Today Matters, Vantage Superintendent Blog



Thursday, December 23, 2010

December 23, 2010

If I don't get this written in record time, I may as well change the title of this blog to Christmas Eve, as in about 30 minutes it will be December 24!
Vantage had its third calamity day on December 22, and I am certain it won't be our last one for this winter. While it was a somewhat short week, some important things were accomplished which should be noted here before the holidays begin.
Vantage Skills USA officers headed up fundraising efforts to donate to both the Paulding county and Van Wert county Toys for Tots programs. The students did a great job, with their efforts resulting in donations of $493 to each county's program! Opportunities to help others, especially during this time of the year, surround us. The junior Health Technology students adopted a family for Christmas and purchased special gifts for them to make their Christmas brighter. Each year during the month of December, several staff members at Vantage take part in the Santa Sister event. This year a food drive option was offered and several participants chose to donate a canned or boxed food item instead of giving a small daily gift to their "sister". The event is fun and brings out the best in all of us, but it feels particularly good to know that our group was able to donate the collected items to the "Circle of Friends" Cooperative Parrish Food Pantry. Four churches in Continental and the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Ottoville make this food pantry successful. There are many more acts of giving that are led by Vantage staff and students throughout the year--too numerous to mention individually, but collectively their caring efforts make quite an impact on people in several communities.Thanks to our staff members for initiating these efforts and working with students to foster their participation in such valuable community service activities.
Enjoy the holiday season and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

December 13, 2010

Good morning, and what a great day it is outside! The sun is shining, but schools are closed throughout the Vantage district. I appreciate living so close to Vantage on days such as this one.

Vantage inducted 26 students into the National Technical Honor Society last Monday evening. Several instructors and parents were in the audience to witness their students' induction. All enjoyed a great dinner and program, led by Mr. Bob Vennekotter, Director. Several parents expressed their pride and appreciation for the personal focus which was put on the ceremony as the audience heard the reasons why teachers nominated each of these outstanding students for the National Technical Honor Society distinction. Congratulations to all of these students for this tremendous accomplishment. Vantage continues to induct at least 20 students annually who exemplify the traits of knowledge, skill, honesty, service, responsibility, citizenship, and leadership.

I can't close my blog today until I note what a wonderful concert I attended at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center on Sunday night. Kenny G was truly amazing to listen to, and he entertained the audience with much humor throughout the show. The snowstorm outside made it even cozier to enjoy such terrific music.

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 2010

Good Morning! Vantage is starting out the week with a 2-hour delay, as the first instance of slick roads can present challenging driving for our students and staff. A little more daylight to see the road is helpful.

Vantage public relations coordinator,MaryJo Wilhelm and I, along with six students, traveled to Delphos for their annual Hometown Christmas celebration and parade last Friday evening. Thanks to one of our electrical students, the school van was decked out in Christmas lights, and the students passed out three buckets of candy to people along the street. The red and white Vantage banner was walked through the parade to announce we were there! We all enjoyed wearing Santa hats and waving to the crowd. While most of the people in Delphos were at the state championship football game to cheer on the Delphos St. John's football team to an outstanding victory, there were plenty of people to line the streets for the parade.

Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

November 23, 2010

What a whirlwind month November has been! Yes, this is a weekly blog, but several events have made it difficult to blog in November.

The last few weeks have included some intense work on reviewing the final building plans, room by room, and system details such as the type of rack used to house the cabling for the building's technology design. A bit more review has yet to be finished, but much progress has been made in the design phase since voters passed our bond levy in November 2009.

Many, many thanks to all the Vantage voters who supported the .7 renewal permanent improvement levy in this November's election! The levy passed in all five counties where Vantage has voters--it is believed this is the first time for unanimous passage. The Vantage district is proud to have the support of our surrounding communities.

Vantage will continue to seek new training options for students, both in high school and adult programs. Currently a proposal is being drafted for the consideration of Horizon Wind Energy and Iberdrola Renewables. This proposal is intended to foster education in alternative energy and will include wind turbine repair. Current Vantage high school programs in Industrial Mechanics and Electricity provide a solid mechanical and electrical foundation which is necessary to build alternative energy competencies. Additional training in alternative energy will prepare students for a number of employment options such as energy auditing. It can also support interest in a postsecondary pathway to earn degrees in electrical, mechanical, or other engineering fields.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention a special life-changing event, which is also the reason I missed the November 5 blog post. My grandson was born on Thursday, November 4! My daughter and son-in-law are adjusting to parenthood, and are learning to live on much less sleep. I am settling into the Grandma role and gearing up to cook Thanksgiving dinner for 14 people this Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Enjoy the time with family and friends.

Friday, October 29, 2010

October 29, 2010

November 2, Election Day, is an important day for Ohioans as they vote their choices for elected officials and numerous school district issues across the state.

Vantage Career Center's 7/10 of one mill Permanent Improvement levy is a renewal. It has been renewed for the past 15 years, and appears on the ballot every five years. Funds generated allow the district to provide equipment and technology for the skilled trades labs and classrooms. It also provides funds for building maintenance which are used for repairs as necessary.

Please contact me at 419-238-5411 X 102 to answer your questions about the renewal levy. And please, exercise your right to vote on November 2.

Friday, October 22, 2010

October 22, 2010

This week's blog is a great time to recognize the work of our Media Center staff, Pam Knodel, and Annette Klinger, who filled the vacancy created by Michele Prichard this summer. With Pam and Michele's efforts last year, Vantage's Media Center produced some great statistics for the 2009-10!

*Over 16,000 student visits, including scheduled class time library visits
*10,000 of these visits were simply students who sought out the library for their own reading and Media Center activity
*Materials were checked out of the library 9,000 times
*Digital cameras (for use in school projects and student organizations) were checked out 340 times

The Media Center at Vantage is full of activity and our staff provide a welcome environment for students and staff. Some of the events in September and October have been recognition of September 25 - October 2 as Banned Book Week with a banned book raffle, as well as Banned Book Trivia. Courtney Jewel, Sr. Health Technology, was the winner of the Banned Book Week drawing.

October 18-22 has been Teen Read Week with special promotions and reading rewards, as well as a "Show Us Your Beat" contest.

In addition to the themes which draw students into the Media Center, our staff and students also find rich resources in practice tests for college entrance exams, military, civil service, GED tests, and CDL and firefighting. Also available are tests for cosmetology, computer certifications, health careers certifications and electrical work. Tutorials are provided for reading, math, and writing skill improvement. And perhaps most important, resources include job readiness information such as resume writing and interviewing skills. Thanks to technology much of this information is supported by online resources.

