Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Local Trip with Global Impact: Construction Students Visit Georgia Pacific in Gladys, VA

BSTC students are always out and about, and our construction program is no exception.  Recently, instructor and Class A General Contractor Mr. Sam Morgan coordinated a visit for his Building Construction I and II students to the Georgia Pacific facilities in Gladys, Virginia.  On the visit, students were able to see the manufacturing of oriented strand board (OSB), a staple of the construction industry.  OSB is a product that is used in almost any modern construction, residential or commercial, for load-bearing purposes.  Learning why the material was engineered as it was and how the material was produced was an important goal for students.

Offering perspective on the trip, Daniel Metzger, BSTC '17 LHS '17, observed, "Simple things can be created in the most complex manner."  In short, these budding building contractors grew in their understanding of manufacturing and in the importance of using appropriate, quality materials in construction.

The trip also had the added benefit of enhancing appreciation for the local economy.  Comments Mr. Morgan, "Georgia Pacific is a local company with a world-wide impact.  If not for the building trade, this product, plant, and employees--nor their revenue--would not be in Central Virginia.  All of my students now recognize the #451 painted on these OSB products and know where the originate!"

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Reaching New Heights in Lineman's School: Another Successful Graduate!

One of our graduates is reaching new heights--70+ feet heights to be exact--as an electrical lineman in training!

BJ Martin, SRHS '14 BSTC '14, thought the electrical program was interesting when he took a tour with his 10th grade high school class and enrolled.  In the course of his second year at BSTC, he went on a field trip with Electricity and Cabling II to the Southside Electrical Cooperative to explore lineman work.  This led him to research the possibilities and find North American Lineman Training Center.  This fall, he is completing the 16-week training there, earning about seven electrical certifications that will allow him to seek a job with a power company.  As part of his training, BJ is also receiving training for his Commercial Drivers' License (CDL).  He's currently in the top two students in his class.

BJ is not bothered by heights, and his job as a lineman will be thrilling as well as professionally challenging.  "I enjoy the climbing.  It's kind of a rush climbing up a pole 70 feet with just little spikes on your feet.  And getting up there is just half of it," says BJ.  He's also learned how to operate a digger derrick for placing electrical poles, hurt person rescue techniques, and how to lift 300-pound transformers with just three people, using systems of pulleys.  The program includes field trips to power generation stations and similar sites, too.

Of his training at BSTC, BJ says that he was well-prepared for his work at the lineman training center, understanding basic electrical theory and putting him a step ahead of his classmates.  He also credits BSTC's electrical program and teacher Mr. Aaron Payne for helping him learn about his interests--he shares that he wouldn't have known about the lineman career path if it hadn't been for BSTC!  Our current Electricity and Cabling II students just took a field trip to Southside Electrical--we look forward to seeing who is inspired this time!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Talk About a Career Pathway: From EMT to LPN to COTA!

At BSTC, we are fortunate to have many outstanding graduates, and Kelsey Maass, JFHS '09 BSTC '11 is one of them!  Ms. Maass is currently a certified occupational therapy assistant (COTA), and she got her start in healthcare in our EMT and LPN programs.  When asked about her success, Ms. Maass shares this about BSTC:

"The high school programs introduce you to real life/hands on experience at an earlier age and honestly help prepare you for future careers, job opportunities, and also college.  You really have the upper hand taking those programs prior to graduation...The LPN program is a great option for those wanting to go back to school, and it opens the door to great jobs."  

Now, Ms. Maass is a graduate of the Jefferson College of Health Sciences, '15, with an associate of applied science degree as an occupational therapy assistant.  After completing our LPN program, she began work as a triage nurse with the Orthopaedic Center of Central Virginia.  With this experience, she was an attractive candidate for the Jefferson College's COTA program, and now, she has additional credibility with other health care providers thanks both to her training at the Jefferson College and at BSTC.  She senses that her background as a LPN and an EMT gives her colleagues, including certified healthcare technology specialists (CHTSs), occupational therapists (OTs), and medical doctors (MDs) additional confidence in transitioning patients to her caseload.

