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!
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.
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: www.workforcereadysystem.org.
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.”
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!”
“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.
Power Equipment Technology
Industrial Motor Control
Chapter Business Procedure
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
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.
Principles of Technology
Motorcycle Service Technology
Health Knowledge Bowl
Job Skill Demonstration Open
The national competition will create a need for some of the progressive instructors to adopt the new competencies.
Principles of Technology
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.
Basic Health Care Skills
Health Knowledge Bowl
SkillsUSA Champions | Winter 2008 | Volume 42, No. 2