Pickaway-Ross Pride

Pickaway-Ross Pride

Pickaway-Ross Pride: A district blog
Current students tell sophomores about career programs, attending Pickaway-Ross
Posted 11/17/2021 at 8:41:39 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Gabe Dibenedetto (in gold) supervises a sophomore as he uses a plasma cutting torch.Gabe Dibenedetto (in gold) supervises a sophomore as he uses a plasma cutting torch.

      Pickaway-Ross hosted more than 1,300 students from the home schools for the annual sophomore tours last week.

     Sophomores spent 25 minutes each in three labs and learned about those programs, academic classes and extracurriculars. 

     Pickaway-Ross students provided the program overview before demonstrating aspects that they will encounter in that program, such as learning proper glove-removal and how to draw blood in the health programs, dusting for fingerprints in Law & Public Safety, taping an ankle in Sports Medicine, and practicing electrical device wiring in the Electrical program.

     In some programs, students left the lab with aGabe Dibenedettomemento, such as a key chain or vial of fake blood.

     Each sophomore who visited Welding could take home a name plate created by junior Gabe Dibenedetto (right). Gabe, whose home school is Zane Trace, expected to make in excess of 200 name plates by the end of tours.

Adult Education's Amy Raike mixes career passion with avocation
Posted 11/10/2021 at 12:30:21 PM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     Amy Raike has made a career out of helping people — with other first responders and as a canine handler.

     Amy earned her EMT basic certification at 19. A native of Franklin Furnace, a village of less than 2,000 residents in Scioto County, Amy’s parents were that county’s first emergency medical technicians.  

     “I grew up around it and always loved being in the fire department,” she said.

      After spending nearly two decades as an EMT, paramedic and respiratory therapist, she joined Pickaway-Ross Adult Education as the Public Safety coordinator in 2015.

     She was recently honored by the National Registry of EMTs for 20 years of national EMS certifica­tion but has been an EMS for 30 years.

      About five years ago, Amy decided to combine her love of dogs with her passion for helping others and became a canine handler for Ross County Search and Rescue K9 Division and Southern Ohio K9 SAR.

     A friend had a German shepherd that needed to be rehomed and Amy said she would take him.

      “He was a big baby but ornery. He needed a job,” Amy said.

      Amy got in touch with the leader of the dog search team who evaluated him as a potential search and rescue dog.

      “She loved him,” Amy said, adding that Zeke had a lot of drive but he was very reactive. 

      “He fought with the other dogs. He bit one of the handlers. But as I kept working with him and kept loving on him and making him mine he did a complete turnaround.”

      Today, at 5 years old, Zeke goes with Amy when she gives presentations about canine rescue. She also is training 6-month-old Fiona to also be a search-and-rescue dog.

      The dogs each have a specialty: Zeke is trained to find human remains and Fiona is being trained to find people.

      Amy said training Fiona is a little different for her as she is still a puppy. She started working with Zeke when he was 3 years old and already matured. 

      “With Fiona I am dealing with the attention span of a puppy,” she said, but added that the training process is enjoyable. It can take two years for Fiona to be trained and tested before becoming certified.

      One aspect of working with the Ross County Search and Rescue team that Amy loves is that 80 percent of the dogs are rescue dogs.

      “As long as the dog has drive, it can be trained,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where it came from.”

Visit to Electrical Trades Center provides students with real-work lessons
Posted 11/3/2021 at 7:11:29 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     Twice a year, in the fall and spring, juniors in Kirk Hewitt’s Electrical Technologies program go to the Electrical Trades Center, part of IBEW Local 683.

     While Kirk’s students learn from books and hands-on exercises in class, the visit to the Electrical Trades Center delivers another opportunity.

     “This field trip gives students a chance to see the facility they will be training in during their 4- to 5-year apprenticeship if they are accepted to the program,” Kirk said. 

Instructor Kirk HewittKirk Hewitt

    “It also gives them a chance to see an area of training they may not have seen in their high school program.” 

     Kirk assigned students to one of five sessions led by teachers at the Electrical Trades Center based on each student’s ability and areas of special interest. Sessions offered last Friday were electrical experiments, fiber optics, Milwaukee tool demonstration, splicing/taping/terminating practices, and welding.

Lance BerardLance Berard

      Junior Lance Berard, whose home school is Logan Elm, said he chose the Electrical program because of the opportunities it will provide him.

     He is not sure if he wants to go directly into the workforce or go to college first but he is preparing for both. 

There's a lot of different (electrical) fields you can go into so I thought it was pretty cool to have options.”

     Lance was assigned to electrical experiments, taught by Mike Hassle.

     He was really kind of hands-on with everything,” Lance said. In one demonstration, a copper tube is held vertically and a magnet is dropped through it.

     Kirk explained that the magnetic field reacts with the very conductive copper tube, demonstrating Lenz’s Law.

     “The magnet looked like it was floating,” Lance said.

     In the spring students will take part in outdoor activities that electricians experience on the job.

State program gives adult learners opportunity to earn degree or credential
Posted 10/27/2021 at 8:47:46 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     The Ohio Department of Higher Education has started a test program aimed at helping to reduce financial barriers preventing Ohioans with some college credit but no bachelor’s degree from returning to higher education and to increase the number of Ohioans with a degree or credential. 

     The Second Chance Grant Pilot Program will provide up to $3 million in financial assistance in the form of $2,000 grants to eligible students re-enrolling at a qualifying institution to earn a degree or credential. This program was designed to help Ohio achieve its credential attainment goals by helping to relieve some of the financial burden that keeps most students who withdrew from finishing their degree. 

     To qualify, recipients must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a current resident of Ohio;

  • Your last date of attendance at a college was one to five years ago;

  • You were in good academic standing when you left school;

  • You’ve completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and accepted any need-based state or federal grants to which you are entitled.     

     Qualifying students will be able to use the grant to enroll in classes starting on or after Jan. 1.

     For more information, go to www.ohiohighered.org/second-chance.

ZT grad to perform in National FFA Talent Competition
Posted 10/20/2021 at 8:07:21 PM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     During his high school years, local musician Laine Abbott performed a few small shows around his hometown of Laurelville. This past spring he played in front of nearly 1,200 guests during the Ohio FFA State Convention Celebration.

      And this month he will get a chance to showcase his singing on the biggest stage so far as a finalist in the National FFA Talent Competition.

     Abbot will play in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis during a session of the 94th National FFA Convention to a crowd of approximately 20,000 FFA members and guests. 

     Throughout the four-day event, 10 acts will perform, each of them selected by a panel of judges from a pool of applicants from around the country. 

     Abbott is the first area FFA member to be selected for this honor. 

     Since graduating, he has been working at a distribution center in Grove City but finds time to practice every day, from 5 minutes to two hours, he said.

     RFD TV will broadcast all National FFA Convention sessions live so anyone can tune in to hear his performance from Oct. 27-30. 

     The National FFA Talent Competition is sponsored by Wrangler and Mahindra. 

Student Council plans community trunk-or-treat
Posted 10/6/2021 at 10:29:43 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Student Council officers meet to discuss project ideas.Student Council officers meet to discuss project ideas.

      Pickaway-Ross’ Student Council is planning its third annual trunk-or-treat, taking place in the school’s Crouse Chapel Road student parking lot from 5-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27.

     Katie Hewitt, Student Council advisor, said the plan is for guests to walk from car to car to get their treats. 

     Open to elementary school-age children and younger, visitors can take part in a costume contest. 

     A trunk-decorating contest will be held for Pickaway-Ross students, with council awarding prizes to the top three. A 50/50 raffle also will be offered.

     Council President Cyrus Horsley, a senior in Sports Medicine, put Amber Thompson, Council secretary, in charge of planning the event.

     “She is the best person I could have picked,” Cyrus said.

     Amber, a senior in Early Childhood Education, said she thinks the knowledge she’s gained from her program will be an asset.

     “My experience working with children — as well as parents and other teachers — makes me comfortable running the committee and working on the trunk-or-treat project. I can work quickly and effectively to make this event the best it can be,” she said.

      Council members will be set up in the commons Oct. 18-27 for Pickaway-Ross staff members and students to sign up to pass out candy.

     In the event of rain, candy will be given to kids through car windows in a drive-through format.

     Follow Pickaway-Ross’ social media platforms for updates or send questions to connect@pickawayross.com.


