Monday, February 16, 2015

How Did Greenville High School’s Auto-Tech Program Become a Crown Jewel

What makes the Automobile Technology program of Greenville High School to be one of national recognition? Certainly eight National Championships in the Skills USA Competition (2001-2003 & 2005-2009) draws a special light on the program. It goes without saying that over the years the program has attracted developed and produced some special young talent from the student body of the high school. So what draws the proverbial fly to the ointment? It is a story of passionate instructors, thoughtful business and industry leadership, and Career Technology administration on the State and Federal levels.

Minimum standards and certification of education and educators are set on the State level and Federal level and in the case of Career Technical programs (formerly known as vocational education) the major funds for such programs/curriculum comes from Federal monies. Every Auto-Tech program in Ohio meets these standards. The really nifty things that happen with Career Technical education is the way it was designed from the very start of its existence to be in step and meeting the demands of industry and business, with emphasis driven by the local needs of the school’s community. Greenville should be very proud of the working relationship it has fostered among the automobile related businesses and industry and the Auto Technology program at GHS. The Working Advisory Council of local dealerships, automobile and business industries, parts stores, individual service centers, manufacturing (GM, Ford, Honda, etc…) representatives and post-secondary education has served the program well in telling us what their respective needs are and how we can help the program meet these needs. There are no “rubber stamp” meetings here. The passion of the local business and industry leaders, along with the passion of Jim Anderson, instructor of 32 years, has helped make this a true working relationship that is unique in its authenticity.

Another item that sets our program a notch higher is the certification of its instructors and the real world experience of these teachers. Anderson and Travis Nicholas both are Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Mater Certified Technicians. Nicholas brings 16+ years of automobile mechanic experience and Anderson, nine years. Their knowledge and gift of sharing it with students is no accident and reveals their commitment to maintaining standards of excellence and expectation of their students.

In 1989, Greenville pioneered accreditation of National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation or NATEF in the state of Ohio. NATEF is the educational arm of ASE that assures high schools and post-secondary institutions meet the industry needs. Greenville continues this five-year accreditation process, though the State of Ohio has changed their ‘ requirement’ to a ‘recommendation.’ NATEF has a strong reputation of setting standards for textbooks, curriculum resources, facilities, personnel, tooling, equipment, and continuing education for instructors, in keeping current with the fast-paced technology of today’s automotive industry. Anderson has been intimately involved in this organization for six years serving on the board of trustees. The last two years serving as Vice Chairman, where he helped spearhead the Integrating Academics Manual to be used by all high school career technology automotive programs in the nation. This manual cross references automotive standards to the requirements of Common Core (English and mathematics) and Next Generation Science standards to complete the curriculum.

In 1998, Greenville’s Automotive Technology program initiated its involvement with Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES). This student organization is guided by the Automotive Instructional Roundtable. This is the equivalent to Future Farmers of America for agricultural education. This organization helps develop leadership in students and is directly responsive to automobile manufacturers’ demands. Again, Anderson has ground floor knowledge and experience, having been member of the board for eight years and serving as Chairman for two years.

All of these accreditations, certifications, and affiliations demonstrate that building and maintaining responsive relationships with business and industry are what truly make the difference. The value of these relationships, are exemplified in the instruction and everyday workings and is instilled in the instruction to our students. The automotive technology program and its industry partners are proud to serve one another and are proud to say they’ve done it right.

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