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Indian Creek school board mourns longtime worker

MINGO JUNCTION — The Indian Creek Local School District is mourning the loss of a longtime employee and supporter Donna Graham, who served for more than 20 years.

Graham, who retired last year as superintendent’s secretary, died on Feb. 16. School leaders remembered her dedication to her work and unwavering support of the school system. Graham was part of the district for 22 years and leaders said during the Feb. 20 regular session that she would be greatly missed.

“She was a colleague who worked with the board and got information out,” said Superintendent T.C. Chappelear. “She was a great person and she moved to the district during a critical time (with the high school consolidation.) There’s no one who was a bigger supporter of Indian Creek.”

Board member Dr. Ted Starkey asked if something could be done to honor Graham and board President Daniel Bove suggested giving a posthumous honorary diploma to her family during this year’s commencement exercise.

Additionally, OAPSE President Judy Johnson said her organization planned to donate a gift basket with all of Graham’s favorite things as a prize for the Indian Creek Foundation’s Reverse Drawing event on March 21.

In other matters, the board heard from Indian Creek High School teachers about career technical education programs available for students. Interactive media teacher Dave Moffat was joined by Julie Robinson, who instructs careers exploration; Johnna Provenzano, who teaches business; and Jennifer Belt, who instructs career -based intervention for at-risk pupils.

Moffat said three pathways were offered in interactive media, business and engineering, the latter of which was taught by Barbara Turner, while Robinson and Belt provided supplemental programs. He noted that career tech also helps get students ready for college because their paths may change.

“This doesn’t cost the district or student any money. In the last year, the state made changes. We have four years with these students and they can get a pathway (at ICHS,)” he said, adding that each pathway has a career and tech advisory board that meets several times a year but may gather more often.

Provenzano explained there were 10 state-quality program standards for CTE programs which include instructional facilities and resources (state-of-the-art technology, simulating the workplace and career planning); school and community relations (communication with community, parents and industry partners through marketing on website, media and printed materials); program planning and evaluation (advisory boards and collecting performance data as well as career outlook data for program improvement); and educators that contribute to the profession (teachers continuing to take college credit courses, attend workshops and trainings); curriculum and program design (ensuring courses are current and curriculum is articulated with a post-secondary institution and industry recognized credentials); instruction (instruction balance between theory and lab instruction); assessment (all students are required to complete the WebXam, the end-of-course test for CTE students); experiential learning experience programs; leadership development/career tech student organization (students have access to join a CTSO such as Business Professionals of America, SkillsUSA and Family Career and Community Leaders of America); and equitable student access (recruit students into pathways, guidance counselors are informed of options, scheduling supports student completion of pathways).

“We are at a great opportunity with the new (school) building with the setup and state-of-the-art technology,” she continued. “We discussed what we could put in the new building such as a store setting and making the classroom look like offices.”

Provenzano said students are also recruited into pathways while those at the middle school level learn what is available.

Robinson explained that her students developed a career fair after results from a needs assessment determined not everyone planned to go to college. Three events were held and included representatives of labor, business and colleges who spoke to students about their options. She added that the CBI and career pathways have advisory committee members who were involved in the career fair as well as the Ohio State University Extension Office.

“Our goals are to discuss the real world and kids having mentors, as well as virtual tours,” she noted, adding that officials from the Pittsburgh Technical College were planning to visit and a partnership has been opened with Marathon Logistics, formerly MarkWest.

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