Golf scramble raises money to expand healing garden at Chillicothe VA
Posted 9/29/2021 at 8:46:51 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Pickaway-Ross student helpersStudent helpers at the golf scramble

       Pickaway-Ross’ SkillsUSA chapter continues to combine community service and fun, most recently by hosting its third golf scramble fundraiser.

      “We had a great turnout,” said Tea McCaulla, SkillsUSA co-advisor. Eight foursomes participated and the event raised $4,350.

      “We are so proud of the number of our students who showed up at 8:30 on a Saturday morning and immediately got to work to make this another successful event,” said Jennifer Widdig, SkillsUSA co-advisor. 

      The proceeds will go toward expanding the Veterans Healing Garden, which was started in 2017. 

      Jennifer took chapter members to the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus last summer and students proposed adding a youth garden to the space. 

      The addition will provide an interactive component for visitors of all ages, Tea said.

      “We have this beautiful garden that is designed so that something is blooming all year round.”

      An idea that the students really liked from the conservatory was the inclusion of musical instruments. Tea said she would like to include three instruments in the garden: One purchased through a fundraiser; one provided by a sponsor; and one built by Pickaway-Ross students.

      Tea hopes that by spring students will be able to start planting in the new section.

Adult Education, Adena partnership helps hospital employees advance careers
Posted 9/22/2021 at 12:48:31 PM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

Medical Assisting students work on an assignment in the PACCAR Center.Medical Assisting students from a previous cohort work in the PACCAR Center.

      The community is reaping the benefits of a partnership between Pickaway-Ross Adult Education and Adena Health System that is now in its third year.

     The Medical Assisting cohort developed from an established relationship as Adena representatives, who served on advisory committees, started visiting the Adult Education MA classes to tell students about opportunities at Adena. This led to providing interview prep and job offers.

     Three years ago, the demand for medical assistants was greater than Pickaway-Ross could fulfill. The school and health system created the customized MA program to give Adena employees an avenue to advance their careers. Any current employee can apply for the tuition-assisted program.

     Counting the nine students in the current cohort, the program will have trained 23 MAs, with additional cohorts starting in February and August.

     Megan Bella, an Organizational Development specialist at Adena, credits Pickaway-Ross with a lot of the program's success.

     "Pickaway-Ross has been an engaged and enthusiastic partner. Its support of the program has been instrumental in its success," she said.

     "MA roles are often difficult to fill because there is a higher demand for positions than there are candidates."

     Avonia Dearth, Health Programming coordinator for Adult Education, is quick to credit Adena.

     "The long-standing Adena clinical partnership has allowed our students to show their skill sets and thus, Adena has been a major employer for our Health Tech program graduates," she said. 

     "Many entry level workers want to move forward in their careers through education but may not have the availability to the necessary funds to do so. This partnership allows for Adena employees to advance their health-care careers while meeting the needs of the employer."

     After an interview process and employee review of attendance, length of employment and previous evaluations, a committee chooses candidates. If selected, candidates must sign a two-year employment contract with Adena Medical Group.

     Adult Education instructors at the PACCAR Center on the Adena campus teach the program, which was awarded an Innovative Project Award by the Ohio Talent Development Network. PACCAR is the educational hub for the health-care group and offers a virtual hospital for clinical practice. 

     "This program has allowed us to really dial in on that need (for medical assistants) and create an opportunity that benefits Adena, our caregivers and Pickaway-Ross," Megan said. 

Recruitment team visiting partner schools to talk to sophomores
Posted 9/16/2021 at 1:05:00 PM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

      Pickaway-Ross’ recruitment season started last week, with job placement coordinators Kim Graves and Allen Koker visiting the district’s partner schools to talk to sophomores about opportunities at the career center for juniors and seniors.

     By the pair’s last visit Sept. 29 at Southeastern, 1,300 sophAllen KokerAllen Kokeromores KiKim Graveswill have seen videos highlighting 20 programs in seven academies at the main campus on Crouse Chapel Road and the magnet programs in Circleville and Chillicothe. 

     Today, Mr. Graves and Mr. Koker will speak to Paint Valley sophomores, followed by visits to Westfall (Sept. 20), Chillicothe (Sept. 22), Adena (Sept. 28) and Southeastern.

     In early October, every sophomore will receive a letter that addresses sophomore tours and open house, along with a program catalog. The sophomore tour schedule is:

  • Nov. 8: Chillicothe in the morning; Huntington and Westfall in the afternoon
  • Nov. 9: Circleville in the morning; Paint Valley and Zane Trace in the afternoon
  • Nov. 10: Southeastern and Unioto in the morning; Adena and Logan Elm in the afternoon.

      From 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, students and their families can visit the campus location of their program choice to talk with the instructor and apply for the program. The online application will go live at 5 p.m. that day.

      Students interested in attending Pickaway-Ross but are learning virtually or enrolled in an online school can contact Mr. Graves at (740) 642-1217 or kim.graves@pickawayross.com to join a tour or set up a private tour.

Career center's Battle of the Bands to march again
Posted 9/8/2021 at 8:55:07 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Paint Valley took home the trophy in 2019.Paint Valley took home the trophy in 2019.

       After a one-year absence, Pickaway-Ross staff members and students are looking forward to the 2021 Battle of the Bands, taking place Friday, Sept. 10, at the Crouse Chapel Road campus.

      This marks the school’s 13th year of hosting the marching band competition. Nine of the career center’s 10 partner schools will be represented: Adena, Chillicothe, Circleville, Huntington, Logan Elm, Paint Valley, Southeastern, Unioto and Westfall.

      In his first year as Pickaway-Ross superintendent, Jonathan Davis will welcome visitors and performers, with the first band scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m.

      Each band will start near the back of the building and march around the building, with three performance stops. After the event, students and staff members will vote for their favorite performance and the winning school will be presented with a plaque and the traveling Pickaway-Ross Cup at a school event of their choice.

      “Many of our students are active in sports at their home schools and this is an opportunity to bring a little of that fall fun to our campus,” said Erika Konowalow, the district’s Public Relations & Marketing coordinator.  

      Konowalow organizes the event each year and said she was thrilled that nine schools are participating.

      “Last year was a challenge for everybody in education and having to cancel the 2020 event was disappointing. We look forward to all of the performances and seeing who will claim the Pickaway-Ross Cup.”

Kingston National Bank logo      This year, Kingston National Bank stepped forward to provide bottled water for the band members.

      The performances should conclude before 11 and after the lunch periods students will take part in the GRIT Bash, a team-building competition created by the High Schools That Work committee and initiated by Principal Josh Younge in 2019.

      Students will go outside and compete as a lab, juniors vs. seniors, rotating through 11 stations. Not every student will participate in every station, said Verdie Williams, a math teacher and member of the High Schools That Work committee. On average, an activity may require a team of 2 to 6 students and others in the lab will cheer on their peers. 

Students encouraged to participate in SkillsUSA
Posted 9/1/2021 at 8:58:14 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Courtney Price, a senior in Cosmetology, talks to students about SkillsUSA.Courtney Price, a senior in Cosmetology, talks to students about SkillsUSA.

     Pickaway-Ross’ SkillsUSA chapter is looking for a few good leaders. And a lot of student participation. 

      Advisors for SkillsUSA, one of several career and technical student organizations (CTSO) at the career center, hosted an informational session yesterday to encourage students to take part in the leadership organization.

      SkillsUSA is the largest CTSO on main campus, made up of students in Commercial Carpentry, Cosmetology, Electrical Technologies, Engineering, Law & Public Safety, Machining & Manufacturing, Welding, and programs in the Health and Human Services and Transportation academies.

      Yesterday’s informational meeting provided juniors and seniors with a recap of activities chapter members have done and opportunities for the year ahead.

      In addition to local activities, such as working at the Mace Healing Garden in Chillicothe and hosting a charity golf scramble, SkillsUSA chapter members can also take part in competitions that can bring recognition, scholarships and job offers.

      Last year, Bryce Barlett, who completed the Machining & Manufacturing program, advanced to the national SkillsUSA competition where he placed second in CNC Milling. Mason Willis, now a senior in Automotive Collision Repair, placed first in the state in his field and, over the summer, Mason was awarded a scholarship from Lincoln Tech. Also, Pickaway-Ross’ community service team placed first at state.

      After the presentation, an ice cream social (right) gave students time to ask questions of the advisors and sign up if interested in running for an officer position. 

      Students and the community are encouraged to follow the chapter’s activities on Facebook at Pickaway-Ross Skills USA. 

