Every year, Brookfield Board of Education is asked to allow administrators to seek a waiver from the Ohio Department of Education so the school does not have to provide career technical education for students in grades seven and eight during the next school year.
“Are we ever gonna get over this hump?” asked board member George Economides, who last year said the district was “missing a big opportunity” by not providing career technical education, particularly given the number of students who do not go to college after they graduate.
Supt. Toby Gibson said on July 22 that the district will get over the hump, and might have done it this year if the COVID-19 pandemic hadn’t hit.
promoThe district cannot provide the instruction now, because it can’t meet the number of hours required, Gibson said. Gibson’s predecessor, Velina Jo Taylor, told the board last summer that no teachers on staff were certified to teach the program, the district couldn’t afford to hire another teacher, and there was no time in the schedule to add the program.
That would have changed had the district been awarded an Ohio Innovative Workforce Incentive Program grant to create a career pathway program for all grades that would culminate in high school students having the opportunity to earn one of two industry credentials, Gibson said. The school sought $765,175 to buy equipment and curriculum.
“We really needed this, but that got set aside because of COVID and budget cuts, and it will be revisited again next year,” Gibson said. “Our goal is always to provide career tech/STEM courses for our kids as far down as we can go. But, due to the situation we’re in, that can’t happen this year.”
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.