The Cooperative currently serves 11 school districts in LaGrange, Steuben, DeKalb and Noble Counties, with more than 6000 students attending the programs.
CHS enrollment in the Anthis program has declined over the past several years and is currently at five students.
Board member Rick Trump said that the community and students generally have a negative viewpoint of the Anthis program, and he said that an agreement with FCAVC is a positive move for the students. CJSHS Principal Jim Folland added that CJSHS students are very similar to those at FCAVC, coming from rural areas consisting of manufacturing, farming, recreation and service industries.
SGCS Business Manager Todd Fleetwood said that costs for the Four County Area Vocational Cooperative will be much less than for Anthis and the school will continue to provide transportation, just as it does now with Anthis students.
FCAVC Director Tim Holcomb gave a presentation to the Board and said that the more CJSHS students use the program, the more affordable it gets.
“It’s really about opportunity,” he said. “It won’t take long before students and the community take note of what [FCAVC] has to offer.”
Board members and administrators have long seen the need to offer vocational training, such as building trades, and the benefits of dual-credit courses for CJSHS students.
Four County Area Vocational Cooperative offers 14 specialized vocational education programs at satellite locations separate from school facilities. The programs include: Auto Body Collision and Repair, Automotive Technology, CAD Drafting, Construction Trades, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Health Occupations Education, Interactive Media, Primary Healthcare, Machine Trades, Marine Mechanics, Welding and exchange programs within the FCAVC schools.
The vocational program is offered at no cost to students and those students who complete the program will earn dual credits and industry certifications.
“We know that trade skills jobs are out there and in high demand,” Holcomb said, “and we know where the gaps are and will put them into the workplace quickly.”
FCAVC also offers a regional “Campus Connections” program for adult and high school students. The regional campus is affiliated with IPFW, Ivy Tech and Indiana Tech and offers several courses that are on the Indiana college transfer list. All high school students taking courses at FCAVC for dual-credit get reduced tuition for the courses and transportation is provided to students taking dual-credit as well as vocational courses.
Folland said that the agreement with FCAVC is just one of the pieces of the puzzle at CJSHS—in-house, dual-credit courses will be coming soon.
In other Board news:
• Board members Nick Uecker and Tanya Young assured the community that they were indeed aware of and fully supportive of Interim Superintendent Ralph Bailey’s staff and budget reduction proposals at the last Board meeting. Uecker and Young were unable to attend the meeting and said they were questioned by several community members about their positions on the issue.
• CJSHS PE/Health Teacher Judy Wiktorowicz submitted a letter of retirement effective at the end of the school year. In addition, the Board approved transferring Jarod Thompson as a long-term substitute to fill the junior high social studies position vacated by Jeremy Willson. The Board then approved the hire of Megan Hall as a chemistry teacher, the position in which Thompson was currently subbing.
• The Board approved several donations, including $100 from the Whitley County Community Foundation for both the elementary and jr/sr high schools for the Whitley County Cares Fund, a fund that teachers and administrators may dip into to provide financial assistance to students in need.
The next regular scheduled School Board meeting will be Monday, December 17 at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of the Administrative Building.