Contribution to Distance Learning — Ron Peach (right), Technology Coordinator for the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, and Jamie Freeman, Criminal Justice Instructor, show off newly installed technology in the program lab.

BLOOMINGDALE — Jefferson County Joint Vocational School is updating technology throughout its facilities for distance learning and modern academic instruction.

Technology coordinator Ron Peach said installation is underway at the Bloomingdale site and will be equipped with interactive television screens and other networking technology. Earlier this year, the school received $854,842 under the 2023 Distance Education and Telehealth Grant Program administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Local Public Works. JVS provided him with a 15% match, or approximately $156,800, for a total of $1,011,647.

This grant will connect JVS to other educational institutions and provide high-tech support for networking. Peach says classrooms and laboratories will be able to connect to other schools and universities, and similar functionality will be available for cafeterias and training rooms.

“We got the equipment a couple of months ago and started installing it over the Easter holidays.” he added. “The whole purpose is to do outreach with other schools and bring in guest speakers for people who don’t come to school.”

The commons area currently has two large screens and two laser projectors, as well as cameras, microphones, and speakers for online interaction. The system is controlled by an in-room touchscreen panel, and the equipment can also be used for other events such as all-school assemblies and senior awards ceremonies. Peach added that classrooms and laboratories will also be equipped with interactive screens for educational purposes.

“The Culinary Arts program will partner with West Virginia Northern Community College’s Culinary Arts Program, with guest chefs speaking to students, while the Criminal Justice Department will partner with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. Beauty will be salon-centric in partnership with Health Technology and Saint Louis University School of Medicine.” he continued. “While the Sheriff's Office and partner schools will be provided with equipment for distance learning, Saint Louis University will have its own equipment.”

According to Peach, the installation will continue through the summer break, and each classroom will be able to participate in distance learning in addition to classroom instruction. The criminal justice classroom has already been installed with two 99-inch touchscreen televisions and six speakers, and instructor Jamie Freeman is making the most of the technology. We plan to prepare students for the workforce.

“It's very cool and actually very easy to use.” Freeman said. “The children seemed to really like it too.”

The goal is to provide student support in all academic and vocational programs, from core subjects to Animal Science Management, Body Collision, Automotive Maintenance Technology, Carpentry, Computer Network Technology, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, and JVS's 16 practical courses. It's about strengthening instruction. Culinary Arts, Early Childhood Education, Electrical Trades, Health Technology, Heavy Equipment Operators, Multimedia and Design, Power Mechanics, Work Transition and Welding.

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