Northwoods court reporters training next generation through free classes

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyA Nov. 8 story on WJFW Newswatch 12 (Rhinelander, Wis.) highlights an A to Z program at the Oneida County Courthouse. The story quotes Jean Wood, RMR, CRR, an official in Lake Tomahawk, and NCRA President Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelancer and firm owner in Wausau, as well as a couple of participants in the program.

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NCRA’s A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program sparks media interest

NCRA's Discover Steno: Explore. Consider. Learn

NCRA’s A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program, introduced last year, is steadily gaining interest by the public and the media. In addition to programs in more than 16 states, most recently media outlets in New York and Wisconsin highlighted the effort.

Good Morning Rochester, Rochester, N.Y., aired a piece on Sept. 19 that featured NCRA Director Meredith A. Bonn, RPR, an official court reporter from Webster. The story highlighted what Bonn does as well as emphasized the current need for court reporters and captioners. A second story that also featured Bonn provided insight into what it takes to enter the profession and included information about the A to Z programs she leads in her area.

On Sept. 14, WJFW Newswatch 12, Rhinelander, Wis., showcased NCRA member Lynn Penfield, RPR, CRR, an official court reporter from Harshaw, who will begin an A to Z program in October. The story notes that Penfield is running the program because she “considers [court reporting] the best job she’s ever had, and she wants to get more people interested in her field.”

NCRA Past President Nancy Varallo, FAPR, RDR, CRR, Worcester, Mass., developed the A to Z program to help those outside the profession experience steno by learning to write the basics. She graciously turned the program over to NCRA. Since then, NCRA’s Education Department has successfully worked at the grassroots level to promote the effort.

The six-to-eight week course is available at no cost to participants. Volunteer leaders host the sessions, and participants use loaner machines that have been donated by others in the profession.

To learn more about the A to Z Intro to Machine Steno program, visit NCRA.org/education or TheJCR.com/tag/a-to-z-program, or contact Cynthia Bruce Andrews at candrews@ncra.org.

Oneida County court reporter holding free class to raise more interest in field

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyOn Sept. 14, WJFW Newswatch 12, Rhinelander, Wis., ran a story about the A to Z Program sessions that NCRA member Lynn Penfield, RPR, CRR, is running. According to the article, “Anyone in the Northwoods who is interested in learning more about court reporting can sign up, although you should at least be a junior or senior in high school.” Sessions begin Oct. 17, and the article includes information to sign up. Penfield, who is an official in Harshaw, is running the program because she “considers [court reporting] the best job she’s ever had, and she wants to get more people interested in her field.”

This is not Penfield’s first experience with her local media. In 2016, she was featured in a piece about court reporting on WHFW-Channel 12, and in 2017, she was presented with a proclamation signed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker during Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

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WCRA honors NCRA President Chris Willette through NCRF donation

In August, the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association (WCRA) honored Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, on becoming NCRA’s 2017-2018 President through a generous Thoughtful Tribute donation to the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF). Willette, who was installed as NCRA President in August during the Association’s Convention & Expo in Las Vegas, Nev., is from Wausau, Wis., and is a past president of WCRA.

“WCRA made a donation in honor of Chris Willette’s NCRA presidency to help promote all the wonderful things that NCRF does for our national association, such as the Corrine Clark Professionalism Institute, the Legal Education Program, the Oral Histories Program, the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project, and the Angels Program,” said Sheri L. Piontek, RMR, CRR, CRC, an official court reporter from Green Bay and current president of WCRA.

“Chris Willette has a longstanding history of giving back to our profession on both the state and national levels. WCRA wanted to acknowledge those accomplishments in a way that will continue those efforts as Chris has demonstrated countless times,” she added.

NCRF’s Thoughtful Tributes program provides donors the opportunity to honor important people in their lives, whether personal or professional.

For all donations received, no matter the amount, NCRF sends an acknowledgment of each gift to the honoree(s) directly or to the person’s family, as appropriate. For donations of $250 or more, the names of both the donor and the honoree are listed on NCRF’s Thoughtful Tributes website and appear on a plaque displayed at NCRA headquarters. All donations to the fund are 100 percent tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

For more information or to donate, contact B. J. Shorak, NCRF Deputy Executive Director, at bjshorak@ncra.org, or call 800-272-6272.

