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Career and Technical Education Courses at SCPSPosted by SCPS Communication on 1/28/2020
Catered food. Houses. Automobiles. Cosmetics. Machines. Healthcare...
Many members of the Stafford County Public Schools (SCPS) community may believe these items have little in common. Despite that belief, those goods and services share one distinct feature: they are all taught in SCPS public schools under the term “Career and Technical Education,” or CTE. SCPS describes the program as a series of organizations providing students with opportunities to apply academic, technical, and employability knowledge and skills necessary in today’s workforce. While many Stafford schools are known for athletics or academics, our CTE program spanning all high schools is just as renowned.
CTE provides students with various experiences beyond the specific trade they are learning. Educators like Chef Sussman, who teach Culinary Arts at Stafford High School, (SHS) focus not only on cooking and catering but also on “workplace readiness.”
“We talk about what’s going to make them [patrons] more interested in going to your place instead of someone else’s place; we talk about career options besides just being a chef at a restaurant,” explained Sussman. “The culinary program is a well rounded, career-oriented program.”
CTE helps prepare students for their future careers; in Virginia, this is referred to as workplace readiness. Today, many seniors are overlooking trade schools and technical education, instead opting to go straight to university. Some may find this route suitable; however, CTE courses provide an alternate, accessible, future-securing educational path. Not every student performs well in a traditional classroom with traditional subjects, and SCPS is fortunate enough to have programs that make it so every student can effectively learn in their own way. SHS offers many CTE classes, two of which are the Drafting and Culinary Arts programs taught by Robert Jett and Chef Sussman respectively.
The skills students learn in these programs are not just good for after high school. Sussman’s program allows for students to volunteer and work outside of school, getting paid in either real-world experience or actual money.
“I try to sell as much food as possible to get them [the students] to see that as a chef or as somebody in a food service industry you’re not cooking for home, you’re not cooking for yourself or your family - now you’re cooking in higher amounts for people who are paying you and it needs to be of high quality so they want to return to your restaurant,” said Sussman.
Similar to Chef Sussman, Drafting instructor Robert Jett’s program allows for students to draft homes and travel off school grounds to build them. His and Sussman’s courses, as well as various other CTE courses, are involved in the SkillsUSA program, which is an award and certification system aimed toward high school students.
Oftentimes, getting into a highly competitive field like biomedical science or engineering is not easy. The Stafford Academy for Technology (STAT) provides SCPS students with a competitive edge, providing them real-world experience in their field before even applying to university. Amanda Collette’s Biomedical Science STAT program at North Stafford High School (NSHS) provides students with opportunities to dissect and study real organisms, as well as view, live surgeries in the operating room. During the school year and over the summer, Collette provides her students with internship and volunteer opportunities at local health organizations like Mary Washington Hospital.
“I didn’t really realize how in-depth some of these careers go until I learned and taught about them… Being able to offer the kids opportunities to go on, just, incredible field trips; we got to see an open-heart surgery in November, we go to the hospital’s emergency room and they get behind the scenes tours and meet lots of people with different careers you wouldn’t even think about,” Collette said.
While all of these programs give back to the community in some way, NSHS’ Automotive Technology Program run by Kenny Wilson (also located at Brooke Point High School, or BPHS) gives back most directly to the community while teaching students important skills that can get them jobs as mechanics, electricians, and work in other technical fields. People from the broader Stafford community can call the school and arrange for their car to be serviced by the Automotive Technology Program. Once scheduled, they can bring in their car for examination at prices significantly less than average.
“One of the things I like to stress with my students is, you know, we look around the community and try to find people in the area who need automotive repair work that can’t afford the repair work. Maybe they’re between jobs or whatever the case may be, they can look to bring those cars here to us,” Wilson said.
Many of the CTE programs extend their services to the community. BPHS and NSHS offer early childcare programs, where members of the community can pay to have their children cared for during the school day. Mountain View High School (MVHS) and SHS offer cosmetology courses and can provide certifications to students looking to get involved with the beauty industry. All five high schools in the county offer firefighting courses in participation with Stafford County Fire and Rescue.