Our staff and students make our Media Center a success. Thanks for supporting it--and keep reading!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

October 15, 2010

I hope everyone has had a chance to enjoy this fall's beautiful weather! While the autumn colors aren't the best I have ever seen, the mild temperatures have been terrific.

Next week Vantage will host the annual Advisory Committee banquet, where our training programs' advisory committees give input to our teachers. Business and industry volunteers graciously give their time to advise our teachers on the required skills and equipment which would be wise for up-to-date student preparation for the work force. We encourage our staff to do more listening than talking on October 19, when these committees meet.

While it is necessary to update our advisory committees on what students are experiencing during training, the event will not serve its purpose if committee members are not encouraged to voice their opinion on curriculum and methods of training. The annual advisory banquet and building-wide meetings illustrate a pertinent link to the real world. All of our committee members should feel their viewpoint is listened to, and that they are part of a problem-solving committee to guide our staff toward delivering the most effective training for our region's employers.

Career-technical education has a proud heritage of linking education with the real world. It is one of the factors which has been reinforced to Ohio's leadership in both government and education. In fact it is one reason that Ohio received Race to the Top funds, causing a small portion of these federal funds to be earmarked for Ohio's career-technical education advancement. While legislators and educators discuss the state's budget crisis, one refreshing fact surfaces: Career technical education is a resource to utilize for training as jobs, which were non-existent years ago, are now created in new technology fields. The skilled labor shortage can be addressed by career centers maintaining connections with area employers and adapting training programs as skills change. Vantage Career Center will continue to be active in this effort, and we encourage local business and industry representatives to contact us, so that they may represent their field on one of our advisory boards. It is vital that we remain aware of workforce needs in our school district and surrounding region.

Friday, October 8, 2010

October 8, 2010

It's officially the 8th of October, and I thought I forgot to post an entry for this week. Then I realized it is only Thursday night (Friday morning, I guess) and this week's post is early! And what a week it was!

Staff came together and pitched in to help with the week's Attendance Marathon activities. I enjoyed serving breakfast to students on Wednesday and helped at "Double Dog Day" on Thursday, serving up hot dogs in the lunch line . Our cafeteria manager, Penny Baucom, came to my aid when it was evident that I couldn't keep up with putting two hot dogs on every tray and ladling chili and cheese as well. Needless to say the line moved right along when she took over the chili detail. (I don't know how I escaped working in food service as I worked my way through college, but that is one job I never had!).

This week has flown by, and too soon we will see the end of the first 9 weeks grading period. I believe a few of our seniors would agree that this year is already going by too quickly for them.
But there is a lot left to do at Vantage this year, including many activities our students will enjoy.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October 2, 2010

It's going on noon already today! I would like to update you on last Saturday's successful pancake breakfast which was held at Vantage with proceeds going toward the Citizens for Vantage fund. By this time last Saturday, dedicated staff members were almost finished with the clean-up tasks and we left the building in good shape for Monday's students and staff to return. For many of us, last Saturday started at 6 a.m. while we prepared for what we hoped would be a "rush" of customers from 7 to 11 a.m.

Over 160 meals were served--and I say "meals" because several people ordered meals to go or brought back pancake breakfasts for their work crews and office staff. One gentleman took time to eat his own breakfast and ordered nine more meals to take back to Ottoville with him! And many thanks to Eaton, where we filled an order for 14 breakfasts. I believe we even delivered a few meals to some offices in Van Wert. All in all, the final crowd was over the twice the size from 2009's pancake breakfast, and we hope it will grow to over 300 meals served next year!

The Putnam County ESC hosted a meeting yesterday, at the request of Governor Strickland. Knowledgeworks representatives facilitated the meeting and gathered information from area superintendents and ESC personnel regarding school efficiencies and how to maintain focus and investment in improving student achievement. I am grateful to Dr. Jan Osborn, Superintendent of the Putnam Co. ESC for inviting Vantage Career Center and Penta Career Center to be represented. Much dialogue took place regarding the strength and quality of our schools in northwest Ohio and the importance of linkages to our community in a multitude of ways.

In closing I would like to thank our Vantage staff members and four of our Board of Education members who gave up their Saturday last week. While we cooked, served, and cleaned, we enjoyed good company with each other. We also met so many of our community members who shared support for the education Vantage has provided for them and their families. Thanks to all of you who supported our second annual Pancake breakfast! I hope to see you next year!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 23, 2010

Greetings Blog Readers!

Technology is up and running for the time being, and I don't anticipate any delays in getting this blog posted ahead of schedule.

The past two weeks have been filled with activity, and what seems an unusually heavy community meeting/event schedule. In the past 10 days I have attended a city council meeting for the purpose of supporting and listening to the discussion surrounding filling the gap funding for the mega-site, which sits just north of Vantage. City council will continue their discussion of this topic on September 29. The Western Buckeye ESC meeting for superintendents was held last Friday morning in Paulding, and I received an excellent update of several educational issues. Later that day, Adult Education Director Pete Prichard and I attended our meeting with Rhodes State, Wright State Lake Campus, and Northwest State Community College to further our progress in expanding adult training opportunities and postsecondary degree pathways to our community.

Our architects for the construction project were also on site last week and have been reviewing individual classrooms, labs, and office requirements with our staff. The former Van Wert Women's Club, of which I was a member, continues to gather at the YWCA monthly, and I was fortunate to attend their first gathering since the group disbanded last June. My normal Tuesday schedule contains Van Wert Rotary, and this week's program was of particular interest as it focused on the state budget and concerns with the projected $8 billion deficit.

I was able to keep a meeting with both superintendents of Ohio Hi-Point Career Center and Apollo Career Center, where we discussed current issues for career technical education. On the same day, I participated in a meeting for economic development for business recruitment. The monthly meeting for the Van Wert Economic Development Advisory Committee was also on my slate for last Friday. I made it to Business After Hours for the Chamber of Commerce at the Art Factory on Main Street this week, and attended my first American Association of University Women's meeting at the Van Wert Middle School on Monday evening.

The week finishes out on Friday, Sept. 24 with our area superintendents coming to Vantage where we will sit down with House Representative Lynn Wachtmann to discuss concerns with several educational issues. Many of our students will be working at locations throughout Van Wert on Friday for the Day of Caring--I intend to stop by a few of the locations and express appeciation for our students giving their time to help others. Saturday morning starts early at 6 a.m. for our Pancake and Sausage Breakfast at Vantage, where I will be serving on the buffet line, at 7a.m. (Somewhere in this schedule, we squeezed in a baby shower for my oldest daughter, Colleen, who will welcome their first baby to the family in November)! It's a great life if you don't weaken, as my grandma used to say!

