Tupelo Culinary Students Review Through Sharing With Others

Tupelo Culinary Students Review Through Sharing With Others

It is said that if you can teach someone else a concept you have truly learned it. Tupelo’s second year culinary arts students are testing out this theory with their CSPAS exam in mind. This past fall after completing a unit on workplace safety the students opened their lab and café to business law CTE students to share the concepts.

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Amory Finance Classes Track Daily Spending

Amory Finance Classes Track Daily Spending

How much do you spend every day on coffee, soft drinks, or snacks? The Amory Career and Technical Center’s personal finance classes are learning how those simple expenses can have big effect on an individual’s overall financial plan.

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Vicksburg Classes Build Bridge to Improve School Campus

Vicksburg Classes Build Bridge to Improve School Campus

Students at Vicksburg High School are putting their heads together to repair part of their own campus. Teachers began the 2016-2017 school year looking for a real-world, hands-on project for their students, and the nature bridge on school property seemed like a great option.

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DeSoto County CTC Sends Books on the Move

DeSoto County CTC Sends Books on the Move

The DeSoto County Career and Technology Center East’s logistics program covers all facets of transportation and logistics. To better understand one particular aspect of logistics, the program is serving as a third-party logistics provider for a national nonprofit, First Book, a national nonprofit book bank.

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Lights, Camera, Action! CTE Takes Center Stage at Poplarville High School

Lights, Camera, Action!  CTE Takes Center Stage at Poplarville High School

Twenty students from Poplarville High School’s Career Development Center took the stage in August at a digital media technology (DMT) workshop led by film-production instructor Ronn Hague at Pearl River Community College. Second-year DMT students devote their fall semester to studying the nuances of digital video production. While the DMT curriculum covers preproduction and ...

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Little Library Project Reaches Alcorn Area Readers

Little Library Project Reaches Alcorn Area Readers

The Alcorn County Career and Technical Center is utilizing a unique way for their programs to reach out to the community and learn at the same time.The CTE students and instructors have built a “little library” at their CTE center for community members to borrow books.

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CTE Student Spotlight: Emily Sykes

CTE Student Spotlight: Emily Sykes

Emily Sykes is a senior at Tishomingo County High School and a member of FFA. As the winner of the Premier Exhibitor Award in the Beef Category at last year’s Dixie National Livestock Show, Emily exemplifies the spirit of CTE in Mississippi.

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Houston Solar Car Team Races Down Under

Houston Solar Car Team Races Down Under

Keith Reese’s electrical class at Houston School of Science and Technology has won the U.S. Solar Car Challenge in Dallas, TX every year for the past 14 years, and in October, they took their winning car to Australia, where they competed in the 2015 World Solar Challenge. In the weeklong race from Darwin to Adelaide, the Houston team traveled 2,441 kilometers (1,517 miles) in a car powered by the sun—almost twice the distance traveled by any other car during the Challenge. Reese and his students have been improving their solar-powered car, Sundancer, since their first prototype was built in 1994. Reese admits that their car is not the most expensive or high-tech model in the Challenge, but clearly it is a worthy competitor. Reese credits the team’s success to the spirit of teamwork among the students.

Tupelo Culinary Arts Program Implements AEE Grant

Tupelo Culinary Arts Program Implements AEE Grant

Tupelo Career-Technical Center culinary arts students recently began implementing an Association for Excellence in Education (AEE) grant they received in April 2015. The AEE grant provides funding to Tupelo Public School District teachers who want to enhance their classroom experience with creative and innovative teaching methods. Culinary arts instructor Faye Henson submitted a grant proposal with Unit 10, “Ensuring a Positive Dining Experience,” of the culinary arts curriculum in mind. Her proposal included provisions for setting up a lab area to resemble an actual restaurant setting. Once the grant was approved and funded by AEE, Henson and her students prepared the first of a monthly series of luncheons, serving their menu selections to chefs and other representatives of the Tupelo culinary community. These discerning diners then completed surveys rating the students based on their experience. The class will use this feedback to make adjustments to ensure a positive dining experience.

