SSVT salutes Aiguier for SkillsUSA gold medal
By Mike Melanson
HANOVER — The Massachusetts Association of School Committees and South Shore Vocational Technical School Committee on Wednesday Sept. 17 recognized SSVT alumnus, James Aiguier, who was gold medalist in nurse assisting at the 2014 SkillsUSA National Leadership & Skills Conference.
Aiguier was a Whitman student who now lives in Dartmouth. He attends the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, where he is majoring in nursing.
“It’s going good. Classes are starting to get hard now, nothing too bad,” he said of his college work.
Patrick Francomano, president elect of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, said MASC has put into place an award recognizing students who have achieved a national award in subjects such as music, academics or sports.
“We’re giving an award for getting an award, but it’s important,” he said.
Francomano, who is also a King Philip Regional School District school committee member, said Aiguier should reflect on what it took to become nationally recognized in his field.
“You came out as best of the best. That’s a huge achievement,” Francomano said.
Glenn Koocher, MASC executive director, also attended the presentation last Wednesday. Also recognized was Jeanne Boretti, one of Aiguier’s allied health teachers at SSVT.
“He is very well deserving,” she said.
School Committee Chairman Robert Molla of Norwell presented an award on behalf of the School Committee recognizing Aiguier’s national achievement.
Superintendent-Director Thomas Hickey said a project to replace the school’s 52-year-old boiler has been accepted into the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s accelerated repair program.
Hickey said the district has been assigned an owner’s project manager, Expertcom, Inc. of Dedham, and a designer, Raymond Design Associates of Hingham.
The boiler could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace, but the MSBA would reimburse the district at a rate of 53-percent, he said.
Hickey said the designer will design a system and with it an estimated cost. The district will send that information to the MSBA by a Feb. 11 deadline, and the MSBA Board of Directors will vote on the project at their March 25 meeting, he said.
Hickey said the district will then have 90 days to secure funding for the project, and will present warrant articles seeking funding to Town Meeting in all eight towns next spring.
All eight towns must approve the project to take effect, he said.
If the measure passes, SSVT will start construction on July 1, and be done by December, he said.
The School Committee approve a series of superintendent goals proposed by Hickey for the 2014-2015 school year.
Hickey said he plans to develop a process for providing staff feedback on superintendent performance, make sure all eligible students pass a third party licensure test, and ensure the successful integration of the new positions of lead bus driver and network technology specialist.
Credit and banking
District Treasurer James Coughlin said SSVT will soon be able to start accepting credit card payments for school registrations, in the restaurant and in cosmetology.
Coughlin said the district is working with Rockland Trust to set up a system.
He said the district would need to put policies and procedures in place, and do training.
SSVT should be able to accept credit card payments by Nov. 1, he said.
“It’s just a convenient thing,” he said.
Coughlin said the regional school district could gain an additional $3,000 to $4,000 in interest payments per year if the district invested in local banks in the district’s eight towns.
He said local banks do stuff in their communities and SSVT should support banks such as Abington Bank, Mutual Bank, Scituate Federal, Pilgrim Bank and others.
Coughlin said the district has savings in the Massachusetts Municipal Depository Trust bank in Boston, with low interest rates of .19.
However, interest rates at local banks range from .20 to .35 to .60, he said, which might offer a better option.
Molla said the district went with Mass Municipal at a time when the bank was paying better, but since the economic downturn has been paying lower than anyone.
He said that personal checking accounts pay more, and he supports Coughlin’s efforts.
Back to school
Principal Margaret Dutch said SSVT opened on Sept. 2 for faculty, which included a professional development presentation by school psychologist Christine Darsney on the teenage brain.
The are four new high school staff members. They are Kristin Bateman, an English teacher who comes from the Middleborough school district; Dan Condon, an electrical teacher; Lindsay Cunniff, a culinary teacher from Attleboro; and Patricia Henderson, a librarian from Dighton-Rehoboth.
The SSVT Hall of Fame Breakfast and Induction will take place on Oct. 25, during homecoming weekend. The Hall of Fame Committee was scheduled to meet Thursday Sept. 18 to review the nominations, Dutch said.
Assistant Principal Mark Aubrey said that on July 1 a new state law took effect governing how school districts handle student discipline and absenteeism.
The law sets up a due process system. The school now must arrange a meeting with a parent before suspending a student, Aubrey said.
The state law also requires schools to send a letter home to parents if a student has five unexcused absences, he said.
Aubrey said SSVT has a stricter policy.
Letters go home after three unexcused absences. Students must also appear before an attendance committee of teachers, guidance counselors and administrators to discuss earning back credit, he said.
Director of Guidance and Admissions Michael Janicki said SSVT is offering a new guidance curriculum for all students during shop cycles.
The curriculum offers classes on transitioning to high school, who’s who at SSVT, study and organizational skills, and job and career skills, he said.
Janicki said SSVT is partnering with the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority to offer the “Your Plan for Your Future,” program, an online tool to help students plan their careers.
Director of Vocational Education Deborah Collins said the school will hold a career and job fair on Oct. 3, in order to help seniors get in touch with employers for their coop program.
Hickey said South Shore Vocational Technical High School will hold an open house on Saturday, Nov. 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.