Ohio earned 18 of the 28 awards given to vocational and technical high schools in the country.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Dianne Kenzie vows to install as many flagpoles as necessary to honor programs at Trumbull Career and Technical Center.
The school's superintendent delivered that message recently, charging instructors on their first day back to classes to follow the lead of Nancy Kitzmiller and Suzi Alter, teachers in the school's hospitality services program.
The Ohio Department of Education presented a "Best of the Best" flag to the school Wednesday because its hospitality program is one of 28 being recognized nationally.
The program, offered to special-needs students, will get a $10,000 grant for additional research and to help the center share information about the program with other vocational schools.
The flag was presented by Dee Sturgill, a supervisor with the Ohio Department of Education's office of career, technical and adult education.
She commended the school, saying the program was chosen because of its unique curriculum, job placement rates, individualized instruction plans for students, high student-retention rates and good working relations with area industry.
Awards: Ohio snagged 18 of the 28 awards given to vocational and technical high schools in the nation.
TCTC's program was among the 14 in the state to receive "promising" awards. The other four are considered "exemplary."
Sturgill commended TCTC for bringing home the award during a time of transition. The school, formerly Trumbull County Joint Vocational School, recently changed its name and has made changes to the building, staffing and scheduling.
"You've demonstrated strong professional practice and leadership," she added.
Finding jobs: Kenzie said the program pairs learning and developmentally disabled students with jobs at St. Joseph Health Center in Warren during their senior year at TCTC. There they work in the dietary, records, maintenance and laundry departments.
Many graduates of the program go on to work at hotels, resorts, hospitals and nursing homes, she said.
Kitzmiller and Alter submitted a 25-page application for the award.
Kenzie encouraged instructors of other programs to do the same, as it brings recognition and grant money to the district.
"You all have outstanding programs," she said.
All of Ohio's 18 programs received flags from the state thanks to Kenzie.
She said she was so excited about the award that she called Ohio Department of Education officials, saying she wanted a flag to fly outside the school.
"So they decided to give one to everyone," she added.