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PCHS plans to expand CTE department

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

At the Local School Improvement Council board of education meeting Monday at Pocahontas County High School, principal Michael Adkins gave a presentation on the future of the CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs at the high school.

Adkins and several CTE teachers recently visited Mingo Central High School where the CTE classes are implementing the new simulated workplace program.

“That was the whole reason that we went to Mingo County because of their reputation for implementing this new simulated workplace and doing it well,” Adkins said. “They have pictures for employee of the month like you would see in a business. The other aspects of the simulated workplace are the clocking in and out, the random drug screening, the uniforms. There are a lot of things that are going to eventually be required and they’re not really a bad idea in the first place.”

PCHS is starting to implement the simulated workplace program with time clocks and uniforms.

Along with the simulated workplace, Adkins said the CTE program at Mingo Central was impressive in other ways, including safety and student ownership of the school through decorative banners.

“All of the signs you’re going to see were made by the students on campus,” Adkins said. “There were signs everywhere. The school was plastered. It was energetic and it was lively, and they were all signs that were made by the graphic arts department. It’s a huge individualization for it, very eye-catching. I don’t know that we’re set up to include that in our CTE programs, but I think that if we were, it would really add a lot of energy to our hallways.

“One of the things that they do that I would like for us to at least look into and consider the possibility is the electronic key cards,” he continued. “OEPA and SBA has cited us on several occasions for having doors that aren’t locked or open access in and out of buildings. They have electronic key cards on several doors. They’re on all the access points outside and it’s obviously a lot to think about as far as how to undertake that, but I at least wanted to show that there is a school in West Virginia that’s doing it and it’s working well for them.”

After the visit to Mingo Central, Adkins returned with several ideas on how to grow and improve the CTE program at PCHS. He found information on www.workforcewv.org concerning job trends in West Virginia. Using the data, Adkins hopes to implement programs which prepare students for the popular fields in Pocahontas County and surrounding areas.

“That’s where I got all of the data for the future trends of jobs in our county,” he said. “I have the top ten professions that have the highest annual growth rate in our area and you might notice that there’s a pattern. If you look at the top nine out of the top ten, they’re related.”

The top nine jobs are in the healthcare field. The top 10 are: diagnostic medical sonographers, physical therapist assistants, occupational therapy assistants, home health aides, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, physician’s assistants, personal care aides and sawing machine setters, operators and tenders.

The board of education attempted to bring back the nursing program at PCHS, but was unable to hire an instructor. Adkins said it was suggested by Dr. Kathy D’Antoni, CTE director with the state Department of Education, that they try to offer adult classes, as well, to supplement the instructor’s income.

“What she suggested is we might be doing it wrong and that if you offer that as adult education and high school – whether it’s after school or whatever – adults in the area can come, pay tuition to finish out the nursing components they need for their certification, then we can actually pay something that is competitive with the field instead of having people that won’t come because we aren’t able to pay them.”

Adkins added he would like to try that with other fields including truck driving and welding.

In updates:

• The RAZE and SADD clubs gave a report on projects they have done in the school. The two clubs – RAZE is anti-tobacco and SADD is Students Against Destructive Decisions – have joined forces to raise awareness and to prevent students from making bad decisions concerning their health and well-being.

So far this year, the clubs have had a drunk driving simulator visit the school and they placed “X”s on one-fifth of the school’s lockers to illustrate that one in five West Virginians die from tobacco use.

The students also reported on the Tribe – the spirit club which supports the sports teams from the stands.

• FFA officers shared a slideshow of photos from the past year to illustrate the club’s activities, which included traveling to state and national competitions, preparing for the Ham, Bacon and Egg sale, working on their SAEs (Supervised Agriculture Experiences) and visits from special guests, including WVU Mountaineer Michael Garcia.

• Student representative Emily Boothe reported on several events. The PCHS band concert is December 13, at 2 p.m. The Rotary Interact club is holding a wreath drawing to benefit Polio Plus. The school’s Elf Auction is this Friday at 10 a.m. On December 15, the computer science class will give a presentation to Marlinton Middle School.

In miscellaneous management, the board approved the following:

• To give permission for Pocahontas County board of education legal counsel Robert P. Martin to pursue options in an effort to recover all or a portion of $1,300,000 in underfunding from West Virginia Department of Education.

In personnel management, the board approved the following:

• Employment of Larry D. Sharp as school bus operator for Pocahontas County, effective December 8, for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year, term of employment is 114 days (term of employment shall be 200 days each year thereafter), at state basic pay.

The next board meeting is Monday, December 14, at 7 p.m., at the board of education conference room.

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