PohlmanUSA Offering Free Six-Week Court Reporting Introductory Course

In a press release issued July 17, PohlmanUSA, based in St. Louis, Mo., announced that the firm will be holding an NCRA A to Z™ Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program to help potential students to learn more about court reporting and gain the necessary skills to succeed in the profession.

Read more.

Remember to nominate for awards and scholarships, including the all-new NCRA A to Z scholarships

Time is running out to recognize someone special! Every year, NCRA offers members several scholarships and awards to bring attention to the people who are contributing to the profession in important ways. In addition to the annual scholarships managed by the Council on Approved Student Education (CASE), the National Court Reporters Foundation has initiated an all-new scholarship to help students who have completed the NCRA A to Z™ Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program with the next step in their training. Scholarships are supported by funds from the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF).

Nominations are now open, so consider nominating individuals for these special opportunities:

CASE scholarships. Five scholarships are available. Students attending an NCRA-approved court reporting program and writing between 140 and 180 wpm are encouraged to apply for this scholarship. Teachers and mentors, let them know that you see their potential. The nomination period closes April 1.  

NCRA A to Z ™ scholarshipsUp to 10 students will receive a $500 scholarship. Qualified applicants must have completed the NCRA A to Z™ Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program as well as pass a skills test writing between 60 and 100 wpm, among other eligibility requirements. Nominations close April 1.

 CASE Educator of the YearThis special award is for a court reporting instructor. Was there someone special who inspired you, who got you through the ups, downs, and plateaus of your court reporting classes? If your teacher was an incredible influence in you getting started, now is the time to say thank you by nominating that special someone for the CASE Educator of the Year Award. Nominations close April 1.

Fellow of the Academy of Professional ReportersIf you know a dedicated court reporter or captioner who has contributed to the profession in a big way over the years, nominate that person as a Fellow. Candidates must be active practitioners in the field and have at least 10 years of experience. Criteria for nomination include the publication of important papers, legislative or creative contributions to the field, and service on committees or boards. Nominations close April 1.

Connecticut offers NCRA’s A to Z with help from ProCAT

Kendra Jenkins, Jessica Lynn Sekellick and Megan Speed (yes, Speed!), Connecticut A to Z participants discovering the joy of steno

Kendra Jenkins, Jessica Lynn Sekellick and Megan Speed (yes, Speed!), Connecticut participants in NCRA’s A to Z program discovering the joy of steno

Andrea Kingsley, RPR, of Easton, Conn., first learned about NCRA’s A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program at the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo in Chicago when Nancy Varallo, FAPR, RDR, CRR, a firm owner from Worcester, Mass., presented the idea during a seminar. “I signed up [as a leader] right away,” says Kingsley. “It’s a brilliant idea.”

The A to Z program is a six-to-eight week presentation to a small group of participants considering court reporting as a career. During the program, the participants learn to write the alphabet and numbers in steno on an actual steno machine. The presentations are led by court reporters and captioners who have signed up with NCRA to volunteer and offer these sessions.

So far, Kingsley said she has had 11 people interested in her A to Z program. “I found people through the NCRA listserv that sends out contact info of interested participants by state. I sent out an announcement to our state membership, and I posted it in the library where I held the sessions,” says Kingsley, who just wrapped up a session earlier this week.  “The students all received a certificate and letter of recommendation. They all plan on attending an online school.”

The A to Z program is a unique way to give participants the experience of using a steno machine without investing in schooling or the cost of equipment, although becoming a court reporter will require a greater commitment. For the Connecticut-based A to Z program that Kingsley led, Tracy Gow, RPR, an official and freelance reporter from Middlebury, and a past president of the Connecticut Court Reporters Association (CCRA) reached out to ProCAT about providing machines for program participants. ProCAT offered to donate the machines; CCRA only needed to pay for shipping.

“We got 10 machines but didn’t need that many,” says Kingsley. “When I saw Renee Leguire’s request for machines on the listserv, I got in touch with her, and we were able to provide five machines to the Albany area A to Z.  Renee kindly split the shipping cost with CCRA.” Leguire, RMR, CRR, a firm owner from Latham, is hosting an A to Z program in New York.

“A huge thank you to Grace Molson and ProCat for lending the Connecticut Court Reporter’s Association 10 steno machines for use in A to Z Discover Steno programs,” says Kingsley.








CCAC to offer free, introductory court reporting course

The Tribune-Review reports on March 22 that the Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, Pa., will host an A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand course, which is a free introductory course on court reporting, from April 19 to May 12.

Read more.








Court reporter shortage impacts trials, hearings

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyKHSB TV, Kansas City, Mo., posted a story on Feb. 8 featuring NCRA members Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, an official court reporter from Olathe, Kan., and Chris Herndon, RPR, CRI, an official court reporter from Prairie Village. The article focused on the growing demand for more court reporters.

