Congress, CTE and Perkins Reauthorization

button-download-workshop-filesStrand: Public Policy—Supporting Equity and Education
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Session IV: 3:15 – 4:15 PM


“With a new Administration at the helm, federal agencies are transitioning with new objectives and appointees while those new appointees are becoming acquainted with both federal agency procedures and agency staff. Regardless of these internal agency changes, existing program requirements must be met, regulatory guidance remains essential to program implementation and the federal regulatory process continues. During this session, executive staff from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor will provide an overview of their regulatory agencies, their programs and agendas; and will answer questions about upcoming changes that may impact the CTE and Apprenticeship work done at federal and state levels.

Congress, CTE and Perkins Reauthorization
The 114th Congress saw the bipartisan passage of H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act by a voice vote on the House Floor of 405 – 5, but without any real movement in the U.S. Senate. Now, this new 115th Congress has seen changes on the landscape to include a new Chair ‘woman’ in the House Committee on Education and Workforce and a Senate CTE Caucus Co-Chair as a new member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee. Both Chambers continue to express interest in wanting address reforms in Perkins that will modernize the legislation to reflect the workforce and overall economic, high-skill needs. Senior congressional committee staff from both the House and Senate will give an update on Perkins – where it stands now and what to expect.

Building Relationships and Breaking Barriers: The Power of Story Telling

button-download-workshop-filesStrand: Strategies for Equitable Learning Environments
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Session IV: 3:15 – 4:15 PM


Although there is a sense of urgency for schools to become more culturally proficient, many educators are left wondering where to begin. This presentation promotes personal narratives as a foundation for establishing an equitable learning environment. Participants will be able to use story sharing strategies to build and enhance relationships with students, colleagues, and supervisees. Participants will leave with worksheets, strategies, and activities ready for immediate use.


Walker Sandy 2017Sandy Walker

Supervisor of Equity and School Improvement
Calvert County Public Schools

Biography: Sandy Walker is the Supervisor of Equity and School Improvement for Calvert County Public Schools. He is responsible for the school district’s Equity Plan design and implementation, as well as the oversight of Policy #1015 Regarding Equity, with a goal of providing every student with equitable access to high quality and culturally relevant instruction, curriculum, and academic support. Mr. Walker taught secondary English for 18 years in New York State and Maryland. During this time, he also taught English and Education courses at Notre Dame of Maryland University and Marist College. Passionate about teaching, learning, and equity, he sponsored ELL after school programs, Future Educators of America, Minority Scholars, and served on his school’s equity leadership team and the District Equity Leadership team. Prior to public school teaching, Mr. Walker taught Summer Bridge programs for incoming disadvantaged freshmen students at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Walker Lisa 2017Lisa Walker

Elementary Educator
Calvert County Public Schools

Biography: Lisa Walker started college with an interest in history and culture. She quickly discovered that all of the things she learned informed her how to make decisions in and maneuver through the world. She made it her mission to help children experience this same sense of connectedness and understanding. She has taught English Language Arts and social studies for over 15 years, mostly in a Title 1 school. During this time, she has become a staunch advocate for teaching social studies and providing the opportunity for students to share their voice. Mrs. Walker is a Maryland State Effective Educator Academy Master Teacher, district curriculum writer, and a Maryland State Council for Social Studies Elementary Teacher of the Year.


As educators with more than 40 years combined experience in urban, suburban, rural, and Title I schools, the presesnters have in-depth understanding of the challenges teachers face in reaching their students. Sandy Walker provides weekly presentations to executive leadership, students, and teachers focusing on creating equitable learning environments. Lisa Walker has presented to teachers from across the state of Maryland through the Maryland Effective Educator’s Academy as well as the Maryland Council for Social Studies Annual Conference. Both have applied their understanding of adult learning theory as adjunct instructors for Notre Dame University of Maryland’s education department.