This article hardly touches on all of the classes offered in the Stafford County Public Schools CTE program; there are many ranging from Criminal Justice to Drafting to Mechanics that cannot possibly fit in only one article. If you are interested in learning more about the CTE program, visit the 2020-2021 Program of Studies to view offered courses. This information is timely since students are in the midst of course selection which ends January 30, 2020. While not every school offers the same CTE classes, the county offers a free travel program where students can move between schools during a school day in order to attend the classes they need.
Former BOOTS student leaves permanent markPosted by SCPS Communication on 1/13/2020
Jennifer, a former Bringing Occupational Opportunities to Students (BOOTS) program drafting student and 2018 graduate of Stafford High School, recently left her mark on an outdoor pavilion located at the SkillsUSA headquarters in Leesburg, VA.
A stellar student, Jennifer earned gold in both the 2017 and 2018 SkillsUSA Architectural Drafting competitions. That success allowed her to provide design ideas for the organization's Championship Circle.
Jennifer used the initial CAD drawings provided by Matthew Thomas, a student from Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, OK, to prepare the final architectural drawings. From those sketches, Jennifer also provided insight into improving traffic flow around the circle.
Her drafting ability was not the only lesson Jennifer drew from when working on the Champions Circle. Students from all five Stafford County Public High Schools collaborate in the BOOTS program to build homes from the initial sketches through the full construction of single-story structures. The Champions Circle was an extension of those lessons in collaboration. More than 80 SkillsUSA advisors and students from four schools nationwide donated labor and time, while industry partners contributed materials, equipment, and labor in excess of $100,000 to complete the Champions Circle.
To learn more about Jennifer’s contribution and the Champion’s circle, read the article featured in the Winter 2020 edition of SkillsUSA Champions magazine.
Building relationships through artPosted by SCPS Communication on 12/18/2019 8:30:00 AM
Stafford County Public School’s (SCPS) Coordinator of Fine and Performing Arts, Annamarie Bollino, has made considerable progress in bridging the gap between those at the Alvin York Bandy Administrative Complex (Bandy) and the SCPS community of students, parents, and teachers.
Her success in building relationships stems from her background as an educator. While receiving her Bachelors in Music Education from West Virginia University, she realized she wanted not just to be a teacher, but to eventually become an administrator.
“I wanted to be able to make a bigger impact. I also really enjoy what we call the Arts Management side; kind of the behind the scenes work… for me, it sounds silly, but I don’t mind the paperwork,” Bollino said while laughing. “Somebody has to do that, so a lot of what I do is manage big events and oversee programs.”
While she initially pursued training in education, she eventually became the Coordinator of Fine and Performing Arts because of her experience and passion for the Arts. To support this, she received an Administration and Supervision license from Virginia Commonwealth University. Bollino has been involved with the Fine Arts, specifically Dance and Music, since she was five years old taking dance classes and organ lessons at her church. In high school, she was involved with the school band.
“I started to see the value and the fun in playing the organ at my church. I’m a marching band kid, so I had that sense of community,” says Bollino.
Her efforts and passion combined seamlessly at The Eighteenth Annual School Board Office Art Exhibition. As she became more aware of the gap between the public and SCPS administration, she wanted to find a way to bring the two together beyond the annual exhibition.
Bollino noted that in the year following a showcase before the art was updated for the next year, people would stop her and tell her how moved they were by certain art pieces and how much the pieces improved the conditions of Bandy.
“When we change up the show every year, we have so many colleagues and coworkers in Bandy who come up to me and say ‘Oh my gosh, we love this new picture you put up in the hallway,’”says Bollino.
She quickly realized she was receiving praise for artists work and they had no way of knowing how important their work had become to the people who saw it daily. Her solution to this problem? Letters.
“The art has such an impact on people who work with me, and so we decided, this year, on a large scale, to actually invite all of the people who work in the complex to write notes to the artists,” says Bollino.
During this year’s showcase, next to every piece of artwork there was a little yellow envelope. The purpose of the envelope was to allow those who saw pieces and wanted to articulate their appreciation to write notes to the artists. Seeing the impact this had on students was emotional to Bollino.
“The students and the parents were just so moved by the letters and the memento that they received… it was a way for us to engage with the community in a way that we often don’t, and so I just enjoyed that part of the evening because it was something we hadn’t really tried before and it was really well received,” says Bollino.