Cutting-Edge Technology on the Farm: Greene County Students Use Embryo Transfer to Build Cattle Herd

Cutting-Edge Technology on the Farm: Greene County Students Use Embryo Transfer to Build Cattle Herd

Increasingly, career and technical education (CTE) students are encouraged to participate directly in business ventures in an effort to link their coursework to real-world experience. However, for the students in the agriculture, food, and natural resources pathway at Greene County Vocational Center in rural southeast Mississippi, such emerging trends are old news. Since the 1980s, Greene County Vocational Center students have operated a 25-acre land lab on their campus with commercial operations for Charolais x Beefmaster cattle, catfish, hogs, blueberries, and muscadines, as well as a greenhouse and forest-tree arboretum. The farm concept allows students to experience a variety of career possibilities within the wider agriculture field. Tom Wallace, director of the center, explained, “One of our goals has been to model a diversified farm with different revenue-generating mechanisms to teach students, local farmers, and cattlemen that it may take many different production models to be profitable.”

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Toyota Donates Car to Alcorn Automotive Class

Toyota Donates Car to Alcorn Automotive Class

The automotive class in Alcorn County received a gift that reflects the power of Mississippi educators to cultivate relationships between career and technical education and local industry. Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. in Blue Springs recently donated a fully loaded 2014 Toyota Corolla to Alcorn Career and Technology Center’s automotive service technology program. “It has all the current emission control systems as well as the advanced computer-controlled systems. I believe this will be a great opportunity for the students to actually get a leading edge on the automotive industry,” said Lee Busby, Alcorn automotive service technology instructor. Busby looks forward to the donated vehicle giving his students the chance to “get their hands dirty” by disassembling and reassembling the car, as well as the opportunity to diagnose common automotive problems. He foresees Toyota’s gift being an asset to both current and future students.

Beep, Beep! Ross Collins CTC Transforms Old School Bus Into Prize-Winning Tonka Truck

Beep, Beep! Ross Collins CTC Transforms Old School Bus Into Prize-Winning Tonka Truck

Many of us fondly recall bright yellow Tonka trucks scattered around the yards of our childhoods, and generations of new parents have now passed those practically indestructible toys down to their own children. Visitors driving through Meridian these days, however, may be surprised to see a more-than-life-sized Tonka truck pull up in the next lane.

The truck was designed and built by students at Ross Collins Career & Technical Center for the school’s entry into Meridian’s 2015 Christmas parade. Students obtained an old school bus slated for disposal and, within weeks, transformed it into the first-place-winning parade float—the third year in a row the school has claimed the prize.

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Postcards from South Africa: Mississippi FFA Officers Compose Chronicle of Journey Abroad

Postcards from South Africa: Mississippi FFA Officers Compose Chronicle of Journey Abroad

It was the trip of a lifetime. In January 2016, five Mississippi FFA state officers traveled to South Africa for the National FFA’s International Leadership Seminar for State Officers (ILSSO). For these students, their travels to South Africa brought book knowledge and American cultural experiences face-to-face with another place, a different culture, and a new appreciation for home.

Plans for the trip began the year before during the State FFA President’s Conference. Daniel Derrick, Mississippi FFA state president and a graduate of Alcorn County High School, and Jessica Everett, Mississippi FFA vice president and a senior at Newton County High School, were part of the exciting annual reveal of the destination for the annual trip.

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Covington County CTE Students Host Hour of Code

Covington County CTE Students Host Hour of Code

In December 2015, teacher academy and 4H robotics students from Covington County Vo-Tech in Collins participated in the Hour of Code by attending a workshop at the Apple Store in Ridgeland. This grassroots movement aimed at demystifying coding through a one-hour introduction to computer science has reached over 180 countries, showing tens of millions of students that anyone can learn the basics of coding. An Hour of Code event can be held at any time, but the campaign culminates during Computer Science Education Week in December of each year, when the organization aims to reach tens of millions of participants. Covington County’s teacher academy students followed up the Ridgeland workshop by hosting their own event at Collins Elementary, where they used robots to coach third grade students on coding. For more information on the Hour of Code movement, visit hourofcode.com.