“The real power inside an organization is not buried within a better definition of the box, or the tasks, or a separate department mission and vision to support the overall company mission and vision. The real power is in the relationship between the individuals and with the organization as a whole.” – Keith Richards, THE BLOG The Power of the Relationship

Many districts have realized the importance of equity because of an alarming disparity in academic performance and student discipline among minority groups. Unfortunately, the systemic approach to investigate and remedy these disparities resides in placing students into remedial intervention. This “fix the student” approach falls short for two reasons. First, it ignores a deeper analysis of the quality of the classroom instruction and therefore concludes that students simply need an intervention. Second, it distracts from the focus of our number one resource and strategy for achieving equity: the teacher.

Cultural proficiency is the ability to see the differences among us and to respond to those differences effectively. Furthermore, it is the honoring of the differences among cultures, viewing diversity as a benefit, and interacting knowledgeably and respectfully with a variety of cultural groups. By putting our efforts and resources into helping teachers build culturally proficient learning environments, we can begin to increase achievement for all. A recent study completed by Gelbach and Robinson shows that the teachers who learned of the similarities they shared with students, especially black and Latino students, reported a more positive relationship with their students. Additionally, the achievement gap for their students was narrowed by 69 percent (Fiarman 2016).

Although there is a current initiative for schools to become more culturally proficient, this initiative lacks specific and practical strategies for making cultural proficiency a reality. This presentation promotes the building of equitable learning environments through the use of personal narratives and the building of shared experiences. Participants will be able to use story sharing strategies to build and enhance relationships with other educators and students that are rooted in the respect for, and acknowledgement of, the unique characters of individuals, while recognizing the universal experiences that bind us together.


As participants enter the presentation room they will complete a Gallery Walk by placing initials on all of the 10 posters displaying titles of life events such as “Loss of a Loved One,” “Falling in Love,”” “Birth of a Child,”” etc. that they have personally experienced. They will return to the posters later in the presentation to illustrate the similarities among people of various backgrounds.

Participants will complete part one of a two-part survey. Part one simply asks participants to reflect on a struggling student(s), and/or supervisee. The presentation concludes with participants completing part two of the survey, which gives them the opportunity to develop an action plan based on the specific strategies learned during this presentation.


The presenters will introduce oral histories by displaying an image of Tariq and Tabinda Sheikh, a married Muslim couple who immigrated to the United States. Participants will be asked to reflect on their thoughts and wondering questions as they view the image. Tariq and Tabinda’s 4-minute story from NPR Story Corps will then be shared. Participants will return to their original thoughts and add or adjust. We will discuss how, in listening to personal stories, we come to appreciate our differences while recognizing, and hopefully taking comfort in, the universal experiences that bind us together. Participants will reflect on the warm-up Gallery Walk activity to highlight this idea. The presenters will share and demonstrate their experiences of how building relationships through the sharing of personal stories impacted student growth.

Current research that demonstrates that building teacher-student relationships positively impacts student achievement will be shared. Some of this research is listed below.


Listed below are eight strategies that will be discussed with participants. Participants will complete the “Where I’m From” activity during the session.
1. Where I’m From activity: Begins with poem “Where I’m From” by George Ella Lyons, poem with blanks spaces is given to participants to fill in their personal experiences
2. Family traditions or moment: share unique family traditions, funny or tragic moments
3. Brown bag activity: fill a brown lunch bag with 5-8 items that represent you, present to class or faculty
4. Shared experience: Creating “Our Story”, in what ways can you create a shared memorable experience with students and/or staff?
5. Class project suggestions: paint a mural, plant a school garden, outsource a community project
6. Joke book: Share a Joke a Day with class or faculty
7. Sharing most embarrassing moments: Again laughter brings us together

To conclude the session, participants will complete part two of the survey.


This presentation will provide insight into creating equitable learning environments through the use of personal narratives and by creating shared common experiences. The presentation will benefit any educator that is working to build stronger relationships with students and/or the educators under his or her supervision. There is no prerequisite of knowledge required, from novice to expert.