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010

Is anyone else guilty of taking technology for granted? I would like to blame problems with my laptop and Internet access as the official reason that I was unable to post a blog by last Friday! Unfortunately my weekend schedule didn't allow me enough free time to draft a blog before today. Everytime I reached for the laptop last week, I encountered unsolvable problems. Many thanks to Eric Vennekotter, technology assistant at Vantage, for getting the laptop up and running so that I can continue "running"!

What a weekend! I was able to attend the Wright State Lake Campus annual scholarship awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon in Celina. I represent Van Wert County as a trustee on the Western Ohio Education Foundation board, and 45 students received scholarships for this school year. Congratulations to all of the recipients! I would like to especially recognize Camille Harting, who received a scholarship and will pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education. Camille graduated from Crestview and completed two years in Health Careers at Vantage.

Another worthwhile event was the Delta Kappa Gamma meeting, Beta Eta chapter, at Just Something Different near Ft. Jennings on Saturday. Beining Nursery presented a program on proper care of your trees and plants. DKG is an international sorority for women educators. The meeting was well attended, and it provides me the opportunity to get to know several Putnam, Van Wert, Allen, and Paulding county educators, both retired and currently teaching. BTW--Beining's noted that it is people like me who keep them in business! (I need to make time to water my landscaping and I now know the correct season to trim shrubs!).

Friday, September 3, 2010

September 3, 2010

Vantage Career Center students have been in school for three weeks so far; our attendance record is excellent at 96.9% for the month of August. Career Technical Education Director Bob Vennekotter shared this information with our Board of Education at last night's meeting, noting that starting school earlier than usual on August 16 had not affected student attendance.

Several community members have asked how enrollment looks this year at Vantage--yesterday's numbers were 465 high school students, which is a very solid start for 2010-11. Vantage continues to draw about 25 percent of our associate school districts' juniors and seniors. The most fully enrolled programs are Auto Mechanics, Industrial Mechanics, Networking Systems, Welding, Auto Body, Health Technology and Cosmetology. Electricity enrollment of the junior class is also higher than in past years, at 16 students.

Vantage hosts a student appreciation day annually, to thank our students for choosing Vantage. This is scheduled for September 9, and offers fun activities outside on the grounds to help students meet others from neighboring districts, experience the thrill of competition and the agony of defeat as they enjoy outdoor games and the annual tug - of -war challenge. Student and staff picture day is September 14. Vantage will offer a Pancake and Sausage Breakfast on Saturday, September 25, from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. $3 is all it takes to enjoy a hot breakfast cooked by our staff members that morning!

Stop by the Vantage booth at the Van Wert County Fair this week and pick up a new Adult Education course catalog. Adult Education enrollment has continued to grow--over 1900 adults in our area enrolled in a course at Vantage last year. Enjoy the Labor Day holiday weekend, and I hope to see you at the fair!

Friday, August 27, 2010

August 27, 2010

Two weeks into the 2010-11 school year students continue to make their decision to attend Vantage and learn a skilled trade to set them up for a lifetime of earning a living. Some students have returned to their associate school district, as is typical--they miss friends, traditional school atmosphere, or determine that Vantage doesn't match their educational plans right now. Several more have enrolled here in the past week or two, and will stay because they know they have found what they were looking for in school.

Last week's blog sparked a few conversations in our building, and I would like to continue the topic of the importance of choosing a skilled trade while in high school. I am reading the book "Shop Class as Soulcraft" by Michael Crawford. He emphasizes the importance of people understanding the values that working with the hands brings to one's lifestyle. Intrinsic satisfaction is predominant, but economic viability is a consideration also--much of the skilled trades, also classified as "non-service" jobs, cannot be done overseas. He cites his own example: He started his own business repairing motorcycles after deciding a managment position of a Washington D.C. "think tank" didn't generate personal satisfaction. People are not likely to ship their bike to Asia for repairs! And the repairs cannot be made by a computer here in the states.

I had the opportunity to hear him speak at Ohio's Association of Career-Technical Education conference in July, which inspired me to read his book. I'll paraphrase some remarks he made to the audience: "If you don't feel you have an effect on the world, you somehow don't feel responsible for it. . .The point is not the color of your collar, but livelihood." He went on to talk about the feelings of pride in a job well done, stepping back to look at a refurbished bike, after sometimes days of trial and error in problem solving its engine repair needs. He started out early in life as an electrician, and missed the satisfaction and pride that was present in the work he performed daily.

Immense skill and knowledge is associated with skilled trades. I marvel at what our welding students are able to accomplish at the end of their first and second years of training, and I see the passion for welding that our instructor, Brent Wright, brings to the training lab. His students see it too, and it makes a difference in their lives.

Skilled trades typically include welders, cabinet makers, bricklayers, plumbers, butchers, and carpenters to name a few. The list goes on. But a recent Manpower article declares that only one in 10 15-year olds today see themselves in a blue collar job at age 30. Many parents believe their children must seek a four-year college degree--but reality is that these jobs make up about 20 percent of the jobs in the workforce. This stigma contributes to the national skilled labor shortage, which is listed as the number one hiring challenge in 6 of the 10 biggest economies. Vantage continues to draw about 25 percent of the sophomores in our school district. This is consistent with all of Ohio's career centers, but collectively, it doesn't fill the pipeline for skilled labor where 80 percent of the jobs exist.

What can we do about it? At Vantage we must continue to link our staff to our area employers, to keep in touch with the skills they need in their business and industry areas. If we lose touch, we lose the edge on helping our district's youth and adults find employment. Industry has trained their own employees for years, but Vantage exists to give students entry-level skills to get initial employment. Advanced training and lifelong learning will continue to be essential for everyone's profession. At Vantage, our students create viable options for themselves through learning skilled trades.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 20, 2010

Today marks the end of our first week of school at Vantage. It has been a smooth start and we even got in a fire drill!

I ran across an article about the skilled labor shortage, which many people may find hard to believe, with so many people looking for work in the past few years. But I believe there is a skilled labor shortage, and CBS news has reported on it. Reporter Cynthia Bowers interviewed Linda Fillingham, a machine shop owner. Her family's shop could use 30-40 employees to help make metal parts that go into some of America's biggest machines.

Bowers reports that there is no shortage of work for this factory, but a shortage of skilled labor. The machine shop requires people with good math skills, who are also good with their hands, and are willing to work on a factory floor. The job isn't a glamourous one--it can be hot, hard work. And Fillingham has had to resort to paying people to learn on the job, at $13 to $18 per hour. The article notes that the average manufacturer is 50 years old--if there is a shortage now, there will be a much bigger one in 10-15 years as many in the workforce retire.

Bowers states that by 2012, the U.S. will see a shortage of 3 million skilled workers, not just in the manufacturing sector. The government says there are 227,000 open manufacturing jobs right now, which is more than double a year ago. Her article indicates that 183,000 of these jobs have been created since December, 2009.

