Logo for Berrien County Career and Technical Education
March 2020
Volume 4, Issue 4
Although much of our "normal" has been turned on its head as of late, educators throughout the county, state and nation continue to reinvent themselves and their ability to impact students. Career and Technical Education almost by definition is hands-on, interactive and collaborative. This style of learning is the connection that many students need within their education. Over the coming weeks as new educational methods are explored, adopted and refined in an attempt to adapt to our current circumstances, patience and perspective will be invaluable.

We are extremely proud to work within this county, with the administrators, instructors and other district staff members as everyone pulls together in this time of crisis. A quote from Dr. Suess continues to come to mind " I will teach tiny humans here or there, I will teach tiny humans everywhere!"

Stay healthy and safe.
Chris Machiniak
Regional Director of Career & Technical Education
CTE Teacher of the Month
Countryside Academy
Berrien County Teacher Named Agriculture Educator of the Year
(Article from the Herald Palladium, March 28, 2020)
The Michigan Farm Bureau named Steve Rigoni of Countryside Academy in Benton Harbor as its educator of the year. The educator of the year will receive a scholarship to attend the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference as well as a $500 classroom grant from the Michigan Foundation for Agriculture.

Steve Rigoni brings previous agricultural work experience into his high school classroom at Countryside Academy. Having grown up on a farm and worked in agribusiness for several years, he shares his experiences raising cherries, peaches, grapes, asparagus, and other commodities with his students daily.

His line up of agriculture courses include Botany, Zoology, Fundamentals of Agriculture while also incorporating food science, natural resources and wildlife management concepts.
Rigoni designed the school's educational barn, structuring the pens, water systems, lighting, temperature controls and storage to handle many livestock species throughout the school year. Here, students can engage in animal care and handling, from birth through exhibiting at the Berrien County Youth Fair, as a portion of their agricultural courses.
CTE Student of the Month
Benton Harbor High School
Benton Harbor Area Schools logo
Nominated by: M'Shannon Rockette, CTE Director
Benton Harbor High School
Shakora Kimble
School: Junior at Benton Harbor High School
CTE Program: Hospitality/Culinary Arts
Instructor: Gennifer Gunter

Why she enjoys her CTE class:
Shakora enjoys Hospitality and Food Management class because it allows her to get hands on experience that could possibly assist her in the workforce.

Extracurricular activities:
Varsity Cheerleader, Cooking Club, Key Stone Member, Student Council, Youth of the Year Participant, Boys and Girls Club Mentor, Smart Girls Organization, and Graphic Design Club.

Future plans:
After high school, Shakora is planning on attending North Carolina A & T to major in criminology and minor in forensic science, with a goal to become a coroner. 

Additional Comments: " I am currently taking the Hospitality and Food Management class to gain knowledge that can assist me in the workforce. I know that the training that I'm receiving will enable me to be a driving force in the hospitality industry, as my plan is to work in a fine dining restaurant during college. My long term goal is to graduate from North Carolina A & T and pursue a career in criminology. I love being apart of the Hospitality program because there are so many volunteer opportunities as well as hands on experience. Before enrolling in this program, I wasn’t aware that the hospitality industry covered so many different career choices. I now know that if I do decide to change my major that the hospitality industry has a vast range of jobs that I would love to explore."
CTE Programs Highlights
Countryside Academy
Submitted by: Steve Rigoni, Agriscience Instructor
Countryside Academy

The Growing Beyond Earth Project
Early this year Countryside Academy applied for and was accepted into The Growing Beyond Earth Project. Growing Beyond Earth is a program where schools test different plants to determine which plants grow the fastest, identify plants that provide fresh tasty additions to packaged meals as well as critical vitamins lost is processing of food for astronauts on the International Space Station, and plan for future planet and moon colonization.

Growing Beyond Earth is a great project because it is a real world application of what you do in a science lab. It also helps to expand the testing ability beyond what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) could do on their own. A strict set of protocols are followed and all data is collected every 7 days and reported directly to NASA for Growing Beyond Earth. 

If any questions arise during the process, the students are able to directly contact NASA scientists. This year the program was expanded beyond just the High School Botany class to include several 5th grade students looking to pique their interest in science/space travel.
Berrien Springs High School
Submitted by: Jennifer Natzel, CTE Director
Berrien Springs High School

CTE Business Management Class
Miss Natzel's Business Management students have been focusing on skills preparing themselves for the workforce. A majority of the students were able to utilize those skills to earn their Communication Skills for Business Certification. All students worked in class to prepare employment documents such as resumes, cover letters and establish and populate a reference page. 

The class then participated in mock interviews utilizing their recently created resumes and cover letters. At the end of their interview they received feedback from the local business community volunteers that particiapted that day. Thank you to those that took time that day to help out our class: Mr. Eric Stoub (BinTris Moving), Ms. Shayla Shembarger (1st Source Bank), Mrs. Maureen DeFrancesco (former business educator), Mrs. Patricia Moon (former accountant), Mr. Mike Moon (former consultant), Ms. Danette Narregan (Chicago Title), Ms. Kim Keigley (Coastline Realty), and Mr. Mark Daniels (Bon Appetit Mgmt. Co.).

