AC-WH Career Center enrollment highest in decades

AC-WH Career Center enrollment highest in decades

The Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center could have its highest enrollment in decades as the 2021-22 school year starts.


The Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center could have its highest enrollment in decades as the 2021-22 school year starts. School superintendent Rod Cheyney told the board at its regular meeting on Aug. 19 that 415 students are officially registered for classes for the new school year and that the figure could end up being as many as 431.

“We have a number of students we have not heard back from yet, but we’ll definitely be over the 400 mark,” Cheyney said. “That’s the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve had that many, and someone said it may have been back in the ‘90s that we’ve had that many students here.”

Cheyney credited an active recruiting effort by the staff for the high number. The figure also reflects a higher percentage of students in home school districts who chose to attend career center programs.

The enrollment news also was good for the career center’s adult education programs, several of which already have started fall classes. Director Nancy Hall said most of the enrollment numbers are looking good including the electrical program, which she said had a “huge” jump to 12 students.

Hall said medical assisting also has seen an increase with nine students enrolled and that she also expects good enrollment in the phlebotomy, welding, and the Office Tech and Essential Office programs, which have been “folded” together.

“We’re trying to find ways where we can fold programs together to maximize one instructor with multiple instruction to reduce payroll and bring students in,” she said.

Hall credited the enrollment figures to online enrollment, which is generating more traffic of people looking into adult education programs. She said the system sends email reminders to people who have started but not finished the application process that additional information is needed to complete enrollment.

The increased enrollment in the career center’s high school programs also prompted the board to approve a one-year, $33,803 contract with Appleseed Community Mental Health Center Incorporated to provide a part-time school-based therapist. The therapist will spend two days per week at the school for 40 weeks during the school year and one day per week for 12 weeks in the summer with the contract retroactive to Aug. 16.

“The school-based therapist is part of our Extended Learning Plan, submitted to the state to address social/emotional needs of students caused by the pandemic,” Cheyney said.

He said the part-time position is different from the liaison, who also is provided under a contract with Appleseed. Funding will come from a state grant.

The career center board also hired Mary Bruno as an educational aide/tutor on a part-time, one-year limited contract, effective immediately, to help students who are involved with the school’s online credit recovery program.

In other business the board approved a resolution to accept conditional approval from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission for $10,994,145 in funding for a proposed facilities improvement project. The action sets the time line and gives the board 13 months to get voter approval for the local share of project funding.

The career center board voted last month to place a continuing 1.1 mill permanent improvement levy on the November ballot to pay for a $44 million major renovation plan for the school. The plan developed by SHP of Columbus calls for renovating the current career center building to cluster major programs with outside access, cluster academic programs with more flexible class space and renovate the Ashland County Service Center Building next door to accommodate adult education programs and administrative functions if the levy is passed and the board buys the building.

The state has agreed to cover $10.9 million of the school renovation cost while the levy, if approved, will generate funds over 30 years to pay for the estimated $34 million local share of the school renovation and all of the cost to renovate the service center.

The career center board also voted at the August meeting to do the following:

—Hire Allison Rogers as an animal veterinary science educational aide on a classified part-time, one-year limited contract.

—Approve a $22,803.19 contract with the Tri-County Educational Service Center for school nursing services for the school year.

—Approve a certified/classified substitute list presented by the Tri-County ESC.

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