Today Matters, Vantage Superintendent Blog

Superintendent

Superintendent

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 prichard.p@vantagecareercenter.com

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 www.vantagecareercenter.com 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!