Program Expands Community Partnerships

Published 4:03 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2011

BUCKINGHAM – For years, students enrolled in the nursing program at the Buckingham Vocational Center, which is now the Career and Technical Education Center, benefited not only from classroom instruction but also from a real-world practicum provided at Heritage Hall, a residential health care and rehabilitation facility in Dillwyn.

Last year, students enrolled in the center's building trades program also ventured into the community for a construction project.

With hopes of expanding this type of real-world experience for students, CTE Principal Kyle Bryan requested permission from the school board to include three more off-site ventures designed to reinforce and enhance what the students are learning in the classroom.

Subsequently, during its September 14 meeting, the board, concurring with the recommendation of Superintendent Gary Blair, approved the requests.

The first expands on the efforts of the building trades program and involves carpentry students working at a local business to do some interior framing and sheetrock work.

With the second request, culinary students will now spend some of their time shadowing food services employees at Heritage Hall.

In his request, Bryan noted that the culinary students would be divided into groups so that they could be transported to Heritage Hall along with the nursing students.

The third request involves cosmetology students providing hair and nail service to the residents at Heritage Hall. This effort offers an additional advantage of affording the students with more opportunity to acquire the required number of hours for licensing, stated Bryan.

Recommending approval of all three requests as well as a list of non-credit evening classes Bryan plans to offer at the CTE Center this fall, Dr. Blair offered, “I think this is a great partnership with the community.”

Non-Credit Evening Classes

Those non-credit classes offer area adults a wide range of opportunities. The classes begin the week of October 3; and, each course carries a fee of $50. Most of the classes run from 6 to 8 p.m., for five weeks.

When providing more information to The Herald about the evening courses at the Career and Technical Education Center, Bryan emphasized that preregistration is strongly suggested for each course.

However, he added that preregistration is required for the ServSafe food service course, which is $99 and includes eight hours of instruction and a written test.

More information about registration and the evening classes is available in the reception area of the CTE Center or by calling 969-6180 during school hours.

On Monday evenings, the line-up includes Introduction to Home Repair, featuring home weatherization as well as basic electrical and plumbing repair; Beginning Quilting, offering the basic techniques a beginning quilter would need to make a small throw; and Microsoft Office 2007, focusing on an overview of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and MovieMaker.

Tuesday night courses include Auto Service-Preventive Maintenance, offering how-to's for performing simple preventive maintenance; and, Using Digital Tools, a class on the basics of using a digital camera, scanner, camcorder; downloading those files to the computer; and importing photos and video into Windows MovieMaker.

Also available on Tuesday nights are Keyboarding; Basic Computer and Internet Skills; and Basic Puppy and Dog Obedience.

Additionally, Electronics and TV Production is planned for Tuesday nights. This course offers the basics of electronics to develop an understanding of how equipment works. Topics include volt and resistance current; current and frequency; and use of a voltmeter, ammeter, and ohmmeter. Students will also learn how to replace an outlet switch safely and how to set-up audio video connections and antennas with cameras and other equipment

Thursday night courses include Basic Computer and Internet Skills, and Microsoft Office 2007. Additionally, Healthy Habits to Reduce Your Risk Factors of Disease offers ways to reduce risk factors that cause diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Start Time of October 12 Meeting Changed

Superintendent Blair advised the board that the joint meeting with the board of supervisors to discuss the school audit is scheduled for Wednesday, October 12, at 6 p.m., in the conference room of the county administration building.

In turn, the school board voted to change the time of its regular monthly meeting on October 12, from 6 p.m. to 2 p.m., in the Window Room at the Buckingham Career and Technical Education Center; and then meet with supervisors at 6 p.m.

VPSA Resolution Approved for Construction Funding

In conjunction with action taken by the board of supervisors at its meeting on September 12, the school board unanimously approved and reaffirmed a resolution it originally adopted in August 2010, regarding financing the school renovation and expansion projects on Route 20.