Adult Education's Leadership Academy offers opportunities to develop valuable career skills
Posted 8/25/2021 at 8:17:49 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     Pickaway-Ross Adult Education is kicking off its 2021 Leadership Academy with two sessions this fall in partnership with the Holzer Leadership & Innovation Institute.

     Session topics are Dealing with Difficult People on Sept. 15 and Effective Communication in the Workplace on Nov. 17. Each class meets from 8:30 a.m. until noon at 1410 Industrial Drive, Chillicothe. The cost is $75 per session.

     Rhonda Lawless, Business & Career Services coordinator, said when she worked with Gail Games a few years ago, they developed sessions that focused on Gallup StrengthsFinder, difficult conversations and employee engagement.  

     Gail, now vice Logos for the Leadership Academy and Holzer Leadership & Innovation Institutepresident of Training & Organizational Development at Holzer Health System, worked with her team to create the Holzer Leadership Innovation Institute.  

     "We all struggle with day-to-day communication and people issues. These two opportunities will provide strategies and easy-to-use concepts to improve participants' work, and possibly even home, life," Gail said.

     Participants can choose to take either or both sessions. Gail said the September session will help participants learn the type of communicator they are and how to work with people who have a different communication style. 

     Effective Communication in the Workplace will teach participants how to have a clearing conversation and control their inner storytelling.

     Gail, who has been in the training and organizational development field for more than a decade, said that development is valuable at any stage in a person's career.

     "We all have things to learn in our growth and development. If you can walk away from a class with one new tool to use, then it was worth the time," she said.

     To register for a Leadership Academy session, go to www.pickawayross.com/LeadershipAcademy.aspx.

Zane Trace FFA named Model of Excellence chapter
Posted 8/18/2021 at 8:28:26 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Zane Trace's FFA chapter membersZane Trace's FFA chapter members 

      Members of Zane Trace’s FFA chapter get to end their summer on a high note with news that their chapter was named a Model of Excellence chapter.

     Zane Trace was one of only 10 high school chapters in the nation to earn this distinction. The 2021 National FFA Model of Excellence chapters were selected from more than 550 applications submitted by top ranking FFA chapters in the 50 states. 

     The top 10 chapters were chosen based on 15 activities conducted by their members throughout the year that focused on three goals: growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. 

     "It's an honor being named a National Model of Excellence chapter but it wasn't accomplished by one person or even just our chapter," said Jennifer Johnston, chapter advisor. "It is shared by the entire Zane Trace community that supports our activities."

     The activities that helped the chapter be recognized included chapter members conducting elementary lessons in agriculture for students in kindergarten through fourth grades, immersing high school students in hands-on experiences in meat science, maple syrup processing and poultry production, and establishing a partnership with a local food pantry to provide produce and chicken for hungry families. They also harvested fresh vegetables for the Zane Trace cafeteria from their community garden, provided leadership opportunities for members and encouraged them to build their SAE programs through school-based opportunities. 

     This is the first time a chapter from the Ross County area has earned this level of recognition, Jennifer said.

     The next step for chapter members is to prepare for the Sept. 28 national level interviews with judges via Zoom to compete for the honor of being named the overall top chapter. 

     The top 10 chapters will be recognized and the overall winner named on Thursday, Oct. 28, during the 94th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Love of baseball keeps Commercial Carpentry instructor on the field
Posted 8/11/2021 at 9:48:32 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Aaron McManes makes a call at first during a game in July.Aaron McManes makes a call at first during a game in July.

     If he'd taken a different path, Commercial Carpentry instructor Aaron McManes might have had a career in baseball.

     A player from the age of 6, Aaron went to Malone University in Canton on a baseball scholarship to pitch but after a year he transferred to Shawnee State to study plastics engineering.

     After completing the two-year program, Aaron spent the next 10 years in commercial carpentry before joining Pickaway-Ross in 2013.

     But baseball was never far from his heart. Aaron coached his son's baseball team since Adam was 6. In 2019, when Adam was 17, he decided to train to be an umpire and a year later Aaron took the training, which consisted of 3-hour classes for eight weeks. On occasion this summer, father and son have officiated together.

     "When Adam and I get to umpire together, that's a lot of fun," Aaron said.

     As Adam finished playing, Aaron wasn't going to coach any more. 

     "That's a huge time commitment if you don't have a son playing. I really enjoy baseball, so I thought it would be a good way for me to stay involved," Aaron said of being an umpire. "Being around the kids and the coaches and everything, I just I enjoy that."

     There is still a time commitment to being an umpire. Depending on the season, games can start as early as late March and go through August. The fall season runs August through October.   

     "You can get really busy if you want to," Aaron said.

     As a long-time player and now a teacher, coaching didn't faze Aaron. But being an umpire is a new challenge.

     "I just want to make sure I do a good job and am objective. Even if I know people on the other teams it doesn't change how I umpire."

Ross County Fair helps career center get school year started
Posted 8/4/2021 at 9:37:53 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Image of sign at front campus. Sign text welcomes students back in August.

     While the 2021-22 school year doesn't officially begin for Pickaway-Ross teachers and students until mid-August, the unofficial kickoff has always been the Ross County Fair, taking place this year Aug. 7-13.

      During fair week, the Pickaway-Ross building is open and students can pick up their schedules and enroll in our MADE drug-free club. Other activities include the popular Kiddie Tractor Pull at 2 p.m. Sunday and Cosmetology students braiding hair for youth from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. 

      Adult Education's Public Safety department will provide blood pressure checks from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and preschool teacher Miss Jess will offer activities for our littlest learners Tuesday through Friday. 

      See the full schedule of activities and times at www.pickawayross.com/highschool_home.aspx.

Some back-to-school FAQs:

What is Career-Tech Kickoff?

Career-Tech Kickoff, 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16, is an   opportunity for students to pick up their uniforms, tour the building to see where their classes will be and talk with teachers. This orientation is an open-house format and students and their families can arrive anytime between 5 and 7.

Can I pick up my schedule at Career-Tech Kickoff?

Yes, if you did not get your schedule at the fair, you can pick it up during Career-Tech Kickoff or on the first day of school.

When does school start?

Juniors first day is Aug. 17; seniors first day is Aug. 18. 

My home school doesn't start until after Pickaway-Ross. How do I get to school?

All home schools will provide transportation from your high school to the career center. You will need to get to your high school to catch the bus to Pickaway-Ross.

Can a family member drive me to school?

Yes, if driven to school, you can be dropped off at the front of the building.

Can I drive to school? Where do I park?

Student parking is on the east side of the building. Students will be assigned a parking pass. 

What time do I need to be at school?

The school day starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 2:38 p.m.

If I'm a senior, do I get new uniforms?

Yes, seniors can get those during Career-Tech Kickoff or wear a program shirt from last year and get new items on their first day.

What supplies will I need for school? 

Most programs at Pickaway-Ross do not require any supplies. There are some exceptions, such as work boots in the trade labs. Program instructors will let you know during Career-Tech Kickoff.

Do I have to pay any fees? 

Students do not pay typical school fees. However, students are required to pay membership dues for their respective career tech student organization (BPA, DECA, FCCLA, HOSA or SkillsUSA). All students are required to be a member of a CTSO. Other student organizations are optional but may be assessed additional dues to join, such as MADE and National Technical Honor Society. Dues can be paid at www.pickawayross.com. Click on the "I want to…" tab.

Are lunches free this year?

Yes, the school district will provide free meals for students through the end of the 2021-22 school year. Parents still need to complete the free lunch form that was included in the welcome packet mailed to families.

Do we have to wear masks this year?

There are currently no mask mandates for the upcoming school year, thus students will have the option to wear face coverings if they so choose (except on school transportation where it is a requirement). We do encourage all eligible students and staff members to receive the vaccine and for those who haven't been vaccinated to wear face coverings in spaces where distancing cannot be maintained.

• Go to our COVID updates page at www.pickawayross.com/updates.aspx to see 2021-22 safety protocols.

Additional (non-COVID related) questions can be directed to a student's Pickaway-Ross counselor. Contact information can be found at www.pickawayross.com/GeneralInformation.aspx.

Company donates metal sheets for welding practice
Posted 7/14/2021 at 6:40:38 PM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

       An altruistic effort has been helping Pickaway-Ross Welding students for roughly 20 years.

      At Westerman Inc. in the village of Bremen, used metal sheets are donated to Tommy Collier’s lab.

      “The donations we get from Westerman allow students to practice the welding techniques they’ll use on the job,” Tommy said. 

