The auto shop at
CHS will be reconfigured into a flex lab where students can get hands-on
experience with the same kind of equipment they would use at an employer
like Ford or Urschel.
The Duneland School
Board approved the project at its meeting Monday night, after a presentation
from CHS Principal Brent Martinson, CHS Industrial Tech teacher Tom Moodie,
and Director of Support Services Greg Lindy.
Martinson said the
flex lab is an integral part of the manufacturing pathway at CHS, which is
one of several pathways being put in place at Duneland to meet Indiana’s new
graduation requirements that aim to ensure career and post-secondary
readiness among high school graduates.
Martinson noted the
Indiana Department of Workforce Development predicts a 30-percent growth
rate for manufacturing jobs in the region, and he wants to make sure CHS
students can learn the skills needed for those jobs. “We want to get our
kids exposed to this as early as possible, ninth grade, so they can have the
skills and be ready for jobs right after high school,” Martinson said.
Not only will
students gain experience with vertical mills and engine lathes and designing
using CNC code, the lab will expose interested students to welding
processes, cutting torches, and plasma cutters in an introductory
environment. Moodie said the experience students gain in the lab will help
feed students who aren’t college bound into vocational programs at the
career center and into employment at local businesses. They could even earn
industry-specific and OSHA certifications before graduation.
Moodie said he
knows from experience that the flex lab can help college-bound students,
too. “Our philosophy is to start out the kids in the manual aspect of it.
Before we use a calculator, we all learned how to do math by hand, so when
the calculator spits out a number, you know where it came from,” Moodie
said. “The best double-edged sword is understanding the practical aspects of
engineering as well as engineering itself.”
“I think it’s well
worth it for our kids, our community, and Duneland schools,” Moodie added.
Lindy said the
project will require widening the space that is now the auto shop, which
means knocking down some walls and expanding the shop’s footprint into what
is now an unused room. Tria Architecture planned the space with extra
clearance around the machines for more of a safety buffer and easy
evacuation during emergency drills. The cost is approximately $140,000.
about 120 CHS students currently take manufacturing classes. With the new
flex lab, there is potential for 150 to 200 students to take those classes
each semester. Martinson also said Moodie will implement a manufacturing
club estimated to capture 50 to 100 members, “So it’s going to hit a good
quarter of our population.”
The Board approved
changing the compensation structure for Expulsion Examiner Mark Lutze. Lutze
will be paid a monthly retainer of $125 and a flat $150 for each decision
rendered. Duneland Schools Superintendent Chip Pettit reported that Lutze’s
time commitment is four to six working hours per expulsion referral, and
referrals are up since more kids are using vape and e-cigarette devices.
The Board approved
secondary curricular materials lists and fees. Director of Secondary
Learning and Performance Judy Malasto reported materials and fees are
relatively the same, though secondary fees and lists tend to be unique from
course to course, unlike elementary and intermediate supplies.
English fees for CMS saw a significant reduction since more materials are
digital and provided by Duneland. For CHS, there were notable reductions in
fees related to business classes due to teachers curating their own
stockpiles of resources. Malasto said CHS Principal Brent Martinson worked
very hard alongside his department heads to determine what materials were no
longer relevant or appropriate to reduce fees.
Director Bridget Martinson reported school starts Wednesday, Aug. 14.
Individual student bus routes will be available starting Wednesday, Aug. 7
in the parent access portal. “Routes can fluctuate due to continued
registration, so please continue to watch your portal for any minor changes
in student pick-up and drop-off times,” Martinson said.
There were no
accidents in the summer school driver’s ed program for the first time in
approximately five years.
Pettit said K- 8
teachers will be back to work Friday and all teachers will be back to work
next week. Parents who need help with registration are encouraged to contact
their individual schools.
appealed to the community to be aware of increased traffic from buses and
school pick-up and drop-off as school begins and to stay vigilant. Pettit
noted that some Duneland buses have been equipped with stop arm camera
technology to captures images of any vehicles that illegally disregard stop
arms to pass buses.