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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.

Students Score Highest in the State in Microsoft Office Specialist Exams

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Congratulations to Joseph Stanley and Wade Beveridge, two ninth-grade students from Orem Junior High School, who scored the highest in the state of Utah for two Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) exams. Joseph scored 950 on the Excel exam and Wade scored 914 on the PowerPoint exam. In May, both students were recognized by the Utah State Office of Education and Certiport at Orem Junior High Schools annual 9th grade awards assembly. Joseph and Wade received a certificate, a trophy, and a personal copy of Microsoft Office 2013.

Phil Hanney and Joseph Stanley

As a result of their high score, Joseph and Wade had the opportunity to compete in the national Microsoft Office Specialist competition held in Park City on June 11-13, 2013, where they competed against 28 student finalists representing 15 states.

“I am so proud of the great efforts both Joseph and Wade put into learning Microsoft Office. They both worked hard not only in my class, but also in their other classes and in extra-curricular activities. They represented our school and state extremely well at the national competition in Park City. Both Wade and Joseph are great examples of what self-discipline, conscientiousness, and perseverance is all about,” said Phil Hanney, CTE teacher at Orem Junior High School.

Wade Beveridge and Phil Hanney

Do you like formatting documents, creating spreadsheets, or developing electronic presentations? Are you proficient in a Microsoft Office program—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, SharePoint, and OneNote? Utah students can become certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist by taking an MOS exam at one of the 41 testing sites in Utah. Becoming certified as a Microsoft Office Specialist will give you a competitive edge in the job market by displaying your advanced Microsoft Office skills.

Students who certify as a Microsoft Office Specialist qualify—highest score, lowest time—to compete in the state, national, and world competition. Talk to the business or information technology (IT) teacher in your school for details.

Who: Utah middle/junior high and high school students
What: 2014 Microsoft Office Specialist National Competition
Where: Atlanta, Georgia
When: June 2014 (Specific date will be posted at www.certiport.com.)

Utah FBLA Students Place in Top 10 at National Competition

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

By Luke Searle, FBLA State President

The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) 2013 National Leadership Conference was one that will not be soon forgotten. Students from across the country gathered in Anaheim, California, to show off their abilities and connect with members everywhere. Utah FBLA had great success in the national competition, having students from all over the state make it to finals and place in their events. Morgan Mitchell, from Park City High School, earned 1st Place in the Job Interview competition. What an accomplishment! 

Morgan  Mitchell

This conference also gave members the opportunity to meet and network with other members all over the nation. Our state officer team not only enhanced our relationships within our team, but also observed how other state chapters worked and what could be learned from their success. Being a few hundred feet away from the happiest place on earth (Disneyland) wasn’t too bad either.

At the conference, Taylorsville High School FBLA student members
spell UTAH using their light sabers.

View the list of Utah FBLA National Competition Winners


Students to Compete at FBLA National Leadership Conference

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Today the best and brightest of FBLA convene in Anaheim, California to compete in leadership events, share their successes, and learn new ideas about shaping their career future through workshops and exhibits. This conference is considered the pinnacle of the FBLA experience, especially for those running for national office. FBLA student members will compete in over 60 competitive events during the four-day conference, June 27-30. FBLA has forged partnerships with industry leaders to underwrite competitive events and scholarships for students achieving national ranking.

Join the conference by watching a live stream of the Awards of Excellence Program on Sunday, June 30 at 6:00 p.m. (PDT).

View: Conference Program

FBLA: Igniting Innovation in Service, Igniting Innovation in Education,
and Igniting Innovation in Progress.

Cody Bohin: Future Accountant

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Cody Bohin, a student at Bingham High School, recently received a CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award to Salt Lake Community College. Cody will be studying for a career in business. “My goal out of college is to become an accountant. I hope that with all of my experiences and hard work it will help me to achieve my goal. I have worked hard and I will have that upper edge on any other accountant that I will be up against, says Cody.”

During Cody’s senior year he participated in the Business Leadership Training program at Canyons Technical Education Center. “Some of the things that make [the] class so special is that I have completed many prestigious seminars that make me more prepared than many adults in life, says Cody.”