      Brian Call, Westerman production supervisor, said in addition to Pickaway-Ross, used sheets are donated to other area schools. Similar to dough used to make cutout cookies, Westerman donates pieces of material that have been sheared out.

      The pieces, Brian said, “are corners of a big sheet of steel. We make circular heads for our storage tanks and those are the pieces that are just basically a scrap piece and you can't use it for anything else. We can use them for small parts and pieces, but we have an abundance of them.”

      Craig Jones, the career center’s Facilities manager, said he sends one of his staff members to Bremen three times a year to pick up the sheets.

      “We get four skids (each trip) and each skid weighs about 1,500 pounds,” he said. “It’s great for us. I can’t imagine how much that saves.”

      But the lifecycle of the metal sheet doesn’t end at Pickaway-Ross. There are, like cookie dough, still leftover metal pieces that are collected by Welding students and returned to Westerman.    

      “We put (the pieces) into our scrap to reimburse us for those plates that we would have normally scrapped,” Brian said.

      Brian said he thinks the partnership Westerman has with schools is unique.

      “We like to help out the community,” he said, and the partnership introduces students to the company as a potential employer.

     To thank Westerman, Welding students designed a bench that is now in the company’s lobby.

Students showed their GRIT in the second semester
Posted 6/2/2021 at 2:49:00 PM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     Pickaway-Ross' GRIT program continued with more than three dozen kids selected as a GRIT student of the week. Some have been nominated — and selected — more than once.

     Staff members nominated students whom they saw as exemplifying the tenets of the program: gratitude, respect, initiative and tenacity.

     Students were able to select a GRIT-themed prize each time they win. Prize options were a hat, tumbler, lanyard, carabiner, charger and GRIT patch.

     Weekly GRIT winners selected from Jan. 8 through May 21 are (first row, from left): Taylor Ackley; Casey Bethel; Emily Blevins; Shaylee Bragdon; Jade Caplinger; Caden Carmona; Kacie Carr; and Alaasia Colon Hill; (second row, from left): Ryan Corkwell; Katie Cupp; Preston Dailey; Khia Day; Madison Dingess; Tommy Dowler; Aaron Ellis; and Caleb Eplin; (third row, from left): Aiden Gray; Kaylin Harris; Hailey Howard; Carolyn Hubbard; Tyler Irvin; Lauren Johnson; Dylan Keeton; and Jacob Kerscher; (fourth row, from left): Mikayla Kittell; Jacob Krafthefer; Travis Lane; Nickie Lancaster; Autumn Leasure; Courtany Linton; Madelyn Mason; and Kloe Poynor; (fifth row, from left): Tina Quincel; Jackson Ratcliff; Shianna Roll; Keyshawn Shepherd; Damien Sparks; George Torres; and Vincent Vanhorn; (sixth row, from left): Alonah Ward; Carly Watts; Thomas Whitley; Danielle Wolford; Gage Woods; Trynity Wright; and Jade Zickafoose. Winners not pictured are Andrew Bader and Jayla Bennett.

     Students who were winners during the school year took part in an end-of-year pizza party with snacks and games at the career center's shelter house.

Aide spends year helping at-risk youth
Posted 5/26/2021 at 8:51:15 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Karlie PaytonKarlie Payton has worked this year helping many at-risk students complete coursework to keep them on the path to graduate.

     Karlie Payton has worn several hats in her short time at Pickaway-Ross.

     A graduate of Unioto High School, Karlie had completed two years at Wilmington College when she took a year off to be with family.

     As a high school freshman, Karlie was a student of Lisa Corcoran-Detty’s. The pair  kept in touch and when a special services aide position opened at the career center, Lisa, now assistant principal at Pickaway-Ross, contacted Karlie.

     “I thought of Karlie for this position because she has expressed an interest in working with at-risk populations,” Lisa said. “I thought this might be a good opportunity for her to work with a population of at-risk youth.”

     While at Wilmington she was studying social work and psychology with the goal of being a hospital social worker.

     “I enjoy helping people and not knowing what you're going to see each day. But since I've worked here, I've looked more into being a social worker in a school because I've realized, you know, it's a school year here, five days a week, but you still have no idea what you're going to see throughout the week and what the days will bring.”

     Karlie got a taste of that this year, starting as a special services aide working with Beth Hunt.

     “Then it became evident that they needed help with the driving simulator, so I got thrown into that, figured out what kids we wanted to put on the schedule and then that evolved into being a consistent monitor for the (online credit-recovery) courses, so I moved over to that full time.”

     Principal Josh Younge said, “Karlie did a wonderful job working with several of our at-risk students. She kept them on task, helped them complete credit-recovery courses, and made sure that many of them met the curriculum requirements for graduation. In addition, Karlie managed the driving simulator and helped several students get the experience they needed to complete driver’s education.”

     After a year as a teacher, Karlie said she enjoyed all of the roles she’s had but liked interacting with the students best.

     “I think that definitely being in the classroom with the kids, talking to them and helping them made me realize I do want to go back to school and finish my social work (studies).

     Karlie will return to college in the fall, attending online classes to be closer to home.

High school's Diesel program earns ASE accreditation
Posted 5/19/2021 at 8:14:52 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Instructor Michael Shepherd (right) works with a student in his Diesel & Heavy Truck Mechanics program.Instructor Michael Shepherd (right) works with a student in his Diesel & Heavy Truck Mechanics program.

     Applying for an industry accreditation is a time-consuming process but it pays off in the education Pickaway-Ross Career & Technology Center can offer its students.

     The career center’s Diesel & Heavy Truck Mechanics program, taught by Michael Shepherd, recently was accredited by the ASE Education Foundation in inspection, maintenance and minor repair.

     ASE Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that evaluates and accredits entry-level automotive technology education programs against standards developed by the automotive service industry. 

     Dana Anderson, supervisor for the school’s transportation programs, said this is the first time Diesel & Heavy Truck Mechanics has received the accreditation. The program now joins Auto Collision Repair and Automotive Technologies in being accredited.

     Dana said a traditionally extensive process was made more so because of last spring’s shutdown and COVID protocols this year.

     “It's a very rigid process to inspect the lab, inspect the instructional materials, monitor the teacher’s credentials and make sure that they themselves are credentialed through ASE,” Dana said.

     Mike, who agreed the accreditation process was time-consuming, said he’s pleased with what it will offer his students and the school. And Dana said the hard work is worth it.

     “The ASE accreditation is a widely recognized credential with employers in the automotive field. Students can take five assessment tests for which they can receive credentials, depending on what program they're in.”

     Those credentials result in higher starting wages for students, Dana said.

     “It helps the students when they go into the workforce. It shows that they are ready for that particular field and the employers recognize that and give them a boost on their starting pay because of the credential.”

Junior James Marable passes amateur radio license test
Posted 5/12/2021 at 7:42:35 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
James Marable, center, was presented with a radio by teachers Dave Pentecost (left) and Mark Johnston for earning his amateur radio operator license.James Marable, center, was presented with a radio by teachers Dave Pentecost (left) and Mark Johnston for earning his amateur radio operator license. 

      James Marable, a junior in CJ Davis’ Cybersecurity & Networking program, has a hobby: searching for AM radio stations that are outside the broadcast area of his Orient home.

     “There are some really interesting AM radio stations you can get at night. I live at just the right spot in Ohio to get WSM (out of Nashville, home of The Grand Ole Opry) and CFZM from (Toronto) Canada. It’s impressive how far AM can travel, especially at night,” he said.

     James is a member of Pickaway-Ross’ Radio Mentoring group and will be able to do a little more now with his radio hobby as an FCC Amateur Radio licensee. After passing the FCC test in March, he is licensed as a Technician level operator. Other amateur license levels are General and Extra.

     James (call sign KE8RGN) said he didn’t think taking the test was hard.

     “Once you understand what the questions mean and you understand how to get to the answer, it’s relatively easy. But it may look daunting at first.” 

     Volunteers in the Scioto Valley Amateur Radio Club administered the test. Its examiners operate under the auspices of the Laurel Volunteer Examiner Coordinator (VEC) and provide free testing, according to strict federal and Laurel VEC guidelines.    

     The Radio Mentoring group is coordinated by Pickaway-Ross Engineering instructor Mark Johnston (call sign KE8JAN, Technician class) and science teacher Dave Pentecost (call sign KC8WEB, Extra class).

     Last week, the teachers presented James with his first radio, a Yaesu FT-4X handheld unit that will allow nominal communication using 5 watts of transmitting power and the capability of operating on the 2 meter and 70 centimeter amateur bands.  

