HANOVER — South Shore Vocational Technical High School wants to get more students out to work — whether through co-operative employment, after-school jobs or unpaid internships.
“It almost seems like it’s unnecessary to say that,” Superintendent-Director Dr. Thomas J. Hickey told the SSVT Regional School Committee Wednesday, Sept. 21 about his opening-day talks with faculty, staff and junior and senior students. “But, what I was specifically referring to in terms of staff was … the importance of talking up to students the ability to spend some part of their experience here outside this building.”
One of Hickey’s evaluation goals for the year is to increase such work projects by 10 percent. He also asked School Committee members to formulate a plan for some form of graduation requirement eventually mandating “some sliver of their time” in an external work environment.
“If they don’t have a car, we can help them,” he said of school day co-op positions. “If they need help with job placement, we can help them, and we’re sending the same message to students.”
Other goals Hickey outlined for the year are: professional learning communities to support teachers with weekly meetings on educational issues; action plans to reach state accountability goals for student achievement; that 100 percent of eligible students pass a third-party industry, OSHA or shop-specific test; and proper administration of the educator evaluation framework.
Whitman School Committee member Daniel Salvucci suggested an informational cable TV program on the work students can do — and have done — in work environments and in-school municipal projects. The shows could be made available for broadcast in all member towns.
“A key thing for making this work is to have employer partners,” Hickey agreed. “We’re open to any relationship at all they want to have. They may not have a job for a student, but they may come in to give a presentation.”
Assistant Principal Mark Aubrey said students have also been working on projects involving the rewiring of the Stetson House next to Hanover Town Hall, repairing an ice machine for the Scituate Knights of Columbus, printing projects for Rockland town officials and Veterans’ Council, and will be refurbishing a bike rack for the Scituate Library and metal display platforms for the Whitman Public Library.
At the end of the 2015-16 school year, the metal fabrication shop designed and built a smoker for two Hanover police officers, who went on to win first prize at a regional contest between police and fire personnel.
“It has our name on it [so] we got a lot of good publicity out of it,” Aubrey said, noting contest participants were impressed with the smoker’s design and workmanship.
Hickey added that Hanson Veteran’s Agent Bob Arsenault has also asked that the school’s auto body shop help with the sand-blasting and re-painting of markers for the town’s memorial squares.
“I recently sent a letter to all of our town administrators, acting as a refresher, reminding them that we value municipal work and collaboration on projects,” he said. “The real-world curriculum serves our towns — everybody wins.”
Students are already moving ahead with their own goal to become more involved with the community, even as School Committee Chairman Robert Molla reminded Student Advisory Council representative Jacob Cormier of Hanover that the committee wanted to see a detailed list of projects.
Nine members of the Student Advisory Council have already volunteered at the Special Olympics in Randolph, they are working on the annual Haunted Hallway project planned for Oct. 29 in the school cafeteria (476 Webster St., Hanover), a powder-puff football game and a possible future service trip to help repair homes destroyed in natural disasters in Louisiana.
The Haunted Hallway project will feature activities geared toward elementary school-aged children and is always popular.
Molla also asked the council to take on a “face lift” for the 50-year-old Viking mascot or T-shirts to promote the school.