Career Girls Video Empowerment Lessons

button-download-workshop-filesStrand: Innovations on Equity in Career and Technical Education (CTE)
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Session IV: 3:15 – 4:15 PM


This workshop will present how to effectively utilize free, non-commercial Career Girls content in the classroom, focusing on teaching with Empowerment Lesson videos and downloadable lesson plans. Each video is approximately 2 minutes and features several accomplished, diverse, and inspiring female role models who share straight-to-the-point career insights and advice–so the videos clips serve as the ideal jumping-off point for an in-depth learning experience.


Calhoun_Linda_2017Linda Calhoun

Founder and Executive Producer
Career Girls

Biography: Linda Calhoun is Founder and Executive Producer of, a free, noncommercial, online platform which showcases video clips of diverse women role models sharing career and educational advice to inspire young girls to expand their horizons, improve their academic performance, and dream big about their futures. Her home base is San Francisco, but she has travelled around the United States interviewing dynamic and accomplished women for the site.


Research shows that female role models have an important, positive impact on girls. Girls need to start early in building skills for their future careers. is a no-cost, ad-free career exploration website for girls and educators that features video of diverse and accomplished female role models who share their career and educational journey to inspire, educate, and empower girls. It is useful both in and outside the classroom.

Although based in San Francisco, Career Girls has travelled around the United States interviewing dynamic and accomplished women. Career Girls has filmed more than 400 role models from Houston, Chicago, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, St. Louis, New York City, Boston, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Detroit, San Diego, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Denver–everyone from ballerinas to astronauts to federal judges.

Career Girls is the largest online collection of career guidance videos focusing exclusively on diverse and accomplished women. New content is added weekly. In their own words, real-world women describe their individual careers, educational paths, and share personal stories and advice.

In addition to the more than 8,000 inspiring video clips, the website contains detailed career information, college major course listings and video-based classroom lesson plans. A a wide variety of careers are on the site, but more than half of the women role models are in STEM professions. The focus is on STEM because it is a great career in high demand, as so many of the women state in their video clips.

The presenter is Linda Calhoun, founder and executive producer of Career Girls. Based on her firsthand experience working with both schools and student and educator audiences, Linda will share best practices for teaching with the Career Girls Empowerment Lessons in settings ranging from small groups to classrooms to auditoriums.

In this workshop, Ms. Calhoun will give a brief overview of the Career Girls website before demonstrating how to teach with Empowerment Lessons, which are based on 2-minute video clips that feature a number of accomplished, diverse, and inspiring women. These real-world role models share straight-to-the-point career insights and advice–so the videos clips serve as the ideal jumping-off point for an in-depth learning experience.

Career Girls Empowerment Lesson videos cover career-based topics such as Career Exploration 101, Why Choose STEM, Science Careers, Technology Careers, Engineering Careers and Importance of Math, along with topics that address the development of soft skills such as Financial Literacy, Become a Leader, Importance of Integrity, Be Confident, Choosing Friends, Importance of Diversity, Importance of Mentors, and Teamwork to enhance social and emotional learning.

The short and quickly paced format of each video encourages enthusiastic responses from viewers. The related Lesson Plan, Learning Guide, and Fun Page Activity provide stimulus for further discussion and reinforcement of the learning objectives. For both the educator and the student, Career Girls Empowerment Lessons are a fun and easy way to explore careers, discuss the importance of academic subjects, and introduce and develop the soft skills required for success.

By the end of the workshop, participants will have experienced firsthand an example of teaching with the Career Girls Empowerment Lessons. Each participant will receive an Empowerment Lesson Quick Start Guide, an outline of suggested teaching formats for any sized group or time frame, links to the Empowerment Lessons online, a copy of the Lesson Plans, Learning Guides, and Fun Page Activities for videos used in the demonstration, and a copy of the downloadable Teacher’s Toolkit–a guide that includes instructions and printables for teaching with Career Girls. These materials were written by professional curriculum developers with middle school teaching experience and are laigned with common core.


