year begins with a decision… to become better. Say it to yourself, “I will become better!” Sweet, the mental goal is created! Now act on that!

I strongly encourage you to make the most of this year and keep up on your school work as well as your FFA obligations and commitments. Try something new…. compete in a new contest, meet that friend that you’ve yet to meet, and do something as you have never done before. It will be worth it. You only cross this path once, pick up as much as you can now because once it’s over you can’t come back.

We as state officers can see your potential and our feet tingle with excitement to see what it will become! (Strange analogy, but it works ha-ha) We look forward to each coming day and the opportunity to associate with so many of you, let us know what is going on. WE WANT TO BE INVOLVED! 🙂 Once again, take each opportunity that you have to become better and ignite your potential. We look forward to seeing you this year at chapter, state, and national activities. Keep up the good work!

Until next time, work hard, stay committed, shatter expectations, ignite your potential, try something new, bleed blue and gold…. and, oh yeah, LOVE THE BIRDS- well mostly pigeons, ha-ha.

Love you all, in a not awkward way! Later,
Hunter Siggard, Utah FFA State Treasurer

This blog was originally published in the Utah State FFA Newsletter, Issue: 1, located at UtFFA.org.

Thank You for Being a Great Ag Teacher

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

By Buddy Deimler, Agricultural Education specialist at the Utah State Office of Education and Utah FFA advisor

Thank you to every Ag teacher in Utah who works hard to make a difference with every student, in every class, every day. Through Agricultural Education and FFA you are making a positive difference in the lives of young people. Your hard work and dedication is evident by the hours that you spend and by the success your students enjoy, whether that success is at the local level, the state level or the national level. Thank you for going above and beyond the call of duty every day as you provide opportunities for your students. You do a great job!

Jeff Klose, an FFA alumni member and agriculture science teacher in Texas, wrote the poem below as a tribute to his dear friend, while thinking of the many Ag teachers who influenced his life. This poem rings true for each of you.

The Ag Teacher
By: Jeff Klose

The students walked into the ring. The judge they intently eyed.
He knelt outside attentively, hat adjusted to one side.

Watching ever closely, his memory sets adrift.
Upon all the work and effort that came before this shift.

Students work and effort, and his combined with theirs,
Has been the winning combination for many countless years.

The proof is in the product when all is said and done.
The banner does not count as much as all the lessons won.

Students of the FFA will tell you, whether doctors, lawyers or the rest,
Their Ag teacher made the biggest difference in gaining their success.

What he teaches you can’t gain in the classroom taking notes,
But outside where there’s discipline to:

Feed the goats, fix the floats, check their throats, feed ‘em oats, win the votes and all the other lessons he promotes.

Other people rarely see the care we know he shows.
While they are asleep in bed, he’s doctoring a pigs runny nose.

And when you think you’ve figured out animals are what he knows.
He puts on his coat and tie and trains students to speak like pros.

Then summer comes and many teachers take their rest.
But he’s in the truck, once again, to help your student do their best.

For countless years he’s done this job, his work is never done.
Success does not stop to rest, he cannot fail just one.

He works so hard for all of you…Not much about his life is known.
Yet all you need to know is; he treats your family like his own.

Thank you to my Ag teacher, you taught me long ago:
The champion banner does not count as much, as how you won the show!

Meet Becky Smith: This Teacher Has Solar Power!

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Becky Smith is Nationally Board Certified in Technology and Engineering. She teaches CTE Intro as well as math at South Davis Junior High School, and could probably teach effectively with her hands behind her back, given her knowledge and experience. However, Miss Smith enjoys mixing it up with new resources and activities. She says that keeping things fresh ensures that students are engaged, and student engagement is what nourishes her passion for teaching. She enjoys working with state specialists, and also makes an effort to participate in professional development opportunities that are offered by her district. When asked which CTE Intro activity is her students’ favorite, she described how the class builds solar ovens and then cooks with them! (Check out NASA’s instructions for building a solar oven and their recipe for “Sun S’mores” here.)

Miss Smith says that the activity-centered lessons are appealing to seventh graders, and she is committed to assuring that students get the full benefit of the CTE Intro course, including –

  • The self-knowledge that will help them better understand how to become a contributing member of society.
  • The opportunity to explore the world of work and to learn about the education and training needed to be successful.
  • A personal college and career plan, developed in cooperation with parents, counselors and other educators.

Next time you see Miss Smith, be sure to tell her that she’s a shining example for CTE Intro teachers everywhere!

FCCLA State Officers in Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

The Utah FCCLA state officers are in Washington D.C. attending the national FCCLA Capitol Leadership Training. The leadership training began on September 29 and continues through October 2. Student members and advisers from across the country have joined together to network with each other, develop leadership skills, participate in service-learning opportunities, and advocate for FCCLA.

While in Washington, D.C., much to their surprise, the government shutdown! Or, as they put it, “The government partially shutdown.” They have a full schedule of leadership meetings. But now with a change in schedule, of some of their planned sites to see in Washington D.C., they’re finding great things to do.

Follow the Utah FCCLA state officers on Facebook to read about they’re trip to Washington, D.C.

Utah FCCLA state officers react to government shutdown



Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Over 20 Percent Youth Joblessness and Still No Apprenticeships? This was a question posed by economist Robert Lerner as he advocated for expanded youth apprenticeship as a key strategy for raising the skills and productivity of American workers. In his paper, Can the United States Expand Apprenticeship? Lessons from Experience, Lerner offers examples of skill mismatches, especially for many technical jobs requiring mastery of specific occupational tasks. He suggests that this mismatch can be largely addressed by ensuring that apprenticeship becomes an attractive and viable alternative to college and/or the military for many more high school students.

So what is apprenticeship? Registered apprenticeship connects students who are interested in developing new skills with employers who want to train workers for jobs that use those skills. Students earn while they learn – usually at least minimum wage at the start of their program, with increases as they progress. Apprentices typically complete 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and at least 144 hours of related instruction each year. Sponsoring employers, employer associations or labor unions will often pay for the technical instruction that is provided by a technical school, community college, or at an apprenticeship training center. Individuals who complete an apprenticeship earn a nationally recognized certificate. You can learn much more about apprenticeship, including sources of additional information and from testimonials, by reading a recent article – “Apprenticeship: Earn while you learn” – in the Occupational Outlook Quarterly.

This table reflects the ten most popular apprentice occupations. You can click on each occupational code to view additional details – like wages for inexperienced workers in the occupation, or current job openings – available in the Utah Occupation Information Data Viewer.


Occupational Code

Active Apprentices, 2012

Median Nat’l Hourly Wage

Median Utah Hourly Wage



36,742 $23.96 $21.81


15,479 $19.20 $17.07


13,201 $23.62 $23.44
Pipe fitter


8,586 $23.62 $23.44
Construction craft laborer


7,947 $14.42 $13.51
Sheet metal worker


7,714 $20.81 $21.76


5,479 $16.97 $15.95
Structural steel/ironworker


5,041 $22.18 $19.10


3,560 $16.92 $16.54
Pipe fitter (sprinkler fitter)


3,266 $23.62 $23.62

Sources: U. S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship, U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics program, Utah Department of Workforce Services