DeSoto County Students Collaborate on Cross-Pathway Recruitment Trade Show

DeSoto County Students Collaborate on Cross-Pathway Recruitment Trade Show

Law and public safety and transportation logistics students at the DeSoto County Career and Technology Center East in Olive Branch formed a partnership and shared ideas to make recent sophomore recruitment tours of the center more informative and entertaining. Instructors Matt Yardley and Mike Doss were trying to come up with a way to catch the attention of the student tour groups while integrating current program members. After various discussions it seemed like a “trade show” concept might be just the solution. Students researched and demonstrated specific topics in their programs, creating displays, pamphlets, and “elevator speeches” to describe their topics and how they were integrated into their CTE pathways. “We could instantly see an improvement in the interest levels and attention from the visitors over last year, and it made the current students feel proud to be a representative of the program,” reported Doss. “We would highly recommend the use of the ‘trade show’ concept. It is a great way to encourage ownership of a project and to provide valuable experience to students.”

Paving the Path to College Success: Foundation Grant Expands Career Exploration Resources in Northeast Mississippi

Paving the Path to College Success: Foundation Grant Expands Career Exploration Resources in Northeast Mississippi

High school students can struggle to map out their post-high school pathway. Decisions about postsecondary options and career goals can leave students feeling confused and adrift. A grant from the Toyota USA Foundation aims to ease this process and help students in one region of the state make better-informed career decisions.

Four high schools in northeast Mississippi are the recipients of a grant from the Toyota USA Foundation to promote career exploration for students. The four schools—Saltillo High School, New Albany High School, Pontotoc High School, and North Pontotoc High School—will all receive a Career Readiness System software package in the 2016-2017 school year. This system includes four components: test preparation for the ACT college entrance exam, test preparation for the WorkKeys exam, soft skills training, and career exploration tools.

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Hattiesburg Students Bring Polymer Science Lessons to Pre-K

Hattiesburg Students Bring Polymer Science Lessons to Pre-K

Polymer Science I students at Hattiesburg High School recently hosted the children of their on-campus Head Start program for a session of hands-on projects that demonstrated basic polymer science concepts. For the activities, high school students each paired with one preschooler and guided the child in creating bounce balls, borax crystals, and white chocolate mustache pops. Polymer instructor James Brownlow sees this outreach as beneficial to all students involved, high school and Head Start alike. “It is never too early to instill a love for inquiry and science and hands-on learning into children,” said Brownlow. “In teaching others, [the high school students] get a much deeper understanding of the science concepts involved in the activities they complete.” Brownlow plans to continue the Head Start outreach with more sessions that will include creations such as slime and hand castings.

New Teacher Induction 2.0: CTE Teacher Preparation Program Undergoes Redesign

New Teacher Induction 2.0: CTE Teacher Preparation Program Undergoes Redesign

When Michael LaCoste, a first-year culinary arts teacher at Ocean Springs Career Technical Center made his transition from the workforce into teaching, he was overwhelmed by the demands of leading a high school classroom.

“Although I was told many times how important lesson planning is to the flow of instruction and classroom management, I never really took it seriously or understood it until it showed its ugly head to me,” said LaCoste. “My first lesson plans were short and brief, and I thought I could just ‘wing’ it. I soon found out that the more unstructured time there was, students could easily get off task. I needed to learn how to make detailed lesson plans and to put a daily plan on the board for my students.”

LaCoste’s struggles as a new teacher are a common theme among new career and technical education (CTE) instructors.

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Amory Teacher Academy Students Assist With Literacy Night

Amory Teacher Academy Students Assist With Literacy Night

Teacher Academy II students at Amory Career and Technical Center recently assisted with a Literacy Night for Amory students, parents, and community members. The event was hosted by the Amory School District. Literacy Night featured reigning Miss Mississippi Hannah Roberts, who spoke on the importance of literacy and participated in collaborative reading activities with students. Miss Mississippi State University Randi Harmon also spoke, promoting her children’s book, and led students in physical activities to spark enthusiasm for reading. Parents had the chance to attend interactive breakout sessions with teachers to learn ways to help their children with reading at home.

