Grant Awarded to BIC for Digital Communications Program of Study
Buffalo Island Central High School Business Instructor, Workplace Readiness Mentor, and FBLA Adviser Monda Hutchison is excited for her students, as they will benefit from a 85/15 grant from the Arkansas Department of Career Education (ACE) in the amount of $51,782.85 for the Digital Communications Program of Study (POS) offered in the business department.
"Miss Monda," as she is known by her students (whom she calls her "kids"), wrote the grant and applied for the 85 percent grant last year, but there was not enough money to go around to all the qualified applicants. She did not give up, however, and she applied again this year; this time it was approved.
"We were at this year's completer's luncheon at ANC (Arkansas Northeastern College) when I was told we had received the grant," Miss Monda said. "It was like receiving a Christmas present. I am so excited for my kids and was definitely a 'happy camper!' They will benefit so much from the Multimedia POS start-up funding. It will allow us to enhance our program. We currently meet the framework requirements with the software we have been using, but because of the cost of the software we really needed, it has not been possible to implement the addition of better software. Thanks to the start-up grant funds, we can now provide software and equipment that will provide better training opportunities for our students in Multimedia and Desktop Publishing careers that require experience and training using the newest technology available at this time."
Hutchison has been receiving training in the new software for several years and is excited to be able to pass what she has learned on to her students.
"It (completing the grant) was a lengthy application process, but it was worth it," she said. "It is my job to train our students for the workforce and their future careers; receiving these funds will help me do a better job in getting that done."
She said she has already begun her search for software and determining whether the equipment in place in the department needs to be upgraded or replaced so it will meet system requirements for the new software and allow the software to be installed over the summer. Everything should be in place for the beginning of the 2013-14 school year. Additional new or improved equipment that will be purchased could include digital cameras, digital camcorders with remote microphone and tripods with hybrid storage capability, green screens, etc.
"It will be an exciting year for my kids, as they will get to work with some of the latest, up-to-date software and equipment available," Hutchison said. "Some of the software in the Adobe CS6 Master Suite of programs includes Photoshop, Photoshop Extended, InDesign, Adobe Creative Cloud, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and much more, including an upgraded version of Corel WordPerfect Office. The new software and equipment will help provide an opportunity to increase the students' skills at all levels of Desktop Publishing and Multimedia. A part of the instruction will include being able to make commercials, public service announcements, movie trailers and posters, weather and news programs, etc. As a result of funding provided by this grant, my students will receive valuable training that will better qualify them to work for desktop publishing companies, as well as radio and television stations."
The former names of the classes Desktop Publishing 1-2 and Multimedia 1-2 have been changed to Digital Communication I-IV and areas covered include layout and design, Imaging and Multimedia Digital Media and Audio/Video Production." Another change with this year's 10th graders requires that Digital Communication I-II be taken one year and Digital Communication III-IV be taken the following year. Taking one other class, Computerized Business Applications (CBA), completes the Digital Communication Program of Study (POS) and qualifies the students to be completers in that area, an accomplishment strongly encouraged by the AR Department of Career Education.
Hutchison said she really feels God took this grant application process over for her.
"I don't get discouraged often, but that's pretty much what had happened. This was the second year I'd applied for the grant. There just wasn't enough grant money to go around the first year; however, that gave those applying the second year a priority position. For some reason I just didn't feel it would be approved this time and was tired of the entire process. I had worked so hard on the grant application and have so badly wanted the funding so much for my students so they would have the same training opportunities as most of the schools in the state. It was at that point of giving up and feeling defeated and helpless that I 'let go,' which actually gave God an opportunity to take control. until I did that, I limited what He could do. It was shortly after I let go of the whether or not the grant application would be approved I learned our good news that we had received approval. That's what I had to do first, before God could allow the rest to take place. When I got the news we had been awarded the grant, all I could say was, 'Thank, you Lord!' I have such great kids and am excited for them to be even better qualified for today's technology needs in the area of digital communication as a result of our having the improved software and equipment provided from this grant."
An additional Program of Study (POS), Accounting, is offered in the BIC Business Department. Taking CBA plus Computerized Accounting I and Computerized Accounting II qualify students to receive completer status in this POS. The classes offered at the high school level included CBA, Career Preparation, f/k/a Workplace Readiness, Economics, Computerized Accounting I and II, Digital Communication I-II, and Digital Communication III-IV."
Miss Monda is completing her 24th year of teaching, having also been in banking for 11 years at Monette State Bank/MidSouth Bank, and returning to the classroom for the 1994-95 school year.