     “We look forward to getting on the air with James next year as the Radio Mentoring group reconvenes in the fall,” Dave said. “We expect James to be an integral part of activities that will include installing antennas, building radio receivers, taking field trips to radio and television museums, participating in radio ‘fox hunts’ and helping others at Pickaway-Ross achieve licensure so they can join the amateur radio service.

     “The mentoring group also will continue to operate its own station that includes a radio capable of making long-distance contacts.”

Five SkillsUSA members advance to national competition
Posted 5/5/2021 at 8:47:47 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Nicholas Noble, foreground, competes in the Precision Machining contest.Nicholas Noble, foreground, competes in the Precision Machining contest.

      A lot of things were different this school year but one thing that didn’t change was the drive exhibited by Pickaway-Ross’ SkillsUSA members.

     The largest of the career center’s career and technical student organizations, SkillsUSA provides students with an opportunity to take part in leadership and skills-building activities, culminating in occupational-based competitions.

     This year, nearly 40 students participated.

     “PRCTC, overall, was well represented by some amazing competitors and delegates,” said Jennifer Widdig, one of the school’s SKillsUSA advisors. “I loved seeing the excitement in the students and how proud they were to show off their skills and trades.”

     Many competitions took place virtually, as will the national competition this summer. 

     Advancing to nationals with a first-place win at state last week are Carolyn Hubbard, Shianna Roll and Jake Whited (Community Service); Bryce Bartlett (CNC Milling); and Mason Willis (Collision Repair Technology).

     Also taking medals at the state level were Nicolas Noble (second, Precision Machining) and the team of Abbigail Barnhart, Brianna Hill and Haley Parker (third, Crime Scene Investigation). 

     “We are so lucky that our students got the opportunity to compete in SkillsUSA this year,” Jennifer said. “Our students did a fantastic job adapting and overcoming the difficulties of the COVID-19 restrictions. 

     A partnership with John Treitmaier, owner of Southeastern Machining (SEM) in Lancaster, was beneficial. An advocate of career-technical education, John has been hiring students from Pickaway-Ross’ Machining & Manufacturing program while they are still in school, providing them with on-the-job training. 

     Alumni John Thomas, who completed Brent Ebert’s Machining program in 2016, works at SEM and returned to Pickaway-Ross to supervise senior Nick Noble in the Precision Machining competition. Nick placed second.

     The following week, Bryce Bartlett and Joel Brown — both on job placement at SEM — competed in, respectively, CNC Milling and CNC Turning, using the machines at SEM.

     John Treitmeier said he has worked with Brent for several years and when asked if the students — his own employees — could use his machines for the contest, he was all for it.

     “I've been always taught to pay it forward,” he said.     

List of SkillsUSA member accomplishments 

May 8 event to feature craft vendors, bake sale, games for kids, fundraiser for student
Posted 4/28/2021 at 7:55:59 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Mr. Collier, Welding instructor, and senior Jacob Kerscher arrange pieces of yard art that will be for sale at the May 8 craft show.Mr. Collier, Welding instructor, and senior Jacob Kerscher arrange pieces of yard art that will be for sale at the May 8 event.

     The career center is wrapping up an unusual school year with a return to community engagement, hosting the Pickaway-Ross Spring Craft Show, an outdoor event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 8, on its main campus at 895 Crouse Chapel Road

     In addition to craft show vendors, a flower sale will take place. Also scheduled are fundraisers to benefit a Pickaway-Ross junior who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. 

     Students from the Commercial Foods Career and Early Childhood Education labs will be selling prepackaged baked goods and bottled water and the Welding lab will be selling yard art.

     Preschool teacher Jessica Williams is raffling off a farm tub with homemade pickles, apple butter, honey and preserves, a farm-themed child’s size T-shirt, a knitted stuffed goat and a children’s gardening kit, a farm home décor sign from Hidden Cabin Craft and a pair of earrings from Crouse Chapel Craft. 

     Children will be able to visit with Miss Jess’ dwarf goats, take part in some games and win prizes.

     Student Council is providing goodie bags for visitors 10 and younger.

     Visitors also can take part in a raffle for a fire pit built by students in the Welding lab used in this year’s SkillsUSA competition. Money raised from the raffle will benefit the PRTA Scholarship.

     A table with used books will be set up and donations for books will go back to the school library. 

     Representatives from the Pickaway County Family YMCA and the YMCA of Ross County will have an information table and each location is providing a membership as door prizes. 

     All activities will take place in the front of campus.

Zane Trace FFA member selected to perform at state convention
Posted 4/21/2021 at 8:06:21 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Laine Abbott

     Laine Abbott has always loved to play his guitar. Last year he started bringing it to school to play for friends as they ate lunch in the Ag classroom.  

     Some of them suggested that Laine submit an audition video for the 2020 Ohio FFA Convention. Unfortunately, the 2020 convention was cancelled. 

     In February, Laine heard that the Ohio FFA would feature only four performers for its hybrid state convention in April. 

     Laine prepared his audition video hoping for a second opportunity. He learned he got that opportunity in a text message from his FFA advisor. Not only had he been selected as one of the four acts but he was slated to perform during the final session, when the largest audience would be tuning in. 

     “I was at work when I got the text and I was so excited I actually jumped when I read it,” Laine said. “I’m really honored to have this opportunity.”

     Anyone interested in watching Laine perform during the 1 p.m. convention session on Friday, April 30, can tune in on ohioffa.org and on Ohio FFA’s social media outlets under the username @ohioffa.

Program comes from partnership between Adult Education, Community Action
Posted 4/14/2021 at 9:43:19 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     A partnership with the Ross County Community Action Commission has led to Adult Education offering Intro to Carpentry, a 12-week hands-on training program.

     Julie Bolen, executive director of the Ross County agency, said a grant funds the purchase and rehab of a property in the Ross County Land Bank. The Land Bank was established in 2016 to reduce vacant and blighted properties in Chillicothe. 

     The agency’s first project was restoring a house last year to serve as a recovery house for women. The house is set to open to residents next month. Students in Pickaway-Ross’ Adult Education Electrical program worked on that project.

     Julie said the next project is a duplex that will be used by the agency to operate transitional recovery housing for families. 

     “The property had a fire a few years back and is need of significant work to get it ready,” Julie said. “RCCAC is partnering with Pickaway-Ross to help on the rehab work on the property through the Intro to Carpentry program. Adult Education’s Electrical and HVAC students will help.”

     Working with Julie is not new for Carrie Fife, Adult Education director, 

     “Working with Julie in the past, we've always liked the idea of students learning while giving back to the community. This project allows us to bring those very concepts together and at the same time see adults earn their high school diploma as well.”

     The Intro to Carpentry course is part of the Adult Diploma Program offered through Pickaway-Ross Adult Education. Students 22 and older can earn their high school diploma while also earning certifications in construction and carpentry.

     “The house project will provide a great opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience working on the job site,” Julie said.

     People interested in course eligibility can call (740) 642-1365 for more information. 

Adult Education offering in-person computer classes
Posted 4/7/2021 at 9:34:28 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     Online learning isn’t new but it certainly became a necessity last spring when the pandPickaway-Ross Computer & IT logo emic hit. Pickaway-Ross Adult Education is pleased to announce a return to offering its computer classes in person beginning this month.

     Rhonda Lawless, Business & Career Services Coordinator, said the Excel Basic class, offered from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 16 has always been popular but Intro to Personal Computers (1-4 p.m. April 15) is a great class for people getting their feet wet in computers.

      At a cost of only $50 or $75, all of the classes offer value on a student’s investment,” Rhonda said. 

     Rhonda said the return to in-person courses is certainly a benefit for some students.

     “There are still opportunities for online computer classes through our partner Ed2Go”  (www.ed2go.com/prctc/), she said.

     For the full list of courses offered this month and next, go to www.pickawayross.com/ComputerandInformationTechnology.aspx. 

Student Spotlight: Jalen Harris
Posted 3/31/2021 at 7:59:31 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Jalen Harris practices filling a syringe for a test on injections.Jalen Harris practices filling a syringe for a test on injections.

      Jalen Harris sets high goals. Those goals aren’t only for himself but for his siblings for whom he wants to set a good example.

     “I want nothing but the best for my younger siblings and I want to show them a path that mainly revolves around hard work,” Jalen wrote in the speech he delivered for his SkillsUSA competition.

     Jalen is a senior in the Health Science program and plans to continue in nursing after high school and possibly become a chiropractor. He credits his parents for these aspirations.