Literacy for Career Success: A Four-Year Literacy Project and Its Impact

Literacy for Career Success: A Four-Year Literacy Project and Its Impact

In today’s tight job market, a strong command of literacy skills is a must. Students who lag behind in reading and writing are at greater risk of dropping out of school. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, just 34% of American eighth graders scored at or above the Proficient level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading exam in 2015. These indicators suggest that literacy training must continue beyond elementary school and be tailored to the more complex forms of literacy required of students in the middle and high school years.

Students in career and technical education (CTE) courses are no exception to such literacy challenges. CTE courses pose unique literacy challenges. The highly technical content of the coursework can make manuals and textbooks especially challenging for students to read and comprehend. In addition, most CTE textbooks are written for the postsecondary level. In our conversations with CTE teachers, many of them noted that, while CTE students were able to read with fluency, they did not comprehend what they were reading and required help in building content-specific vocabulary.

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Students Demonstrate “Ready For Action” Attitude

Students Demonstrate “Ready For Action” Attitude

The transportation and logistics program has started its fourth year in Mississippi and its fourth year in the DeSoto County School District at the CTC East campus in Olive Branch. Things are going strong, and just like in the real world of logistics, we barely have time to breathe! Our Year 1 students were fresh off the safety training for material handling equipment when a truckload of children’s books showed up bright and early on a Monday morning, only three weeks after the start of school. It’s not always possible to plan what happens every minute of the day, especially in the world of logistics, but you can develop a “ready for action” attitude. Our students showed that attitude and willingness to step up to the task of unloading a truck when it showed up at our center two hours early. The plan was to have the truck show up at the beginning of the second year students’ block, since they were familiar with the receiving/offloading process, but at 8:00 a.m. our first block students heard a truck pull up to the dock, and they sprang into action.

Savoring the “Ah-Ha” Moments

Savoring the “Ah-Ha” Moments

All teachers live to see the “ah-ha” moment when a student learns something new and gets excited. Most students are too reserved to show their emotions to teachers or fellow students, so teachers rarely see the reactions that make their profession especially rewarding. One such moment occurred last year when I was teaching programming to my engineering and robotics students. I was having trouble teaching basic commands, so I pulled out a trick that I have not used in years. I gave the students some old TI-83 calculators. The first thing I found out is that they are still making these things. I thought they had been retired long ago, along with VHS tapes and Polaroid cameras. The second thing I discovered is that they have not changed much, and my students were quite proficient in their use of these little computers.

Toyota Training Program Helps Ready Student for Career

Toyota Training Program Helps Ready Student for Career

Isabella Sharp, a former student at Itawamba Agricultural High School, is in her first year of the Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program with Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Inc. Toyota Mississippi accepts 24 AMT students each year to work at its Blue Springs facility. Sharp is one of 40 selected. So far, Toyota has hired seven students who have completed the program. The program allows graduates to enter the workforce with less educational debt and more real‐world work experience in subjects including electricity, fluid power, mechanics, fabrication, and robotics.

Jackson Arts Apprenticeship Gives Student Career Experience

Jackson Arts Apprenticeship Gives Student Career Experience

LaToya Washington participated in an apprenticeship with Inspire Jackson, a program for high school students interested in an arts career. She worked at Red Square Productions, gaining valuable hands-on experience. Her audio/TV broadcasting teacher, Kristen Thigpen, also built her expertise and instructional skills in journalism by attending the 2015 Reynolds High School Journalism Institute. Thigpen is devoted to helping students acquire real-world experience, including a partnership with the Hinds Community College Radio and Television Production program that provided her students with editing experience supervised by college students and instructors.

Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Students Serve Up Family Meals

Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Students Serve Up Family Meals

In December 2014, Coffeeville High School FCS students held “Dining in with FCS.” Teacher Cassandra Tittle said her students cooked meals in class and dined with parents. The event included sharing PowerPoint presentations, recipes, food guide projects, and information about the importance of family. Students selected ingredients from the school’s garden, showcasing the importance of community and healthy living.

