Today Matters, Vantage Superintendent Blog



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Best of the Blogs! AASA magazine, November 2015

What a great way to encourage superintendents to blog about what matters to them. AASA's Journal magazine features about five blog posts from superintendents across our nation each month. While excerpts of mine have been published for the Best of the Blogs feature before, it is no less exciting each time I open the AASA email, notifying me that one of my Today Matters blog excerpts will be published in the next issue.

Let's talk about blogging--I have been blogging for about four years now, modeling after a mentor I enjoyed while a "green" sup't. She started one, to help communicate with staff, students, and the community--for whoever might be interested. I was worried and tense and wondered "what the heck will I write about?", and "who would possibly want to read this?" quickly followed. You can find any topic and all sorts of writers of blogs. I knew my blog had to be called something that might convey a variety of topics important to me, educationally and personally. So Today Matters was born. And I am more comfortable now, letting readers know a bit about me personally, mixed with the great things our students at Vantage Career Center accomplish. If I help promote career and technical education in Ohio, and the nation, all the better.

Being a career-technical school administrator for 25 years now, I've helped develop training programs which influence so many students' lives and careers, as a 16-year supervisor (assistant principal) and now as a superintendent. Although it was grueling work, we led a successful bond levy in 2009 to completely renovate and expand our school, which serves 13 area high schools in all or parts of, four counties. The new facility is approaching three years old, and it's been a valuable asset to our community. It feels good!

The concept of blogging is to be brief, yet casual in writing style. Casual writing is difficult for me as a former business education teacher, who loved teaching business writing and technical report writing, among other office skills. My goal is always to write shorter and more frequent blogs, easily read, including pictures of students or life at our school. I'm building a file of "blog pics" and have a handwritten pile of "blog topics" under my keyboard, to help me blog quickly and often. It's the pace of my sup't life that kills my blogging efforts--most of the time.

Once again, a "too long" blog--but, Today Matters. Make it great!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Big News! Ohio's 2016 State School Board Association

Local Board of Ed Member, Eric Germann, who is one of our 11 Vantage Career Center Board members, represents his Lincolnview local school district, here in Van Wert county. Unlike associate K-12 districts in Ohio, our career center Boards of Education are much larger, often 9 to 20+ members, representing each associate school district and sometimes Educational Service Centers in the career center's district.

Mr. Germann will be the new 2016 OSBA (Ohio School Board Association) President! His term starts on January 1, and he's had a busy year being President-Elect to this outstanding association.

Mr. Germann and the OSBA "media entourage" will be here any minute to do a local photo shoot in some of our career technical labs and industry shops, posing with students in their daily life. Afterward, they will drive the short distance to Lincolnview's school district, where he has served on his local school board as President for the past four years. JOURNAL, the OSBA's monthly magazine publication, will feature a news story on Mr. Germann, complete with some photos with our students, in a future publication.

We look forward to being part of the local reception later in January, when he is officially installed as our state school boards' association President. Good luck and CONGRATULATIONS, Mr. Germann! I know he will lead Ohio well in this important position. 

Some "sneak peek" photos of today's shoot, with permission from OSBA's photographer, Gary Motz. 

Today Matters.

Pictured is student Liz Lammers, Lincolnview, in her Medical Office Management class with Mr. Germann and Gary Motz, the OSBA photographer. Select photos from today will be featured in February 2016, in the Journal, Ohio School Board's monthly magazine! 

Friday, October 23, 2015

St. Henry 7th Graders Visiting our Solar Array!

It's a big day today, as it's the first official field trip today from another school to learn about our solar array. St. Henry Local Schools' 7th graders (67 of them!), from Mercer county, Ohio, will be touring the utility-scale wind farms in Van Wert county, which surround our Vantage Career Center. Their teacher has also scheduled a tour of our solar array, where her science students will learn why we put in solar power and how it works.

Our Electricity trades instructor, Mel White, will get into the finer details of how the solar power is inverted and brought into the school. I will discuss the reasons we chose to add a solar array--largely adding an alternative energy curricular area for all of our career-technical students to learn about via our science courses. And our Electricity students learn about solar power more in depth from Mr. White.

