GREEN  In a special all-boards meeting Jan. 26 at Portage Lakes Career Center (PLCC), Superintendent Dr. Benjamin Moore updated superintendents and Board of Education members from the four home schools - Coventry, Green, Manchester and Springfield - on what has been happening at PLCC.

In speaking to the group, Moore said there are misconceptions in the community about career technical educations. In a statewide survey asking school administrators if they believe parents and students are interested in career tech educations, about 25 percent responded "yes." Moore, however, said that more than 70 percent of students and parents responded "yes" to the survey.

The perception is changing but, "at a glacial pace," Moore said.

Ten years ago, PLCC was serving 397 students. Enrollment is now at 559 and the school has put a plan in place to eventually serve as many as 800 students from the four home schools.

PLCC also has completely separate adult education section.

"We are very much like a community college," Moore said. "We are fully accredited, Title 4 eligibility, and we have seven full-time programs that run year round. Students are applying for financial aid, earning college credits and leaving here with industry certifications and job."

Moore spoke about the recently opened burn building, which is used through a collaboration with the University of Akron to train firefighters, and is the only one like it in the world, he said. PLCC has its own fire department, with two fire trucks on site.

"All the data shows that we are responsible in our spending. We are continually reinvesting in our programs, our students and our building," he said.

He spoke about the Early College High School program, also through the University of Akron, where students can earn an associate's degree while in high school.

Moore addressed more of PLCC's pros:

- Zero incidents of bullying

- Zero incidents of hazing

- Zero complaints of sexual harassment

- Zero civil rights violations

- Zero lost time worker's compensation claims

- Zero grievances

After updating those in attendance, Moore introduced the Technology and Leadership Consultant of the Summit Educational Service Center Steve Farnsworth, who focused on helping board members reflect upon their roles within their districts, and to help each member consider their impact as key members of their district's leadership teams.

"It is a great collaboration between the partner schools and this great facility here," said Farnsworth. 

He asked board members to consider a couple of questions:

Why did you decide to become a board member?

Answers included: public service; to make a difference in kids lives; and to get involved with the community and make positive changes.

When you thought about becoming a board member and then you became one, was it different than you thought it would be?

Didn't realize how difficult it was to pass levies; that we all get along so well; and learned more about the law than ever expected (Ohio Revised Code)

What do you like best about being a board member?

Seeing successes of students; a lot of communication from central office; and build an administrative team that is trust worthy, good people, good ethics, good morals

What do you like least about being a board member?

Constant complaints. Very little praise. Get beat up by the public when they don't know the true picture behind what they are saying; when you see a disgruntle parent; failure of a levy and mandates of the state - how to do we pay for it?

Farnsworth believes public schools are the best representation of a democracy and presented the three C's that are important to board members: commitment, cultural and courageous.

"It is important to support one and other," he said.

The meeting was adjourned and the group had dinner made by the PLCC's Culinary Arts Department.