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New course prepares freshmen for future

February 5, 2011
By WARREN SCOTT Staff writer

WELLSBURG - Freshmen at Brooke High School next year will enroll in a class aimed at helping them not only to choose and prepare for a career but also to maintain their personal finances.

The Brooke County Board of Education on Jan. 24 approved the addition of a course entitled Introduction to Technology, Career Preparation and Personal Finance to the high school's curriculum.

The move was made at the request of Joe Starcher, Brooke County Schools career technical director, who said the course will replace the school's computer keyboarding course, incorporating elements of it with those of a personal finance course that has become popular among students and parents.

Starcher said the course also will help teens to choose and learn about careers that interest them through use of the Career Cruising website, which offers instruction in preparing resumes, seeking financial aid for college and schools that prepare students for specific fields.

Starcher said he hopes also to incorporate firsthand experiences similar to the job shadowing program used by the school several years ago.

The program involved students spending a morning with a professional in the field of their interest.

Plans call for the course to be taught by career technical educators Jane Utz, Jeri Andrews, Mary Schwertfeger and Marilyn McGowan who, with Karen Simonetti have taught the personal finance course.

Simonetti is retiring this year.

Starcher said interest in the course from students and parents has been strong, resulting in three to four classes being filled each semester.

Utz and Andrews said the course has introduced students to such financial issues as credit cards, banking and identity theft.

The two, who also have written curriculum for financial literacy programs offered through the West Virginia Treasurer's office, said students also have been given imaginary budgets with which to purchase and furnish a home or plan a wedding or vacation.

One student's family took a vacation using the budget he had planned, they noted.

In other business:

The board accepted a bid of $8,480 from Valley Manufacturing Co. for the fabrication and installation of handrails for the home bleachers at Brooke Memorial Stadium.

Marty Bartz, assistant superintendent and the school district's facilities director, said the rails are part of an ongoing effort to make the bleachers safer for patrons of the school's football games.

The board observed a moment of silence for the late Mary Jean Kocher and Mary A. Harvey.

Kocher was employed by the school district for 39 years, during which she served as a teacher's aide, secretary at Hooverson Heights Primary School and Follansbee Middle School and executive secretary for the school district's special education department.

Harvey was the mother of former board member William C. Harvey and helped to initiate the senior nutrition program operated by the Brooke County Committee on Aging.

Superintendent Kathy Kidder announced the Follansbee Middle School School Improvement Council has decided to share proceeds from the recycling of windows removed from the school with Colliers, Hooverson Heights, Jefferson and Lauretta B. Millsop primary schools, whose pupils will one day attend the middle school.

Bartz said Kidder had suggested redeeming the windows, which were replaced through a $1.5 million renovation project to the school and its field house, with a recylcer and were pleased to learn they were worth a total of about $4,000.

The board approved the hiring of Corey Whetsell and Jerry Ciccolella as substitute custodians and accepted the resignation of Carrie Ochap as a special education instructor at the high school.

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