HANOVER — Don’t call it “the Vo-Tech” anymore.
While the official name, as recorded in its regional agreement, is still South Shore Regional Vocational Technical High School — a rebranding effort is under way to more accurately reflect the more demanding nature of school programs as well as its commitment to community.
“We wanted to get rid of the term ‘Vo-Tech’ … in part, because, unfortunately, there are people in the community who still refer to us as ‘Slow-Tech,” even though that is far, far from the truth of what we do in this building and where our students go to college and high-paying careers,” said Principal Mark Aubrey as he outlined the process during the Wednesday, Sept. 19 School Committee meeting.
“If you call the school, we refer to ourselves as South Shore Technical,” he said. “We are South Shore Regional Vocational Technical High School, we are SSVT, and we are the same school we were in June.”
The same technologies are taught and the same equipment is used, but community members may not be aware of the school’s high standards, Aubrey said, noting the change is important to accurately reflect the kind of education they provide.
“I agree, but bear with me,” joked School Committee member John Manning of Scituate noting that he still refers to the Tobin Bridge as the Mystic River Bridge.
“You have to make the school proud and the students proud of the school,” said School Committee member Robert Molla of Norwell.
School Committee member Robert Mahoney of Rockland supported the move, but noted he had been surprised by it because the website and other social media have not yet been updated to reflect the rebranding.
Aubrey said the IT department has been working on the changes and that Superintendent/Director Dr. Thomas J. Hickey has purchased the website and name South Shore Technical, but stressed it will take more time. In the meantime, the website will come up if one searches for “South Shore Technical.”
A task force of faculty, staff members, students, parents and community members were brought together in recent months to discuss the rebranding idea. The school is also putting together a branding guide that covers school colors — what they are and can be for use by school teams and clubs. All students, starting with the seniors, will be given black polo shirts with the new South Shore Technical High School logo to wear with neat slacks when out on cooperative education work, field trips or to college fairs.
“That’s just another little thing we can do to get ourselves out to the community and let them know that we exist and what we do — and what we do very well every day in this school,” Aubrey said.
Even the Viking sports logo will be getting a makeover.
Students will have the opportunity to compete in a contest to design the new logo, personal to South Shore Technical alone, with the aim of having a new one selected by February.
“It kills me to drive through East Bridgewater and see the same Viking head,” he said. “I don’t mind sharing with the Minnesota Vikings, that’s fine, but to be just two towns away and have somebody else with the same Viking …”
Molla recalled that he had brought up the suggestion to give the Viking “a facelift” about two years ago, but noting had come of it.
“I’m glad to see it,” he said. “It’s time to change it. Put a smile on his face or something.”
SSVT is also moving to a paperless environment and recycling culture in school operations.
School accounting is using the Cloud for an improved workflow for online purchase orders, payroll system and giving employees greater access to pay stub information.
“It’s an exciting time in the business office,” quipped Treasurer James Coughlin. “There’s been a lot of webinars and so forth over the past six weeks. … Right now there’s a big box in our office that produces a lot of heat and a lot of noise as a server and we’re going to take that offline and we’re going to the Cloud.”
Tyler Technologies, a secure national vendor, provides that service.
“That is a theme throughout the building,” Aubrey said of the paperless effort. “We are going to more of a waste-reduction method within the building.”
That includes recycling in all classrooms and shops. Head teacher Matthew Fallano has led the Science Department in training students on correct recycling practices.
“We have staff members in the building that are trying to run their classrooms 99-percent paper-free,” Aubrey said. “They’re using Google Classroom and all the technology that we have supplied to them to be able to run their classrooms without having to do the ‘paperwork shuffle.’ … We are truly hopeful to do a lot of good for the environment and do a lot of good for our students, teaching them proper recycling skills and things like that.”
Assistant Principal Sandra Baldner outlined yet another change to the South Shore Technical culture.
Pineapples are the traditional symbol of welcome, dating back to America’s Colonial days, and were incorporated in welcome-back packaging for faculty. It has since been expanded to use in another new project at the school.
“We are now welcoming staff into each other’s classrooms as part of a pineapple charting initiative,” she said. “It’s an industry trick. You post what’s happening in your classroom on a pineapple poster … and welcome you in to see the good things going on in their classroom.”
The pineapple posters list times of events during which visitors mat observe and ask questions about curriculum initiatives after the lesson.
The school library is now known as the Career and College Center, where students can expand their knowledge of career and college opportunities and interact with professionals in both areas — particularly on First Fridays, when the school will host career socials. The next is at 1:30 p.m., Oct. 5 when the school will hold a health services event.
“The objective of First Fridays is to provide students with the opportunity to practice interpersonal communication with adults, while acquiring the information they need to be successful post-secondary career and/or college,” she said.
Baldner also extended kudos to teachers and students for surviving the oppressive heat during the first week of school. Hickey said the school had a very smooth opening.