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Board discusses voc ed

Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2007

In addition to the politics of term limits and the recent election results, the Kenai Peninsula Borough school board on Monday dealt with another subject education.

The board conducted a work session specifically to address whether to seat two elected members questioned because voters also approved a term limits proposition, and began their evening board meeting with a debate involving the eventual seating.

Work sessions in the afternoon also focused on vocational education through the Work Force Development Center at Kenai Central High School and on distance delivery of education, primarily to small schools in rural areas.

Through Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act funding, the school district has been able to offer overall program growth, career counseling to people in its vocational education program and student activities related to career and technical education, according to Sean Dusek, director of secondary education.

At the Work Force Development Center, students can receive instruction in advanced drafting and architecture, building trades, advanced welding and metals fabrication, advanced power engines and advanced power mechanics, he said.

Through a nationwide tech prep program, the center also offers training in accounting, desktop publishing, computer applications, computer aided drafting, introductory automotive technology, child development and metals fabrication.

"From tech prep, students can get college credits," Dusek said.

The metals fabrication and child development offerings were new this year, and Dusek said a certified nurses assistant program will be offered in the second semester.

"We're trying to get into emergency trauma technician training," he said.

Not all the vocational education training must be completed at the Work Force Development Center; some classes are offered by way of distance delivered education.

"The Work Force Development Center is a piece of the puzzle," Dusek said.

"We have 70 students enrolled this year, and we look to have 100 students next year," he said, adding that the CNA program will increase the enrollment numbers.

During a demonstration work session, Dusek and Rich Bartolowits, distance education coordinator for the school district, showed the board how distance delivery works.

Live classes can be delivered with two-way audio from remote locations around the district, allowing the district to meet the needs of small schools, increase students' options and comply with the No Child Left Behind Act.

Bartolowits, speaking to the board from a remote location, said the program can offer synchronous delivery teachers and students interacting live on a set class schedule or asynchronous classes are archived and students access them at any time at their own pace with student-teacher interaction available through e-mail.

Some classes are blended, using both synchronous and asynchronous delivery, he said.

Synchronous classes include accounting being taught at Skyview High School to students at Nikolaevsk and Tebughna, and advanced placement calculus, taught at Soldotna High School and distance delivered to students at Seldovia.

Asynchronous classes available include health, childhood development, keyboarding, mathematics and computer applications.

Among current blended offerings are U.S. and world history, language arts 9 and 10, Earth science and drafting.

Currently 103 students are participating in distance delivered education, and are enrolled in 134 classes. Students enrolled are from Nanwalek, Port Graham, Nikolaevsk, Razdolna, Voznesenka, Tebughna, Hope, Ninilchik, Susan B. English and Nikiski schools.

During the evening school board meeting, new officers were elected for the coming year. Sammy Crawford was elected president, Liz Downing, vice president, Marty Anderson, clerk, and Sunni Hilts, treasurer.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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