BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon-Upshur High School instructor Sarah Wamsley accepted a $20,000 grant Wednesday to help with the Digital Buccaneers, a Business CTE Simulated Workplace Class. The Program Modernization Grant will be used to purchase new high-powered coding and design computers.
Students from last school year’s Digital Buccaneers Simulated Workplace worked on writing a grant to the West Virginia Department of Education (CTE Division) for the Program Modernization Grant. Each year various CTE programs are awarded this grant ranging from $1,000 to $20,000. Buckhannon-Upshur was awarded the highest amount of $20,000.
“This is an exciting grant,” Wamsley said. “My favorite part is that it was researched and written by the students for the students. It goes to show how amazing our students are here at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. We have currently finished the installation of the computers and things are working wonderfully.”
Wamsley said seeing the excitement and joy on students’ faces when learning the content and experiencing dual monitor displays is one of the major reasons she became a teacher.
“Our students are entering a workforce known as the ‘gig economy’ which is simply the idea that many of our students will work from home on computers dealing with designing and programming for different companies or various projects aka gigs. I am beyond excited to expose our students in Upshur County to high powered machines and equipment that they may use in their future STEM/CTE Careers. ”
The new computers are being used in Coding, App, and Game Design Courses, Digital Imaging Courses, the WebPage Design course and for the Digital Buccaneers Simulated Workplace course. The new computers are providing students with adequate equipment to effectively learn the curriculum without malfunction as seen in the previous hardware. In addition to the upgrades, the computers allow for multiple screen displays and will offer opportunities to give students at B-UHS a competitive edge in future STEM/CTE Careers.
“The new computers give us new capabilities to use new programs to maximize our knowledge within the coding career opportunities where everyone should learn how to code,” said current coding, app and game design student Ryan Bevans.
The grant was written by a group of students in the simulated workplace with the student leader Joseph R. Tomasula.
“With a new Game Design class opening at B-UHS, our hardware is inefficient to run required programs,” students wrote in the grant application. “Dusty Campbell, our IT technician, stated our ‘computers are not capable of 3D design… the programs would crash from inadequate processing power.’
“We have received support for these Programs from Robert Hinton with the Upshur County Development Authority, [who said], ‘The base skill sets that you have outlined would prepare students for more advanced training as is usually provided by the employers.’
“Mr. Hinton also explained, ‘Employment opportunities are becoming more virtual and the opportunity to work from anywhere is growing … coding, app and game design classes are essential to providing STEM readiness to the community. Through research it is apparent that STEM careers are in high demand and the need for computer science and programming skills is essential to our community and state development.'”
For a student to become a completer they must take the four required CTE classes, create a portfolio and take the NOCTI evaluation test. The four required classes for Coding, App and Game Design are Digital Imaging I, WebPage Design, Coding, App and Game Design I and II. Students in these classes also have the opportunities to earn industry-recognized certifications in Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign.
For a student to become a completer in Information Management they must take four of the following six courses: Digital Imaging I, Digital Imaging II (Digital Buccaneers Simulated Workplace Course), Desktop Publishing, Business Computer Applications I, Business Computer Applications II and WebPage Design.
In this cluster students have the opportunity to obtain industry recognized certifications in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.
One of the requirements for the grant is a contribution from the county office. Upshur County BOE Technology Director Glenna Clutter provided assistance to cover the remaining computers not covered by the grant, 26 additional monitors. TSS Dusty Campbell) and technician Levi White set up the computers and installed software.
Additional supporters through the process included Eddie Vincent, B-UHS principal; Carla Rogers, B-UHS CTE director with her assistance on submitting the grant to the state; and Danielle Rexroad, B-UHS TIS with software updates and licenses for software. The computers have been set-up in Wamsley’s classroom in which students completing in the CTE concentrations of Information Management and Coding, App, and Game Design will have the opportunity to work with these powerful machines on a daily basis.