Path Home News Director's Weekly Memo 2013 Monday Memo 2013-12-16
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Monday Memo 2013-12-16

"All human wisdom is summed up in these two words – ‘wait and hope.’"– Alexandre Dumas

CareerTech plays role in Macy’s move to Tulsa

Tulsa Tech was an active participant in supporting the new Macy’s distribution center in Tulsa. This is a great economic gain for the Tulsa area. Tulsa Tech was able to provide immediate training services and showed how its cost-effective training will benefit the company for years to come.

Canadian Valley Tech Center earns Top Workplaces award

Canadian Valley Tech Center is a great place to work, and this has now earned it a 2013 Top Oklahoma Workplaces Award. According to staff, the school was always a great place to work, but the recent tornado destruction of the El Reno campus proved just how engaged and committed the staff is to school success. If you haven’t seen the presentation provided by the school’s staff, you have missed a great story about commitment, problem-solving, teamwork and an intense focus on success. Congratulations, Canadian Valley!

CareerTech recognition expands to diplomas in some states

Florida and Texas are the latest states recognizing students who combine high-quality academic education and CareerTech with special diplomas or endorsements. Florida’s new diploma designations include “scholar” for those students who exceed course and testing requirements and “merit” for those who also attain one or more industry certifications. Texas has established a single high school diploma, but students can earn endorsements, including one for taking at least six advanced career technology courses.

Instructional materials moving to digital

North Carolina and Florida have both passed instructional materials bills recently. North Carolina intends to shift funding entirely to digital instructional materials by 2017. These are just some of the most recent indications of the speed of the transition to digital from paper content.

Competency-based education thoughts

The following are key points I shared with the national competency-based gathering of 12 states, including Oklahoma CareerTech, who are trying to move to a more student-focused educational design.

Vision for competency-based education – Schools enroll students and then design educational experiences to meet each student’s needs to assure success.

Urgency for speed to transform education – A parent once said, “My son is in the seventh grade. I don’t have time to spend five to seven years to transform his education. I need change now!”

We will have established competency-based education when 1) education is driven by student passion, not coursework; 2) no grading systems exist, just proficiency; 3) students aren’t organized by grade levels; 4) there are no formal daily schedules within a school; 5) students are located in high school or postsecondary campuses based on social maturity, not intellectual maturity; 6) state assessments are provided when students are ready, not on a specific date; and 7) funding and rules are aligned to performance, not time.

Oklahoma’s CareerTech system has key features needed to advance competency-based education, including 1) credit can be earned by proof of proficiency; 2) assessments are provided when students are ready, not on a specific date; 3) funding is being proposed on the basis of performance; 4) CareerTech programs are already responsive to adults who are highly motivated to learn skills and get back to earning a living; 5) tech centers are already working on competency-based models.

Career Development Team begins planning

The agency’s Career Development Team has begun the process of identifying specifications for a robust online career development system. The system will serve Oklahomans from kindergarten through adults. Oklahoma’s career development purpose is to assure that students have the knowledge and skills to make informed career choices and to create education plans to prepare them for those careers. The steps include identifying additional committee/team members and external focus groups. If you are interested in participating in the online career development system committee, please contact Becki Foster at

Cooperative Alliance program work continues

On Dec. 16 the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education hosted the first set of conference calls addressing the future of the Cooperative Alliance program. Several working groups - Assessments, Certifications and EOI, Contract, Technical Crosswalk and the Credit Hour Evaluation - held calls to begin laying out the work to be completed by each group. Representatives from two- and four-year colleges and technology centers participated in the calls. The committees will meet again in January. (contributed by Jeremy Zweiacker)

Reminder to follow on Twitter

Just a reminder you can follow me on twitter at @rdsommers. I look forward to having you follow the daily information as well as the Monday Memo.

Schedule for the week

This schedule is subject to change without notice:


Meeting with Teresa Rose, Roy Williams and Drew Dugan
Meeting at the governor’s office
Meeting on March NGA meeting
Meeting with Higher Education Regents members


Meeting with Marcie Mack and Jim Aulgur
Meeting with Burns Hargis
Meeting with Anne Cameron
Meeting with Scott Smith
Meeting with Pam Carroll, OSU Dean of Education
Meeting with Warren Caterpillar


Morning chat with staff
Senior leadership meeting
Christmas luncheon
Tech Center funding committee
Meeting with Ann Benson


ODCTE Board meeting
Meeting with Speaker Todd Hiett
Budget meeting with governor’s office
Press conference
Meeting with governor’s staff
Meeting with Matt Singleton and Marcie Mack


Meeting on support for Skills Centers
Meeting with Jim Hopper
Meeting with Heather Griswald
Meeting with Speaker Todd Hiett

See you around!

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