Cody describes how Career and Technical Education prepared him for college and a career. “These programs that I have taken have furthered my skills not only for college but for my whole life. I have taken complete control of my life and face my life in a very professional way. The most impressive skill that I have been able to achieve is my work ethic. I have learned to work hard and always set and achieve goals above what is expected. I have really taken CTE classes to heart. [CTE has] taught me what I know today. With CTE programs you can choose a path and work towards it.”

Austin Harvey: Future Business Owner

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Austin Harvey
Occupational Goal: Business Owner

“The Entrepreneurship class I took at my high school has given me a burning desire to go out and start my own business. The CTE classes I have taken during my high school career have helped me decide what I want to do for a career. Ever since I took an Entrepreneurship class I have fallen in love with business.

“CTE courses have helped me tremendously to prepare for life after high school, college, and a career. The business classes really helped me see what it is like working in the real world and what it takes to be successful. The Business Leadership class has helped me so much. It has taught me valuable communication, problem-solving, time management, information management, and managerial skills. This class has shown me how to be a professional employee in a company. Since I have started this class, my grades have gone up in all of my other classes because it has taught me crucial study skills that are needed in college. The CTE classes I have taken in high school have truly helped me more than I ever could have imagined.”

—Austin Harvey, Alta High School

UtahCTE.org congratulates Austin on the CTE Scholarship and Tuition Award he received to Utah Valley University. Austin was one of 102 students honored at the CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards banquet on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

FBLA State Leadership Conference

Monday, March 25th, 2013

By Luke Searle
FBLA State President and student at Wasatch High School

Utah’s FBLA State Leadership Conference and Competition was held March 5-7, 2013 at the Davis Conference Center in Layton, Utah. Over 1,600 members from throughout the state met to compete in over 70 events! It was an exciting competition for all those involved.

At the conference, students competed for a chance to advance to Nationals, which is being held in Anaheim, California at the end of June. New state officers were also elected for the 2013-2014 year. I was lucky enough to be elected as Utah’s State FBLA President, and I look forward to working with my state officer team to make it a great year.

It was a tough competition, but in the end, the top five schools that had the most students place in events were:
1st Place: Wasatch High School
2nd Place: Hillcrest High School
3rd Place: Taylorsville High School
4th Place: Box Elder High School
5th Place: Davis High School

Congratulations to those schools!

We hope to see you all in the fall when Utah hosts the FBLA National Fall Leadership Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

FBLA Fall Leadership Conference

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

By Brittany Smart, FBLA state officer and student at Alta High School

This year, the Utah FBLA Fall Leadership Conference was held at the Hilton Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. Officers and active members from chapters across Utah were able to attend. We were able to ignite innovation throughout the conference. Listening to our great motivational keynote speaker, Mr. John Paul Murphy, and being able to recognize outstanding chapters, board members, and advisers in our opening session was a great way to start the conference.

The dance was also a huge success. Not only was it a blast, but we were also able to participate in a March for Dimes fundraiser as a state. Our president, Andy Ho, was locked in a jail cell outside the dance, and for every dollar donated he had to stay in the cell for two minutes. We were able to keep Andy in the cell for the entire dance! We thank everyone who participated and donated to the great cause.

Outstanding workshops were also a big part of the conference. PBL and FBLA state officers as well as presenters from businesses, universities, and other great organizations were able to teach, inspire, and motivate us to become better. It truly was an amazing conference, and we are grateful to all those who helped or participated in any way.

We hope to see you all again next year at our 2013 Fall Leadership Conference and look forward to our next state conference in March.

If you are not a member of a FBLA and would like to become a member, talk to your school counselor to get connected with the FBLA advisor in your school.

Calling all Utah junior high and high school graphic designers!

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The Business Education and the Information Technology Education specialists, at the Utah State Office of Education, are happy to announce the winner of the Summer Conference Graphics Contest.

The winning entry was designed by Bradley Herdt, a junior at Clearfield High School. Bradley’s design was one of 45 entries. His entry will be showcased during the Business Education and Information Technology summer conference at Murray High School on June 12-13, 2013.

As the winner of the Graphics Contest Bradley received a copy of Adobe® Creative Suite® 6 Design Standard, generously donated by Adobe®.

