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Champions Rule

With the recent addition of standards that cover academic as well as technical skills — and a new assessment program — respect for the SkillsUSA Championships continues to grow. More than ever, competitors can proclaim … We are the Champions!

New Technical Standards

Key Resources

Excited. That just about sums up the attitude of our contest technical committees when discussing the new SkillsUSA Championships Technical Standards manual — the official rules and regulations for SkillsUSA’s competitions.

That excitement probably stems from the fact that for the first time, both the printed and electronic versions of the technical standards list the academic skills that are embedded into the SkillsUSA Championships in math, English and science.

“The standards and competency statements in the Technical Standards are much more clear, and there is an academic ‘crosswalk’ in every skill area,” says Ada Kranenberg, director of the SkillsUSA Championships.

“The math, science and language arts skills required for success in each occupational area are listed as a part of each set of standards,” she adds. “The addition of standards and competencies makes this document more usable and more viable in today’s standards-driven atmosphere.”

Since they contain the latest from our national business and industry tech committees, the new technical standards will be an excellent teaching/training tool, not only to prepare students for competition, but also to teach in the classroom throughout the school year.

In this sixth annual Insider’s Guide to the championships, find out how some contests will be different, where academics fit in and how competitors can assess their level of skill achievement. end of story

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What’s the latest on assessments?

SkillsUSA’s Work Force Ready System is a new resource empowering students to succeed in meaningful careers. It consists of four distinct components.

1. Skill Point Certificates recognize members achieving industry-defined scores at the SkillsUSA Championships. Students participate in authentic assessments, demonstrating in real time their knowledge and hands-on abilities. At the 2007 SkillsUSA Championships, certificates in six areas were awarded: Collision Repair Technology, Commercial Baking, Graphic Communications, Internetworking, Power Equipment Technology and Welding.

2. Skill Connect Assessments correspond to the SkillsUSA Championships technical standards. Candidates achieving the minimum score or greater will receive a certificate documenting their success.

3. The Skill Connect Portfolio is an online documentation tool to showcase comprehensive educational experiences, achievements and leadership. It will list achieved Skill Point Certificates and Skill Connect Assessments.

4. The Skill Connect Excelerator will provide support for instructors to access assessments in one location.

This online resource will house national content standards and provide technical support. It also will help teachers enhance instruction by allowing them to view student scores and progress and to provide feedback on the Work Force Ready System. The Excelerator will allow instructors to authenticate and certify proctors, provide a process for setting up a Skill Connect Portfolio and to print documents earned from Skill Connect Assessments and Portfolios.

The Work Force Ready System was initially funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For more, see Page 21, then for all the details, visit the new site at: end of story

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Champion Profile: Dusti Sink

By E.Thomas Hall

Graduation day is a milestone for most high school students, but not Dusti Sink. She’d received a college degree the day before. Through the Running Start program, the welding student went to South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Wash., during her junior and senior years in high school. She was named the college’s outstanding student of 2007, earned four certifications in different welding processes, and won her state SkillsUSA competition in Welding. What was the starting point on this fast track?

“I had a free space in my schedule, and the only other class available was business English,” Sink says. “So I decided to take welding, because business English did not sound like fun. And then I was good at it and I liked it, so I just kept going with it.”

Adds her instructor, Chuck Baumgarten: “On top of everything else, she’s a great person, always friendly and outgoing, and helps other students in the class if they have a problem, without being overbearing. She’s just a real great person.” end of story

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Champion Profile: Norman Myerow

By Ann P. Schreiber

Without hesitation, frequent medalists at Minuteman Regional High School in Lexington, Mass., credit instructor Norman Myerow for their success.

“My instructor, he loves to write things down. He always has a checklist. He’s always telling us to do things in order. That’s the best tip that I took from him: Have a plan of action,” says national high school medalist Krista Burgoyne. In Commercial Baking, she earned gold in 2005 and 2006 and bronze in 2007.

“If you put too much pressure on yourself, you’re going to collapse and be disappointed. Relax, do your best; that’s all you can do,” adds Burgoyne, who’s now at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. “… Before I start, I always write down what I’m going to do, and as I go, I check things off.”

