GREEN  With the beginning of the 2019-20 school year the Portage Lakes Career Center (PLCC) Board of Education approved personnel items, service contracts and needed business at its Aug. 15 meeting.

The board approved employment contracts for Sherry Koenig as a job training coordinator, Benedict Chouinard as an HVAC instructor, Felicia Coldsnow as a spa technician instructor, Mike Kapas as a welding instructor, Kathryn Maj as a part-time adult education CPR/CPR for Healthcare Providers Instructor, Dawn Simpson as a cosmetology instructor and Linda Wardle as a practical nursing instructor/STNA coordinator.

The Special Education department has been expanded with the hiring of Abbigail Wise, intervention specialist, and Sherry Koenig as a job training coordinator. 

Also included in personnel items, Bridget Comes, has taken the position as career pathways specialist, and will be leading the services to the middle schools of our home districts this year to introduce them to career pathways and PLCC.

During the meeting, members of the board approved extended time for Nathan Burton, Electrical Technologies, 3 days; Bridget Comes, Career Pathways Specialist, 10 days; Ilario Cursaro, Guidance Counselor, 15 days; Thomas Green, Plant/Landscape/Turf Management, 5 days; and Allyson Himmelright, Guidance Counselor, 15 days.

Supplemental contracts were approved for Nathan Burton, Skills USA advisor, $749.80; Kristy McKenzie, Nursing Services, $1,499.60; and Teri Hohan, Student Activities Advisor, $1,499.60.

Tyler Easter was approved as a substitute custodian.

Other news

- Principal Mike Kaschak introduced new staff members Courtney Bennett, culinary arts instructor; Thomas Green, enviroscapes technology instructor; Marcie Jacobs, math teacher; Sherry Koenig, job training coordinator; and Abbigail Wise, intervention specialist. He also thanked the maintenance and custodial staff who worked diligently to prepare the building for the opening of school.

- Kaschak wished Nate Burton, electrical technologies instructor, and Adam Irwin, building trades instructor, the best of luck as they are among 50 finalists in the nation in the running to receive a Harbor Freight grant to be awarded in late October.

- Superintendent Kim Redmond updated the board on changes at PLCC. Network Computer Technology and Programming and Software Development programs have been combined into the Cybersecurity Academy.  Students will learn programming, networking and cyber forensics. Instructor Maria Schlenk will be partnering with outside entities to bring more opportunities to students, bringing industry into the classroom. Engineering and RAM programs have been combined into an advanced manufacturing academy offering students the option to learn about both as juniors and then specialize in an area as seniors. Additionally, merging the programs offers students the ability to earn necessary twelve-point credentials.

- Bennett will be establishing a restaurant to be run by the culinary program in early 2020. Details and the name of the restaurant will be revealed soon.

- A change has been made to the Horticulture program due to lower enrollment over several years and a lack of transition into the workplace. The Horticulture program will only be offered to students who will be seniors for the 2019-20 school year. Flower sales will continue.

- Another addition is underway at the school. An innovation room dedicated to business and PLCC staff and students exploring innovative solutions to today’s problems. The transformation and information on  how the space will be utilized will be explained soon.

- New apprenticeship curriculums are in place for the electrical technology and building trades programs. When students successfully complete their PLCC program, they will have also completed year one of the apprenticeship giving them better opportunities for employment and salary advancement.

- Kaschak said they are finalizing a partnership with a company to offer drivers education to PLCC students. 

“Not having drivers’ education has previously prevented many of our students from taking advantage of job placement,” he said.

- A new program is in place for this school year called Friday “E” which gives students the opportunity to improve their soft skills and choose options related to the four “E’s” – Enrollment, Employment, Enlistment or Entrepreneurship.

- The board entered executive session to consider the appointment, employment, or compensation of an employee or official of the school district. Upon return from the session, no action was taken.

The next regular board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 19 at the school.