2011-02-24 / Front Page

Vo-Tech “Dead In The Water” At Southern Fulton District

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER

Referring to himself as a product of vocational education, transportation contractor Dave Smith took the public comment portion of last Tuesday’s board meeting meeting as an opportunity to reflect on the past and future of career and technical training at the Southern Fulton School District.

Smith stated it is his hope the administration and board fights to bring back vocational-technical programs back to the district.

“We’ve left too many programs leave the four walls of this school to migrate to Central Fulton,” said Smith, who at one time was an avid attendee at monthly vo-tech meetings. “A few years ago Central Fulton made plans for new facilities in addition to their school. They can house whatever program we don’t want ... and they’ve taken it all.”

Smith made specific reference to Southern Fulton’s students travelling to participate in the building trades, health occupations and drafting programs as well as the loss of 25 days of annual instructional time that is now squandered in a school van.

“Now we sit back, scratch our heads and wonder why it happened,” said Smith. “... We didn’t have the facilities. We never made the investment at that time to try and keep those problems and now we don’t have them.”

Smith also went on to question the board if they were aware of how the carpentry program was ineffectively preparing students for constructing a home by building birdhouses. Instead of travelling outside of the area to places such as Lehigh Valley, Smith further suggested attending a Skills USA competition to see firsthand what skills other kids are learning and the level of education.

Smith lauded the efforts of the county’s three superintendents for evaluating the situation so closely and reminded those in attendance the days of sending students here and there have been done before.

“We’re dead in the water here at this school district. We’re against the wall. We have no facilities,” concluded Smith, who added the recently released feasibility study should be given some serious consideration in terms of AVTS programming.

Touching on the district’s policy concerning facial piercings, concerned mothers Stacy Barnhart and Wavy Kirk asked that the board and administration treat all students with facial piercings equally.

“If one kid is brought up about it, all kids with any facial piercings should be brought up,” said Kirk during the public comment period of last Tuesday’s meeting.

Meanwhile, Barnhart pointed out her daughter’s nose stud has not affected her school work nor has it been a distraction or harmed anyone. She added piercings are a form of self-expression for some children.

Superintendent Kendra Trail stated the district will continue to stick to its student handbook policy of no facial piercings. She added in the event a student or parent is aware of a student, who is walking around school with a facial piercing, they should immediately share the information with a teacher or building administrator.

“We will be enforcing this as long as we know about it,” concluded Trail.

Under the agenda item of student recognition, vo-ag teacher Rebecca Mosemann appeared before the board with FFA members Crystal Appel, Steven White and Matthew Swadley. White and Swadley, both freshman students, recently took advantage of a scholarship opportunity to receive their coveted FFA jackets, according to Mosemann. The essay entailed explaining what having an FFA jacket means to them. The jackets were presented to the young men at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January.

Also at the Farm Show, Appel was given her Keystone Degree after having completed the necessary essays, applications and bookwork. Appel received a pin at the Farm Show for the honor, Mosemann said.

Mosemann also shared that Appel wants to pursue a degree in equine management in hopes of someday operating her own horse farm.

Annual permission was granted for the district to participate in the mobile dentist program for the upcoming 2011- 12 school year.

Under personnel, pending the completion of necessary paperwork, Julie Ann Rhoades was approved to serve in the capacity of substitute teacher’s aide for the remainder of the school year.

A nod of approval was given to the second and final reading of Policy 606, Finances and Tax Collection. In addition, the board approved the first reading of Policy 904.1, Complimentary Passes for Athletic Events.

Having previously conducted a 26-minute executive session for the purpose of reviewing a grievance, the board took action during their follow-up meeting to unanimously deny grievance #2010-2011-01.

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