New Integrated Production Technologies Pathway at West Point CTC

New Integrated Production Technologies Pathway at West Point CTC

West Point Career and Technical Center is piloting three new integrated production technologies classes focusing on production and manufacturing processes. These courses engage students by using innovative, industry-driven technologies to design new and improved products. Students will learn all aspects of manufacturing, from design and production to refinement and improvement. Students will work with various tools for design, manufacturing, work cell set-up, and programmable logic control. Upon completion of the course, students may obtain a certification to become a National Instruments Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer.

Hancock County Career Technical Center Expands Polymer Science Program

Hancock County Career Technical Center Expands Polymer Science Program

The Hancock County Career Technical Center’s award-winning polymer science program has begun its sixth year in 2015-2016. The program has grown to include materials sciences, recycling, and polymer synthesis, and will now have a section on ceramics and metals for an artistic take on the science. Hancock’s program is one of 10 statewide. Instructor Joel Myrick said the courses are popular with students and about 95% return for the second year. Students are required to take a state test both years, as well as a performance-based assessment.

Lamar County Teacher receives Distinguished Educator Fellowship

Lamar County Teacher receives Distinguished Educator Fellowship

Teresa Sappington of Hattiesburg was selected for a 2015-2016 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. Einstein Fellows are selected through a rigorous application and interview process from a nationwide pool of competitive applicants. Sappington’s fellowship will take her to the Washington, D.C. office of Congressman Mark Takano, D-Calif. Her primary role will be working with the Maker Caucus, which is affiliated with the Maker Movement, a grassroots effort to promote building, tinkering, designing, and creating products, often in garages, shops, and makerspaces across the country. Sappington is an engineering instructor at the Lamar County Center for Technical Education in Purvis. She also codirected two VEX Robotics Competition teams. Sappington spent her summer at a polymer science lab at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she worked on a Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) project. Sappington previously taught physics, chemistry, engineering, and research at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg. She achieved National Board Certification in 2008. Sappington earned a master’s degree in science education and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry-physics education from Mississippi State University. After her year in Washington, D.C., Sappington plans to return to the classroom and use her experiences to promote STEM education and the Maker Movement in South Mississippi. In the meantime, Sappington looks forward to seeing education and policy from the national viewpoint.

Tunica Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Goes to Washington

Tunica Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Goes to Washington

Maple Campbell, who is the FCCLA chapter advisor at David Williams Jr. Career and Technical Center in Tunica and Damien Jackson, who is the FCCLA state officer, attended the FCCLA’s Capitol Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C. At the meeting they focused on networking, professionalism, public relations, strategic planning, and advocacy, while also participating in service-learning projects and visiting congressional representatives.

Health Sciences Students Learn About Air Medical Services

Health Sciences Students Learn About Air Medical Services

In April 2015, Health Science II students at Lamar Technical Center were visited by LifeFlight-4, a critical care aeromedical transport helicopter serving Lamar County and the surrounding area. The crew taught students about the services LifeFlight provides, outlined the skills and safety issues required to pursue careers in aeromedical transport, and performed walk-throughs of the helicopter after it landed at the school.

Fair Well: Mississippi educators share advice for hosting successful college and career fairs

Fair Well: Mississippi educators share advice for hosting successful college and career fairs

A career/college fair provides students direct experiences with college and career representatives that have the potential to lead to college admissions and job offers. Hosting a career/college fair requires planning, organization, preparation, and follow-up, but it can be a valuable event for the whole community. Below, several experienced fair coordinators from Mississippi CTE programs offer their best practices for a successful event.

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ABOUT CONNECTIONS

Connections is the magazine for K-12 career and technical education (CTE) in Mississippi. The biannual publication features students, educators, schools, and organizations from approximately 50 career pathways across 16 career clusters. This Mississippi Department of Education publication is produced by the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University. Issues are disseminated in print and electronic forms in May and December each year.

To be added to the mailing list for future issues, please send your email address to helpdesk@rcu.msstate.edu.