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The History of CCR

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People frequently ask: How did I start a school with three students in my home, and how did it become the best court reporting program in the country? The answer is that it was not planned, it just happened. Although the College of Court Reporting officially became a school in 1984, the beginning goes back a few years before that.

When I was in high school, my dad insisted that I learn Gregg shorthand. I was so fascinated with it that I decided to work as secretary when I graduated; but after a year, I felt I wanted more education and went to Indiana University where I graduated with a bachelor's degree, majoring in vocational education and English. I taught high school for a few years while my husband was in law school. After he finished school and began practicing, I stayed home until 1976 when our youngest child went to school. I didn't want to return to teach high school; and my husband, a state court judge at that time, brought home a little machine -- something his court reporter used that was a form of shorthand. Wow! I was impressed. I had always loved shorthand and typing and "machine steno" looked fascinating; therefore, I immediately enrolled in a local court reporting school.

I quickly found that managing a home, taking care of four children, keeping up with a busy husband, and going to school at the same time was quite a challenge. Having been a teacher myself, I found too many things wrong with the educational philosophy of the schools I attended -- most were businesses, not schools concerned about their students. After over four years as a court reporting student enrolled in four different schools, I finally reached my exit speeds and began interning around the same time the President appointed my husband to be a United States District Court judge in the Northern District of Indiana.

In the early '80s, an official reporter approached me about teaching for her. She was impressed that I had both an educational and court reporting background. I taught for her for a couple of years; but in Indiana, anyone who offers any type of educational program whereby fees are charged must be licensed by the state. The "school owner" disagreed with this law and never applied for or received any type of state approval. The day she informed me that she was breaking the law, I resigned! I had three students in my class, and I contacted them and gave them information regarding area programs, but they asked me to continue to teach them. I immediately contacted the Indiana Commission on Proprietary Education and completed the required documentation needed to teach court reporting classes. Therefore, in 1983, I began teaching three court reporting students in my home. The Post Tribune, an Indiana newspaper, was running a series of articles on "older" women who had unique careers, and they featured the in-the-home court reporting school with a full-page article and pictures of my students at their machines in our dining room. Word quickly spread to the local legal and court reporting communities that a "real educator" was licensed by the state to teach court reporting. Prospective students contacted me, and I enrolled my first class of 10 students in the fall of 1984.

A business teacher, Helen Hopp, with whom I'd taught at the high school, contacted me and said she had read the article and was retiring that year and would like to help me get started. She'd not only taught typing and shorthand, but she'd been a steno court reporter in the military before beginning her teaching career. She helped me with all sorts of things: where to order stop watches and textbooks, where to buy and repair used Selectric typewriters, professional associations and seminars for business educators, etc.

Initially I taught all the classes with assistance from Helen. Our students were in class 20 hours a week. In addition to preparing materials for my daily classes, I worked on the weekends to clean the school, get ready for the next week, recruit students for the next semester, update student records, file reports to the state for accreditation -- the list of what it took to run a small school was endless. I rarely took off a day and worked seven days a week, over twelve 12 hours a day. But I loved it. I loved the profession. I loved my students! And the best part was that all of my students were excelling. After 12 months, not a single student dropped the program; our first student graduated in 18 months and four more by the end of the second year! CCR was a big success. Word was out: There was finally a successful court reporting program in Northern Indiana! Students drove to Hobart, Indiana, from South Bend, Lafayette, Indianapolis, and the Chicago suburbs.

In order to develop and improve our program and offer the best possible court reporting education, I completed my master's degree in education with an emphasis on adult education and began working on a doctorate degree. I found a tremendous amount of research on how to teach adults, how they learn, and the best teaching pedagogy for developing the psychomotor skills needed for court reporters. There are profound differences between the way adults and children learn.

