JEFFERSON — Ashtabula County Technical & Career Campus started out the 2013-2014 school year with many additions, including a new math teacher, a new principal, new facility improvements and, of course, new students. The changes were added not only to assist students in preparing for their future, but also to better organize administrative areas and enhance safety in the school.
Included in the physical changes to the school are two new offices that provide organization and safety for the students and staff. Safety is a key issue for all schools, and to assist the staff in keeping everyone safe in the event of an emergency, A-Tech offered ALICE Training at the beginning of the school year. ALICE stands for "alert, lockdown, information, counter and evacuation.” It gives the staff and students additional tools to help minimize the impact of a threatening situation in a school setting.
Principal Paul Brockett said, “Alice Training empowers individuals to make decisions that can increase their survival abilities.”
Another step A-Tech took for both safety and organization is a newly constructed main office which is located in the northeast section of “B” building. Previously the main office was located in the center of “B” building. While this was a very convenient location for staff and students, the need for a greeting area for visitors to A-Tech is a welcome and needed change for safety for the school as well as a clearly defined entry point for visitors. The space that was previously used for the main office is now the new guidance office.
Joe Chiacchiero, an A-Tech guidance counselor, said, “It has easier access than before and has more visibility to the student body. Since the office is right next to the cafeteria, students can stop in before classes in the morning or during lunch to take care of quick issues. It helps all of us be more visible to the students which, I think, makes them more comfortable coming in and talking to us when needed.”
The guidance area is used for students who need assistance with their schedules, filling out paperwork for scholarships and college applications, and discussions on how to make the most of their time at A-Tech and beyond. The new guidance area also houses a conference room that helps students, teachers, guidance staff and parents discuss issues in a private setting.
Staff changes include Paul Brockett to principal and the addition of a new math teacher, Cody Lewis. Lewis is a graduate of Kent Ashtabula where he earned his associate’s degree. Then he moved on to obtain his bachelor’s degree at Youngstown State University. After earning his teaching certificate he was a substitute teacher in the Pymatuning Valley School district, and a tutor for the Bloomfield schools before ultimately accepting the position of a math instructor with A-Tech.
“I've really enjoyed my first few months here at A-Tech,” Lewis said. “The staff has been very supportive, and the students are great. It is a very positive work environment and I am looking forward to the rest of the year."