Jocelyn DiFazio, who attended Minuteman as a postsecondary student and won the gold medal in 2007, says Myerow doesn’t accept mediocre work, and his allowing her to practice at school didn’t hurt, either. “He’ll look at your work and say, ‘That’s not a four-inch eclair. Do it again, do it again, do it again.’ ”

DiFazio’s tip: Be prepared. “Go online and get any kind of information you can from the SkillsUSA website. That was a really big help. This year, we could print out all the recipes. When you’re baking and you have that recipe, and if you can practice that, then you’re on your way to success.” She recently accepted a scholarship to attend the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt.

Myerow’s students become family. The connection creates obvious mutual respect.

“These are the loveliest people you’ll ever meet. Krista is like my own baby. Jocelyn, she sent me a letter after she won the states, ‘Thank you so much for what you’ve done for me ... God sent you to me.’ This is what I’ve got to put up with? I never want to leave this job!” end of story

Champion Profile: Louis Rubio

By E.Thomas Hall

“Growing up was kind of hard,” says future architect Louis Rubio … that is, until he met carpentry instructor James Wiater at Piscataway (N.J.) Vocational and Technical High School. Having learned English as a second language and attending special needs classes, Rubio had “some people thinking I wouldn’t do much with my life,” he adds.

But Wiater, a 1981 national bronze medalist in Cabinetmaking, “taught me something, like a parent, that I thought I didn’t have” — self-confidence and the technical skills to win two state competitions. Rubio now does custom architectural woodworking while continuing his education. end of story

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Contest organizers tell what’s changed and how to prepare

Power Equipment Technology
The standards are not necessarily new, but they are overdue! This industry has been driving for a professional standard that is recognized not only domestically, but internationally. If the advisors and students take the time to review what is being asked of them and work toward that end, [the student] will be a strong, viable potential employee. These standards do take into consideration some basic knowledge, and with this as the foundation, the rest is based on the individual’s ability to apply them.
— Dave Worden, Mower MD

The standards published are adopted from the CCNA certification. The Cisco Networking Academy CCNA Version 3.1, Discovery 1-4, and Exploration 1-4 all align with these standards. Any of the mentioned programs will prepare you for the contest standards and the skills needed to be competitive.
— Bob Schoenherr, Cisco Systems Inc.

Industrial Motor Control
The new technical standards provide a much more detailed description of the competencies. This will provide both students and instructors with a much clearer understanding of the day-to-day work of an individual working with electrical motors, their controls and associated wiring systems. Based on this, instructors will be able to design more appropriate courses of study, and students will be able to apply themselves to learning the full spectrum of topics they will need to truly excel in this occupation.
— Bob Baird, Independent Electrical Contractors Inc.

Chapter Business Procedure
The competency standards spell out all of the essential points judges will be looking for when critiquing a team’s performance. Rather than just generally describing points for the ability of the president to run a meeting, the competencies describe what exactly they are looking for, such as getting a second, putting the question to the assembly, moderating debate, putting the motion to a vote, and then announcing the outcome. Instructors can use the guide to help build student skills in running a meeting effectively. Much like instructors would use a competency profile to guide what technical skills they should teach, they can use the skill standards for the Chapter Business Procedure contest to guide them in teaching parliamentary procedure skills.
— Mark Johnson, Pittsburg State University, Kansas

The new standards have been revised to reflect the advances in welding technology. It includes the new processes that industry is using. We have combined some of the performance competencies to reduce the size of the standards.
— Gene Hornberger, Welding Consultant LLC

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
The rewrite of the standards and competencies forced our committee to rethink the way we listed what a contestant needed to know. We kept asking ourselves, “Is this something an employer should expect an entry-level tech to know?” We think we have arrived at that point. If a student has acquired the knowledge outlined and has practiced the skills needed, then that student will have a head start when showing up for that first day on the job.

However, the student must remember that graduating is not the end point. Instead, it is the starting point for even more learning Learning from fellow workers, becoming an active member of trade associations, taking additional classes at their local college, studying the manufacturer's literature, and attending manufacturer's information sessions will continue until the day they retire. It's this additional learning that keeps the job fresh and interesting. It's this additional learning that makes the employee more important to their employer. And that translates into greater personal job satisfaction.
— Lynn Bosse, Lennox Industries Inc.

