Techniques Magazine Techniques April 2011 : Page 19

is making a difference. In the message, include data on how CTE is helping to re-duce the dropout rate, preparing students to be college-and career-ready, and the rigor of your CTE programs. If you can, relate your CTE program to a national trend like training future students for the healthcare field or how your program is one of the few to train people in homeland security. In order for the media to know about the success of your program, and how CTE has changed, it’s critical that you send information to them directly. Another way you can educate the me-dia is through editorial board meetings. You can either meet with the education reporter or editor, or the editorial board, to discuss issues in education and CTE. If there are budget cuts to CTE or an excit-ing initiative happening in your school or district—reach out to your local media! Reporters and editors are extremely busy covering different beats, especially with newsroom staffs shrinking. It’s important to schedule time to meet with the media on a regular basis to keep them apprised of what’s happening with CTE. When I met with a newspaper reporter in Charlotte a few years ago, his knowl-edge and experience about CTE was from his old high school days. During the 45-minute meeting, ACTE members pro-vided data about the number of students going onto two-and four-year colleges, graduation rates and student engagement. At the end of the meeting, the reporter was surprised. After that meeting, ACTE members knew that they needed to do a better job in educating the media about the success of what they do. A way to inform your local community and policymakers about CTE is by writ-ing letters to the editor or opinion editori-als (Op-Eds). Policymakers and their staff read the local paper to keep apprised of what’s happening in their local commu-nity. When a letter or Op-Ed is published about CTE, it not only serves to educate the public, it informs policymakers about CTE’s impact in your community. www.acteonline.org A new way to advocate and inform different audiences about CTE is through the use of social media, including educa-tion blogs. A national survey of report-ers and editors revealed that 89 percent use blogs for story research, 65 percent turn to social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, and 52 percent utilize microblogging services such as Twitter. There are more than 2,000 media using Twitter, including more than 130 educa-tion reporters and editors. CTE educators should not only read education blogs, they need to reach out to the writers and raise their awareness about CTE—the role it plays in school reform, and how it prepares students to be college-and career-ready. The Next Steps for CTE In order to change the perception of CTE, CTE educators, students and the business community need to collaborate and launch a local and national public awareness campaign. This movement should inform media, policymakers and parents about how CTE has changed; an integral part of that campaign has got to be the inclusion of success stories, information about how programs are evolving and training the future work-force, and how CTE is helping students stay engaged in their learning. With the recent media coverage about CTE and Harvard’s report, it should serve as a call to action for the CTE community. The CTE field should use this moment to not only educate, but to continue to improve teaching and learning and find creative ways to take all CTE programs to the next level. Sabrina kidwai is ACTE’s media relations manager. She can be contacted at skidwai@acteonline.org. Interested in exploring this topic further? Discuss it with your colleagues on the ACTE forums at www. acteonline.org/forum.aspx . Webinars Enhance your professional development with online seminars on CTE topics relevant to you! Take advantage of this benefit of membership Earn certificates of attendance Participate live or watch archived recordings www.acteonline.org/webinars.aspx 19 April 2011 Techniques

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