Why am I excited about today's visitors? Because it only makes sense that our school serves more people of all ages, to give more information on alternative energy. We have a beautiful new school, co-funded by the Ohio School Facilities Commission, completed in January, 2013. The solar array was not part of the project, but a separate initiative driven by me, because it made sense. The multi-million dollar, 1 megawatt array can provide 80% of our building's power, given peak generation, peak use in a day. We don't store any of the power, but utilize all solar power first, then our meter converts to utility electric power to complete our need. The district simply agreed to buy the solar power generated for 25 years, and leased our land for the array to occupy.

I love it when a plan comes together! It was worth the effort.
Below, students see a You Tube video about how solar energy is produced. And Electricity instructor Mr. White, a residential electrician, shows the 7th graders the huge diameter of the power "cord" which runs from the solar field several hundred feet underground to the school building.

TODAY MATTERS. Give it your best.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tech Time Out Day--Oct. 21!

Our Vantage Career Center's Network Systems program in Van Wert, Ohio, teaches students how to network computers and devices, trouble shoot problems, and introduces some robotic programming and video game programming, among other skills. Our students and teacher have challenged the rest of the staff to do as they will do tomorrow, on Tech Time Out Day. (Therefore I am blogging TODAY!)

Our Network Systems students and teacher will travel back to the 1985, not using any technology which didn't exist then. October 21 is the same day that Marty McFly and Doc. Brown travelled into the future. Our students will experience taking a break from computers, cell phones and the Internet.

Can you do it? I'm certain the responsibilities in my superintendent's office will not be able to wait for a day--but who knows? We communicate so much via email and texting, that I will feel terribly irresponsible if I participate. Hopefully we will have several students and staff other than Network Systems, which is taught by Larry Regedanz, attempt to live in 1985's tech world for a day.

The official Tech Time Out website is:

It will be good for our students to experience the "limited" world their parents and grandparents found to be "high tech" in 1985. I remember teaching in a word processing lab in 1985 with 7 inch floppy disks and a slow DOS operating system. The "computer" certainly couldn't do anything else without that floppy disk. Manual and electric typewriters were still present in the typing lab where I also taught business education skills to my college students.

The world has changed for the better! (Or has it?)

Today Matters. Let's use it well.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

100 posts!

I see as of my last blog, that I've made 100 posts to my Today Matters blog, since I started it a few years ago. Given my sporadic track record of blogging, I think that's an accomplishment worth noting.

Today's blog is about another wonderful group of students at Vantage Career Center. Last week we held our annual induction of students into the National Technical Honor Society chapter at our career center. Twenty-four students who excel in grades and attendance, and other leadership activity, now are members. Their parents and associate high school principals and a superintendent or two, were in the audience to honor them, along with several of our teachers and administrators.

It's events like this that fill a superintendent's heart with pride--for students, their school district's parents and staff, who help make your school such a great place to be. While the honor society induction only affected 24 of our nearly 200 seniors, it sets the bar for other student accomplishments this year and in the future. The seven attributes of Skill, Honesty, Service, Responsibility, Scholarship, Citizenship, and Leadership will be demonstrated by these 24 students this year.

Congratulations to these hard-working young people for earning their place in a national organization known for membership by school districts' best students. #IamCareerTech  @VantageSupt #GetTheEdge

Today Matters.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Too Many Good Things to Blog About!

It's Friday of another school week again, and I haven't been able to blog. Vantage Career Center has too many good things happening for me not to give our students and staff a pat on the back and a big shout out!

Two recent great accomplishments: Vantage students and staff are vital volunteers on the Van Wert County Day of Caring (United Way). The last Friday of September annually is the Day of Caring in Van Wert and once again our school stepped up. We held a food drive to collect canned goods for the Salvation Army food bank, (3000+ items and collected enough cash to purchase another 3000+ canned items for the food pantry. Several of our students provide the muscle loading and unloading the food trucks which collect food from all over town. And our Student Ambassadors pitch in and sort, stack, and count all the food items during the day at the Salvation Army.

The American Red Cross holds a blood drive in Van Wert, where our Health Technology students assist, our culinary arts students prepare lots of soup for the donors and Red Cross workers, and many of our students experience donating blood for the very first time. We are so pleased to encourage and provide community service opportunities for our young adults. I firmly believe it makes an impression on them and that later in life, they will continue to volunteer and perhaps raise their own children to follow suit.

I can't resist noting that our students and staff gave 23% of the total collection at the blood drive, and our food drive contributed to 17% of the total food gathered on the Day of Caring. Great job, staff and students!

It's the little things that make a big difference. Today Matters.