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ACTIVE ADVISOR NEWS: March 2014

February 26th, 2014

Update from Tim Lawrence

Membership Deadline: Monday, March 3
The 2013-2014 SkillsUSA membership deadline is quickly approaching. All membership should be submitted by March 3, 2014 to be included as an official SkillsUSA member for this school year as well as be considered eligible to participate as a contestant in district and state competition and at the National Leadership and Skills Conference. Students must also be official members to run for district, state or national office or to serve as a voting delegate at all levels. Advisors should also ensure that they are registered as professional members. A few states have earlier deadlines; so, be sure and contact your state director if you have questions. If you have any challenges in registering members or questions concerning membership, please do not hesitate to contact Susan Trent or Judy Garrison.

SkillsUSA Week and CTE Month

A big thank you to all chapters that engaged students in special activities for SkillsUSA Week and CTE Month. We received several uplifting stories from our chapters about activities they were conducting as a part of the celebration. The following link shows a great tweet from our Cypress Bay Chapter in Florida and how they decorated their school for SkillsUSA Week: http://bit.ly/1cwcz9U. This link shows the state association’s visit with Florida Governor Rick Scott for a proclamation signing: http://on.fb.me/1eQcsMg. And, Ohio’s students met with the Governor and the Superintendent of Education to highlight SkillsUSA week. Our chapters do a great job of spreading the good word about SkillsUSA in their states and local communities, and we are very proud to see the great student – driven activities nationwide.

Did your school do something special to celebrate? If so, we’d love to learn about it. Please send your news to Jane Short by email to jshort@skillsusa.org.

New CTSO Website
And, as we celebrate the final week of CTE Month across the nation, we are pleased to announce the rollout of an exciting new website. This site was created in cooperation with all the national Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) through the National Coordinating Council for Career and Technical Student Organizations (NCC-CTSO) and our affiliate organizations: The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), National Association of State Directors of Career and Technical Education Consortium (NASDCTEc), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE) at the U.S. Department of Education.

The website links to all CTSOs and affiliate organizations, provides the latest CTE news feed, links to our social networks and provides several data points that support the case for CTSOs as a key component of high quality Career and Technical Education. One of the most dynamic features of the website appears under the “Advocate” header. This link provides CTSO profiles for every state and shows the number of CTSO members in each legislative district for every state. This is a great tool for state legislative visits and for making the case for CTE at the local, state and federal levels.

We hope you will find this site useful not only an advocacy tool, but also as a marketing and branding tool. The process to develop this website was done with an incredible cooperative spirit amongst all the CTSOs and affiliate organizations. It offers another way to celebrate the goodness of CTE! Visit the site at: www.ctsos.org.

U.S. Department of Education Discussions

Daria Ferdine, national high school treasurer from New Jersey, participated in a CTSO Student Voices discussion with the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary for Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (formerly the Office of Vocational and Adult Education) and Brenda Dann-Messier on Tuesday afternoon, February 18th. And, she was also one of four students who made a presentation during a U.S. Department of Education internal briefing entitled “Reflect, Transform, Lead: Preparing Students for College, Career and Citizenship.” Here is a photo taken with Secretary Duncan:

Sec. of Ed. Arne Duncan and Daria Ferdine

Sec. of Ed. Arne Duncan and Daria Ferdine

Educated and Skilled to Lead America Video Competition Winner Announcement
This past fall, chapters from around the country submitted their entries for the Educated and Skilled to Lead America Video Competition (based on this year’s SkillsUSA theme). Chapters were challenged to create a video that showcased how they are becoming educated (what does their classroom or lab look like/what are they learning?) and skilled (what are their skills and how do they apply them). More than 25 entries were received and congratulations go to the winners — Sydney Martin and Krystal Smoger of St. Clair TEC in Marysville, Mich. where Ms. Keely Baribeau serves as the advisor. The honorable mention was submitted by Alexia Tignor of Franklin Technology Center in Joplin, Mo. where Ms. Deonna Anderson serves as the advisor.

You can watch both in the playlist below:

Communications Audit
Some of you may receive a questionnaire sent to a random sampling of approximately 1,500 advisors and students as part of a SkillsUSA strategic communications audit. The questionnaire will come from Stratton Publishing & Marketing Inc./Stratton Research in Alexandria, Va. Please fill it out and return it so we can learn more about what you need/want from our communications. The end goal is to provide timely, high-quality and valuable content that better aligns with student and advisor needs. Those who participate will have the opportunity to win an iPad mini.

Thank you for all you do for the great students we serve.

Work Force Ready System/Skill Connect Assessments
Available assessments
SkillsUSA assessments offers 42 technical and employability assessments in 10 cluster areas including four co-branded assessments with ASE/AYES and five co-branded assessments with PrintED/GAERF.  For a complete list of assessments and the blueprints that describe the standards, competencies, and academic skills tied to each assessment, go to this link.

