Photo of a woman at the Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education summer program 7.20.23

More than 2,000 people attended the Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education annual summer program in Louisville on July 18-21. The program provides professional development opportunities in CTE for Kentucky educators and administrators. (Photo by Caleb Bates, July 20, 2023)

More than 2,000 Career and Technical Education (CTE) leaders from across Kentucky’s school districts, postsecondary institutions and industries came together in July at the Galt House Hotel in Louisville for the 2023 CTE Summer Program.

The Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education (KACTE) manages the yearly summer program, which provides professional development opportunities in CTE for Kentucky educators and administrators.

The conference also provides an opportunity for Kentucky’s CTE community to highlight the work of outside partners and network among each other and share ideas.

“Every student in Kentucky deserves access to a successful future,” said Bill Bates, an exceptional child education consultant with the Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) Office of Special Education and Early Learning (OSEEL) and Office of Career and Technical Education (CTE). “CTE has a unique role in providing that.”

It also “provides our exceptional learners with a guarantee of financial security and self-sufficiency across (their) lifetime.”

Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act was used to provide special education teachers with stipends to attend the conference.

Awards and Recognition

At a dinner on July 18, KACTE presented several people in the CTE community with awards for their contributions, including administrators, classroom educators and policymakers. Kentucky Farm Bureau sponsored the awards dinner.

State Rep. James Tipton, chairman of the House Education Committee, earned the KACTE Meritorious Service Award for his outstanding service to CTE in Kentucky. He was instrumental in securing the $58 million increase in state CTE funding in the two-year budget during the 2022 legislative session. The funding enhances students’ CTE experiences through building and renovation projects to improve CTE access and facilities, and helps career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) invest in CTE resources.

“I am very honored and humbled to be recognized,” Tipton said. “CTE is vital to improving the economy and well-being of Kentucky.”

Other award recipients include:

  • Naomi Chamblee, Career and Technical New Teacher of the Year;
  • Mark Hobbs, Career and Technical Educator of the Year;
  • Elizabeth McGinnis, Career and Technical Teacher of the Year;
  • Joey Norman, Career and Technical Administrator of the Year;
  • Shannon Roberts, Carl Perkins Community Service Award;
  • Rachel Stanfield, Counseling and Career Development Professional Award; and
  • Phyllis Sweatt, Lifetime Achievement and Hall of Fame Award.

High-Quality CTE

The American Association for Career and Technical Education’s (ACTE’s) Elements of a High-Quality CTE Program of Study framework for CTE inspired this year’s conference agenda. The document outlines research-based elements of high-quality CTE.

Presentations emphasized standards-aligned and integrated curriculum, sequencing of courses for students throughout their time in a pathway, student assessment, access and equity, student career development and work-based learning.

“Every CTE student deserves access to high-quality learning experiences,” said Regan Satterwhite, executive advisor in KDE’s OCTE. She said the conference will “empower educators across Kentucky as they execute our goal of preparing future generations of Kentucky’s workforce.”

Satterwhite discussed the ACTE framework with CTE leaders during a presentation on July 20. She asked those responsible for local CTE accountability to consider how their programs might improve student experiences across pathways.

“We want to do what’s right for kids,” Satterwhite said.

CTE Coordinators, Administrators and Counselors Meeting

CTE coordinators, administrators and counselors convened on July 19 to hear from KDE’s OCTE leaders and partners in industry.

Beth Hargis, KDE’s associate commissioner in OCTE, said the meeting was an opportunity for KDE to introduce new CTE staff members and elevate key perspectives in CTE work.

Presenters included Mitzi Holland, director of the Kentucky Advising Academy (KAA), an initiative of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. KAA helps Kentucky educators provide equitable access to postsecondary advising for students as they transition to life after high school. Her presentation outlined the resources made available by KAA.

Satterwhite also updated coordinators on topics including accountability, funding and 2024 legislative priorities. Those priorities include building upon historic investments in CTE and creating an equitable funding system for Area Technology Centers (ATCs), Local Area Vocational Education Centers (LAVECs) and local CTE programs. She also encouraged schools to pursue high-quality CTE by providing teachers with incentives.

Other presentations included:

  • Wallace Caleb Bates, KDE’s career and technical education communications liaison, on CTE-specific communications efforts;
  • Holly Tracy, KDE’s OCTE data manager, on work-based learning data entry and 2023-2024 industry certifications;
  • Lea Lewis, Kentucky Tech Administrative Branch manager, on CTE funding;
  • Karla Tipton, manager of KDE’s Data and Return on Investment Branch, discussing funding from the Carl D. Perkins Act; and
  • Harmony Little and Kendrah Pearson, with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), on dual credit and student resources.

Following the meeting, attendees picked up newly designed CTSO posters, the product of a collaborative effort between OCTE leaders and KDE’s Division of Communications. The posters aim to connect students across Kentucky with information regarding CTSOs.

Principals Connect

On July 21, LAVEC and ATC principals got together to connect and learn. Each year, the conference ends with opportunities for these administrators to develop as leaders and for Kentucky’s CTE community to show them appreciation.

Beth Engle, former principal at the Madison County ATC and KDE’s Career Programs and Pathways Branch manager in OCTE, said the event means a lot to the community of principals.

“We are bringing these leaders together and encouraging them to join forces,” she said. “As a former principal, I have experienced the significance of this event. I appreciate the sense of community it fosters among administrators and the reminder it provides that we are not alone in our work.”

Engle provided principals with resources they could use to improve instruction in their schools. These describe different levels of learning, such as remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating.

Bates, KDE’s exceptional child education consultant, said principals have a unique role in providing students with disabilities the opportunities they need to be successful.

To learn more about the conference, visit the Kentucky Association for Career and Technical Education Summer Program webpage.