Vantage Career Center has a very successful precision machining program, taught by Mr. Larry Ray. All but one or two of his 2010 graduated seniors are working now in machining. He goes out of his way to help the students find jobs near their local community, via many contacts with employers who look for Vantage-trained students. Typically we see strong enrollment in both the junior and senior program, however, this year it is a bit less. We have made similar remarks as in CBS' Cynthia Bowers' article--25 year-old Matthew McDannel, employed at Linda Fillingham's factory, and learning on the job says: "Maybe the work's too hard. Maybe it's too hot. Maybe people just think about it and they're just, like, "oh, I don't want to do that." Students--reconsider! Precision machining is a solid job prospect and a lucrative career move for males AND females. Our students with good skills and a good work ethic do find jobs.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

August 13, 2010

It's a new school year and the Vantage staff is ready for the building to be filled once again with our district's juniors and seniors. Several of these students arrive ready to learn and full of excitement about coming to Vantage Career Center.

One of the most frequent questions I get is "do you work much in the summer?" which is usually followed by: "What is there for you to do when the teachers and students are gone in the summer?"

Let me fill you in! The summer staff are busy checking supply and equipment orders, correcting errors in billing and shipping, answering questions from parents of prospective and enrolled students, and planning for the upcoming year's projects with teachers and clubs. There is much to keep up with regarding information from Ohio Department of Education, pending legislation to review, and Ohio Association of Career Technical Education information and activity. The administrative team works with me on updating the strategic plan, anticipating issues with schedules and enrollment, and teacher professional development and licensure issues. This summer was a heavy hiring year, with our last position being filled on August 10, so much time was spent screening applications and interviewing candidates. And, adult education classes continue through the summer, so there is constantly something refreshing happening at Vantage all year round.

Our normal work environment is transformed by the required summer maintenance work--hallways become the storage place for chairs and desks as carpets in classrooms are cleaned. My beaten path to the front office and restroom is sometimes barricaded by yellow caution tape to keep us from tramping on a freshly waxed floor or wet carpet. In short it's always interesting here in the summer, kind of like going to summer camp and enjoying the short time away from the routine we know throughout the year.

Much of the same duties continue throughout the school year, but without the full staff of teachers and our students filling the school building, the work day takes place in a much different atmosphere. I am glad to see everyone come back to fill the halls with chatter and news of their summer activities.

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21, 2010

Is there anything more cozy than a Friday evening at home when it's pouring BUCKETS of rain outside? It's 9:50 p.m. as I start to write my blog for this week--I like to have it posted on Friday morning, but this week's schedule has not allowed my blog to be a first priority for today.

I just returned from the graduation ceremony at Ft. Jennings. What at outstanding evening! Actually this whole week was filled with some pretty awesome events, and I will share more of those later. After 19 years as a high school administrator, I have attended probably 30 graduation ceremonies, simply to represent career-technical education. No matter how many I have attended, every one of them leaves me with unspeakable joy and pride in students. Tonight's ceremony at Ft. Jennings will stay in my memory for the rest of my life.

The senior class produced an outstanding class video (the best I have seen) and included its members who attended Vantage. Their video captured our students working in their training labs and related classrooms--and it was excellent coverage and recognition of these students. I was proud to be in the audience watching that video. Another memory I will carry with me is watching every senior take off their robe at the close of the ceremony and exit the gymasium wearing t-shirts with various yearbook pictures of retiring superintendent, Mr. Frank Sukup, emblazoned on their chests. It was a touching gesture and one that I may never see again!

Vantage seniors participated in our annual Senior Award Ceremony this week. I think we had the largest group of home school representatives and parents that I have seen for the three years I have been at Vantage. I look forward to the event every year--parents will appreciate knowing that when our renovation and construction project is completed, there should be much more room to accommodate many, many more parents at this important event.

Our students continue to receive college scholarships and local, state, and national award distinction. Their recognition is also due to excellent instruction and staff members who care enough to teach them well, refer them for awards, and assist them with the scholarship application process. All seniors completing a career-technical program receive their performance certificate and individual career passport from their instructor. Special academic awards are also presented by the academic staff. It seems the list of high-achieving students grows annually, as should be expected.

Today was the last day for seniors, and as in past years, a few come by my office to say their goodbyes. I always encourage students to stay in touch with Vantage and let us know if they need anything--many have built close bonds with various staff members and already know that advice and encouragement will be there via a visit, a phone call or an email in the future.

This week I have witnessed a number of touching gestures and examples of people "going the extra mile" for students or staff. Efforts as simple as a staff member taking time to discuss an issue of concern instead of jumping to conclusions without verifying the facts, and huge special efforts such as throwing a graduation party or planning a farewell cookout for their class, or just staying to work late, because the work would result in something good for students, staff, or Vantage in general have all occurred this week. There are too many instances to note in this entry, but I am thankful to have gathered good memories, big and small, in this past week. Good luck once again to our Vantage seniors--I know you have great memories to take with you!

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14, 2010

It finally looks like a weekend free of rain and hopefully, one that is packed with sunshine. Our students and the majority of our staff will soon have the opportunity to enjoy all the good things that come with summer, including the outdoor weather. (and don't forget the ice cream--my personal favorite is the turtle sundae at the Creamery in Delphos!)

The highlight of this past week was attending the annual Senior Health Careers Cooperative Education Employer Appreciation banquet. Our students plan the entire event, along with guidance from the instructors, Reesa Rohrs and Shirley Jarvis. It was gratifying to see the significant number of employers in the room, along with students and their parents. Our seniors were recognized for working a minimum of 450 hours in the health care field during their training experience at Vantage. Many received other accolades in perfect attendance, Ohio SkillsUSA accomplishments, and National Technical Honor Society recognition.

This year's program was the last cooperative education employer banquet, due to changes within the Health Careers training pathway at the state level. Vantage believes in the importance of employer interaction with students in all training programs, and will maintain student familiarity with employers through internship and mentoring experiences; however, the format for instructional delivery in Health Careers will look different beginning in August, 2010. Thank you, instructors, for supporting the change of direction initiated by the Ohio Department of Education, and for helping us design a meaningful program for our health care students.

One cannot observe an event like this annual banquet, so strongly attended by employers, without being reminded that this is what works so beautifully in career-technical education--hands-on training, rigorous and demanding curriculum, combined with great self-discipline and diligence exhibited by young high school students, which prepares each to enter the workforce with industry credentials, and advance their education in a postsecondary degree should they choose to do so. It makes each of us, who works in the career-technical education field, renew our belief in what we do daily. Congratulations and good luck to this year's senior class in Health Careers !

Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7, 2010

It's the end of another week already, but also the end of a very special week at Vantage. National Teacher Appreciation day was Tuesday, May 4, and we choose to appreciate ALL Vantage staff members during this week. Staff members found inspirational notes in their mailboxes, received a letter signed by our Board of Education members recognizing their commitment and service to Vantage, as well as received thank you notes from students who wanted to recognize them for making a difference in their lives. Several departmental activities also took place throughout the building, and there was no shortage of special snacks and treats this week brought in by the adminstrative team for their staff members to enjoy. Many thanks to all the Vantage employees who collectively make it a great experience for all at Vantage Career Center!

A few select students deserve special recognition: Chelsea Bullen, a Vantage Senior Medical Office Management student from Continental, is at national competition in California this week for Business Professionals of America. Chelsea finished fourth in the Medical Office Procedures contest at the state level in March. Her instructor is Mrs. Linda Bales.

Curtis Schroeder, Vantage Carpentry junior student from Kalida, finished FIRST in the state cabinetry contest for SkillsUSA in Columbus. He advances to national competition in Kansas City, MO June 21-25. Curtis' instructor is Roger Ruen.

Delphos Family and Consumer Sciences Satellite students Dulton Moore and Brittney Garza will compete nationally in July in Chicago. Dulton qualified by winning the state contest in FCCLA for Job Interview and Brittney advanced by winning the Life Event contest. Their instructor is Joyce Larimore.

Vantage is pleased and extremely proud of these students and their instructors! National competition is a rare accomplishment, and for some teachers it happens once, if ever, in their career. Much work and extra time goes into preparing students for the grueling regional and state contests--but for those students who have the commitment and self-discipline to keep their eye on the goal, it is a "dream come true". All of these students will return to Ohio with memories which will last a lifetime.

Thank you, Vantage staff, for the great work you do!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 23, 2010

It's another beautiful spring day and one can sense the students' excitement about the school year drawing to a close. Perceptive staff members are also aware of how much Vantage means to several of our students; many students have expressed how much they will miss spending their days here with teachers and friends.

The R. K. Thompson Self-Reliance Awards banquet was held here this past week. It was the 40th awards program and it was noted that Mr. Jim Robey was in the crowd yet again. He has attended every one of the 40 R. K. Thompson awards dinners. Vantage was particularly proud to have four student nominees in the ten students honored on April 20. Both top award winners are Vantage students: Isabelle LeFever, Health Careers and Clint Myers, Industrial Mechanics. Vantage students also represented in the top 10 awards were Avery Etzler, Early Childhood Education, and Blaise May, Welding. Vantage is so proud of each of these students--as are their family members and our area's educators and community members who made it a priority to attend this event. It is an evening that validates the hard work, self-discipline, and perseverance exhibited by those who choose to succeed.

Vantage Adult Education staff have been involved in preparing for the North Central Accreditation Review, which is conducted every five years. The NCA team held their exit interview with the administrative and adult education staff this morning. More detail will be noted in a future blog, once copies of the final summary are available. For now, we were glad to note that one standard is rated as "highly functional"--clear vision and mission and strong communication of mission and vision internally as well as to the surrounding community. Vantage has particularly strong community awareness in both the secondary and adult programs, and we are glad the NCA team recognized this facet of the Vantage adult education program.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 16, 2010

Writing a weekly blog is occasionally bound to become a lesser priority when compared to other pressing issues and deadlines. After eleven consecutive blogs, I was unable to post one last Friday. I hope you find this one to be interesting.

Vantage Board members and our associate school district Boards of Education enjoyed a great program at the Annual All Boards dinner on April 8. Agriculture Education instructor Ryan Saxe presented a program on his school district's innovative ag education program and FFA activities in Lincoln County High School. Lincoln County HS is located in Hamlin, West Virginia, and Mr. Saxe currently serves as assistant principal for the district. He is an award-winning teacher, who received his state's Young Agriculture Education Teacher of the Year award in 2009 as well as receiving the Agriculture Education Program of the Year award that year. We met at the 2008 national High Schools That Work conference in Nashville, where we both attended a session on biofuels and alternative energy issues in education.

The audience was pleased to hear that our local Kennedy Kuhn sold and delivered the combine for this West Virginia ag program last year! Mr. Saxe indicated that people turned out on their front porches to watch the police-escorted combine come through town. His students had not seen a combine before, due to their rural terrain near the mountains.

The Lincoln County High School ag program operated a canola farm which provides the canola they use to produce biofuel. Students also enjoy veterinary education, livestock production, and operate a green house to fund their program. This and much more can be learned at .

Special thanks are in order for our Culinary Arts program students and their instructor, Kristy Bidlack, who prepared a wonderful German dinner buffet for our 75 guests in the Cup and Saucer. The evening was enjoyed by all who attended, including District 75 House Representative Lynn Wachtmann.

In the midst of our construction project design phase work, Vantage is also preparing to apply and partner for Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) funds. This announcement of funding availability came on Easter weekend, with a one-week deadline to submit letter of intent to submit a proposal. Vantage has been working to identify interested partners in industry, postsecondary education, and associate high schools, who will further STEM education in Northwest Ohio for high school and adult students. The proposal deadline is April 30, 2010, and much remains to be accomplished by this date.

How appropriate to find this message inside a Dove dark chocolate wrapper earlier this week: "Perseverance is a synonym for success!"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 2, 2010

Senior Capstone Day at Vantage
was a great experience for students. On March 31, several community members, Vantage Board of Education members, and our advisory board members, as well as almost all staff gave their time to judge our seniors' projects. Posted are three photos of projects completed by students: Brian Voisard, Jr. a carpentry student from Parkway, built the poker table he is pictured with; Ashley Carr, Antwerp, created the injection mold of a fox for her Precision Machining project, which she is holding in the photo, and Breanna Ross, Cosmetology, Van Wert, established her own small business, Breanna's Bows, and donated her proceeds to the Student Interact Club's Haiti fund.

Students explored a wide range of areas for their projects, as would be expected when we train students in 17 different career technical programs. Some additional projects were: Jerod Schoonover, Van Wert, Interactive Media--Computer Video Game; Caleb Johnson, Carpentry, Crestview--Cabinetry; Paige Gamble, Van Wert, Early Childhood Education, The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children; James Dawson, Building and Grounds, Lincolnview, Ohio State Chair; Andrea Balderas, Health Careers, Paulding, Self Injury Awareness; Wade Haller, Ag Diesel Mechanics, Antwerp, Rebuilding a Motorcycle; Brandon Shuherk, Interactive Media, Paulding, Promotional Video for Vantage.