Shortly after I started CCR, I heard there was to be a court reporting teachers workshop sponsored by the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) in Chicago. I immediately registered and was lucky to meet other educators from across the country: Mary Smith, owner of Denver Academy of Court Reporting; Norma Lou Bridges, director, and Carolyn Willard, owner, of the Court Reporting Institute of Dallas; Sarah Prince, owner of Prince Academy; and Lillian Morson, well-known author and court reporting educator. I also got to know Penny Compher from NCRA headquarters. I found that networking with these knowledgeable, awesome women was invaluable. Whenever I had a question or concern, I would quickly phone one of them and my problem was immediately solved. And soon they were phoning me for advice. Along with Ardith Spies, owner, Professional Career Institute; Mae Glassbrenner, owner, Chicago College of Commerce; Deanna Johnson, director, Gadsden State Community College; and Mary Knapp, director, Alvin Community College, we worked together and consulted with each other to develop and improve court reporting education. Many of the foundations of present-day court reporting educational programs were created in the '80s and '90s by women dedicated to the profession as opposed to businessmen whose primary interest was a good profit. To my knowledge, most of these fabulous women are retired or no longer involved in court reporting education.

In the early '90s, NCRA created teacher certification for court reporting instructors. Having served on other NCRA committees, I was honored to be appointed to this first committee along with Marcella Kocur, Central Michigan University; Marcia Anderson Yates, Southern Illinois University; and Sunny Hayes, Triton Community College. I served on the committee for eight years; and in subsequent years, Joyce Sheets, Southern Illinois University; Lillian Morson, and Mary Smith served on the committee.

In addition to serving on NCRA committees, I was appointed by NCRA, the State of Indiana, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), and other national accreditation agencies to conduct school evaluations. Over the years, I performed over 50 onsite school evaluations. As a result of visiting other programs, I saw what works and what doesn't work in a court reporting program. I learned how important it is to have a student-centered curriculum and the importance of hiring teachers with a combination of court reporting knowledge and teaching expertise. Therefore, all of CCR's machine shorthand teachers have a CRI, CSR, or RPR and impressive teaching credentials.

As soon as CCR had its first graduate, we applied for NCRA approval;, and a few years later, ACICS accreditation. Needing a financial aid officer, I asked my son Jeff, a probation officer in juvenile court, if he'd consider a new career, even though he had a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. He attended financial aid and accreditation workshops and became my business partner and director of financial aid in 1989. I insisted that he learn machine shorthand theory, and he too became fascinated with court reporting. CAT technology was quickly evolving and realtime reporting was being developed, and he was soon recognized as the expert in court reporting technology. He took CLVS courses, graduate courses in adult education, and is a CRI. He also performed many school evaluations and served on ACICS national committees. Presently he is chair for CASE, the Committee on Approved Student Education, and he developed ev360, the educational learning system that provides for comprehensive speed and skill development.

CONCLUSION

Since 1983, the College of Court Reporting has grown in many ways:

  • CCR grew from a group of three students taught at home to being an international school with over 300 students.
  • CCR is one of the longest running schools with no change of ownership.
  • CCR was the first accredited online program and is recognized as the leading provider of online court reporting education.
  • CCR was the first online program to offer an associate degree in court reporting.
  • CCR evolved from being an unknown school to being recognized as the nation's best school for realtime court reporters.
  • CCR grew from having one employee to employing over 30 degreed faculty and administrators.
  • CCR developed its own theory that has been tested and proved to produce graduates in 24 to 30 months.
  • CCR is the only school that has three educators who have been awarded the Outstanding Educator of the Year by NCRA.
  • CCR staff has been recognized and awarded three different grants by the United States Department of Education to train realtime reporters.
  • CCR is developing a court reporting educational program in Spanish.
  • CCR developed and implemented ev360 technologies -- truly the greatest innovation in present-day court reporting education!
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Comments

  • Guest
    Rachelle Cahoon Friday, 28 September 2012

    Kay, I enjoyed reading this history of my school! Thank you for sharing. This article just shows what I have already learned through being a student at CCR which is that CCR is a leader in the field because of a passion for producing court reporters and an amazing work ethic on the part of staff and administrators who are always seeking new and better ways of improving court reporting education. CCR is one of the best things that ever happened to me. Thanks for making my dreams a reality!!

  • Guest
    Sue Harrison Sunday, 30 September 2012

    Kay, what an incredible career you've had. I just assumed you were a court reporter who decided to teach. I didn't realize the education and preparation you've acquired to make CCR the best. I feel blessed to be a student of your school.

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Guest Sunday, 15 December 2019

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