Southwest Vermont Career Development Center expansion to Manchester hits snag
BENNINGTON — The Southwest Vermont Career Development Center will not be holding a pre-law class at Burr and Burton Academy this coming school year, as had been in the planning stages for some time.
"That was a disappointment," said SVCDC Board Chairman Jim Boutin, "There were 15 students in the Northshire, from Burr and Burton, who wanted to take a pre-law course with us. We worked hard to get that offering at that location, at the school, and at the last minute it fell through. It's unfortunate. It fell through because of funding, and of the technicalities that have to do with funding students in this state to take career and technical education courses."
"We are going to look to make some changes," he said, "We're going to continue to work the issues and continue to try and offer courses such as that and others in both Manchester and Arlington, to cover the whole area that we're responsible for in this region. It's not a dead issue."
CDC Manufacturing Technology and Design Manufacturing instructor Bruce Gabrus spoke before the board, expressing his disappointment that the planned expansion to Manchester would not be taking place right away, but thanking the superintendent and staff for their efforts in trying to expand the center's programming both there and in Arlington. "I'd also like to thank Arlington Memorial High School for welcoming me into their school, and giving me the opportunity to teach forensics as a CDC course. That experience has been great, and I look forward to teaching that next year," he said, "I believe the future of career and tech ed., and the future of all the students in our region, can be positively affected by our willingness to embrace new opportunities and technologies."
Interest in CDC programs within the Bennington area is high as well, reported Superintendent Michael Lawler. "Enrollment for the fall is nearly complete," he said, "I want to give you an example of what we're talking about, of interest in programs. This does not mean this number of students will be scheduled in the programs. As an example, building trades, between the intro classes and the programs, has 63 requests for seats. We can traditionally hold 16 students per class, for safety reasons and tech ed regs. We can take up to 20 with additional eyes, additional para support."
The board recently approved the hiring of a second building trades instructor to handle some of that student load. Lawler said the Gabrus' design and fabrication program has also been very popular, with over 50 requests.
"Some programs have an awful lot of interest," he said, "and we need to look at expanding those."
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.
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