Mrs. Joanne Vano is the easiest person to spot on a construction job site – her pink hardhat can’t be missed.
A.W. Beattie Building Construction teacher Mr. John Brown bought it for her years ago in appreciation of her work as the career center’s Cooperative Education Coordinator.
Mrs. Vano was recognized again Wednesday, this time as the Cooperative Education Coordinator of the Year by the Pennsylvania Cooperative Education Association. Cooperative education coordinators across the state in high schools and career centers are eligible for the award.
“It was brought to my attention that Mr. Heasley, Executive Director, nominated me for this award over the last few years. Just being acknowledged for doing a job well done is rewarding by itself. After 30 years in education, it is a great honor to be recognized for my work with students, coworkers and employers,” Mrs, Vano said.
The implementation of new ideas to broaden student exposure to the careers has increased the number of students participating in job shadowing, clinical, internships and Co-Op opportunities.
“I believe that the more students are exposed to career and post-secondary education opportunities, the more of an advantage they will have to succeed. I want them to know that there are many pathways one can take and the skills that they learn today are transferable throughout their career,” said Mrs. Vano.
One new idea was the connection with Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania. By participating in J.A. Days, A.W. Beattie C.C. students were able to teach J.A. curriculum to the Avonworth Primary and West View Elementary school students.
Cari Ludwig, Early Childhood Education Instructor said, “Joanne was instrumental in opening up this opportunity for my students to experience a day in the life of an actual elementary teacher. Many post-secondary students do not get this opportunity until the sophomore year in college. Before they even graduate high school, my students have had at least 2 experiences in the elementary classroom. I can’t thank Joanne enough for helping to make this happen.”
A.W. Beattie Career Center’s annual career fair, headed by Mrs. Vano, has doubled in size and the number of job opportunities and student teaching experiences has grown from 364 in 2012 to 697 in 2018.
“Mrs. Vano has a huge impact from scheduling all our field trips and making connections in the community to getting us leads for kids to get jobs and making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to do at their jobs,” Mr. Brown said. “She has a huge impact on everyone. She’s over-deserving of this award. She’s great.”
Students may be out working on their Co-Op experience 1 to 4 days per week. As a Cooperative Education Coordinator, Mrs. Vano is the liaison between the classroom program and industry.
“Once a month I visit the student and meet with the supervisor on the job site. This allows me to make sure that the experience is moving in a positive direction. When I return to Beattie, I inform the classroom instructor on the student’s progress. Communication between the job site supervisor, student and instructor is a vital component in the student’s Co-Op experience success,” said Mrs. Vano.
Automotive Technology Instructor, Larry Parks, said, “There’s a lot that I can emulate and show in the classroom to make it run like a service center; but you can’t face an angry customer, you can’t go to a supply store, requisition parts, account for time on your job, or see a seasoned technician at work. She gets the kids out to experience what is real, so they know how their skills are applied in real situations.”
Congratulations to Mrs. Vano, 2019-2020 Cooperative Education Coordinator of the Year!