The intended audience is any secondary/postsecondary educator, CTE and workforce development professional, and school counselor who is interested in learning how to use video Empowerment Lessons as a tool to engage students in either their classroom, small group, or in front of an auditorium. This workshop is also intended for education professionals and administrators who are in a position to encourage and facilitate the use of this tool with staff or peers. There is no minimal level of experience needed for any educator or administrator to benefit from this presentation.

Five Focused Approaches to Retain and Support Women in STEM Degrees and Careers

button-download-workshop-filesStrand: Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Session IV: 3:15 – 4:15 PM


Recent research in Utah has revealed that women in STEM degree programs and careers often feel isolated and excluded through intentional and unintentional messaging. This presentation will highlight how educational and community leaders can empower prepared women to effectively define their earned space within the STEM community.


THACKERAY_SUSAN_2017Susan Thackeray, Ed.D.

Assistant Professor
Utah Valley University

Biography: Dr. Susan L. Thackeray is an Assistant Professor, Technology Management in the College of Technology and Computing at Utah Valley University. She has over twenty years of demonstrated administrative leadership in industry and education that includes international and domestic higher education instructional design, distance learning development, usability testing, workforce development, and team organization/training. Dr. Thackeray is noted nationally for the innovative UVU Business Engagement Strategy Career Pathways model to prepare and transition students efficiently into the workforce. Susan is currently the Utah state lead for the National Alliance for Partnership in Equity-STEM Equity Pipeline Project. She is the honored recipient of the Utah Women Tech Council innovation award for Educational Excellence. Dr. Thackeray holds a doctorate from Northeastern University, Boston with a research focus of underrepresented populations in STEM.

THACKERAY_LYNN_ROY_2017Lynn Roy Thackeray, Ed.D.

Lecturer, Computer Science
Utah Valley University

Biography: “Dr. Thackeray’s professional background includes twenty-five years of progressively responsible positions in software and systems development, IS, and technology management and senior technical leadership. He has real world experience of creating enterprise level software solutions for a number of different industries, including mobile and web based products. Dr. Thackeray has received industry notice for developing an Agile Scrum project management methodology combined with a test-driven software development life cycle (SDLC) process that he has used to successful manage several enterprise level projects.
Dr. Thackeray’s academic experience includes over eight years as a university level instructor. He has taught Computer Science courses both on-line and in the classroom, with emphasis on software design and architecture, and web development. He has developed the curriculum for mobile applications development and advanced Object Oriented Programming courses.”


Recent research conducted through Northeastern University by UVU College of Technology and Computing faculty Dr. Lynn Thackeray and Dr. Susan L. Thackeray suggests that subtle messaging of exclusion occurrs within the educational system and often continues into professional settings where women are underrepresented. The research outcomes identify five focused approaches to retain and effectively support women in STEM degree programs and careers. The workshop will present the findings from two Northeastern University Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis studies conducted during 2015 and 2016 that document successful women in STEM degree programs and careers. The findings highlight what the participants did to persist and succeed in STEM environments where messages of exclusion were present. In addition to the findings, the researchers will share identified interventions to support and retain women in STEM degree programs and careers. Supportive group activities, handouts, data, and best practices will be shared with the workshop attendees.


Administrators, faculty, staff, community, and industry partners

Defying and Dismantling the Diversity Issue in the Tech Industry

button-download-workshop-filesStrand: Building a Diverse Workforce
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Session IV: 3:15 – 4:15 PM


Women make up only 25 percent of the IT workforce, and for people of color that percentage is even lower. Many of the larger IT companies (e.g., Google, Facebook, Apple) are actively working to improve their hiring practices, having created diversity programs to increase the number of minorities in their employ. In order to make a greater impact–one that will address the entire industry–the ultimate solution must involve a combined effort between academia and the IT industry.


