Today Matters, Vantage Superintendent Blog



Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20, 2011

The sun is shining!I hope it dries up the puddles on the construction site. Several of us have laughed about the new "duck pond" just north of the parking lot, which came into being very early this spring. The view from Marsh Road as one drives past the school is really great--the early site work and new bus barn are being completed quickly. Next week will see the beginning of demolition work inside the building in the B wing, where our office is located. Also slated for renovation next week in the first of six phases, are auto body, auto tech, and ag diesel mechanics labs. The fun has finally begun! (And the stress of trying to stay on the aggressive renovation schedule is upon our contractors as well!)It will help each of us to keep in mind what is actually within our control, and know that the rest will test our ability to adapt and stay focused.

May 19 marked the first days without our staff and students in the building. While it is extremely "empty" (both due to temporary walls and locker banks near my office being moved out to ready for the renovation AND because our neighboring colleagues have finished their contracted teaching days), the end of the instructional year always marks the beginning of the summer schedule for the administrative, maintenance, and secretarial staff. Our days are packed with making plans for the new school year, answering questions of new employees, identifying important event dates for the 2011-12 year, ordering equipment and supplies, keeping the building maintenance on schedule, and completing an array of miscellaneous details which all are a part of school administration.

The past school year has gone by quickly, and we say it annually--I just don't know where the year went! But one thing is for certain---summer will pass by just as quickly, and when staff and students return in August, we will be in the very heart of the construction process within our Vantage facility. Gear up, everyone!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

April 27, 2011

The past few weeks continue to be a whirl of activity as we approach the end of the school year! Vantage has several vacancies to fill for instructional positions for 2011-12 and the interview process required only adds to the end-of-year "frenzy".

Recent events which I have had the pleasure to attend in the district are the R. K. Thompson Self-Reliance Awards banquet, the Parkway FFA banquet,and the Paulding County Area Foundation banquet. I was also able to join four Vantage students for lunch at the Ohio Career and Technical Education Legislative luncheon in Columbus a few weeks ago. The students enjoyed the company of Senator Cliff Hite during lunch, and he even signed autographs for our students. Social studies instructor Tony Unverferth and public relations coordinator MaryJo Wilhelm accompanied the students that day and agreed the day was a tremendous success!

The construction project is on schedule, even with the rain! While we are all getting tired of getting drenched as we go about our daily tasks, a bright spot is being able to drive past the new bus barn and early sitework every day and know that our building will soon be much improved!

Plan to join us for the 35th Anniversary and Groundbreaking Ceremony on Sunday, May 15, 1-3 p.m.!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 3, 2011

It's been way too long since I blogged! Tons of bad weather in February, and numerous projects have gotten in the way. It's that time of year when lots of student recognition events occur--this past week was packed with activities.
Vantage FFA chapter held its annual student awards dinner on March 29. The officers led a great program, and several students received awards. Parents were proudly watching, as were several Honorary FFA members,Board President Lonnie Nedderman, teachers and administrators who were in the audience. This year's Honorary FFA inductee was Vantage guidance counselor, Jim Fisher.

Adult Education celebrated the graduation of the Medical Assistant class on March 30.As usual, many family members attended, many of whom were designated by their graduate to do the pinning ceremony, which is the final symbol of their accomplishment in the medical assistant curriculum. The Cup and Saucer was packed with people, who enjoyed graduation cupcakes from Baked to Perfection in Delphos afterward.

Several staff members in adult education assisted our public relations coordinator, MaryJo Wilhelm in representing Vantage at the area home and garden show at the Van Wert fairgrounds this past weekend. A group of staff also went to the Marsh Auditorium to support our Vantage candidate in the annual Peony Pageant. And finally, Adult Education Director Pete Prichard and I attended the annual Delphos Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner. Vantage was recognized for our 35 years of service in the district at this event.

Perhaps the most newsworthy event was the annual Senior Capstone Experience day at Vantage on April 1. The building was filled as usual with anxious students who gave their presentation, junior students observing and getting ideas for their own project next year, judges, area school district personnel, and Board members and staff who were there to support students. It was a wonderful day, and is due in large part to the commitment of the Vantage senior English staff, led by Mrs. Beth Evans. Thanks to all who helped make the day a success!

Friday, February 11, 2011

February 11, 2011

Good Morning!
Great news to share this morning--Vantage Career Center was honored with the annual Crystal Image award, presented by the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce! The award was presented last night during the annual Chamber awards dinner. Adult Education Director Pete Prichard and public relations coordinator, MaryJo Wilhelm attended on my behalf to accept the award. As luck would have it, our regular Board of Education meeting was moved to the same evening,to award bids for the early site work and temporary swing space, making attendance by several Vantage stakeholders and myself impossible. The award will be displayed in our high school and adult education office area for now.

