Four Michigan Schools Receive 2012 Excellence in Practice Awards

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Communications (517) 241-4395
Agency: Education

February 23, 2012

LANSING - Four Michigan schools have received the prestigious Excellence in Practice Awards from the Michigan Department of Education, recognizing exemplary practices in preparing Michigan's students for careers and higher education.

The awards recognize successful, exemplary state-approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and career initiatives. These are programs that demonstrate outstanding outcomes, produce measurable results for students, and meet the challenge of high academic rigor.

"Career and Tech Education is helping our state and nation meet the very real and immediate challenges of student achievement, career and college readiness, and global competitiveness," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan.

Early career preparation, including career exploration, career assessments, and comprehensive guidance and counseling, provides opportunities for students to begin thinking about the world of work.

"Through rigorous academic and technical preparation, relevant learning opportunities, and the supportive relationships of educators and families, students are better positioned to steer toward college and careers," Flanagan said.

2012 Excellence in Practice Award for Career and Technical Education Programs were presented to:

Lenawee Intermediate School District TECH Center
Nursing Preparation
This program connects the high school CTE program to dual enrollment and articulated credits. Ninety-four percent of the students completing this program pursue postsecondary enrollment in health-related fields of study. In the past three years, students in this program have been awarded a total of $625,000 in scholarships, grants, and academic awards to attend college.

The program's objective is to provide rigorous instruction to help high school seniors build a strong academic foundation in order to meet the challenging nursing school entry requirements. Students obtain core academic credits in science, math, English and online learning through their program. As a stepping stone, all students have the opportunity to complete the State of Michigan Certified Nursing Assistant certification program. For more information, contact Ryan Rowe at (517) 265-1654,

The William D. Ford Career-Technical Center, Wayne-Westland Schools
Partnership in Construction Technology

This program is an outstanding example of a school/community/local business/CTE collaboration to provide the opportunity for students to develop Construction Trades skills, while providing service to the community. The current housing market and decline in new home building required that the program become creative, as it did not have the resources to continue to build homes that could not be sold. This led the program to a partnership with the City of Westland.

Through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, vacant land or homes for rehabilitation are provided to the school, along with funding for the project. Students have the opportunity to work alongside skilled tradesmen on these projects. They are responsible for every detail in the construction of the home, are trained as estimators, and work in every trade used to build or remodel a home. Each project culminates in an open house celebrated in the local media, showcasing the student work. The keys are turned over to the city to help someone own their own home for the first time.

Neighborhoods are continuously being improved with this winning combination of the schools and city working together. These homes include green building practices and are energy star certified. For more information, contact Steven Kay at (734) 419-2100,

2012 Excellence in Practice Awards for Career and College Readiness Initiatives were presented to:

Wexford-Missaukee Career Technical Center
Getting Prepared for CTE: Wexford-Missaukee ISD-wide CTC Partners with Grades 2-9
This initiative is a school-wide program committed to increasing awareness of, and support for, career and technical education. Each instructor facilitates the career exploration process by hosting a lesson in their lab for elementary students that is tied to math and/or science Grade Level Content Expectations. At each grade level, activities are facilitated by the secondary career technical center students, who oversee the experiments and activities during the visits.

Another component of the program brings career and technical experiences into the elementary classroom through the use of the "Robo Table," an automated system of robotic arms, which provides the opportunity for students to program and operate the arms as a hands-on way to teach math concepts.

Fifth-grade teachers are trained by career technical center staff in the use of the Robo Table to teach students about angles, degrees, and pivot points, as well as teamwork and the importance of accuracy. During the six weeks the Robo Table is in each elementary classroom, career technical center staff provides technical and curriculum support to the teacher. The elementary students are excited to learn math and computer programing during this activity. For more information, contact: Jill Baker-Cooley at (231) 876-2208,

Coloma Community Schools
Collaborative Partnership between EMIT, Art and Service Learning
The Engineering, Manufacturing and Industrial Technology (EMIT) departments collaborated with the Art and Business departments at Coloma High School to develop a unique community service initiative. Since 2009, true scale dinosaurs and all types of large insect sculptures have been strategically placed throughout Coloma at local businesses and tourist attractions.

Students have the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they are developing by collaborating on a specific sculpture, including the design and creation of working movable components. These sculpture teams include students from business, art, machine tool, and drafting programs, with participation from Lake Michigan College faculty. This interdisciplinary project provides a venue for applied academic skills, "real world" production, an important link to postsecondary education, and a sense of community pride.

Through these projects, the students utilize academic, workplace, and technical skills; develop a sense of community involvement and pride as a craftsperson; increase awareness of, and interest in, CTE programs; and develop a positive relationship with postsecondary programs while creating excitement about community art. For more information, contact Brian Pyles at: (269) 471-7725, ext. 1328,

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