     “I developed my work ethic from my parents and used that throughout my high school days,” he said in his speech, “What Does ‘Empowered to Succeed’ Mean to Me?” 

     Jalen is performing his clinicals at Adena, an internship many Health Science students take part in during their senior year. Adrienne Davis, one of Pickaway-Ross’ Health Science instructors, explained that students, while shadowing a medical assistant (MA), work with their own patients. 

     “It’s basically a really long interview,” Adrienne said of the eight-week process. “If they make a really good impression, a lot of times they’ll get a job. Adena places them in clinics that need MAs so (Adena) can try out different kids,” who rotate through clinics every few weeks. 

     Jalen has already made that good impression. His MA wrote in an e-mail to her supervisor: “My staff have been really impressed with him. They said he is well spoken and interacts very well with the patients. They have enjoyed having him observe in our office and feel he will be a good asset to any department in the future.” 

     “It was good recognition of his character and his abilities,” Adrienne said.

     Jalen is modest about his accomplishments, chalking it up to hard work and opportunities he pursued.

      One such opportunity was volunteering with fellow SkillsUSA members at the Veterans Healing Garden at the Chillicothe VA.

      Jalen referred to his time planting shrubs, mulching and cleaning up the garden areas as a “calling” for him to give a tribute to those who fought for our country.

      In working with SkillsUSA members from other labs, he credited instructor Jennifer Payne with providing him with the skills that he used at the garden and that impressed his MA: the importance of teamwork, communication and making connections with others.

      Jennifer said she was excited when Jalen — whom she describes as a “super-conscientious student — was recognized by the Adena staff members.

     “He’s a little reserved until you get to know him. He’s a hard worker. Many times the quiet hard workers are not recognized early and yet he was the first one to be complimented!”

Science students enjoy hands-on lesson
Posted 3/24/2021 at 8:38:55 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
A picture of five chicks that hatched.

     Students in Mrs. Hamel’s Animal Science class are getting a front-row seat in animal development as a three-week lesson on chick incubation nears its end.

     Hamel said this is the first time she’s conducted the activity in the classroom. 

     “We can talk about embryology and the development of animals in general. But in this process they are able to see these embryos develop.”

     Called candling, students use a bright light to look at the inside of a developing egg.

     “The embryo develops and then as the embryo gets bigger, the air sacs start to get smaller,” Hamel said. “So then the kids were able to see that progression as we candled them each day.”

     Students record the data they observe using resources that indicate where the chick development should be along the 21-day incubation period.

     “They start to see movement as they get toward the end” of incubation and during candling “they realize there is something in there and then they got to see them hatch,” Hamel said.

     As of Tuesday, five chicks had hatched. When the chicks are about 10 weeks old, Hamel will add them to her backyard flock.

     See video of the chicks at www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-aBVxBI7gE.

Adult Education prepares to offer Maintenance apprenticeship program
Posted 3/17/2021 at 11:06:54 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Students listen to a presentation in a lab.

     Apprenticeships are great opportunities for students to advance in the workforce after program completion. Adult Education’s HVAC and Electrical programs have apprenticeship opportunities available. 

     And with a growing need for industrial maintenance positions in the manufacturing industry locally, across the state and nationwide, the Maintenance program has been exploring those options as well.

     Thanks to a grant obtained through the Central Ohio Manufacturing Partnership (COMP) and overseen by Columbus State, the Maintenance apprenticeship program is one step closer to becoming a reality.

     Rhonda Lawless, Business Services coordinator, said the grant will allow Adult Education to develop existing staff members by helping them obtain necessary certifications to expand the program curriculum. 

     It will also help Adult Education gain the signatory employers necessary for our Maintenance program to achieve Registered Apprenticeship status by the state.

     The goal is to have students entering the apprenticeship program and beginning related instruction by spring.

Funding helps students take driver's ed
Posted 3/10/2021 at 8:19:49 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Students attend a driver's ed class.

     Thanks to two grants and a donation, about 60 Pickaway-Ross students will be able to take driver’s education classes.

     The cost of classes, a permit and license can be a hindrance for students, which can come out to about $350 per student, said Susan Schwalbauch, academic specialist who coordinates applying for grants. 

     Becky McKeever, a former school resource officer at the school who now works at Team Driving School, will provide instruction to the kids during the school day and then offer driving time to them after school, at a significant discount, Principal Josh Younge said. The program requires 24 hours of class and driving time.

     “This is something that we can provide to a few of our students that will hopefully prepare them for employment,” he said. “Almost all of these students cannot afford the fees for driver’s ed and this could really provide these students with many opportunities.”

     Classes began Monday and will run through mid-April. A rotating schedule ensures students won’t miss any one class repeatedly. 

     Funding to pay for this effort comes from a $10,000 donation given in the fall by Circleville Community United Methodist Church, a $7,000 Innovative Strategies Grant and a $3,000 grant from the Landrum Endowment Fund.

FFA chapter fundraisers give back
Posted 3/3/2021 at 8:15:01 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
FFA chapter members prepare breakfast at its annual fundraiser.

     Two Pickaway-Ross FFA chapters had successful sausage breakfast fundraisers last month. The Southeastern FFA hosted its annual fundraiser Feb. 26 and the Zane Trace FFA chapter and Adult Farmers Club had its event Feb. 5.

     Because of COVID protocols, both clubs added a drive-through lane for meals in addition to the traditional carryout and sit-down options. Sit-down dining was spaced out to ensure social distancing. 

     Southeastern chapter advisor Scott Patrick said 18 students and five adults worked to prepare the food for nearly 200 customers. In addition, East Main Street McDonald’s of Chillicothe donated condiments and take-out service items.

     “We raised about $2,100 in door donations, and 50 percent of our profits will go to Adena Cancer Care to help cancer patients and their families during treatment,” Scott said.

     At Zane Trace, FFA members came to the ZT cafeteria kitchen on a snow day during the week leading up to the event to cut, season and grind meat from eight hogs that were purchased from Bay’s Food Market in Lancaster, chapter advisor Jennifer Johnston said. Members of the ZT Adult Farmers club and Zane Trace cafeteria staff instructed and assisted. 

     Chapter members then stuffed the sausage into casings and rolled them into links the next day. 

     Forty-five chapter members were involved with preparing and serving the sausage along with pancakes, coffee and orange juice.      

     Chapter members served nearly 600 meals and raised a little more than $4,000 in donations. They also received $1,875 in donations from area farms, businesses and community members to help purchase the hogs used to make the sausage. 

    This allowed the chapter to approve a donation of $2,500 to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and $500 to the Ross County Junior Fair after covering expenses from the breakfast.  

Students take part in online contests
Posted 2/24/2021 at 8:15:38 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
SkillsUSA logo
     Every student at Pickaway-Ross belongs to a career and technical student organization. Most years, membership involves competing in local or regional contests with the goal of advancing to the state or even national competition. 

     While many contests are being held online, that hasn’t stopped students from competing and excelling.

     Students in the SkillsUSA chapter on main campus recently competed in regionals and placed in 10 of the 15 contests, allowing them to advance to state.

     Those who placed first are Bryce Bartlett, CNC Milling; Joel Brown, CNC Turning; Eliana DeGarmo, Nail Care; Jameson Ward, Automotive Refinishing; and Mason Willis, Collision Repair.

     Those who placed second are Jalynne Nichols, First aid/CPR; Harlie Snyder, Electrical Construction Wiring; the team of Abbigail Barnhart, Breanna Hill and Haley Parker, CSI; and the team of Jonathan McGarvey, Braden Sabine and Jordan Smith, Welding Fabrication.

     Those who placed third are Kaitlyn Dickey, Medical Terminology; and the team of Jacob Kerscher, DECA logoJacob Robinson and Gwendolyn Strausbaugh, Welding Fabrication.

     Our DECA chapter fielded two teams for the Stock Market Game contest.

     Team 1 — Shawnee Messer, Desiree Ratliff and David Seymour — ranked 242 out of 4,718 teams. Team 2 — Victoria Brown and — Dalton Crowe — ranked 428.

