Four dynamic speakers took the stage this morning for the Power Talks keynote at ACTE’s Career Tech Vision 2014 in Nashville, Tenn. Real-world, inspired learning as a change agent in education was a common thread throughout the talks.

Here are four takeaway lessons on the power of CTE from the keynote speakers:

Find your “zone of awesomeness.”

Career and technical educator and national faculty member for the Buck Institute for Education Brian Schoch encouraged attendees to find their “zone of awesomeness.” Finding the zone has helped Schoch design project-based learning that inspires students, and ultimately, helped keep him in the classroom when he considered leaving after his first semester of teaching. Student-led work equals student excitement and engagement, he said. That’s a message some educators may have heard before, but Schoch took his advice one step further, challenging educators to choose projects that also inspire and excite them. When four elements — authentic work, content-rich assignments, teacher excitement and student excitement — come together, “something magical happens,” he said.…

(read more…)

“Are you a tough boss?” asked an interviewer of John L. Weinberg, senior partner and de facto CEO of Goldman Sachs. A former Marine, Weinberg was a blunt-speaking, unabashed, and self-driven man who knew that most of Goldman’s employees sought to work as hard and as wisely as he himself did. During the period of his leadership, Goldman furthered and consolidated its rapid ascent as a global banking powerhouse.

Weinberg answered the question without hesitation. “Oh, tough is easy. Anyone can be tough.” What is really difficult, he explained, was getting a group of workers to perform to their absolute utmost and in coordination with one another. He was right, of course. The challenge facing Weinberg, and many managers, involves establishing an environment in which an already ambitious crew can deliver their best efforts and have those best efforts most advantageously applied. In my years at Goldman, that was our focus — seeking out the most able and appropriate resources within the firm to find solutions for clients and opportunities in the markets.…

(read more…)

As restaurant brands deploy digital ordering, the stakes are high. Done well, digital ordering enables a brand to foster greater customer loyalty, grow sales and create a win-win-win for customers, operators/franchisees and the brand itself. Done poorly, digital ordering can damage valuable customer relationships and result in operators/franchisees losing trust in the brand.

In my experience as the Founder & CEO of Olo.com over the past nine-and-a-half years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with more than 150 brands to operate digital ordering programs that today serve more than 7 million customers. In that time, I’ve learned that there are many critical components to a successful digital ordering program. Here are my top 10 tips for a successful digital ordering implementation:

1. Make sure that all key departments are in the boat before you set sail. Digital ordering requires participation from IT, operations, marketing, and training, as well as executive buy-in from the c-suite.…

(read more…)

Let’s talk taxes, and you needn’t flinch. The subject doesn’t have to be all bad news, and isn’t.

There were some changes for the 2014 tax year that you should be aware of as you undertake your small business’ tax prep, some of which may well be to your advantage.

Here’s the good news:

  • The Affordable Care Act and the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. This credit is now available to you if have 25 or fewer full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees, pay an average wage of less than $50,000 and cover at least half the cost of your employees’ health insurance premiums.
  • Last year, the maximum credit was 35% of any premiums you paid; it’s now 50%. The IRS provides plenty of information on the particulars, and here’s more about the ACA and your business.
  • Another piece of good news: the standard business mileage rate changed in the 2014 tax year to 56 cents a mile.
  • (read more…)

This post is sponsored by Insight Education Group.

In parts one and two of this blog series, we discussed not only the challenges that schools face in implementing effective teacher observation and evaluation systems, but the promising evidence that classroom video can improve how educators grow.

In this third and final post, we take a close look at how teachers in one school district are using video – and the remarkable results they’re seeing.

When Newton County Schools System (NCSS), a 20,000-student district in Georgia, decided to install camera and audio systems in the classrooms of its 23 schools, the primary goal was to reduce disciplinary issues and improve student safety. But as Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey explains, it didn’t take long before they began thinking much bigger about how video could impact nearly every aspect of teaching and learning within the district.

At the time, NCSS’ administrators and instructional leaders were also grappling with issues that are unfortunately all too common: new and heightened curricular expectations and declining student achievement scores – without enough professional support for teachers or funding.…

(read more…)