The students and volunteers found this to be a valuable and educational day and look for it to become an annual event.
Countryside Academy
Submitted by: Fred Frazee, Aviation Instructor
Countryside Academy

Countryside Academy offers Introduction to Flight Science
For students who aspire to fly, Countryside Academy has established a CTE Aviation course that provides the foundational learning required of all beginning pilots. The many challenges of preparing for a career in flight are best met with knowledge and drive. This new program is an excellent place to construct a plan and begin completing those first steps that eventually lead to a pilot's license. 

Based on a curriculum produced by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the curriculum prepares students pass knowledge tests required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). At the completion of the second year of this program, successful students will be prepared to pass the FAA Private Pilot Written Exam as well as the Commercial UAV Written Exam. Students will master aerodynamic principles by flying simple and complex drone aircraft (UAVs) as well as small RC airplanes. Ample time is invested on desktop simulators practicing flight procedures encountered by all pilots.

This coming July 12 students will be attending AirVenture in Oshkosh Wisconsin for a week of camping and airplanes. The trip is being sponsored by American Airlines and provides an immersive experience in every aspect of aviation activity.
We received so many student entries last month we continued this section this month!
By: CTE Staff, Instructors and Students

We asked our Berrien County students why they chose their CTE Pathway and received an overwhelming response! With such a fantastic showing, we will continue this section in future CTE Newsletters to continue showcasing our Berrien County students.
"The Building Trades program has been the best outlet for me personally. It allows me to move around and gives me a different perspective on learning. I love working with my peers and Mr. Hughes is the BEST mentor. I  love everything about building trades, it is the best feeling to turn nothing into something amazing.

I feel fortunate to have this class option. I am learning a skill that is lifelong and I enjoy coming to this class everyday."
Carter Schroeder
New Buffalo High School
Building Trades, New Buffalo HS
"I chose to take Criminal Justice because I am going into forensics and it is a class needed to go into that field. It gives me a head start on my career."
Kyleigh LePinske
River Valley High School
Criminal Justice
Berrien Springs HS
"I choose this CTE program because I wanted to know more about automobiles. I also choose it because I think that everybody should know the simple things on cars, since we will all be driving one and need to keep it running.

This program will help me in the future because I will understand the basics on a vehicle, whether it’s me working on it or someone else."
Tomas Roman
Brandywine High School
Automotive, Brandywine HS
" Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve always been designing cards and invitations for parties. When I saw that Graphic Arts was available, I just knew I had to take it and I’m very glad I did. This class has opened my eyes to the possibility of a career in graphic design. "
Ramyambika Barramukku
St. Joseph High School
Graphic Arts, St. Joseph HS
"I chose this CTE program because I love the smell of the machine shop and knowing what I can accomplish there. I love working with metal, and I like seeing how a piece of round stock can turn into a piece that could hold pencils, or become a part of a lamp.  

I believe more students should take Machine Tool as a CTE course. Some may not end up liking it, and others may love it, but everyone will learn so much from it.

I have realized that being in this environment has given me tons of life skills as well as learning that this isn’t a “male-only” class. Take a step out of your comfort zone if you like the idea of a class like Machine Tool. Try something new that you may end up loving."

Caitlyn Harrell
Brandywine High School
Machine Tool, Brandywine HS
Counselor Connection
By: Kelly Dargus, CTE/Perkins Consultant
Career Development with Xello
Now is a great time to utilize Xello online career development lessons. Here are some great resources to help students and educators navigate online Xello learning. Keep the Berrien County Career Development Crosswalk nearby as well!

Upcoming events:
  • Virtual Counselor Meeting - May 19, 2020
5th Year Early/Middle College

By: Melissa Springsteen
5th Year Early/Middle College Consultant
  • Cohort 5- Class of 2023
  • We are excited to announce we have accepted 77 new students into the E/MC program!
  • Communication to students and their parents is being sent through email.
  • All in-person college classes for current E/MC students have moved to an online format for the rest of the
  • LMC and SMC Commencement ceremonies have been postponed; date yet to be determined.
  • Class of 2020 continues to be on track to complete their degrees/certificates by end of Spring 2020 semester.
  • Information on fall class scheduling will be communicated out ASAP.
If you have questions, please contact
Melissa Springsteen
(269) 471-7725 Ext. 1304
Do you have a suggestion for the CTE Newsletter? Please contact Chris Machiniak or Mona Hunter .
PA56 Nondiscrimination Statemen t
It is the policy of the PA56 Consortium members that no person on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, weight, height, marital status, gender expression, judicial record, disability, and/or any other legally protected characteristic shall be bullied and/or discriminated against. This includes exclusion from participation in, benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any state or federally funded program or activity for which the Berrien Regional Education Service Agency or any member of the PA56 Consortium is responsible, or for which it receives state or federal financial assistance from the Department of Education.  In addition to the above statement, arrangements may be made to ensure that language skills are not a barrier to admission or participation in Career & Technical Education programs within the Berrien County PA56 Consortium.
Berrien Regional Education Service Agency
PO Box 364
711 St. Joseph Avenue
Berrien Springs, MI 49103-1583
(269) 471-7725

The views and perspectives shared in this
publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Berrien Regional Education Service Agency, affiliated schools, staff or board members.

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Berrien RESA CTE Staff

Chris Machiniak , CTE Regional Director

Mona Hunter , CTE Assistant

Kelly Dargus, CTE/Perkins Consultant

Melissa Springsteen , 5th Year E/MC Consultant

Gabby Turbyfill , CTE Intern

For additional information on Berrien County Career and Technical Education, visit our website at: www.berriencte.org