CTE teachers and academic instructors support the Senior Capstone experience at Vantage. Without the time and effort of our staff, students would not be pushed outside of their comfort zones to create and present projects to a panel of judges. Ideally the senior project integrates knowledge and skill learned in the CTE lab, with additional information and purposeful activity initiated by the student. The English department drives the research end of the senior project, instructing students on format, the hazards of plagiarism, and proper citing of references. Much more work goes into the implementation of senior projects at Vantage than can be explained here. Without the effort of all of our teachers and the commitment of the English department to prepare for the event annually, it simply wouldn't happen.

While evaluating student projects this year, I witnessed incredible student creativity, self-discipline and confidence. I also heard students speak of their personal satisfaction in completing what started out to be a daunting task. Several students start their senior capstone during their junior year--others, inevitably wait until they are too pressed for time to manage effectively the topic they selected. Regardless of which category students found themselves in, valuable life lessons and learning took place--and all students presented their project to a panel of judges.

Many thanks to each of our judges, staff members, and students for their participation in Senior Capstone day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 26, 2010

It's a rainy day as I write the entry, and tomorrows forecast is just as cold and wet. But life is what you make it, and lots of positive events are scheduled at Vantage to help us enjoy the Spring weather. Last Saturday evening, Adult Education Director, Pete Prichard and his wife Michele, attended the annual Delphos Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner. The presentation of business longevity awards in Delphos was impressive. Last weekend was also the Van Wert Home and Business Expo and Vantage staff assisted in sharing information about our programs to interested community members. Our Adult Education department was mainly responsible for staffing the booth.

Last week Vantage hosted our Eco-charrette for the construction project. Numerous stakeholders came together to review LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Many thanks to Vantage staff members and our student representative, Avery Etzler, who attended. Avery represented our student re-cycling efforts along with staff member, Dee Howell. Vantage staff attending were Kent Taylor, Electricity, Amy Grothouse, Cosmetology, Katie Drerup, Science, Don Mosier, Warehouse, Dave Young, Maintenance, Mary Ann Hall, CTE Supervisor, Pete Prichard, Adult Education Director, Bob Vennekotter, High School Director, and Lori Davis, Treasurer. We developed a realistic preliminary LEED project checklist and heard an explanation of LEED requirements from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC). We are excited about the possibilities of sustainable or "Green" design for our building project.

This week Bob Vennekotter, Pete Prichard and I attended the Open House and ribbon cutting ceremony for Northwest State Community College at their Shannon Station location. Vantage looks forward to their return to our campus once our facility's renovation and expansion is complete. Van Wert County and neighboring Paulding County benefit greatly by the college opportunities provided by NSCC and Wright State University-Lake Campus. Vantage students, both High School and adult, can look forward to even more expanded training options in the near future. This opportunity have been made possible by the voters in our district, and we can't thank you enough for your support.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 19, 2010

Congratulations to our Vantage FFA students for planning and hosting an excellent annual banquet last week. Advisor Vern Fischer and Trade and Industry secretary Jo Mohr, as well as English instructor Beth Evans, provided assistance. Supervisor Steve Peters was honored with Honorary FFA membership. He joins a lengthy list of community members and educators, many of whom return annually for this event. It was great to see a few faces from the past, like former Vantage Director, Bob Brinkman, in the crowd.

Vantage staff members are busy preparing for the state competition season, where many of our students showcase their technical skill and earn thunderous applause (and bring back some trophies and medals)! We couldn't be more proud of our students for working hard to excel at the regional and state levels; we are hopeful that at least a few of these students will advance to national competition in the months ahead. The state and national experiences often stay in a student's memory for years to come. Student competition is one of my favorite parts of career technical education.

In addition to the competitive events, several other activities take place in the few remaining months of this school year. Senior Capstone day is scheduled for March 31 and it promises to be another rewarding event for our project judges and of course, our students and staff. Spring is a busy time for all educators as we plan for the upcoming new year and close out the current one. Watch the Vantage website for upcoming events which recognize our students' performance this year! Our students' success is always assisted by Vantage teachers and staff who give countless hours of time and heaps of energy to push students to their fullest potential. We are glad Vantage is able to help students reach their goals.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 12, 2010

It's time to get the "transition wardrobe" out of the closet and pack away winter items. I am gearing up to adjust to the time change "spring forward" this weekend--losing that hour affects me more and more with every year that goes by! Good luck adjusting, everyone!

This week's blog content shares Vantage Career Center's adult education information. Adult Director Pete Prichard and staff compiled extensive information in response to Governor Strickland's request for career center operation information a few weeks ago. Here is a brief summary of the information submitted.

Vantage Career Center's adult education department serves individuals residing in Ohio's counties of Van Wert, Paulding, Mercer, Putnam, and Allen; we also serve some clientele in Indiana. Nearly 90 percent of the adult student population comes from the lower economic strata seeking quick hands-on training with industry credentialing which can put them back in the workforce.

Number of adult education students served: (head count) 1,180 adults took short-term and full-time programs in fiscal year 2008.

Adult student enrollment growth since last school year: (head count) 246. FY 2009 headcount was 1416 adults trained.

Adult student enrollment growth (percentage): 21 percent increase

Number of full-time adult programs: 3 at present time. 3 additional full-time programs are in the planning process.

Adult education student completion rate: 90 percent complete full-time programs.

Number of adult part-time programs: 59

Adult Education student completion rate for part-time programs: 92 percent

Percent of adults served who earned industry credential or certificate: 24 programs offer industry credential. 80 percent of students received industry credentialing via these programs.

Post-secondary partners: Northwest State Community College and Wright State University Lake Campus partnered with Vantage to provide college presence in the Van Wert community. General education credits available through Wright State are English, political science, history, science, psychology, sociology, philosophy, chemistry, biology, and economics. Up to two years of general credit can be earned. CT2 will make available college credit to students who choose further education from five of Vantage's programs. Northwest State provides degreed nursing training in partnership with Vantage and Wright State.

Friday, March 5, 2010

March 5, 2010

Spring is definitely in the air! It's great to see the sun shining and the thermometer going up just enough to give us hope that we have seen the last snows of winter.

Last week I mentioned that Vantage complied with a request from Governor Strickland's office for local data on our career center's operations. This blog will share some of the information presented to the Governor's School Funding Advisory Committee.

Secondary Market Share: 32 percent This is the number of junior and senior students taking career tech coursework divided by the number of junior and senior students eligible to take CTE, throughout our CTPD (career technical planning district).

Student profile information: 27 percent of students are classified as special needs students; 35 percent of Vantage students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. 95 percent of our students are Caucasian, 5 percent are Hispanic, African American, Indian and multi-racial.

Including satellite students at four district schools, Vantage serves 631 secondary students. Full-time equivalent students (FTE): 472.

Secondary school completion rate: 95.45 percent.

