Pickaway-Ross Pride

Pickaway-Ross Pride

Pickaway-Ross Pride: A district blog
Dissection lesson in science class ends with chili cook-off
Posted 1/26/2022 at 9:33:41 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Staff members enjoy chili during the cook-off.Staff members enjoy chili during the cook-off.

     Science teacher Todd Jean was able to bring back a successful class project this month that starts with a deer dissection and ends in a chili cook-off.

     Todd initiated the project, which last about a week, in 2018. The lesson begins with dissection of a deer that involves the identification and understanding of the internal organs and their

functions; the anatomy of the bones, muscles and connecting tissues; the different cuts of meat; and the useful parts of a deer (skin, antlers, meet).

     During the week, students paired up to find or create chili recipes using deer meat.

     “The students were able to make six different chili recipes using 10 pounds of ground venison,” Todd said. Staff members last Friday visited the Options for Transition classroom during lunch periods to sample and vote on the recipes.

     Kaitlin Likens, a Logan Elm senior in Early Childhood Education, and Paige Morris, an Adena senior in Commercial Food Careers, paired up to be named winner for their PK Chili, following a recipe Kaitlin’s mother uses.

     Deer meat also was used to make 10 pounds of jerky. Todd and his students also combined 25 pounds of pork with 25 pounds of venison to make 145 bratwurst sausages.

     All of the cooking, Todd said, provides the students with an understanding and ability to use the deer meat for human consumption in multiple ways.



Pickaway-Ross board members give time, talent to serve district
Posted 1/19/2022 at 11:59:00 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     Jeff Hartmus calls himself “a full-service Pickaway-Ross individual.”

     In 1975, Jeff Hartmus was a student in the first class to complete a program at Pickaway-Ross. To some extent, he’s never really left: taking and teaching classes in Adult Education and, since 2004, serving on the career center’s board of education.

     “I wanted to give back to a place that gave me a lot,” said Jeff, who has been board vice president since 2005.

     Jeff, with board President Byron Lloyd, serves with 10 others to help with fiscal and policy decisions presented by Superintendent Jonathan Davis and Treasurer Todd Stahr, who is board secretary.

     “Schools are successful when they are led by individuals who have students’ best interests in mind,” Jonathan said.

     “Our board members bring their work experiences and passion for the community in making decisions that are good for our students, whether in the high school or our Adult Education programs.”

     Jeff said career-tech education provides a valuable opportunity for many.

     “There are many, many individuals who do quite well and make an excellent living who didn’t go to college. The world needs tradespeople. The world needs other educated people.”

     Several board members agree.

     “Coming to Pickaway-Ross gives students an additional opportunity to be successful and I believe we are obligated to give students as many opportunities to be as successful as possible,” said Jon Saxton, who joined the board in 2020 after a career in education.

     And Matt Kim, who joined the board in 2021, said his own experiences in military and trade service make him appreciate what Pickaway-Ross offers.

     “I feel there are so many kids who would benefit from technical training they can receive at Pickaway-Ross. I think it’s our job as teachers, administrators and board members to make sure they are aware of all of their options and opportunities to be successful with their careers and their lives.”

     Mike Throne, who leads the Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce, said he gets satisfaction from seeing students walk from the graduation line into a job at a business. 

     “They’re starting a career in a field they worked hard to gain skills in and that’s a great feeling,” said Mike, who joined the board in 2021.

     Other community members who serve on the board are Michelle Bowdle, Sue Hopkins, Tony Reeser, Todd Stevens, Greg Tipping and Andrew Vitatoe.

     Our board is committed to providing resources for students who chose any pathway, whether it is immediately entering the workforce, college or the military,” Jonathan said. “I cannot thank this board enough for their guidance for me as superintendent and for their commitment to our students and staff members.”

Front row, from left, Byron Lloyd, Sue Hopkins, Michelle Bowdle and Jeff Hartmus; back row, from left, Todd Stahr, Jonathan Davis, Andrew Vitatoe, Mike Throne, Matt Kim, Jon Saxton, Greg Tipping and Todd Stevens. Not pictured, Tony Reeser.



Leadership Academy expands offerings in 2022
Posted 1/12/2022 at 11:01:22 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

     Pickaway-Ross Adult Education’s Leadership Academy has been providing professional development for area employers for more than a decade. In that time, courses and the format have changed to better serve industry and business.

     “They have evolved to stay current with the workforce needs and trends,” said Carrie Fife, director of Adult Education. “During the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, the sessions went online and were provided at no charge to help support those adjusting to the constantly evolving pandemic landscape.”

     Last fall, Adult Education partnered with the Holzer Leadership & Innovation Institute to offer sessions in September and November. Sessions will resume this month with the Jan. 19 session Moving from Wellness to Well-Being during COVID. Courses are taught by Gail Games, vice president of Training & Organizational Development at Holzer, or a member of her team.