Ms. Maass praises our programs for their strength in developing work ethic and professionalism, skills she needs to demonstrate in the workplace every day that were also developed in association with the Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA).  "I also loved that HOSA was offered--it really introduced me to situations where I had to learn professionalism and presentation," she notes.  Ms. Maass also gained valuable background knowledge that helped her with her COTA coursework in our programs, particularly basics that helped her in college anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, and physical dysfunctions courses.  This makes sense:  Ms. Angela Beasley, Director of the Bedford County School of Nursing, shares that she recommends students interested in any form of health care consider or nursing programs to gain valuable clinical experience and prerequisite knowledge. 

Safety is the First Priority: Special Thanks to Bedford Elks

Students at BSTC were very fortunate to receive a donation of over 200 pairs of safety glasses from Bedford Elks Lodge 2844. These glasses are valuable supports for many educational programs at the center including but not limited to Building Construction, Electricity and Cabling, Automotive Technology, Automotive Body Repair, Cosmetology, and Building Management. "As safety is always our first priority, we greatly appreciate the club's very generous donation. Our teachers and students are very pleased," says Mrs. Kim Halterman, BSTC leadership.

All of the students at BSTC receive specialized safety training with many earning their OSHA 10 Hour Safety Card, a valuable industry credential. Students are also required to know industry-specific safety practices, including, for instance, proper practices for sanitizing beauty tools in cosmetology. BSTC is fortunate to have the support of many community stakeholders in advancing the importance of safety including but not limited to the Bedford Elks and our local Lowe's Home Improvement store.

The glasses are in use as students begin many exciting projects for the year, including construction of a Habitat for Humanity house, and continue their preparation for work, military service, and college.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Learning to Lead: JROTC at BSTC

BSTC is honored to house a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) led by retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Paul J. Becker and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Gregory L. Jenkins.

Truly designed to prepare students to be more involved, productive citizens, JROTC is a multifaceted program.  Upon arriving at BSTC, new administrator Mrs. Kim Halterman noticed the leadership skills core to the JROTC program.  "Students learn leadership skills like motivating others, decision making, planning, effective speaking and writing, teamwork, and problem solving," adds Lieutenant Colonel Becker.  Students engage in a wide variety of curricular and extra-curricular activities including service projects and physical conditioning.  BSTC's program is accelerated, meaning that four years of JROTC curriculum is accessed across a typical two-year program enrollment.  At BSTC, JROTC cadets become part of the "Wolfpack."

Certainly, JROTC provides students with knowledge of careers in the military across the branches of service.  While students who elect to join the military who have completed JROTC are eligible for promotions upon enlistment, participating students have no later obligation to serve in the armed forces.  We encourage Bedford County students interested in JROTC programming to contact their school counselors and/or BSTC, 540.586.3933, about enrollment opportunities.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Welcome Aboard!: Welcome to BSTC's Newest Faculty Member, Building Construction Instructor Sam Morgan!

Where’s the next generation? This question was asked by one of Mr. Sam Morgan's business colleagues not long ago. There didn’t seem to be any young carpenters on a large construction site the two were visiting. At the time of the question, Mr. Morgan had no answer. Now he does--those new carpenters will be coming from the BSTC Building Construction program!

Mr. Morgan begins his work at BSTC as an instructor in Building Construction I and II this fall.  He's an enthusiastic teacher eager to mentor young people and help them understand the realities of the workforce.  A Class A Building Contractor with 30 years of job experience, Mr. Morgan understands what it is to work for others, to supervise others, and to be self-employed.  He brings both practical business know-how and carpentry/construction skills to his students at BSTC.  "To share my knowledge and skill with young people that are interested in learning this great trade is an honor," shares Mr. Morgan.  Outside of school, Mr. Morgan enjoys motorcycles and church activities.

For examples of Mr. Morgan's work on large projects, see the photos of lovely local homes above.  We are excited to welcome Mr. Morgan and his experience to BSTC this year!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Congratulations!: Practical Nursing Instructor Selected for NCLEX Review Panel

Faculty member Ms. Sherri Andrews, MSN, has been selected by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to participate in the development and review of National Council Licensure Examination-Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN) test!   Her selection is an honor that will allow Ms. Andrews to contribute to the growth of the profession as she helps develop test items of appropriate rigor for selecting quality licensed practical nurses.  As a participant in the program, Ms. Andrews will also make other valuable professional contacts with other nurses.