Secondary student attendance rate: 92.7 percent

Secondary student placement rate: 98.62 percent

Number of secondary career tech programs operated by Vantage: 25 (includes satellites)

Number of associate schools served: 11 (associate schools are member, or voting school districts)

Number of additional schools served through open enrollment: 9

Number of open enrolled students: 112

Predominant model of delivery: Full-day
Percent of FTE served through each model of delivery:
Full day--83 percent
Satellites--17 percent

Full-time secondary teachers:
Career technical: 37
Academic: 16
Special Education: 3

Scholarship dollars earned by the class of 2008: $20,000
Number of postsecondary credits earned by the class of 2008: 60

Adult Education Student data and additional information shared about our district's narrative will be posted on next week's blog. Have a great week ahead!

Friday, February 26, 2010

February 26, 2010

Today has turned into another cold, snowy, blustery day! Vantage started with a 2-hour delay today, and by the end of the school day, students were advised to drive cautiously on their way home. I personally love a good snowstorm, but it's better to be at home with hot chocolate and a movie while watching the snow pile up. Looking out the office window to the north just now, it doesn't look so great!

The snow reminds me to give a "shout out" to our maintenance crew for the great work they do salting the walks and clearing the parking lots. Dave Young, John Osting, Jon Burns, Dick Fry, and our warehouse manager, Don Mosier, all pull together and do whatever is necessary so we can start classes each day. Thanks, gentlemen!

This past week has been more of a flurry of activity than usual. I was notified last Friday evening of the need to submit extensive data by Feb. 28 for the Governor's School Funding Advisory Council. This committee is evaluating the effectiveness of career-technical education funding and will recommend an appropriate formula by December 1. We have compiled Vantage's data regarding market share, growth, insured capital asset value, voted and effective millage, and secondary student completion rate, to name only a few areas of information requested. Gail Gillett, EMIS coordinator, spent many long hours finding this information, (and much more) than I can list in this blog. Thank you, Gail! Vantage, along with the other 48 career centers across Ohio, anxiously awaits the final recommendations of the funding committee.

Hopefully the committee and the Governor's office will realize that schools like Vantage keep juniors and seniors in school and our state's graduation rates are increased as a result. Decreasing the dropout rate has an impact on the economy of a community, as well as its social and civic health. An article by the Alliance for Excellent Education states that everyone-- car dealers and realtors, to bank managers and local business owners-- benefit when students graduate from high school. Not only do graduates earn more income, but they have more disposable income to spend in their communities, which stimulates our local economy. Over 40 percent of Vantage students go on to postsecondary training and earn college degrees, which increases their income even more. Our students' success helps to make a statewide impact.

Vantage is proud to serve the juniors and seniors in our 13 area school districts. The privilege of attending Vantage brings with it the responsibility to abide by school rules and strive to do one's personal best. Great drivers of student success are self-discipline and motivation. Vantage will continue to set high standards for students because we know that to ask less of students would not serve them well when they leave us to enter the workplace or postsecondary education. Our staff members work daily to give students a head start in their futures.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

February 19, 2010

Greetings, everyone! I'd like to start this entry by noting how proud I was to see math instructor Kelly Horstman's photo on the front page of the Lima news last Sunday! Mrs. Horstman has been stretching her comfort zone to include using a Facebook fan page to help students better understand the concepts she is teaching. Kelly has also regularly used our SmartBoard technology to present information to students. Vantage employs a lot of talented staff members, and Kelly is just one example of our staff who gives endless effort (and time) to improve their teaching methods which results in increased achievement for students.

February has been an exceptionally busy month, so I thought I would share with you some of the activities requiring my time as superintendent. Any school district superintendent finds community contact to be a vital responsibility. The Van Wert community has a long history of including, and valuing, the participation of the Vantage superintendent in its activities. I participate in similar activities in Paulding county as well as Putnam county, and have contact with Mercer county entities. Some of this service includes the Van Wert Economic Development Advisory Board, the legislative committee of the Van Wert Chamber of Commerce, (Vantage is also a member of the Paulding Chamber of Commerce and the Delphos Chamber of Commerce),the Van Wert Rotary and its Board of Directors, and Wright State University's Western Ohio Education Foundation Board. The Vantage superintendent also sits on the Van Wert Area School Insurance Group (VWASIG) Board. I represent Vantage on the Van Wert City Community School Board, which is developing its educational delivery plan. When possible, I attend City Council meetings in Van Wert on Monday evening, but unfortunately, I can count on one hand the number of those that I have been able to attend! As a private citizen, I serve on the Community Health Professionals Board, and recently accepted initiation in Delta Kappa Gamma International, Beta Eta chapter in Putnam county. Vantage also has three Educational Service Centers in our district--I attend the monthly meetings for the Western Buckeye Educational Service Center, which covers Van Wert and Paulding counties. Whenever possible, I attend events sponsored by the Putnam County ESC, and stay in touch with the superintendent at the Mercer County ESC.

Many people have the impression that superintendents at Career Centers don't have evening obligations since we don't offer athletics and music. Adult Education is a huge initiative for Career Centers, and naturally the bulk of these activities takes place in the evening when many adults are able to train. On Wednesday evening I attended our Medical Assistant class graduation. The graduates spent the last year adapting to full time requirements for this program, struggling to balance work and family, not to mention doing homework! They are to be commended for their effort--and as I hope they already know--their new training is well worth all they put into it in the past year. If you want to know more about our adult education programs, contact Adult Education Director Pete Prichard, at

The point of this week's post is meant to help readers understand the variety of commitments which are a regular part of the Vantage superintendency. The items mentioned are certainly not all of the obligations of the superintendency. Somewhere in the course of every week, at least a few community commitments appear and challenge my ability to be as visible and accessible in the school building as I prefer. But the regular work of the superintendency goes on--staff and committee meetings, construction project meetings, student suspension and expulsion hearings, early morning weather delay and cancellation calls, answering parent phone calls regarding calamity day decisions, and keeping up with the email "in-box" battle. When I have less than 3 pages of inbox emails, it's a good day!

I rely on staff members to know their roles and perform their duties. Vantage has an incredible staff who are concerned about students. We also have a great advantage in that the majority of our programs are housed under one roof, making personal communication fairly easy to achieve. Even though we live in a world influenced so heavily by technology, it's nice to work in a school district with a good team of people who care about students and each other. Have a great week, everyone!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 12, 2010

Isn't winter a blast? It's especially harsh to be here in the snow and ice after being able to spend a few days in Brownsville, Texas, with my father. Dad has become a "winter Texan", and after visiting him there last weekend, I understand his preference for palm trees and a golf course in the winter months! (It only took me 45 minutes to dig my car out of the Dayton airport hotel parking lot last Monday evening--the 12 inches of snow they received might have been manageable, had a snowplow not buried my car even deeper). Nevertheless,I would miss snow in the winter if I lived in the southern states.