       BPA chapter members placed as follows in the judged categories: Graphic Design Promotion: third, Lydia Yates; fifth, Grace Cook; 10th, Austin Self; 15th, Brayden Clay; Interview Skills: fourth, Alison Fuller; Prepared Speech: second, Mikayla Kittel (advancing to state);  

     BPA chapter members placed as follows in the non-judged categories: PC Servicing & Troubleshooting: first, Hayden Spencer (advancing to state); second, James Marable (advancing to state); fourth, Joseph Underwood (advancing to state); fifth, Taylor Pummel; sixth, Tim Gillfillan; eighth, Chad Cheadle; 10th, Daniel Erickson; 12th, Jason SpringerFundamentals of Desktop Publishing: second, Kloe Poyner (advancing to state); third, Jarrod Bellar (advancing to state); and Advanced Desktop Publishing: third, Kalis Cosby (advancing to state).

Student Spotlight: Shaylee Bragdon
Posted 2/17/2021 at 9:54:42 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Shaylee Bragdon take a registration form from a student for a school blood drive.Shaylee Bragdon take a registration form from a student for a school blood drive.

     Shaylee Bragdon, a senior in Health Science, has certainly found her calling. Shaylee comes from a family of nurses and knew attending Pickaway-Ross would give her the foundation for her career in nursing.

     “A lot of my family are nurses — mom, grandma, uncle — so I’ve seen how much they’ve done and I really want to help people,” Shaylee said.

     Her goal is to be a trauma nurse. She has earned her STNA and since September has been working as a nurse aide at Westmoreland Place. She is completing the Medical Assisting program and, once certified, hopes to work as a medical assistant at a doctor’s office or hospital.

     She also has put her training to use as the organizer for the school’s blood drives this year, working with Nurse Mindy Frejkowski. Shaylee worked with a senior last year and has made the job her own this year, focusing on an expedited check-in process and ensuring COVID-safe protocols.

     Her willingness to take on projects is just one of the reasons she was nominated for the Ohio Association of Career and Technical Education Presidential Scholar Award by lab instructor Adrienne Davis and English teacher Katie Hewitt.

     “Shaylee Bragdon stands out for her unwavering dependability and commitment to her community. She is always the first to volunteer, be it for a classroom project or a school-wide undertaking. Miss Bragdon approaches each task with tenacity and professionalism,” the teachers wrote in their nomination.

     In addition, Shaylee is in the drug-free club MADE, is vice president of Student Council and secretary for SkillsUSA. During her freshman and sophomore years, she played softball at her home school, Unioto.

     Shaylee said she plans to continue her nursing education after high school, possibly through Pickaway-Ross Adult Education’s LPN program.

Pet lesson fun and educational for preschoolers
Posted 2/10/2021 at 8:47:29 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     Pickaway-Ross’ littlest learners had quite a day last week when preschoolA preschooler examines Mason the cat.  teacher Miss Jess finished off a learning segment focused on pets with a visit from veterinarian Becky Atwood of Litchfield Veterinary Clinic.

     Becky told the kids about her job and brought her pup Bella with her, who was a great patient while Becky gave her a physical, checking her face, ears, teeth, mouth, feet and stomach.

     Then all the children listened to Bella’s heart.

     Preschool teacher Jess Williams said the goal was to teach them about the care and needs of living things in a meaningful way. 

     “We also want to foster a love for animals and young children. Other goals included understanding the differences in wild animals versus pets and understanding the unique characteristics of specific animals.”

     Besides dogs Bella and Gretta, visitors to the preschool included Mason the cat, Becky the python, Pablo the gecko and Ruby the tarantula.

Equipment used in Adult Ed programs prepares students for in-demand careers
Posted 2/3/2021 at 11:01:58 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

Nursing students use one of the manikins during a class. Nursing students use one of the manikins during a class. 

     Pickaway-Ross Adult Education is benefiting greatly from RAPIDS grants and that funding leads to better learning experiences for Adult Education students.

     The RAPIDS (Regionally Aligned Priorities in Delivering Skills) program provides campuses such as Pickaway-Ross with funding to purchase necessary training equipment. 

     Most recently, funding was used to upgrade the simulation lab with a SimServeRx Medication Dispensing Cabinet and Supply Cabinet by 3AM Technologies. This dispensing system is used in most hospital settings. 

     Avonia Dearth, Adult Education Health Programming coordinator, said the system will prepare nursing students for jobs as well as help students in the Pharmacy Technician program.

     "The main reason these systems were set up is that in past years medication errors were a big issue, not only with nursing but with pharmacy," Avonia said. "So we're trying to get our simulation lab to be more equipped and more realistic to what a hospital setting is."

     Avonia said the sim lab is an ongoing project. In 2016 the school purchased its first mannequin simulator — Apollo. It is a male but it can transition into a female. Two years ago, a birthing manikin, Lucina, and a sim newborn, joined the lab.

     In addition to the sim lab purchases, RAPIDS grant funding has paid for a burn building for the Public Safety programs and new computers for the IT training lab.

Student Spotlight: Jordan Rhymer
Posted 1/27/2021 at 12:04:49 PM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Jordan Rhymer

     Any student interested in attending Pickaway-Ross who worries that playing sports or being active in home school activities isn’t an option needs to talk with Circleville High School junior Jordan Rhymer. 

     Jordan is a three-sport athlete — volleyball, basketball and track — and is also Student Council and Key Club vice president, on the Athletic Leadership Council, and is a member of the National Honor Society.

     Jordan also was selected (with two other Circleville High School students) to serve on Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s Teen Ambassador Board for the 2020-21 school year.

     The board is open to high school juniors and seniors and gives youth leaders the opportunity to advise the Attorney General’s Office on issues relating to teens.

     Because of the pandemic, Jordan and her fellow board members are meeting by zoom.

     “I have enjoyed being on the board, and I think it will benefit me by being able to meet new people and work on communicating with others,” Jordan said.

     A student in Pickaway-Ross’ Sports Medicine program, teacher Jan Altier said Jordan needs no help communicating.

     “Jordan is one of the brightest students in my class. She is a very charismatic, fun-loving student who is always willing to help her fellow students,” he said.

     Jordan plans to study radiology in college and said the sports medicine program is “a steppingstone to get to that medical field.”


Pickaway-Ross working with Great Oaks to develop database
Posted 1/20/2021 at 8:58:40 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     Last summer, the Secondary Administrative team entered into a partnership with Learn21 to develop a district-wide database that will connect many of the data points that follow each student during his or her career-tech experience with Pickaway-Ross. 

     Learn21 presented a data suite, edWise, that automates many of the tedious data tasks by providing access to up-to-date district data at your fingertips. While still in the development stages, Pickaway-Ross is working with Great Oaks Career Center to develop a data-management system that will be tailored exclusively for career centers.  

     Career-technical schools often manage the data load of traditional comprehensive districts plus the addition of program analysis data, post-program placement data, work-based learning data and industry credential data. This data-management system will tie these data points together.   

     While edWise will provide data for administrators to review and use for decision-making, this system also will allow teachers to access student data. Teachers will be able to update credentials that students earn and keep track of elements such as WebXam and CTSO participation.  

     This system likely will create a more efficient flow of data by drawing from sources such as Progress Book, DASL and WebXam. But perhaps the greatest advantage will be for graduating students. The end goal of development will be to produce a transcript for each career-tech senior to receive at senior ceremony.  

     The transcript will document each student’s completion in career-tech courses, College Credit Plus credits earned, articulated credits, CTSO participation and work-based learning hours.  

     With this transcript, students will be provided with a resource that will benefit them as they apply for jobs, college or other post-secondary opportunities. 


Zane Trace FFA chapter projects help people and puppies
Posted 1/13/2021 at 9:26:59 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
     When students in Aaron Miller and Jennifer Johnston’s Zane Trace FFA chapter learned that help was needed in the local community, they stepped up. 

     First, they filled 50 care boxes with food for needy families. Students baked cupcakes, brownies, cookies and pies to include in the boxes. They also divided up 7 bushels of citrus fruit and donated 70 quarts of grape juice that they processed in the fall.

     Chapter members also hosted a dog adoption day in collaboration with the Ross County Humane Society. They baked more than  30 pounds of peanut butter and pumpkin dog treats to donate to the Humane Society throughout the week. All of the dogs at the event found homes.

Job placement puts students on path to careers
Posted 1/6/2021 at 9:47:02 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Glenn Scott is on job placement at Perfection One in Circleville.Glenn Scott is on job placement at Perfection One in Circleville.

     While students at Pickaway-Ross are exposed to a variety of opportunities — CTSO competition and leadership, community service experiences, industry credential certifications and many others — one of the most valuable opportunities afforded to our students is the ability to participate in work-based learning. 

