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Archive for the ‘College and Career Ready’ Category

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!


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

Meet Coleen Huff, Outstanding Educator – CTE/Computers/Guitar

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

You might think that after 28 years of teaching at Mt. Nebo Junior High School, Coleen Huff would be growing tired of it all, but you’d be wrong. She continues to be exhilarated by her students, fellow faculty members, and even by the general community she serves. She says the secret is to keep on learning, and she is quick to point out the opportunities she has to collaborate with colleagues at the school and with district leaders.

Even at the end of a long day, Mrs. Huff’s passion for teaching is evident as she describes the CTE opportunities available at Mt. Nebo – a school with over 700 students. She reports that Mt. Nebo Junior High School offers an Introduction to Agriculture course that is wildly popular with the eighth and ninth graders who manage to get in. She takes pride in the fact that two of her students with special needs passed MS Word and Computer Technology state testslast year. And she is eager to describe her CTE Intro students’ favorite class project; making, marketing, and distributing their own brand of candy bar. “They’re so creative, and they learn so much!”

As Mrs. Huff walks the halls, pointing out various classrooms and features of the school, she is warmly greeted by staff and students alike. She generously shares credit for her achievements with others, which may be one reason that everyone looks forward to working with her for years to come.


Meet Lisa Hardy, Social Media-Savvy School Counselor

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

When Comprehensive Counseling and Guidance Program (CCGP) conference participants were invited to “like” the Utah CTE Facebook page, and to post a message there, Lisa Hardy jumped into action and was rewarded with a set of professionally printed CTE posters to use in her school. (See the full list of CTE Posters available as PDFs here.) Lisa Hardy is the sole school counselor at North Star Academy in Bluffdale, where she serves students in all grades – kindergarten through grade 9 – enrolled at the school.


Ms. Hardy has big plans for September 30-October 4; a “College and Career Week” will help students of every age better understand the world of work and the education required to achieve success in that world. She will use the CTE posters to illustrate the many Career Pathways available and to inform students of related facts. In addition, she is inviting community members and college representatives to do their part to ensure that students are exposed to a wide variety of occupations and that every student sees college (“1, 2, 4 or more”) as a key element of the post high school plan. Students will be encouraged to identify “their” college. There are even some plans in the works to host lunch time competitions between representatives of rival schools.  College and Career Week is just the beginning of the opportunities North Star Academy students will have to make college and career readiness a priority.


The CTE Posters that Lisa Hardy won may have to find a place in the hall,
as various other “tools of the trade” are spilling off of shelves in her office.


Meet Casey Boyer: New Teacher at a New School (But That Was Last Year)

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Casey Boyer started college thinking that he would become a mechanical engineer, but luckily for Nebo District, he changed his course to complete a degree in education. He acknowledged that his decision was influenced by his former Westside Elementary teacher who recognized his potential before he did. Mr. Boyer was excited by the prospect of helping to open Salem Junior High School last year, and has returned this fall a bit more confident, experienced, and knowledgeable about both his students and his subject matter.

Mr. Boyer teaches CTE Intro and Manufacturing courses. Objectives for these courses are expressed in “I Can” statements, for example, “I CAN recognize processes and technology in engineering, manufacturing and construction.” (See the full lists of the statements for his courses: CTE Intro and Manufacturing and Exploring Technology.)  He works diligently to assure that his students achieve these objectives, and he enjoys seeing them learn more about themselves and about the world of work. He noted that there is quite a range of development for the students in his CTE-Intro classes. He has a couple of students who already have well-developed career interests, with solid plans about how to prepare for specific occupations, while others have a very limited scope of what is possible, and still others see vast possibilities, but are in no way prepared to identify even a broad area of career interest. From Mr. Boyer’s viewpoint, that’s the beauty of CTE Intro; it is a curriculum that has something for every student – even if it’s simply a confirmation of something they do not want to do when they grow up!


Meet Lisa Panek, Career and Technical Education Teacher Extraordinaire

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Lisa Panek began her teaching career in Idaho, but is happy to be in Utah, where all seventh graders take the CTE Intro class. She recognizes the great advantage that this class offers students to learn more about themselves and how their interests and other characteristics might be supported by various occupations. Ms. Panek also appreciates the hands-on nature of CTE, and says that students may learn as much from the learning activities they hate as from the ones they love. Ms. Panek admitted to being somewhat anxious about facilitating the Technology and Engineering (T&E) activities in CTE Intro, but after participating in the CTE summer conferences, she’s feeling confident and excited about the T&E days. She thinks every student in the country should have the opportunity to take a class like CTE Intro!

In addition to the three classes of CTE Intro that she teaches at Mountainville Academy, Ms. Panek also teaches Computer Technology, Business Digital Literacy, and Keyboarding Applications. Her Classroom Page reflects a firm grasp of digital strategies that can be used to communicate with students, parents and the community at large. Ms. Panek enjoys promoting student success during the school day and beyond. She invites students to email her, and looks for other ways to use technology to keep in touch with and to motivate her students.