Read more.








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.

Read more and watch the video.








Donate your old machine and case to the A to Z Program

"Donate your machine for the A to Z Program" -- Four different models of steno machines

The A to Z Program offers participants the opportunity to learn the basics about court reporting in a six-to-eight week introduction to machine shorthand program.

You can assist the next generation of court reporters and captioners.

There is a great need for used steno machines, chargers, AC adapters, paper trays, ribbons, tripods, cases, etc. If you have these items, the A to Z Program is looking for donations and loans to programs in your state or local area.

Stylized image of a hand holding a steno machine -- white outline on a purple backgroundDonate or loan your steno machine

You do not need to ship your machine or any other items at this time. You will be contacted when your items are needed. We ask that everything you donate is in good working order and has been cleaned. This is an introduction to our profession, and we’d like the experience to be a positive one.

Complete this form and NCRA’s Education Department will add your name and items to the database. When needed, you will be contacted by a local A to Z Program leader.

Are you interested in leading an A to Z Program?

A to Z Program leaders work with small groups of participants as they learn how to write the alphabet and numbers in steno. This program does not follow any particular theory. Program leaders receive free training materials after completing and submitting a program leader Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). For more information, view the A to Z webinar and read the frequently asked questions.








NCRA member in local media for A to Z program

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.








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 TheJCR.com/tag/a-to-z-program, or contact Cynthia Bruce Andrews at candrews@ncra.org.








A to Z: Recruiting the next generation

A group of students sit in a circleBy Nancy Varallo

I want our time-honored profession to flourish into the future. I’m betting you do too.

I’ve been a freelance reporter, a teacher, an agency owner, president of NCRA, and have been involved in NCRA educational initiatives
for years. Here are two important takeaways from my experience:

• People still don’t know about our field (no surprise there) and its wonderful career opportunities.
• We need to screen applicants to court reporting programs to make sure we enroll students who have the best chance to succeed.

The solution might just be as simple as the A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program, a program you can teach in your own home or office, whether or not you’ve ever taught anything before. Teaching experience is not necessary. What’s necessary is your enthusiasm and a
willingness to devote some hours of your time to ensure a future for our profession.

Court reporting is a great field. It’s worth being enthusiastic about. When young people hear our story and suddenly realize what a great opportunity this is, they’re excited. The A to Z Intro to Machine Shorthand program channels that excitement to produce recruits for court reporting school who are excited about the prospect and have self-selected as the candidates most likely to succeed.

After rolling out the A to Z program myself in November of 2015 with a class of seven young people, I spread the word and got a wonderful response from my court reporting colleagues. Court reporters, most with no teaching experience, ran their own A to Z programs, with great success. Several enrollees from each group said they wanted to go to court reporting school. These were the individuals who had taken quickly to the machine, showing aptitude for it and eagerness to learn. That’s exactly the kind of students we need in court reporting school!

I realized my A to Z program was working. It was a hit! I brought it to NCRA, and it is now NCRA’s initiative.

Please think about running an eight-week A to Z Program yourself. NCRA has all the materials you will need. Reporters around the country who have run successful A to Z classes are available to help you get up and running. What’s the commitment on your part? The A to Z course materials are structured for eight three-hour sessions, i.e., three hours a week for eight weeks. No homework to collect, no tests to give. It’s as easy as … well, ABC.

In 24 hours, you can make a difference.

We’ll help you get steno machines for your students. You don’t need laptops or software. The idea is to expose as many young people as possible to the machine and then let them figure out themselves whether they like writing on the machine and perhaps want to enroll in a
court reporting program. Your enthusiasm goes a long way to help the talented candidates among your class grasp the opportunity being
shown to them and choose to go on to court reporting school.

If you’d like to talk to other court reporters who have run A to Z programs, contact us at NCRA.org/discoversteno/teach. There’s program information and sign-up forms there. A to Z is a community-based initiative. Use your friends and neighbors in your community to assemble a class. Post flyers in your local high school, at the dry cleaner’s, the library, the supermarket. Advertise in your town newspaper. Use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Schedule classes in your home, or in a local venue such as a church, school, library, court reporting agency. You just need a small classroom once a week.

I’m thrilled with A to Z – because it works! Reports of success are coming in from all over the country. You can be a part of that success!

Nancy Varallo, FAPR, RDR, CRR is an agency owner in Massachusetts. She is NCRA’s 2017 Distinguished Service Award recipient. You can reach her at Nancy.Varallo@TheVaralloGroup.com.

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Creating our own success

Thanks to the leaders who have already hosted A to Z programs