SCPS Participates in Take Your Legislator to School MonthPosted by SCPS Communication on 12/5/2019
The Virginia Schools Boards Association (VSBA) created Take Your Legislator to School Month to build stronger relationships between public education and the Virginia General Assembly. Stafford County Public Schools (SCPS) recently welcomed Delegate-Elect Joshua Cole, along with Stafford County School Board member Pamela Yeung and SCPS Superintendent Dr. Scott Kizner, to visit Hampton Oaks and Anne E. Moncure Elementary Schools.
“Every school has its culture; Hampton Oaks is one of community, partnership, and friendship while I observed that Anne E. Moncure is full of expression and innovation,” said Cole.
The core of the school division’s strategic plan is C5W, which instills important communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, citizenship, and wellness abilities into every SCPS student. Cole walked through the kindergarten through fifth grade hallways at both elementary schools, impressed by the school division’s devotion to this philosophy.
“As we were walking through Anne E. Moncure Elementary School, some of the students knew who I was,” said Cole. “It was amazing that at such a young age the students were so involved in government and knew what was going on around them.”
VSBA’s Take Your Legislator to School Month is an annual celebration in November, during which legislators come into schools to observe the many positive interactions taking place each day. Students also benefit from this interaction by meeting and speaking with elected officials.
Elementary Activity Hallways help students get "the wiggles" outPosted by SCPS Communication on 12/4/2019 2:00:00 PM
When administrators of Conway Elementary School approached Graphic Imaging/Printing Teacher Susan Caldwell of North Stafford High School about implementing an activity hallway in the school, they had a feeling they were dealing with something bigger than a simple playspace. They were right.
While the hallways were initially the school administrator’s idea, they would be impossible without Susan Caldwell and her team of talented students. Although Caldwell is the link between the principals and the implementation of the hallways, her students are crucial to the design, planning, and final placement.
“It [a project] usually starts with an email; we’ll have a little pow-wow and come up with our ideas for the client, using what they envision seeing on their floor,” Caldwell said. “We’ll create from there.”
Over the summer, Caldwell hired a team of these spectacular students to make sure that Conway Elementary’s hallway was ready for the students in time for the new year. They worked tirelessly to design and place the hallway, getting paid for their specialized work.
Having these hallways initially seemed like a simple thing, meant to engage and entertain students when they get disruptive or antsy and need some time to get their energy out in an educational way. However, the individuals working on putting the hallway together quickly learned that there’s much more to space than a simple indoor play area.
Caldwell recounts an experience she had when working over the summer where autistic children immediately formed a bond with the hallway. While the graphic imaging/printing students were in the process of putting up the first hallway over the summer, they had a very special experience with the students there for summer activities. There are little handprints on the wall for one of the exercises and as the children tried to engage, they found that, at one height level, the prints were too short and too tall for some students. To solve the issue, those placing the brick wraps (what the wall section of the hallways are made of) adjusted the prints to the heights of the various children trying to engage.
“I went over to Conway when they [the design students] were installing it [the hallway]; They had a little summer camp for autistic kids, and we were trying to finish the installation and the kids wanted to play on it right then and there. We actually had them come out and help us install it by showing us how high their hands were when we were putting the handprints on the wall,” Caldwell said.
The hallways are not uniform. Conway Elementary’s is split into sections following the Virginia regions, Rockhill Elementary’s plan is based on Bus Safety and Outer Space, and Hampton Oaks Elementary’s plan is focused on sea creatures. Planning is underway for the other schools as well.
This is not the first time the North Stafford design program has completed work for Stafford County schools. A majority of the printed media throughout the schools (laminate decals on floors, brick wraps, window wraps, door wraps, etc.) was completed by this team.
“All the elementary schools will get a floor wrap, a couple of middle schools have expressed interest in getting a floor wrap (for anti-bullying, etc.) and we are currently working on one here at North Stafford,” Caldwell said. “Every school we’ve hit and we’ve done something”.
Currently, there are plans for four more hallways planned for Rockhill, Grafton Village, Hampton Oaks, and Hartwood. The county hopes to have these hallways in all 17 elementary schools.
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