     Before winter break, there were already 58 Pickaway-Ross students successfully placed in jobs at local business and industry. This group of ambitious seniors includes five students from Commercial Carpentry, six from Commercial Food Careers, five from Electrical Technologies and nine from Diesel & Heavy Truck Mechanics. 

     These students represent the best of what we do at Pickaway-Ross. The majority of the students on job placement have completed all of their academic requirements and program testing and are now counted as a positive placement in their program of study.  

     Not only are these students counted as a success for our school, they also provide valuable human resources for our local partners in business and industry. 

     Buckeye Body and Equipment has hired one of our Diesel & Heavy Truck students and two of our Precision Welding students.  Signature HealthCARE has hired two of our Health Science students.  

     Pickaway-Ross has students working for township government (Liberty), country clubs (Pickaway) and commercial farming operations (Gearhart Farms).  

     Students benefit from this head start in a way that allows them to earn an income and begin gaining valuable on-the-job training that can help lead to advancement in their career pathway.  

Students recognized for exemplifying GRIT
Posted 12/23/2020 at 8:30:51 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     Pickaway-Ross’ GRIT program is going strong with more than three dozen kids selected as a GRIT student of the week. Some have been nominated — and selected — more than once.

     Staff members nominate students whom they see as exemplifying the tenets of the program: gratitude, respect, initiative and tenacity.

     Students get to select a GRIT-themed prize each time they win. Prize options are a hat, tumbler, lanyard, carabiner and charger.

     Weekly GRIT winners selected from Aug. 28 through Dec. 17 are (first row, from left): Aaliyah Alflen; Peyton Anderson; Esther Chappelear; Austin Detty; Kaitlyn Dickey; Ethan Elliot; Aiden Gray; and Kailey Groves; (second row, from left): Nate Hardin; Brianna Hill; Tyler Hines; Gabe Hudson; Alexx Jones; Jacob Kerscher; Trenton Kight; and Haylea Knisley; (third row, from left): Courtany Linton; Emily Lott; Hayli McClure; Isaac Mehrle; Angel Mendez-Aviles; Madison Pederson; Jackson Ratcliff; and Desiree Ratliff; (fourth row, from left): Cloe Redden; Dilon Riffle; Chase Rolfe; Zach Schoonover; Daniel Shaw; Trista Short; and Hannah Snyder; (fifth row, from left): Harlie Snyder; Draven Stein; Derek Wheeler; Sarah Wolfe; Gage Woods; and Noah Wright. Winners not pictured are Kacie Carr and Katelyn Newman.

Photos of the GRIT students of the week
Tuition deduction reduces cost to take full-time Adult Education program
Posted 12/17/2020 at 8:20:39 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Drew BouillionAdult Education's tuition reduction will help Drew Bouillion with the cost of the Electrical program. 

      Post-secondary education can be expensive. Pickaway-Ross Adult Education offers financial help to students through a tuition deduction.

     The  $1,000 tuition deduction is available for students who completed a Pickaway-Ross program. Non-career center students at area high schools in the district are eligible for a $500 tuition deduction. The tuition deduction applies to full-time programs.

     “This is fantastic for any high school students continuing in Adult Education,” said Mandy Quinn, recruitment coordinator for Adult Education.

     “For example, it’s great for nurse aide students at the high school because the next step is to be an LPN. You can come straight here with this and it just makes the most sense for the student,” Mandy said.

     Drew Bouillion, completed the Engineering program in 2020 and will be starting Adult Education’s Electrical program in January. 

     Drew said receiving the tuition deduction will be a big help.

     “It's great because it allows me to save money. I am the youngest of four siblings/step-siblings in post-secondary education.”

     Enrolling in and completing the program is the next step for Drew to reach his goals.

     “I hope to use my skills as an electrician to help myself and my family, gain some experience working for someone else, and eventually own my own electrical contracting business,” he said.

     Since the program was started in 2015, students have saved about $63,000. 

     To download an application form, go to www.pickawayross.com/Downloads/PRCTC%20AE2.pdf. For more information, call Mandy at (740) 642-1350.

Making jelly a learning experience for Zane Trace class
Posted 12/10/2020 at 8:15:10 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     “Experience is the best teacher,” a saying goes, and Zane Trace Ag Business students learned a lot through their experience of marketing and processing a food product this fall.     

     As part of the Zane Trace FFA chapter fall funFFA logodraiser, class members created a business and marketing plan for processing grape jelly. The students created a business plan, budgeted income and expenses and identified potential obstacles and ways to overcome them. They also planned an event in which fellow agriculture students were provided with a sample of their product to generate interest.

     Orders for the jelly and other fundraiser items were accepted from Oct. 8 to Nov. 5, with the class selling 139 half-pint jars of grape jelly, 19 more than they had budgeted for originally.   

     The next challenge for the students was to develop an efficient method for processing the jelly. After learning jelly making and food safety and sanitation practices, they processed 9 jars on their first day. They realized that they would need to speed up production to meet their quota by Dec. 7 so they divided into teams and evaluated their operation daily. After one week they were able to increase production to 27 jars per day.  

     In addition to processing the jelly, students learned  how to inspect the jars for quality and safety, how to properly label them for sale and how to adjust for unexpected challenges, such as a nationwide shortage of canning jars.

Student Spotlight: Emily Lott
Posted 12/3/2020 at 8:52:10 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Emily Lott     Emily Lott is a forward thinker. 

     Her mom, Rhonda, is a cosmetologist and Emily spent time going to the salon with her and seeing what she did for a living. Initially, she just enjoyed helping out — “I’d help her clean up and stuff because when I was little I couldn’t really do much,” she said.

     “As I got older I started thinking about going to college so I was thinking cosmetology would help me pay for college.”

     Now a senior, Emily has applied to Rio Grande and Ohio University-Chillicothe with plans to study early childhood education and become a kindergarten teacher.

     Her drive has served her well in school and out. When she was 6 years old, her dad, Bill, started teaching her to play golf and she hasn’t stopped.

     “My dad has taught me everything I know about golf,” Emily said, “I’ve had, maybe, two lessons.”

     Her home school, Unioto, doesn’t have a girls golf team so she plays on the boys team, having played varsity since she was a freshman.

     “My dad took me out all the time and I practiced from the men’s tees and I eventually got really good at it,” she said.

Emily, left, is featured with Kam Smith (Chillicothe) and Camryn Carroll (Adena) on the cover of Great Seal Sports.

     Emily was chosen to be one of the Ross County high school athletes on the cover of Great Seal Sports December issue.

     “When they came to me and said ‘Yeah, we’d like you to be on the cover of our magazine,’ I was, like “Oh my gosh,’ ” Emily said

     Social studies teacher Katie Siers admires Emily’s dedication and determination.

     “Her plate is full with school and sports, yet she always comes to school willing to learn and is honestly happy to be here. She pushes herself to be the best that she can be and does not settle for average.”

     Emily said she loves attending Pickaway-Ross.

     “I feel like the teachers really care about students and care about their futures, instead of just getting them to pass their class. They care about your grades and won’t let you fail. All of the staff is really nice.

     “There are amazing lab teachers and I feel like I’m getting a great education.”

Director's relationship with industry benefits district during pandemic
Posted 11/25/2020 at 7:33:50 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Leeann Puckett with GE's Peebles test operation facility, accepted a donation of hand sanitizer and other PPE from Jason Vesey in the spring. GE returned the favor recently.Leeann Puckett with GE's Peebles test operation facility, accepted a donation of hand sanitizer and other PPE from Jason Vesey in the spring. GE returned the favor recently.

     The Pickaway-Ross community has been on the giving and receiving end of kindness and generosity since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

     In May, Leeann Puckett, Materials Planning & Execution manager with GE’s Peebles test operation facility, contacted Jason Vesey. Leanne and Jason knew each other from Jason’s former role as director at the Ohio Valley CTC. 

     “When the pandemic began, Leeann reached out to me seeking hand sanitizer, gloves, masks and other PPE that were in short supply in March and April. Pickaway-Ross had already shut down for the year and with GE being among the first to reach out in need, we were happy to donate, as it was deemed an essential business in the transportation/military industry,” Jason said.

     Leeann appreciated the donations from Pickaway-Ross.

     “When I reached out, Jason did not hesitate for a second to help support our need with the supplies that they had.”

     Months later, in November, GE returned the favor, donating 50 tubs of sanitizing wipes to the school.

     “The first opportunity we had to give back, we gave Jason a call,” Leeann said.

Successful 2020 open house caps recruitment season
Posted 11/19/2020 at 7:41:31 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]