• Welcome to Our Class
    I am happy to be working with freshman and sophmore students this 2017-2018 school year. This is something new for our program at AK Smith Career Center.  I am also super happy to welcome back juniors and seniors to their second year with us. In facility maintenance we help maintain a healthy learning environment through teaching the students skills necessary to ensure proper cleanliness and hygiene within and outside of the AK Smith Career Center.  It is my hope that our students gain the skills and knowledge to help him/her transition into the work world either during the later high school years or upon his/her graduation.  
    A typical day begins with a daily job; these jobs are either assigned to or chosen by the students on a weekly basis.  Some of the ways our students help maintain the cleanliness and safety within the building include: cleaning tables; vacuuming; sweeping stairways and landings; dust mopping, wet mopping; cleaning mirrors and windows; sanitizing the handrails and drinking fountains; sorting, washing, drying, and folding laundry; shredding; and recycling.  The students are trained in the correct procedures and are provided the necessary personal protective equipment needed to complete his/her job satisfactorily.  The students benefit from: communication and listening skills, following verbal and written directions, taking initiative, working as a team member and as a leader, and further developing critical thinking skills all while gaining additional fine, small and large muscle/motor skills.
    Your student also participates in our workroom located directly next to our classroom.  In this workroom, the students learn how to identify and use 42 major tools, and they are given verbal and written tests on these tools. Some of the workroom activities involve: de-constructing pallets to reuse the wood, sanding and refinishing furniture, painting, and constructing simple projects which utilize small motor skills. A favorite activity has been making trivets and peanut butter and birdseed-covered pine cones as gifts. During the fall and spring, we work to maintain the outdoor spaces around the AK Smith Career Center and Elston buildings. This includes litter removal, weeding, planting, sidewalk sweeping and painting. I am in the process of applying for two grants to work with culinary and construction classes to build raised bed gardens. These gardens will be maintained by us and the herbs and produce will be used by the culinary class and the area homeless shelter.  We have a new program we will be starting this year that will involve print shop applications. We have been given a poster and banner printer to use to make items for the teachers and administrators in the Michigan City Area School district. This year we will be volunteering twice a month at Reins of Life where the students learn to groom the horses, muck stalls, haul hay and sort feed, develop obstacle courses for the riders and horses, and learn to lead horses in the arena.
    Furthermore, students learn to read meeting room diagrams, set-up, tear down, and rearrange meeting spaces.  They also assist in cleaning and organizing additional classrooms throughout the building.  On the office side of things they learn to: use a copier, an electric letter and cut-out machine, and electric and manual hole puncher; sort papers, create and/or organize folders for meetings; fold, stuff, and label envelopes to complete mailings; create and organize bulletin boards throughout the building; and greet and direct visitors to our building.  As our program grows, we hope to train the students in hospitality, retail, and manufacturing related positions such as: serving food, cleaning hotel and hospital rooms, greeting and assisting customers, bagging groceries, stocking shelves, stuffing fliers in newspapers, taking inventory, and working on a production line.
    Throughout these activities and more, the student's academic reading and math skills are reinforced and expanded.  Students learn to read a ruler and tape measure, count money and make change, create a resume, fill out job applications, and participate in mock interviews with members of the business community.  Finally, as part of our program we emphasize giving back to the community. One of the favorite volunteer efforts is gathering the food items collected at each school and delivering the cans and boxes to the Salvation Army Food Pantry.  Further community service involves the afternoon students volunteering at the soup kitchen on Pine Street that is located across the parking lot from AK Smith Career Center. We also clean the field used by the farmer's market, the tennis court, and around the YMCA and Boys and Girls Club. 
    If you have any questions regarding our program please feel free to contact me.  I look forward to hearing from you and your student and welcome a visit from you and/or your student.
  • Meet the Teacher
    Professionally,  this is my second year as the Facility Maintenance teacher.  As a child I always wanted to be a teacher, and I finally achieved that goal in 2009 beginning at Michigan City Ivy Tech Community College's campus. I have taught pre-college English reading and writing and Introduction to College classes and am also employed there as a certified tutor. In July 2013, in addition to Ivy Tech, I began working as the Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) teacher at A.K. Smith Career Center and Michigan City High School.  In that position, I was able to help high school juniors and seniors identify career interests and plan for their future.  I was successful in helping many of my students find their first jobs while working in conjunction with WorkOne and area employers.  I was fortunate enough to be offered the position of Facility Maintenance teacher in August 2016. It is my goal to help your student obtain viable work-ready skills and introductory employment by the time he or she graduates from high school.
    Personally, my educational background includes associate and bachelor degrees in Liberal Studies with a concentration in English and supervision from Purdue University.  I have a master's degree in Adult Learning from Walden University and am close to obtaining my master's degree in special education.  I am a widow with four adult children who are scattered across the United States, so I have lots of places to visit.  My late husband taught Automotive Technology here at the A.K. Smith Career Center for 17 years, so I am very familiar with the programs offered through our center.  I enjoy traveling, theater, and museums and have a cat and a dog.  I consider myself a "Life-Long Learner" and learning is one of my favorite hobbies.