     Rhonda Lawless, Business & Career Services coordinator, said the increase of sessions to six in 2022 was to expand professional development opportunities and training topics. She said this year’s topics are a combination of what employers and past attendees sought, as identified in a survey, or are trending topics in leadership and human resource development.

     “We hope participants will leave each session with new ideas and tools that they can apply in their work or home environments.  Attendees also have the opportunity to establish new relationships with individuals from other local organizations,” Rhonda said.

     Other sessions are Putting Empathy Back into Customer Service, March 16; Strengthening Workplace Relationships, May 18; Becoming a Better Team, July 20; Staying Out of Workplace Drama, Sept. 21; and Process Improvement, Nov.16.

     Each session costs $75 and meets from 8 a.m. to noon at 1410 Industrial Drive, Chillicothe.

     For more information or to register, go to https://prctc.axstudent.com/#/category/1Z.

First semester brings GRIT recognition to many students
Posted 12/29/2021 at 8:26:31 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]

GRIT logo      Pickaway-Ross’ GRIT program is going strong with nearly 40 kids selected as a GRIT student of the week, with some students receiving multiple nominations.

      Staff members nominate students whom they see exemplifying the tenets of the program: gratitude, respect, initiative and tenacity. Students get to select a GRIT-themed prize each time they win. 

      Weekly GRIT winners selected from August through December are (first row, from left): Jaylyn Burns, Trey Burns, Chris Christian, Allison Cunningham, Kate Cupp, Wyatt Cyrus-Butterbaugh, Preston Dailey and Madison Dingess; (second row, from left): Tamra Elliott, TJ Fulgham, Savannah Givan, Jordan Grady, Kaylin Harris, Drake Highman, Sydney Hill and Olivia Hopkins; (third row, from left): Natalie Kangur, Mikayla Kittell, Daquilla Knight, Jeremi Lynch, Nikki McDowell, Arica McGuire and Gabe McNichols; (fourth row, from left): Joey Metzger, Destiny Morris, Austin Nunley, Zannah Pariscoff, Jonathon Penn, Ellie Ratliff and Amelia Ray; (fifth row, from left): Nick Rinehart, MacKayla Rutherford, Ethan Smith, Nina Warner, Gabriel Wheeler and Brooke Yerian.

      Winners not pictured are Tara Ray, Elle Stonerock and James Wilbanks.Pictures of first-semester GRIT students

Long-time secretary prepares for retirement
Posted 12/22/2021 at 8:45:52 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Board President Byron Lloyd, left, with Superintendent Jonathan Davis, presented Lorie Bethel with her retirement plaque at the December board meeting.Board President Byron Lloyd, left, with Superintendent Jonathan Davis, presented Lorie Bethel with her retirement plaque at the December board meeting.

      Lorie Bethel had already spent many years as a secretary so when she moved from Pickaway-Ross’ Counseling office to Facilities five years ago she knew she could do the job. 

     The new position — which entailed overseeing transportation for school trips, handling department purchase orders and finding people and ways to fix things when they broke — let her combine her secretarial skills with knowledge she gained from years of building and selling houses with her husband, Shane.  

     But in the end, she said, “a secretary is a secretary.”

     After almost 15 years at the career center, Lorie will retire at the end of the month. She and Shane, who retired from Mead, will spend time working on their retirement home, helping out with their four grandchildren and traveling in their motor home. 

     “Just those kind of normal things,” she said.

     She is looking forward to this next stage but said she will miss Craig Jones, Facilities manager and her supervisor for the past five years.

     “It was just me and Craig from the beginning and I've loved every minute of it.”

     Her favorite role was scheduling transportation for student field trips.

     “I just really enjoy taking care of the field trips for the kids, making sure that they always happen. I never wanted the kids not to have a trip,” she said, recalling a time when there were four trips and three buses. “You have to get creative but I love it.”

     That ability to succeed under pressure is just one aspect Craig appreciated.

     “When given a job it always got done and got done quickly. That was a great thing for me; I never had to worry about any job I gave her,” he said.

     “Lorie has been a great co-worker and friend and will be sorely missed.”

     She’ll also be missed by Health Administration instructor Darcie Scott, Lorie’s daughter, who has loved working on campus with her mom since Darcie was hired in 2019.

      “She is always there with an unexpected lunch or if I need help with something. She's my best friend, so it just made transitioning to a new career so much easier,” Darcie said.

     I'll miss getting to see her every morning and having her here for anything that comes up.”

     While Lorie looks forward to retirement, leaving will be hard.

     “I loved everyone here I have worked with and will miss all of them.”

Credit union partnership instills valuable life skills
Posted 12/15/2021 at 8:30:05 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
A student makes a deposit in his account.A student makes a deposit in his account.

       When the opportunity was offered to oversee the Atomic Credit Union branch at Pickaway-Ross, Social Studies teacher Katie Siers was happy to get on board.

      “Because I teach Econ I said absolutely, that's in my wheelhouse,” Katie said.

