The Rural IL CTE Project Hears from Educators and Experts at the 94th Annual IACTE Conference

The Rural IL CTE Project, a new partnership between the Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools (AIRSS) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), has a goal of meeting with and listening to as many rural career and technical education (CTE) programs as possible. To this end, program director John Glasgow attended the 94th annual Illinois Association of Career and Technical Education (IACTE) conference in Springfield to hear the latest innovations in CTE from across the state and to build relationships with the countless educators helping students pursue lifelong professional journeys. The conference was also a great opportunity to raise awareness about the Rural IL CTE Project, and direct CTE educators and experts alike to the project’s new website.

Eureka CUD 140 business teacher Allison Ferguson's session on using board games as education tools.
Eureka CUD 140 business teacher Allison Ferguson’s session on using board games as education tools.

At the event, we gained invaluable insight into core aspects of CTE delivery, including stackable credentials, apprenticeships and internships, and collaboration between public schools and community colleges. John was heartened to see a number of rural and small school educators hosted sessions of their own, highlighting their unique advances in education and CTE: such as Casey-Westfield CUSD 4C business education teacher Tori Hale’s important seminar on teacher resiliency, Reed-Custer CUSD 255U industrial arts teacher Mark Smith’s career-long wisdom on building strong industry partnerships, and Eureka CUD 140 business teacher Allison Ferguson’s novel method for teaching different economic systems through the board game “Monopoly.” He also had the opportunity to meet with Illinois State Board of Education Career & Technical Education Director Marci Johnson to discuss the Rural IL CTE Project and hear her latest updates on ISBE’s CTE data gathering.

Events like this are unique in how they bring so many educators and experts into a shared space. As the Rural IL CTE Project begins to take root, attending these events are essential to inform the work and outcomes of the effort. This year’s IACTE Annual Conference proved to be deeply significant for the Project, the conversations it’s going to lead, and the technical assistance it will provide to rural schools across Illinois.

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