To order Skill Connect Assessments, go to this link.  Log on to the test platform with your username from last year or click “Don’t have an Account” to create one. Click “Course Catalog,” type the assessment area in the search box and click on the assessment name. Select your quantity and click “add to cart.” Follow the prompts to complete your order.

Prepare the site for testing
Ensure the hardware and software of computers being used for testing meets the minimum requirements. Read the testing instructions before administering the assessments to students. See the step by step instructions, run a test on the computers and/or download the requirements at this link.

Enroll students and grade books
Detailed instructions on how to enroll students, distribute voucher tests and how to access the grade report can be found at this link.  Also see our training webinar “Assessment Ordering and Management Tools” to learn how to access the full line of reports available here.

New User ID field (Available end of March.)

An optional User ID field  inputted during the creation of the student username account can be used to further identify the student in the grade reports. Student ID’s, contestant numbers (if using for regional or state competitions) or other identification codes can be used in this field. A maximum of 12 alpha or numeric characters permitted.

Assessment Support
Please note our new phone number, email address and hours of operation. 
Direct: 1-866-444-7779/Email: support@skillconnect.org


Help Desk Support Hours: Mon.- Fri. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. EST

2014 Regional Advisors of the Year
The regional Advisors of the Year have been chosen. Congratulations go to:

  • Ellen Coughlin, DCMO BOCES — Chenango Area Campus, New York, Region 1;
  • James Dinsmoor, Rockdale Career Academy, Georgia, Region 2;
  • Tobin Prinsen, Apollo Career Center, Ohio, Region 3;
  • Mark Sponaugle, Carthage Technical Center, Missouri, Region 4;
  • James Adamson, Central Kitsap High School, Washington, Region 5.

These great advisors will all come to NLSC in Kansas City and compete for the title of National Advisor of the Year.

Alumni Membership Incentive
The Alumni Coordinating Committee is offering an incentive for SkillsUSA advisors who sign up alumni from their chapters. For every five members an advisor registers with the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association, he or she will be entered into a drawing for a $100 Lowe’s gift card.

To be officially entered into the drawing, the advisor must have students register online at: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumni.shtml. Paper forms will not be accepted. The advisor must then send an email to Byekwaso Gilbert at bgilbert@skillsusa.org.

The email must contain all of the following:

  • The advisor’s name, school, address, phone and email (make sure what you provide will be accessible to you after June 1)
  • A list (for verification) of the students (first and last names) who registered as alumni

Remember that graduating seniors qualify to register during their senior year. Former SkillsUSA students are also eligible, provided they are not members already. These students must register through their former advisor to be counted as part of that advisor’s entry. Students may only register once. Deadline for entry into the drawing is June 1.

Student2Student Mentoring Program
SkillsUSA sponsors a national recognition program based on the Student2Student mentoring program. Any chapter involved in mentoring can submit its project plan, description and outcomes. The winning chapter will be given a cash prize, recognized at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, in the Awards and Recognition booklet and at an event during the conference. In addition, the overall winning chapter will be invited to present its winning mentoring program as a part of SkillsUSA University. For more information, go to this link. All entries must be submitted online to the national office by April 4. Winners will be announced in May.

February 2014 Alumni Newsletter
Here is a link to the latest alumni newsletter. Please read and share with all who are interested. Go to: www.skillsusa.org/supporters/alumninews.shtml.

GAERF Student Design Competition
The Graphic Arts Education and Research Foundation (GAERF) has launched their GAERF Student Design Competition, themed “PACK-tastic.” This sixth annual contest challenges participants to combine their critical thinking and creativity with cutting-edge technology to design a unique striking package. Entries will be judged on design, functionality, appropriate labeling and marketability. One high school winner and one college/postsecondary school winner will be identified for each of the first, second and third place awards.

The deadline for entries is June 13, 2014. For complete information about the GAERF 2014 Student Design Competition, visit: www.graphicCOMMcentral.org.

“Do it Yourself” Video Competition
SkillsUSA launched a video competition during SkillsUSA Week, February 9-15, for members to showcase their skills. Entries should be between 2-3 minutes in length and uploaded to YouTube at: www.youtube.com by May 1, 2014. A SkillsUSA panel will judge the entries. The top five entries will then be voted on by the public during the week of May 8-15. Winners will be announced on Facebook and on the SkillsUSA website. For more details, visit this page. Email Stephanie Bland at sbland@skillsusa.org with questions.

News Release Template
The SkillsUSA’s advocacy site gives email contacts for state and local media and federal officials. There is also a news release template for your state conference participants. Please use this site to publicize your regional, district or state competitors or delegates.


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