      Atomic Credit Union partnered with Pickaway-Ross in the fall of 2019. As many career center students go on job placement and earn paychecks, it was important that they learned how to handle a banking account.

      “It gives them the opportunity to start being young adults and have a place to put that money that they're making,” Katie said.

      For workers who don’t have a bank account, employers may pay them with an electronic card and employers pay a fee for the card that is passed on to the employee.

      “So this helps our kids keep all of their money,” Katie said.

      While students can make deposits any Friday afternoon during the career center’s mentoring period, they also can access their accounts at any Atomic branch office.

      Katie said a point she likes to reinforce to students is to open a checking and savings accoKatie Siersunt.

      “When you get a paycheck, I tell them, put $5, $10 in that savings account. Over time it will grow. But you have to get in the habit of paying yourself first. And if you have those two accounts it's simple just to set that aside.”

      Students banking at the credit union on Fridays see familiar faces as Atomic trained 10 students as tellers.

      “I've got a good mix of juniors and seniors and they've been incredible. They've taken on the roles really well,” Katie said. “I've been very impressed to see them step up and take ownership of it.”

      Katie said is especially pleased when a student tells her he or she encouraged a friend to open an account.

      Andy Eisnaugle, Atomic’s director of Financial Education said nearly 50 students have an account within the student-run program.

     Account holders are eligible to apply for a $500 scholarship (https://www.pickawayross.com/Downloads/Atomic%20CU%20Scholarship.pdf). Students must have opened the account by Dec. 31.

      Katie is working with Holly Smith and her students in Visual Communication & Design with plans to create a marketing campaign to get more students to join the credit union.

      Her tellers have suggested having an appreciation day where credit union members show their card and get hot chocolate or pizza.

      “What can we do to make this a cool fun thing,” Katie said she asked her tellers, wanting to emphasize the value of a bank account.

      “We have the absolute applicability of why it's valuable: Because our kids are getting jobs. It's an awesome opportunity for us to help them make sure they are on the path to having a successful future.”

Community turns out for Pancakes with Santa, craft fair
Posted 12/8/2021 at 8:08:14 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
A visitor at Pancakes with Santa was happy to meet the man himself.A visitor at Pancakes with Santa was happy to meet the man himself.

      Pickaway-Ross Student Council spearheaded another successful community event at Saturday’s Pancakes with Santa. 

     Started in 2018, the format resumed this year to include a popular craft fair and gift-wrapping station after the 2020 event became an outdoor event because of COVID.

     More than 100 visitors came by for pancakes and beverages before getting a picture with Santa Claus. The commons were filled with more than a dozen craft vendors at tables while holiday music play.

     Donations made for breakfast and gift-wrapping was a fundraiser for Student Council.

      Another fundraiser taking place was the raffle (left) for a 4-X-6-foot, 220-pound American flag welded and painted by SkillsUSA members. The winning raffle ticket will be drawn Monday and proceeds will benefit the creation of a youth area at the Chillicothe VA Healing Garden.

     "It was such a blast seeing the smiling faces of young people, phenomenal community vendors being supported and the amazing work of our staff members and students," said Superintendent Jonathan Davis, who played Santa. “What a great day!”

Alum starts career at 19 after completing Pickaway-Ross nursing programs
Posted 12/1/2021 at 8:48:40 AM by Erika Konowalow [staff member]
Brooklynn Maddux

     A decision Brooklynn Maddux made as a sophomore put her on the path to a career in nursing.

     Brooklynn knew she was interested in the health-care field and during her visit to Pickaway-Ross several years ago, she was happy to learn about Allied Health, one of several magnet programs offered by the career center.

     Then a sophomore at Adena High School, Brooklynn wanted to continue her academics at her home school, which she could do as an Allied Health student at the Industrial Drive campus.

     While in the high school program she completed her clinicals: at Traditions her junior year and at Adena Regional Medical Center her senior year.

     “I think the Allied Health program is a really, really good way to get your foot in the door of the nursing field. There are so many nursing places out there,” Brooklynn said.

     “I got my STNA in high school and I got my phlebotomy license in high school as well. I think it really helped me focus on where I wanted to go.”

     And where she wanted to go was Pickaway-Ross Adult Education’s Practical Nursing program.

     Brooklynn said she was encouraged by Allied Health instructor Catherine McVicker to continue on the LPN path. 

     “I really thank her for helping me.”

     Upon completing high school in 2020, she immediately enrolled in the Adult Education program, completing that this year. She took and passed her boards a few weeks ago and was hired last week at Adena as an LPN. 

     Brooklynn, 19, will be working on a medical/surgical unit and there is a familiar face among her co-workers: Pickaway-Ross’ McVicker works on an as-needed basis in the same unit.

     “I am so proud of Brooklynn for what she accomplished,” McVicker said. “She was my student just a year-and-a-half ago and now we are peers on the unit.” 

     McVicker has been teaching the Allied Health program for five years. Brooklynn is her first student to become an LPN.

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).