Broadcast and Sound Engineering Technicians

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

Two of the Pathways in the Skilled and Technical Sciences area are the Television Broadcasting Technician Pathway, and the Radio Broadcast Technician Pathway. Broadcast and sound engineering technicians set up, operate and maintain the electrical equipment for radio and television broadcasts, concerts, sound recordings and movies and in offices and school buildings. Most broadcast and sound engineering technicians have an associate degree or vocational certification. The Utah Department of Workforce Services provides state data for “Broadcast Technicians,” revealing that 10 job openings statewide are expected each year from 2010-2020 – an average employment growth rate. National data for this occupation and many others can be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.  You can also view two YouTube videos about television broadcast—“educational requirements” and “behind the scenes” occupations—that was presented at the UtahCTE Work-Based Learning Conference.


Meet Patti Smith…Teaching Business and More at Orem Junior High School

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

It was one of the first days of a new school year at Orem Junior High, but one would never know it from walking into this classroom. Patti Smith had her CTE Intro students fully engaged in a “Real Game” activity. Students were online to view career profiles, then sharing information with a partner, and then were up out of their seats and mingling with all the other students in the class to find out – as they took on their career roles – who made the most money, who had the best working conditions, who had to complete the most years of college, and more. With the ease of a practiced conductor, Patti Smith orchestrated the whole activity and assured that all 28 students (and this is her smallest class!) were on task and getting the information they need to fully participate in the “Real Game” over several days.

Patti Smith is a teacher who takes on the challenges of teaching junior high with enthusiasm. Her knowledge of this developmental stage informs her teaching style – playful but caring, and highly interactive. In addition to CTE Intro, Patti teaches Computer Technology and Keyboarding. Her students will acquire content knowledge and skills, but will also learn to work effectively in teams, build a positive attitude toward work, and develop many other “soft skills” that are in demand today.


Meet Social Media-Savvy Teacher, William Keil

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

While students were taking a summer break, most teachers were spending at least part of their summer time in various conferences, workshops and other learning experiences designed to increase their knowledge, build their skills, and generally get them motivated for another year of molding young minds. Computer Technology teacher William Keil, who teaches at Sunset Ridge Middle School, is no exception. When he had the opportunity during one conference to win a set of CTE posters for his classroom simply by posting to Facebook, he grabbed his iPad and accomplished that little assignment in minutes!

Though Mr. Keil now has years of teaching experience, he actually began his career as an accountant. And though he spent years teaching at the high school level, he opted to move to Sunset Ridge Middle School about seven years ago and has never looked back. He says he has an appreciation for middle school students, partly because his wife also teaches students in this age group. (Yes, they sometimes compare notes.) He sees lifelong learning as one key to being a great teacher. He says he and his fellow Jordan District CTE teachers have help keeping up with current trends from district level staff. Everyone is interested in keeping the technology safe, secure and accessible to teachers and students.

 Sunset Ridge Middle School

Mr. Keil likes learning new ways to incorporate technology in his classroom, and sees the potential power of advancing the use of social media in schools. He is also very aware of the need to balance early adoption of new technology with security. Students in middle school turn that magic age of thirteen – the age at which their contributions to online communities begin to be recognized. Mr. Keil recognizes his responsibility to help his students successfully navigate the new waters associated with all technology. If you see him, tell him thanks for going to school in the summer!


 Like teachers across the state, Mr. Keil spends time preparing before students
come back from their summer breaks. For one thing, he’ll bring this computer lab
back to life before students arrive on the first day of school.

Corner Canyon High School

Monday, August 12th, 2013

By Wayne Dittmore, CTE Coordinator

Canyons School District has a new high school! Corner Canyon High School, named after the nearby and very popular canyon in Draper, UT, will open its doors this August to more than 1,800 students. The new school, with the large dome and cupola (reminiscent of a pioneer landmark in Draper, UT) will offer a full range of CTE classes in four departments: Business/Marketing, FACS, Technology/Engineering, and Skilled/Technical. One of the more unique programs at the new school will be Robotics, with a 2,000 sq. ft. shop and lab area. This area will allow ample space for the construction and testing of the students’ robots, with a full competition court for “robot smack-down.”

For those students who are planning careers in the food and beverage industry, the FACS Department is equipped with state-of-the-art culinary equipment, which allows students the opportunity of learning and practicing their skills using industry-grade equipment and tools. Further down the hall, in the wood shop, students will be constructing pieces of furniture and musical instruments using equipment that rivals that which local industry experts have. Just a short stroll down another hall, is the Marketing classroom where students will be using an iPad lab for their projects and classwork. Technology is everywhere, and teachers are being trained on how to use technology to accelerate student learning and engagement.

CTE will play an integral part in every student’s schedule, with emphasis on both college and career readiness. Students are encouraged to explore the many options offered in CTE. Some students will discover new interests and passions, and others will launch themselves into future dynamic careers due to their experience in one of their high school CTE classes. As a co-curricular element, Corner Canyon High will also offer students the opportunity to participate in any of the six CTSOs: DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, HOSA, SkillsUSA, and TSA.

Commons area inside Corner Canyon High School

The public is invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, August 13 at 9:00 a.m. Corner Canyon High School is located in Draper at 12943 South 700 East. The first day of school is August 19.

If you’re a student attending Corner Canyon High School, tell UtahCTE.org about your first day of school in your shiny new building. Send your stories and photos to UtahCTE@schools.utah.gov.