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Director's Weekly Memo 2016-6-6

Francis Tuttle machining program student featured in The Journal Record; inaugural Teacher Prep students ready for the future; education agencies partner to streamline paraprofessional instructor training; Latta DECA makes worldwide impact; Oklahoma CareerTech Summer Conference registration is now open; useful links; and CareerTech events.
Director's Weekly Memo 2016-6-6

Adam Higby

Francis Tuttle machining program student featured in The Journal Record

Adam Higby, a Francis Tuttle Technology Center graduate, was featured in an article in The Journal Record as the first vision-impaired student to graduate from FTTC’s machining program.

Higby is a machinist at NewView Oklahoma, a not-for-profit organization that employs blind and visually impaired individuals. Higby was diagnosed with optic nerve dystrophy when he was 5 years old.

While at Francis Tuttle, he learned to read blueprints and operate machines, in addition to learning basic metallurgy and precision measurement.

The article can be found at (Subscription required.)


Inaugural Teacher Prep students ready for the future

Considering the situation Oklahoma is facing with teacher shortages, it is time for a new approach to recruiting and developing the next generation of educators. Western Technology Center is providing an innovative solution by giving potential educators real-world experiences through its Teacher Prep program.

WTC’s Teacher Prep program is one of two pre-education programs in the state offered at the CareerTech level. Its mission is to educate students about opportunities in education and to develop individual strengths, skills and strategies. Students take their experiences with them to the next level in their careers, whether college or the workforce.

Six students enrolled in the inaugural Teacher Prep class: Breanna Fricks and Timothy Schulte of Burns Flat, Alyssa Williams of Clinton High School and McKinsey Hines and Savanna Reimer of Cordell High School.

After a year of hard work, teaching in area classrooms and preparing for exams, all six students have received paraprofessional certifications and pre-professional certifications in education fundamentals. These tests are credentials used to secure employment as a Teacher’s Assistant or Paraprofessional in a school system. Upon passing the paraprofessional assessment, these students can now apply to the Oklahoma State Department of Education for an Oklahoma Title 1 Paraprofessional Certificate, a lifetime certification.

Karla Wedel, Teacher Prep instructor, said she could not have had a better first year in the program.

“I am so very proud of this inaugural class,” she said. “They have met and exceeded my expectations. They have gained valuable experience developing lesson plans, giving class presentations and demonstrations, utilizing technology in the classroom, developing classroom management skills and completing an internship in an area school system with a partnering teacher.”

Williams said her thoughts about a career in education have changed throughout the coursework and internship experience.

“At the beginning of the Teacher Prep program, I thought I wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “Now I know I want to be a teacher.”

Submitted by Western Technology Center

Education agencies partner to streamline paraprofessional instructor training

In 2014, the State Department of Education and the Curriculum and Instructional Materials Center, a division of Oklahoma CareerTech, partnered to develop the state’s own training guide for special education paraprofessionals.

The guide combines the special education expertise of the SDE with the instructional material development resources of the CIMC. The new guide has proved to be very successful as a training resource statewide.

The partnership is now focused on transforming the paraprofessional train-the-trainer workshops. The workshops had been held at locations around the state, with workshop presenters and participants traveling to each site. To provide greater flexibility to workshop participants -- and to save schools and the state some scarce travel dollars -- the SDE and CIMC have updated the workshop content for online availability. Qualified individuals with access to the internet can complete the workshop from their own locations at times that work best for them.

The SDE will host the online training site, which will feature workshop content contributed by both agencies. Watch for an official announcement from the SDE with details about accessing the training.


Latta DECA makes worldwide impact

A partnership between the Latta Public School DECA program and the Oklahoma Department of Labor resulted in a law to help keep students entering the workforce safe.

On April 1, 2015, Gov. Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 262, the nation’s first law to mainstream occupational safety and health into education. Because of their work, Latta DECA members were able to join national and state leaders at the state Capitol to witness the governor sign the historic bill.

Senate Bill 262 is a Latta DECA student-driven initiative that made an impact across the United States and around the globe.

“Working with Oklahoma DECA, DECA teachers and DECA students has been very rewarding,” said Lester Claravall, child labor program administrator at ODOL.

Through a statewide campaign called Speak Out for Workplace Safety, ODOL worked with Latta DECA in Ada under the direction of DECA teacher Stacy Oakley. ODOL recommended Latta Public School to pilot a young worker safety curriculum. After the Latta students were trained, they became the first group in the nation to take a pilot assessment to measure how well they understood the core competencies of workplace safety. The results of this pilot program, led by DECA student leaders at Latta, would be used as a blueprint to set up young worker safety training in schools across Oklahoma and the United States.

When the program ended the students and their teacher decided all Oklahoma students should have the chance to receive workplace safety training. They worked with state Sen. Susan Paddack, who wrote the bill to add occupational safety and health education to the curriculum for grades seven through 12, and with the bill’s co-sponsor, Rep. Todd Thomsen. They spent hours at the Capitol talking to legislators about the bill.

The law requires the Oklahoma Department of Labor and the State Department of Education to work together to provide young worker safety training. After the governor signed the bill, other states, including New York and California, started exploring ways to do the same. The law has also received attention from national and international safety organizations.

Latta DECA students continue to work with national and state leaders from ODOL, the Oklahoma State Department of Education, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

According to federal studies, approximately 200,000 teen workers are injured each year in the United States; 77,000 of those cases require treatment in the hospital emergency room. Approximately 70 cases are fatal each year.

From Lester Claravall, child labor program administrator at the Oklahoma Department of Labor, and Stacy Oakley, Latta DECA teacher


Oklahoma CareerTech Summer Conference registration is now open

Plans are well underway for the 49th Annual Oklahoma CareerTech Summer Conference. If you haven’t yet registered, please go to

If you have any questions regarding registration or need technical assistance while registering, please contact the OkACTE office at 405-525-8906 or

You can keep up with information about Summer Conference with text messages, the OkACTE app and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For OkACTE texting, members can text “OKACTE” to 95577 to enroll in text messaging notifications. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Anyone can visit Google Play or the App Store to download the free mobile app, OkACTE. It will include 2016 Summer Conference information: the schedule of events, division agendas and more. OkACTE will use the app year-round to give members an alternative way of receiving updates and information.

Find OkACTE on Twitter at @OkACTE, on Facebook at OkACTE and on Instagram at okacte.


Useful links

Oklahoma Horizon Schedule

Follow us on Twitter at @okcareertech and find us on Facebook at OKCareerTech.

For news about Oklahoma’s CareerTech System, subscribe to CareerTech communications.

State Agency Assistance at a Glance

National Center for Research in Career and Technical Education

Adult Basic Education Foundations newsletters

Oklahoma Works

OK Career Guide

CareerTech Curriculum


CareerTech Events

Project Lead The Way Principles of Engineering, June 5-17

Teacher Institute 2015-16 Cohort, June 6

Teaching to Lead 2015-16 Cohort, June 6

Project Lead The Way Principles of Biomedical Science-Medical Interventions, June 6-17

STEAMmaker Camp, June 7-10

Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing. -- Muhammad Ali


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