Lakeshore Technical College receives grant

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyLakeshore Technical College, Cleveland, Wis., recently wrote in about their recent grant award. Here’s what the college reported:

“Lakeshore Technical College was awarded a $196,000 grant from the Wisconsin Technical College System. It is a State Core Industry Grant. The tasks we outlined in the grant include:

High school online theory class – Spring start: Our project is to break our theory class down to two semesters and offer it online for high school students. We would meet with them live once a week as a class to give in-person feedback and answer questions. The following spring, they would be able to attend class along with our traditional students. It will also be a pilot program to possibly allow a spring start for all students as we now only have a fall start.

Lakeshore Technical College teaches all classes over an ITV (Instructional Television) format throughout the state of Wisconsin at various technical colleges. Students attend live classes with their instructors and their classmates. We feel very strongly about teaching our classes live and have had great success. Because we do have some areas of the state where we don’t have partnerships with a local technical college, we are looking to try solo sites for underserved areas. We will be researching technology that will enable students to attend our program from their homes in areas where they don’t have a satellite school within their area.

Embed CRR and RPR: We will embed the Certified Realtime Reporter and Registered Professional Reporter Exams in our broadcast captioning internship (CRR) and court reporting internship (RPR) so that students will get the experience of taking the exams before they graduate.

Student success coach/point person: We will hire a person to communicate personally with students and shared-site personnel to answer questions, help with technology, set up recruitment events, and help students to feel more of a classroom community instead of being ‘out there on their own.’

We are very excited with these new projects and look forward to their implementation.”

Celebration of Student Engagement event highlights court reporting and captioning

JCR logoThe court reporting program at Madison Area Technical College, Madison, Wis., was recently represented at an annual Celebration of Student Engagement event held at the state’s capitol building. Students from the program, as well as faculty, were on hand to help educate lawmakers and their aides about the profession.

“Madison Area Technical College’s court reporting program was honored to be chosen to represent the college at the Celebration of Student Engagement event,” said Lisa Hubacher, RPR, CRI, program director. “Each of the 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System is invited to showcase one of its programs at this event. Three of our program students — Jessica Bolanos, Abby Friesen, and Brant Larson — spent the day educating lawmakers and other attendees about the program and career areas, as well as playing ‘Stump the Stenographer,’ one of our favorite interactive games.”

Students also played “You Text, I’ll Write” with event attendees.

Thoughts from a 30-year court reporter

jcr-publications_high-resOn Feb. 17, Gramann Reporting posted part three of an interview with Julie Poenitsch, RDR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Wind Lake, Wis. In part three, Poenitsch talks about how she’s used her skills outside of reporting, specifically to provide captioning at her church. In the article, Poenitsch comments, “If there aren’t always people who aren’t hard of hearing to watch the screens, little kids like to watch the screens too! They’ll behave.”

The post links to parts one and two of the interview as well.

Read more.

Consider a new career in court reporting

jcr-publications_high-resGood Day Wisconsin on FOX News 11, Green Bay, aired a story on Feb. 16 about court reporting that featured NCRA member Sheri Piontek, RMR, CRR, CRC. Piontek is president of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association.

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2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week: It’s been a very busy week

Members of state court reporting associations across the country have spent the week celebrating their profession by participating in career fairs, visiting court reporting schools, hosting Veterans History Project events, and being quoted by local media, in honor of the 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

State associations and schools around the country promote the profession

For members of the Kansas Court Reporters Association (KCRA), however the week proved to be exceptionally busy. KCRA members kicked off the week by meeting with the state’s governor and securing an official proclamation recognizing 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week. In addition, representatives from the association were also invited to visit with members of the state’s Supreme Court where they also secured another official proclamation and pictures with the justices.

Left to right: Cayley Rodrigue, Kelley Morrison, Judge Michael Joyce, Brenda Highberger, Cindy Isaacsen, Judge Thomas Sutherland

Left to right: Cayley Rodrigue, Kelley Morrison, Judge Michael Joyce, Brenda Highberger, Cindy Isaacsen, Judge Thomas Sutherland

KCRA members marched onward throughout the week with other stops. They visited with members of the State Judiciary Committee where reporters provided a realtime presentation that left the attendees mesmerized. They also visited with members of the Johnson Board of County Commissioners complete with breakfast and another realtime demonstration that led to yet another official proclamation recognizing the week.