January was national School Board Appreciation month. Vantage recently said goodbye to four members of our Board and I want to thank them for their service: Vicki Profit, Lincolnview; Brian Ricker, Fort Jennings; Dan Straley, Paulding; and Ken Markward, Van Wert City Schools. Taking their places for two-year terms are: Sally Snyder, Lincolnview; Greg Rinehart, Paulding; Karl Schimmoeller, Fort Jennings, and Ken Mengerink, Van Wert City. Mrs. Snyder and Mr. Mengerink have served on our Board in years past, and we thank them for their interest in returning. Welcome to all of our Board members!

Vantage recently held Sophomore Visitation Day for our 13 associate school districts' students. This is an important day for students to experience an "up close" look at career training labs of interest to them. Many of our students who assist that day, and all of our teaching staff look forward to sharing the benefits of their training area with our sophomores. Thanks to all of our associate school district personnel for supporting students' knowledge of what Vantage has to offer by scheduling visits on this day.

February is national Career Technical Education month, and we hope many of you came out to our annual Open House and Student Scholarship dinner which was held on Feb. 8.
If you didn't get a chance to visit with teachers or tour a lab or two that evening, please contact Vantage and set up an individual visit. We will be glad to answer your questions.

One of the most exciting events at Vantage to date is the beginning of the design phase for the upcoming renovation and expansion of our career center. The design phase will last through December of this year, with groundbreaking expected in the spring of 2011. The renovation and expansion is a complex project, and ample time for the design phase is vital. I will share updates as we make progress. For now, we are working feverishly with our architects, Bruce Miller, Laura Little, and Rudy Quinter from Garmann-Miller located in Minster. They have provided outstanding service and guidance for us through the design phase.

Have a great weekend and enjoy what looks like a "snow-free" week ahead.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Week One

Last week I heard there were 52 more days until spring!

Every year the Vantage Teachers Organization hosts a scholarship dinner to raise funds to sponsor college scholarships for our students. The February 8 event is combined with our annual Open House, and chicken dinners from Romer’s in Celina will be served from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Open House is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Stop out at Vantage and see what we have to offer!

February is national Career-Technical Education month. Check our school website at to see what special events will be held to recognize career-technical education this month. Some facts you should know:

127,083 students are studying career-technical education (CTE) in Ohio.

23 percent of Ohio’s students are in workforce development programs (CTE).

27,000 teachers across the nation are members of the Association for Career Technical Education. This number isn’t nearly what it should be, considering that ACTE is the organization that represents career-technical ed interests at the national level to our federal government. It gives visibility and voice to all CTE educators who work in the valuable profession of teaching skilled trades to our youth.

Over the past 10 years, jobs requiring science and engineering skills increased 51 percent. Yet, over 334,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in the last 10 years.

90% of the fastest growing jobs require education past high school.

The recent U.S. manufacturing survey showed that 90 percent of employers reported moderate to severe shortages of skilled workers. Over 300,000 Information Technology (IT) jobs have gone unfilled in the last decade because of a lack of qualified applicants. And yet 52 percent of teens have little or no interest in manufacturing careers.

One last fact I learned is that from 2010 to 2025, up to 95 million baby boomers will leave the U.S. workforce or change their work focus. Only 40 million Generation X and Y’ers will replace them.

ACTE believes every student in this country should go through career-technical education training—Almost all will enter the workforce at some point and should have access to information, resources, tools, and academic rigor to apply those skills.

This blog has been filled with statistics. There are skilled jobs in America and CTE is essential to preparing people for these jobs. A good way to end this post recognizing national Career Technical Education month is to paraphrase the comment ACTE’s Executive Director Jan Bray shared with Ohio’s CTE administrators last week at our legislative meetings: “Career technical education is not about ‘less than’; it’s about application and preparation for what comes next in students’ lives.” Come out to Vantage during the month of February and celebrate CTE with us!

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Social media is prevalent in the world of business and education today. It has tremendous value as a tool to keep in touch with our district residents and partners in career-technical education. Vantage has begun using social media by the introduction of my weekly blog. Our staff members, Board of Education, and community members are welcome to follow my blog to keep up on news about Vantage, as well as what is happening as I fulfill my role as superintendent for the Vantage district. Be sure to check out my profile to learn a bit more about me.

So why is my blog titled "Today Matters"? This brief quote is one of my favorites, and I have a sticky note on my desk that bears this daily reminder. It traveled with me from my former position as a career-technical supervisor at Four County Career Center in Archbold to my desk at Vantage. It's been rewritten more than a few times over the years on new paper! But it reminds me of the value of one day, and how we don't get that day back again. My days are packed with activity and interaction with many different people--what I accomplish daily will impact more lives than my own. TODAY MATTERS is a reminder to myself to use the time I am blessed with wisely.

When the devastating news of earthquakes in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti was heard,
Vantage Interact Club students and their lead advisor, Peg Bollenbacher,went straight to work. They have done an amazing job raising funds and securing new clothing to be sent to an orphanage in Haiti, nearby the school where we sponsor a small carpentry program. I will tell you more in future blogs about Vantage's work in Haiti, as well as local student and staff activities. But for now, kudos to Peg and our students who sent over $1100 and new clothing. Many thanks to Mengerink's Source for Sports, who donated the clothing items to help the children of Haiti.

Vantage had the pleasure of attending the annual Van Wert Chamber of Commerce awards dinner last Thursday evening. Dee Whitcraft, former long-time employee of Vantage was nominated for the prestigious Ray Miller award. We were thrilled to represent Vantage as her nomination was reviewed for the crowd. Dee spent several years at Vantage as an early childhood education instructor, adult education director, and as a career-technical supervisor. On a personal note, Dee was responsible for introducing me to the work of the Van Wert Rotary Club. I enjoy participating in service to our community via club membership, very much.

Two days last week found me in Columbus visiting our district's legislators to keep them informed of career-technical education issues and student success. Adult Education director Pete Prichard, CTE Director Bob Vennekotter and I met with House Representatives Jim Zehringer and Lynn Wachtmann, as well as the aides of Senator Steve Buehrer and Keith Faber. The event is hosted annually by Ohio Association of Career Technical Education. One major concern we shared is appropriate funding for career technical education, which does not provide an application for career center districts such as Vantage, under the current Evidence-Based Model for education reform included in House Bill 1.

I enjoyed attending the Van Wert/Defiance basketball game Friday night. It was an exciting game! And even though I was born and raised in Defiance, I will admit I was hoping Van Wert would catch up in the final minutes when Defiance outscored the Cougars and maintained the lead to win.

I hope you'll log on weekly to keep up with news from Vantage! Have a great week!