As you may know, the NCLEX-PN is an important credentialing exam for licensed practical nurses (LPNs).  The NCLEX-PN tests knowledge across many areas including but not limited to establishing a safe and effective care environment, safety and infection control, health promotion and maintenance, meeting patient psychosocial needs, and meeting patient physiological needs.  Our program graduates take the NCLEX-PN, helping to ensure their employers and patients of their skills in providing quality practical nursing care.

With us, Ms. Andrews teaches Practical Nursing II, including supervising students in their clinical assignments, through the Governor's Health Sciences Academy.  She is pictured above at our 2015 Practical Nursing Graduation and with successful students.  Congratulations again, Ms. Andrews!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Job With a View: BSTC Electricity and Cabling

Yes, this fabulous photograph is of one of our graduates!  Caleb Hobbs, Class of 2013, finished the Electrical Lineman Institute at Caldwell Community College in North Carolina, leading to a career opportunity with Duke Electric and the ability to work at dizzying heights.  A completer in our electricity program, Caleb, like many other graduates, has found a job with relative ease and continued to grow through additional training.  Instructor Mr. Aaron Payne shares that other students have also expressed an interest in lineman school after seeing the example of their colleague Caleb.

BSTC offers Electricity and Cabling I and II, and our completers benefit from strong school-industry relationships in securing employment,  From the classes of 2012, 2013, and 2014, we have alumni working at Southern Air, B and W Nuclear Technologies. Maddox Heating and Air, Duke Energy, Woolridge Heating and Air, Areva, Moore's Electric, and other companies.  Students are also completing further training at community colleges and Virginia Technical Institute, and we've recently heard from three students from the class of 2012 who are completing their Virginia Electrical Journeyman's license.

Writing back to instructor Mr. Aaron Payne, graduate Dakota Gaither '12 comments about the relevance of our program: "You are a great teacher, and if you wouldn't have showed me how to navigate a code book, it would have been a lot more difficult than what it already was."  Mr. Payne's recent honors include his selection as a recent BSTC Teacher of the Year.Thanks, Mr. Payne, for helping so many students learn to keep our lights on and our companies moving forward!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

From Bedford to Anywhere: Powerful Articulation Agreements in BSTC Automotive Programs

You may know that BSTC runs two highly-useful series of automotive classes:  Automotive Technology I and II and Collision Repair Auto Body Technology I and II.  Students in these classes have the opportunity to learn valuable skills--and valuable credentials for the real world.

In Automotive Technology, students can complete an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Association student certification in 9 areas (brakes, steering and suspension, electrical system, and engine performance).  Students also have the opportunity to test for the Virginia State Inspection License, often in demand for hires at auto repair facilities across the state.  The classes, offered as part of Bedford County Public School's Program of Studies, have articulation agreements with Ohio Technical College (OTC), University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH), and Universal Technical Institute, allowing students to receive credit at these industry-acclaimed technical institutions with no dual enrollment cost. These agreements have the potential to save families and students many expenses and allow for early program completion.  Mr. Mark Mathia, program instructor, has pursued these agreements over the years.  In discussing the development of the program, Mr. Mathia notes, "I encourage future technicians to go to a good trade school to further their education and to realize that this industry is advancing by leaps and bounds, especially in the area of computer-aided diagnostics and total vehicle functionality.  They need to learn that you must be a 'lifetime learner' always seeking to stay on the forefront of changes or you will be left behind.  However, going back to the expense of trade schools, I needed to find a way to make post-secondary education less expensive, give the students credit for the work they did in my program, and get them into the workforce ahead of the other graduates.  Articulation did that."  Our program is definitely well-respected; in fact, it's accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).

In Automotive Body Repair, students learn skills that can assist them in careers such as collision repair technician and auto body painter--and also insurance adjuster, body shop owner, metal fabricator, and welder.  Mr. Witt's students learn to perform repairs--and also to estimate their costs, providing valuable business insights.

At present, Mr. Mathia and Mr. Witt have 7 alums from the 2013-14 school year at UNOH alone. What an accomplishment for these students, and what a great savings!

For more information:
Mr. Mark Mathia, Auto Tech, mmathia@bedford.k12.va.us
Mr. Troy Witt, Auto Body, twitt@bedford.k12.va.us