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KDE Hires First Leading Child Education Consultants for Career and Technical Education – Kentucky Teachers

Bill Bates started his role as Distinguished Children Consultant for the Office of Career and Technical Education on July 15th. Bates, from Fayette County, where he came to KDE to teach his engineering career and technical education path in automation at The Learning Center. Photo courtesy of Bill Bates.

Bill Bates began his role as Distinguished Child Education Consultant for Career and Technical Education (CTE) with the Kentucky Department of Education on July 15. For Bates, a fourth-generation teacher, the position is his dream come true.

“This job excites me, motivates me, and inspires me every day,” he said. “We have a very important responsibility as educators. These roles allow us to do great things for our students.”

The position is the first of its kind for KDE and is made possible by federal COVID-19 relief funding through the American Rescue Plans Act. Bates serves as the liaison between KDE’s American Rescue Plan Team’s Office of Special Education and Early Learning and the Office of Career and Technical Education.

At the Kentucky Board of Education meeting on Aug. 8, KDE Associate Commissioner Gretta Hilton told the board of directors that Bates is a “unicorn” in the education sector, and that he will take the position. said he was excited to see

“He understands the special education landscape, but he also understands the career and technical education landscape,” she said. “The idea behind it was to not only expand the work she does for students with disabilities in her CTE at the district and ATC, but also at the Kentucky School for the Blind and the Kentucky School for the Deaf. ”

Bates was surprised to learn that he was the first person to hold the position and was unique in having both special education and career and technical education credentials.

“I had no idea how unique these two were,” he said. “I think we will see more teachers getting both qualifications.”

The vision behind this position is to provide additional targeted support, along with guidance and technical assistance to local educational institution management and staff, as well as other state and local agencies, to help people with disabilities It is to enhance students’ experience of career education and technical education.

KDE Associate Commissioner Beth Hargis believes Bates will be a great asset in ensuring that the needs of students with disabilities attending the Area Technology Center (ATC) are met.

“Often, those students succeed. It was to guide us until we were sure we were there,” she said.

Following in the footsteps of her grandmother, father and late uncle, Bates wanted to make a difference in the lives of students and began teaching. In college, he discovered his passion for CTE and qualified to teach industrial education.

In all his years of teaching, there has never been an “ahaha” moment that made him want to qualify for special education, but the inclusion of students with disabilities in his CTE classes helped them feel better about the environment. He said he found that he was better at

“Students with disabilities are often leaders in CTE Pathways because they have the opportunity to do hands-on projects and project-based learning, which suits them better,” he said.

After earning Rank 1 in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities, Bates began looking for opportunities to combine CTE with special education. In 2017, Bates began working at the Fayette County Learning Center. In his capacity, Bates helped create the Automation Engineering CTE Pathway and enrolled many students with disabilities. Pathway students worked on projects ranging from posters and magnets to plaques and garden beds. Within each project, they were able to choose what they wanted to do.

“Some students may want to use drafting equipment to draw their projects. Others may want to use the computer to design. may want to use a laser engraver,” he said. “We need options to accommodate student needs.”

Bates said educators working in both fields need the ability to “understand that considerations do not change the curriculum or change the core content of the lesson,” but that education provides “a path to enable all students to succeed”.

In his new role, Bates’ goal is to help students with disabilities make a successful transition to secondary school and employment. To do this, he believes it is critical that all parties are at the table when it comes to developing individual educational programs, transition planning for students, career exploration, and course placement.

“If CTE and special education can get to the table with each other and work together to build more of this community that provides accommodation and support for students and teachers, students with disabilities can have great success in completing their pathways. I think…passing end-of-program assessments and industry certifications,” he said.