Vantage appreciates the award, which is given for outstanding leadership in the community, including business responsibility, productivity, empowerment, and service. We are pleased to contribute to the community in so many ways, through our staff's service on various community boards, and our students' work in the community as they apply their career technical skills to help others. Thank you, Van Wert! Vantage truly enjoys contributing to the Van Wert community and the support we receive.

Friday, February 4, 2011

February 4, 2011

Is anyone tired of winter yet? I have enjoyed winter and all the snow so far, but ice wears me out! The numerous delays mixed with a few closures have provided some extra quiet work time in the office, and by the end of today, I know I can call it a very productive week!

Adult Education director, Pete Prichard and I have been working on plans for new adult programming in the Heating Ventilation and Cooling area, which will also have a pathway to coursework and a postsecondary degree in Alternative Energy. Our postsecondary partners will be Northwest State Community College and Owens State Community College. Industry certification will be sought in appropriate areas of alternative energy and wind turbine repair. Curriculum pathways are being laid out, equipment and instructional resources identified.

More good news came this week in the form of nearly finalize agreements with two area wind farms who will partner with Vantage and our postsecondary institutions as we develop the Alternative Energy Academy within the adult education program. The foundation skills for jobs in alternative energy already exist in both electrical trades and HVAC, and after a solid base of skills in one or both of these areas is attained, coursework in alternative energy, such as geothermal design, energy audits, and wind turbine repair can be completed. In addition to HVAC, a more rigorous electricity program will be offered to fully prepare students for work more jobs in this field. More news will be posted soon as plans develop further!

Many thanks to Pete Prichard for his interest in expanding the adult education program to offer full-time training which will be Pell grant eligible for financial aid for our adult students. Financial aid staff person Jackie Gunsett, has long been a proponent of more full-time programs as financial aid eligibility, which goes with full time programming, helps to keep enrollment strong and increases the chance that the program will flourish. Thanks Jackie for your commitment to Vantage program success!

One last thought--bring on more winter if it helps me get more project work like this completed! (And let's see if that groundhog was right--I don't think so).

Friday, January 28, 2011

January 28, 2011

I had the opportunity to attend career-technical education's annual Ohio legislative seminar this week. An important part of the annual event was meeting with two of our district's House Representatives and our Senator. I was accompanied by Adult Education Director Pete Prichard and high school Director Bob Vennekotter. We appreciated the frank discussion of the state's budget challenges with legislators Jim Buchy,Lynn Wachtmann, and Cliff Hite. Mr. Hite will be sworn in as a state Senator next week, replacing Steve Buehrer, who will now lead the Workers Compensation Board for Governor Kasich.

I came away from the legislative meetings refreshed that other people realize the fact that career technical education is vital to helping pull the nation out of the Great Recession. Vantage trains students of all ages for JOBS--while I have always been proud of our ability to prepare people for jobs, much emphasis in the past 16 years has been on training students for careers and college. That is still a worthy goal, but first and foremost, good skilled training will land a student a job in an industry or service occupation. The wage they earn helps build state revenue, as they buy goods and services to provide for their daily needs. While the nation doesn't have a surplus of jobs at present, several jobs still exist in skilled trades which are not seeing qualified job applicants clamoring to fill the positions of retiring workers. The skilled trades are important to our state and national economy. Career-technical education will continue to do our part to prepare people to be employed in these trades.

Don't forget to come out to Vantage on Feb. 7 for the annual Vantage Teachers' Association Student Scholarship Fund Dinner. Check the Vantage website for details!

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 21, 2011

There has been a bit more of a gap than I prefer since my last blog in late December, but the holidays have now come and gone, and with their passing, so has passed much of the frenzied pace which seems to be synonymous with the Christmas season. January has been the best month for me to take some vacation time as well, and so I find myself in the process of "catching up" after being out of the office for a week. I admit, I am guilty of saying on Tuesday, (my first day back from vacation) that a snow day would come in handy soon! Lo and behold, Wednesday's weather resulted in a closure. No, the superintendent doesn't get to stay home on a calamity day, but instead, I enjoy a bit of a slower pace on those days. I can get several items off my "to do" list in just one of these days.

The renovation and expansion project has generated much community interest and excitement. Coming up soon on January 27, will be the bid opening for the early site work and temporary swing space, which was bid out during January. The building renovation and expansion project will be bid in March and awarded in early April. Garmann-Miller Architectural Engineers recently sent a proof of the rendering of the building, which looks great. Two sets of large display boards will be delivered soon so that the staff, students, and community can also see what the exterior of the finished building will look like. Stop by any time and check out the renderings and ask questions about the project. We can't wait to get started with the actual construction!

In closing,I have to pass along this bit of "fun" information that I ran across over the holidays. Apparently the average person eats 65,000 cookies in their lifetime! Since cookies are one of my favorite foods, I may have already met my quota for a lifetime. What about you?