Gretchen Koch

Executive Director, Workforce Development Sttrategies
Creating IT Futures Foundation

Biography: Gretchen Koch is responsible for the Creating IT Futures Foundation’s IT workforce development and education initiatives. She joined the foundation in 2014 after 11 years of developing national workforce initiatives for CompTIA, where she parlayed her knowledge of industry and educational systems to become a nationally known change agent for IT workforce development.

She works closely with the U.S. Department of Education on its Data Sharing Project and currently leads efforts with the State of Illinois and the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance to develop and promote IT career pipelines in the state. She also is the National IT Career Cluster Leader for the States’ Career Clusters Initiative and the Lead Entity for the IT Learning Exchange for Illinois’ Race to the Top Pathways Initiative. When she is not working from the Foundation’s headquarters, she spends a great amount of time in downtown Chicago working with local leaders in education and workforce development.


Charles Eaton

Creating IT Futures Foundation

Biography: Charles Eaton leads the Creating IT Futures Foundation, which helps populations that are under-represented in IT and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure and be successful in information technology careers. Under Eaton’s direction, the foundation has expanded its scope to cultivate best practices in American workforce development and tech-related STEM education.

Eaton is often invited to participate in White House Administration workforce development campaigns and is quoted frequently in the media as an authority on tech workforce development and STEM education. In the past few years, he’s been a speaker at the US News STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference, the League for Innovation STEMtech Conference, the California Workforce Association Spring Conference, the Philly Emerging Tech Conference, the National Career Pathways Network’s Annual Conference, and the Consortium for School Networking Conference.


Through innovative collaborations among academia and corporate America, we can dismantle the lack of diversity in the information technology (IT) workforce. Women make up only 25 percent of the IT workforce, and for people of color that percentage is even lower. Many of the larger IT companies (e.g., Google, Facebook, Apple) are actively working to improve their hiring practices, having created diversity programs to increase the number of minorities in their employ. In order to make a greater impact–one that will address the entire industry–the ultimate solution needs to involve a combined effort between academia and the IT industry.

Most larger IT firms can cherry-pick the best and brightest computer science majors from the nation’s elite universities. However, by filling their open positions using that strategy, their teams will ultimately lack the diversity they need because those elite universities are not diverse enough.

Resume inflation is rampant in the industry, yet the vast majority of IT jobs do not require advanced degrees. Often an associate’s degree or industry credential is all that is necessary. With that in mind, IT companies should look to academic institutions and programs where there is a diverse student body.

A good example of where this strategy is currently making an impact is IBM’s P-Tech internship program. IBM works with high schoolers in urban areas as they progress toward not only a high school degree but also an associate’s degree at a local city college. Likewise, Cisco is developing a sustained internship program in urban areas where the same students are hired as interns for the company through their high school and college years, giving them experience much like an apprenticeship program.

For those already out of high school, Creating IT Futures works with underserved populations, providing training and certifying them in 8 weeks, preparing them for entry-level IT positions. The program goes a step further after it is completed, connecting graduates to local employers.

In this session, Creating IT Futures Foundation Executive Director, Workforce Development Strategies Gretchen Koch will share strategies on how to defy and dismantle the diversity issue in the tech industry. Presenting with Ms. Koch will be Charles Eaton, CEO of the Creating IT Futures Foundation. Together they will share real-world examples of work-based learning programs, from organizations such as IBM and Cisco.

Attendees will break into groups to brainstorm and identify three to five ways that they could implement workforce-based learning techniques in their own locations.

Following this presentation, attendees should have the basic knowledge they need to create similar programs in their communities, in order to attract and develop a more diverse IT workforce. They will also have real-world examples to which they can refer to demonstrate that these programs are successful when implemented properly.


This session is useful for all attendees, researchers, and practitioners with any level of experience.