KCRA members wrapped up their celebration with a special write-a-thon at Neosho County Community College to help raise funds to aid students in its court reporting program.

“It’s been a very busy week,” said Cindy Isaacsen RPR, an official court reporter from Olathe and president of KCRA.

Kelley Morrison provides a demonstration

Kelley Morrison provides a demonstration

“I think I’ve said Court Reporting & Captioning Week about 1.75 million times. This week was just another way to spread the word about court reporting and captioning. It’s not just the young people we have to educate about what we do,” Isaacsen added. “My judge always says that I think court reporting is the best job out there … he’s right.”

2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week also earned national recognition from U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.) in a floor speech before the U.S. House of Representatives on Feb. 14, and by state governors in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin as well as by officials in Bexar County, Texas.

Presentation at Bryan University

Presentation at Bryan University

Other activities included visits with students at GateWay Community College in Phoenix and Bryan University in Tempe, both in Arizona. A number of members who visited with students were in the area attending the 2017 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference being held in Tucson. Students at both sites were able to ask the professionals questions and for advice. The panel discussion at Bryan University was open to both on-site and online students.

Members of the Missouri Court Reporters Association visited with state legislators in Jefferson City when they held their annual cookie drop. “We are always warmly received and welcomed, and this time was no different,” said Linda M. Dattilo, RPR, an official court reporter from Florissant, Mo., and the association’s executive director.

Students at GateWay Community College

Students at GateWay Community College

“They know when we’re coming, and we’ve had senators call our lobbyists and ask where the cookies are because they are waiting for them. At the end of the day, we’re always exhausted by all the running around, but satisfied, and hopefully they are too,” she added.

Members of the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association also promoted the court reporting and captioning professions at an open house held by North Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay.

Finding the spotlight: Court Reporting & Captioning Week in the news

As with all previous Court Reporting & Captioning Week celebrations, the efforts of NCRA members at the state and local levels were also successful in getting the word about the profession and its benefits as a career to media outlets in their areas. Among those:

NCRF Hard-of-Hearing Heroes oral histories project spotlighted

The Andrews Gazette (Easton, Md.) posted an article about the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Veterans History Project event that NCRF and the Hearing Loss Association of America will host on Feb. 18 in Bethesda, Md., as part of NCRA’s 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

DMACC hosting activities for National Court Reporting & Captioning Week

The Newton Daily News posted an article on Feb. 9 announcing that the Des Moines Area Community College, Des Moines, Iowa, is hosting several events to mark 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Among the activities will be two information sessions where prospective students can learn about the court reporting and captioning professions.

Illinois governor recognizes 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week

In an article posted Feb. 13, the RegisterNews.com, Mt. Vernon, Ill., announced that Gov. Bruce Rauner has designated Feb. 11-18 as National Court Reporting & Captioning Week. The article also noted that several court reporters from the 2nd Judicial Circuit will promote the profession at an upcoming local career fair.

Planet Depos announces success of court reporter mentoring program

In a press release issued Feb. 13, Planet Depos reported that its Planet Institute, a student-to-career mentoring program, has had a successful first year.

Oklahoma court reporting firm launches education and advocacy effort

In a press release issued Feb. 10, NCRA member Ginger Baze, owner of Steno Services in Hugo, Okla., announced that her firm is launching an outreach and education campaign for National Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Court reporting schools to exhibit at career day event in Texas

The Gilmer [Texas] Mirror posted an article on Feb. 13 about the Texas Supreme Court holding a formal court session to hear oral arguments in two cases at LeTourneau University in Longview, in conjunction with “Law as a Career Day” being held on campus. Numerous law schools, paralegal schools, and court reporting schools will have recruiting booths on-site.

Celebrating the silent keepers of the record

Star Levandowski, director of marketing at Stenograph, posted a blog on Feb. 3 highlighting the top three reasons to admire the stenography profession in honor of Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

But wait … there’s more

Read more about how national and state associations, schools, and vendors have celebrated Court Reporting & Captioning Week. You can also follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

Court reporters talk of shortage, try to recruit more

jcr-publications_high-resChannel WSAW reported on Feb. 15 that the Wisconsin Court Reporters Association is holding a series of open houses across the state in honor of Court Reporting & Captioning Week. The goal is to convince more people to go into the profession.

Read more.