Principles of Technology
Know your presentation thoroughly and be excited by it. With the revised scoring for the 2008 competitions, the points from the presentation of a technical concept now make up 75 percent of a competitor’s score. How well you know your physics concept and how excited you become about it determines the medalists from the competitors.
—Scott S. Watson, Hunter High School, Utah

Motorcycle Service Technology
I would suggest going to local dealerships and informing the service manager of [one’s] SkillsUSA competitor status and asking them if they will help you gain some knowledge in some of the related skills. This might be accomplished simply by viewing some manuals or possibly watching some of the dealership technicians perform that task. One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to ask questions at the [contest] work stations. The judges know what they can answer and what they cannot. Understanding the expectations at a station is often “half of the battle.”
— Mike O'Neil, UTI Corp.

Health Knowledge Bowl
Remember, only competitors are allowed to challenge questions during the contests; advisors are allowed only to observe. Competitors should remember to keep their answers hidden so that other teams won’t overhear their conversations or see their answers to quiz questions. There was some confusion regarding the actual meaning of the abbreviation HIPAA, the federal act that mandates security of protected health information. The abbreviation actually stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
— Randy Hodges, Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College, Utah

Job Skill Demonstration Open
(The name of Job Skills Demonstration “B” will change to “Open” —as in category.) The technical skill demonstrated can be in [the contestants’] program of study or not associated with it. The technical committee wanted to open new opportunities for all SkillsUSA contestants, and we are looking forward to this new contest with additional exciting contestants from all over the USA. Students and advisors need to read the contest guidelines and rules many times and ask questions. If you don’t understand something, please contact the committee.
— Sam Williams, Lamar Institute of Technology

Quiz Bowl
For the latest information, visit
— Chip Harris, Tennessee State University

American Spirit
Read the new guidelines for putting together the scrapbook. Have a current résumé. Read the guidelines for the interview process; this has changed from the years past. Watch your time for the interview. Make sure you read the SkillsUSA clothing requirement for the interview.
— Mary Anderson, Deming (N.M.) Public Schools

Screen Printing
Technical education (industrial education) used to bring new curriculum changes to the attention of instructors during summer workshops, conferences such as ACTE, and of course the T&I teacher education courses. However, curriculum changes depend on an instructor's willingness to adopt the curricular changes. That is not an easy thing to accomplish; you're teaching an old dog new tricks.

The national competition will create a need for some of the progressive instructors to adopt the new competencies.
— Dr. Jesse L. Hudson, Aero Travel end of story

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How do academics fit into the rules? Technical committee chairs talk about this enhanced aspect of the contest standards and how competitors can better prepare for the 2008 events.

Principles of Technology
Know the mathematics the physics concept is based upon. A comment that appears every year on judges forms at the national competition is "where's the math?"

At the national competitions each year, the judges see an amazing variety of devices built to demonstrate a physics concept. Many of these items obviously took weeks to construct yet fail to win the competition. The reason some of these well built and elaborate demonstrators do not win the competition is rooted in a lack of mathematical proof of the concept the item is designed to demonstrate. Past national winners have used demonstration items that ranged from something as simple as two pieces of paper to items as complex as a high definition television. The item used to demonstrate the physics concept does not determine the competition winners; What does is how well the competitior proves they know why it works.
— Scott S. Watson, Hunter High School, Utah

Basic Health Care Skills
We are putting together another challenging contest for 2008. Health care remains an exciting profession with a huge diversity in career opportunities. Basic Health Care Skills will continue to stress the fundamentals. Contestants who possess the best all-around knowledge of the health sciences, combined with solid math and communication skills, will not only be ready for the national contest, but they will be well tooled to enter today's job market. The contest stations will continue to have anatomy and physiology, patient safety, culture diversity, nutrition, basic life support, and first aid. We are always impressed with the knowledge level and enthusiasm of the contestants. We look forward to meeting you in Kansas City.
— Terry Beasley, Missouri

Dental Assisting
Reading comprehension was added to the new standards. These include directions to each of the individual stations and include taking a patient's health history, chart interpretation, and general directions. Math academics are included in office administration, patient accounts, and paying invoices as well as accounts receivable. Measuring of lab materials to ensure proper proportions and amounts are also included.
— Lisa Theodore, Cuyahoga Valley Career Center, Ohio

Health Knowledge Bowl
Spelling counts! Medical terms are required to be spelled correctly in order to get credit in the contest.
— Randy Hodges, Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College, Utah end of story

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SkillsUSA Champions | Winter 2008 | Volume 42, No. 2
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