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High School Chemical Operator Program Touted at BOE Meeting

By Leann Cochran - Staff Writer | Oct 14, 2020

The Tyler County Board of Education met on Monday, October 5. Katrina Byers was absent from the meeting, while Larry Thomas attended via telephone.

The meeting was called to order and began with the Pledge of Allegiance and the approval of the previous minutes.

Paden Morris was present to give an update on the newly implemented chemical operator program that is being offered in partnership with Washington State Community College. Currently, Morris reported there are two students enrolled in the program, however they are planning to add an additional nine Sophomores to the program beginning in the Spring.

“What’s most exciting about the chemical operator program for the Sophomores is by the time they graduate high school they will have thirty college credit hours and a recognized certification in chemical operations, to leave high school as an eighteen year old going out into the workforce if they so choose to do that, or to further their education in engineering or chemical engineering with that background already in place at the highschool level,” Morris explained.

“The opportunities that this will bring these students on graduation is endless, in my opinion,” he said. “As a young adult, it’s definitely something that gives them a leg up on getting their foot in the door and getting started in a career that can be very successful for them.”

Morris noted that tuition for the Tyler County students attending the program is free of cost to the student.

He also spoke briefly regarding the Ready to Work program he has been teaching at the highschool. Morris said there are students from many backgrounds enrolled in the class and they touch on many different aspects such as communication skills or interview skills.

Morris reported the program Ready to Work program has grown to include almost 30 students this year.

Mrs. Walton complimented Morris on his excellent work with both programs. “We have to get out of the mindframe of ‘everyone goes to college.” I mean, we’re really leaning back again towards those tech programs,” she reported.

Mark Winters was also present to give an update on the new position he has taken over this year. Winters is entering his second year at Boreman, where he reported he was previously a Special Education teacher.

This year, Winters says he has been working hand in hand with students attending virtual school. Additionally, he has been mentoring students in areas such as self-awareness, building confidence, and believing in themselves.

“I really am loving this job,” Winters said.

Moving on to the project updates, Superintendent Highley updated the Board on the projects taking place throughout the county.

He reported the playground at Boreman was expected to be complete by the end of the week.

At the Bus Garage, Highley said all the inside walls are built and they are ready to start on the exterior design.

Highley mentioned there has been a lot of speculation about buses entering and exiting the highway. He was quick to say there will not be a stoplight installed for this purpose.

Mrs. Walton was present and gave the monthly attendance report, stating that the numbers are down this year, however, she is certain the drop correlates with the COVID-19 crisis. She reported she is anticipating a large number of students to return as time passes.

The TCHS and TCMS Girls Basketball schedules were approved.

The following employments, transfers, and rescissions were also approved: Employ Hannah Roberts as Fifth Grade Teacher at SES, effective November 30, pending certification; Employ Josh Mace as assistant boys basketball coach at TCMS effective immediately; Employ Gary Hamilton as Bus and Route #15 operator, effective immediately; Transfer Jim Drain from Custodian/Bus Operator to Bus and Route #42 effective immediately; Employ Amy Yost as Social Studies Fair Coordinator at AIB effective immediately; and employ Christen Zane as Computer Coordinator at AIB effective immediately.

Following the payment of the bills, the meeting was adjourned.