Congratulations Bradley!


Laura deShazo and Bradley Herdt

Calling all Utah junior high and high school graphic designers!
Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012

The Business Education and the Information Technology Education specialists, at the Utah State Office of Education, are in the process of planning a combined summer conference for Utah educators. The organizers of this conference invite YOU (Utah junior high and high school students) to design the graphic for the conference program materials. The graphic will be printed on the program cover, welcome posters, vendor punch cards, and thank you cards. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your talent and creativity as you design a “unique graphic” for the conference.

Each entry will be judged by a state committee of Business Education and Information Technology Education teachers. One entry will be selected and the winner will receive one copy of Adobe® Creative Suite® 6 Design Standard. (This prize was generously donated by Adobe® and has a retail value of $1,299.) The winner will be announced by March 1, 2013.

Graphic requirements:
> Theme: Start Something that Matters
> Must be the work of a Utah junior high or high school student.
> Designs must consist of completely original artwork, absolutely NO clip-art or stock illustrations, and NO copyrighted material. Any typography must be licensed for free commercial use. Designs must be scalable to work in both large and small formats.

Entry requirements:
> Completed entry form.
> Student entering the contest must be willing to sign a media release.
> Graphic files should be submitted on a CD/DVD in a vector format when possible, JPEG or PNG if not.
> Include one color 8.5” x 11” inch landscape copy of the program cover design.
> Mail or deliver entry to:
Laura deShazo
Utah State Office of Education
250 East 500 South   P.O. Box 144200
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-4200

Entries MUST be received by January 4, 2013.

The winning design will be the sole property of the Utah State Office of Education to be used in any manner. The winning designer will be fully credited with their design work. The winner’s name and picture will be featured on the conference program.

Important Note: Please understand that you will not be compensated for your design work. However, the winning design entry will be awarded one copy of Adobe® Creative Suite® 6 Design Standard.

January will be here before you know it, so don’t delay in creating your design entry for this contest. Good luck!

Contact: Andrea Curtin at the Utah State Office of Education at 801-538-7976.

Keyboarding: A Critical Literacy Skill

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

How often do you use a computer during the day to communicate a thought or a message? It is probably more often than you realize. From personal computers, to laptops, to tablets, computers are everywhere. Today’s productivity requires excellent keyboarding skills. While most children and adults can learn to hunt and peck on their own, real typing speed depends on proper technique. Speed is important because a young person should learn how to think and compose at the keyboard.

Efficient keyboarding and computer operation is a necessary and critical skill for the majority of occupations. According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, ninety-six percent of ALL jobs require effective keyboarding skills. Keyboarding is an expected tool for communication throughout one’s life. It is a skill that is considered as important as being able to print and write well. Now is the time to perfect your keyboarding skills.

 Keyboarding is a critical literacy skill!
It ranks with reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking.

In Utah schools, keyboarding is taught beginning in kindergarten and continues through grade 12. Students learn touch keyboarding techniques, correct fingering, speed and accuracy, and composing at the keyboarding.

Grades K-2

  • Students will be introduced to touch keyboarding techniques and correct fingering.
  • Mouse-driven software is recommended for K-2 students.

 Grades 3-5

  • Students will learn touch keyboarding techniques with emphasis on correct fingering.
  • Students will achieve a minimum of 25 words per minute by the end of 5th grade.

Grades 6-8

  • Students will use proper touch keyboarding techniques.
  • Students will demonstrate a working knowledge of basic word processing functions and proofreading.
  • Students will develop composing skills at the keyboard.
  • Students will achieve a minimum of 45 words per minute by the end of 8th grade.

Grades 9-12

  • Students will exhibit keyboarding competency in other curriculum areas.
  • Students will successfully complete the Computer Technology graduation requirement. (In order to successfully pass this class a student must know how to keyboard correctly.)

Learning proper keyboarding techniques early will prevent you from developing bad habits that are very hard to break. Students who key correctly demonstrate improved language arts skills, can compose faster, produce documents with a neater appearance, and have higher self-esteem.

Students, talk to your school counselor to register for a keyboarding class and plan now to prepare yourself for skills needed now and in the future.