Ted Cole, of Davenport Incorporated, previously explained that bond attorneys recommended the action as the county moves forward to put the remainder, up to $15.1 million, of that long-term financing in place through a bond issuance by the Virginia Public School Authority.

Cole advised that the board of supervisors adopted its resolution on Monday evening. “This is the final piece of the long-term financing,” he explained. “Everything is on track for that. They are planning on selling their bond in early November and you would be one of a number of local governments that would participate in that.”

He offered, “This will put all the funding in place on a long-term basis as opposed to some short-term funding that we put in place a year or so ago.” Cole added, “Interest rates are still very favorable. We'll hope that continues going in to October and early November.”

Energy Savings Performance Contracting Explored

A representative from Honeywell, Inc. presented a presentation on energy savings performance contracting and energy-efficiency savings programs.

He emphasized that the primary benefits offer the ability to improve infrastructure of facilities through energy efficiency savings while working within an existing budget.

According to the Honeywell representative, the company has completed a preliminary analysis for Buckingham. Noting the division's efforts in becoming more energy efficient, he offered, “There is some opportunity here but not as much as we see in a lot of other school divisions.”

The speaker, referencing Ivan “Chip” Davis, facilities director, shared, “I would recognize and commend Mr. Davis for that because it correlates with a lot of things that he's taking a look at and implementing right now.” He added, “There are still some areas where savings can be had.”

Those areas, explained the representative, include water conservation measures such as putting in low-flow toilets and flush valves; replacing outdated lighting; and replacing outdated HVAC systems.

He explained that an engineering study must be completed prior to entering into a performance contract. However, if a contract is entered and the savings do not meet the projected amounts, he said that Honeywell writes a check for the difference.

Dr. Blair, with agreement from Chairman Allen, said his main concern about beginning such a program now focused on comparing energy histories of the new elementary facility on Route 20 to facilities that were not air-conditioned.

Responding, the Honeywell representative said they would be able to project that information in conjunction with the detailed engineering study. He explained that if the school division decided to go with the study but then did not to enter into the program, it would be responsible for the cost of the study, which runs about seven to ten cents a square foot.

In Other Board Action

School board members unanimously approved its consent agenda, which included minutes from the last meeting; enrollment report; approval of bills and accounts; building and grounds requests; two out-of-zone requests; and a list of home school requests and religious exemption for the 2011-12 school year.

In a unanimous vote, the board added New York Life Insurance as an approved vendor to the division's 403B third-party administrator contract. Information included on the agenda noted there is no cost to the division and participation by employees is voluntary.

The board approved a donation of a new 10-foot-by-10-foot storage-type barn for a small pony used in conjunction with the CTE equine management program. Valued at approximately $1,000, the new building will provide shelter for the pony when it is on-site.

Following a closed meeting to discuss personnel; student discipline; briefing by staff pertaining to actual or probable litigation possible; and contract negotiations, the board approved its personnel agenda as amended.

Among the personnel items approved, Joan Shumaker was named coordinator of administrative technology; and, Ryan Peede, coach for the scholastic bowl.

Other personnel appointments included a long list of teachers, instructors and support staff for the before and after school grant program at Dillwyn Primary's 21st Century Community Learning Center.

The board also approved four change orders for the renovation and expansion project on Route 20. However, the motion specified that the change orders did not include any time extensions.

The motion drew a five-to-two vote with Sherry Ragland, Kathy Midkiff, Pete Gowin, Thomas Hutcherson, and Vice Chair Ed Wise voting to approve the change orders; and, Chairman Allen and David Christian opposing.

Christian stated, “I want to go on record saying I am extremely upset about the motion that just passed. I don't think it is our responsibility to pay for it.”

After the meeting, Blair explained that the change orders include the work and extras, such as ductwork and soffits, involved in what he described as basically a re-design for the water source heat pumps in the ceilings of one of the buildings.

Before recessing, the board agreed to continue the meeting on Thursday, September 29, 8 a.m., at the bus garage, for a closed meeting on personnel matters.