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Blackstone Valley Tech Implements Longer School Year

The school, which draws from Grafton and surrounding towns, has also completed substantial renovations.

Submitted by Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School.

UPTON—In response to employer feedback and to give its students an edge in any setting, Valley Tech has implemented a longer school calendar year of 193 teaching days. This year, instructional staff returned on Wednesday, Aug. 15, to prepare for the diversified academic and technical rigors of the 2012-13 school year. Incoming freshmen and new students along with their families attended the school’s annual Freshmen Cookout on Thursday, Aug. 16. On Friday, Aug. 17, freshmen attended a day-long orientation and all students returned for their first full day on Monday, Aug. 20.

“We have had a smooth and successful school opening, and we have high expectations for a great year as we welcome everyone back,” Interim Principal Anthony E. Steele II said.  “Students returned with a high level of energy and enthusiasm ready for another exciting year at Valley Tech.”

Dr. Michael F. Fitzpatrick, Superintendent-Director, welcomed Valley Tech administrators, faculty, and staff back encouraging everyone to maintain focus on the workforce needs and valid employment opportunities for students. “Working with today’s youth has made me aware that their sense of worth is often driven by what they themselves accomplish, and not by what others do for them. We need to challenge and empower them. This will necessitate a constant pursuit of credentialing within all of our career paths.”

In addition to the incoming class, Valley Tech also welcomes a group of new employees. New hires include: Timothy Mooradian, Career Enrichment Instructor; Paul Perreault, Automotive Technology Instructor; Shaun Kehowski, English Teacher; Kathleen Shea, Chemistry Teacher; Kathryn Malo, Library Media Center Aide; Caitlyn Norton, Teacher Assistant; Elizabeth Reilly, English Teacher; Nicole St. Hilaire, Career Enrichment Instructor; Michael Gualtieri, Physics Teacher; James Provencher, Graphic Communications Instructor; and David Lavallee, Vocational Teacher Assistant in the Engineering Pathway.

In keeping with the school’s usual ambitious summer maintenance and improvement schedule, facilities staff completed significant renovations to the cafeteria kitchen over the summer months. Working within the existing cafeteria kitchen footprint, changes were made to create a better workflow in the award-winning school cafeteria. Additionally, Valley Tech has been selected to take part in the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Science Lab Initiative. This project is in the planning phase and designs are being created to build two new science laboratories in the areas previously occupied by the school’s vocational program. Last year’s roof project, also undertaken in partnership with the MSBA, is now complete and the District is collecting reimbursements from that state agency for the project. That funding will be utilized to replace another 42,000 square feet of the roof which is about 23 years old. Additionally, work that began in May on the Trask Athletic Complex on Chestnut Street in Upton continues. The self-funded project will result in a softball field, culinary garden, and eco-laboratory. 

Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School serves the towns of Bellingham, Blackstone, Douglas, Grafton, Hopedale, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton and Uxbridge. Located in the heart of the Blackstone Valley, Blackstone Valley Tech creates a positive learning community that prepares students for personal and professional success in an internationally competitive society through a fusion of rigorous vocational, technical, and academic skills. The school’s website is www.valleytech.k12.ma.us.

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