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News and Updates

Welcome to the South Tech news archive where we feature stories on students, school programs and activities, alumni and professional partnerships.
South Tech Engineering Students Win Gateway Robotics Challenge!

The South Tech Electronics and Robotics engineering students FIRST Robotics Team 1658 competed at the Gateway Robotics Challenge October 1st at Hazelwood Central High School. 26 teams from Missouri and Illinois competed.

After 8 qualification matches, Team 1658 was seeded number 1 for the finals and went undefeated to win the tournament.

The Gateway Robotics Challenge is an off-season FIRST robotics competition event where teams are invited to compete using their previous season’s robots. The event was played using the 2016 FIRST Stronghold game rules on an official FRC playing field. This event gives new students the opportunity to experience an FRC competition.

“Our students competed with grace and professionalism. I was very proud of how they handled the pressure of this competition. They are very excited about the upcoming FIRST Robotics Season which begins in January 2017.” said Mr. Rola the Engineering Instructor. Congratulations South Tech Engineering FIRST Robotics Team 1658!

College and Career Options Night

Students and parents are invited to attend South Tech’s annual College and Career Options Night that is taking place on Thursday, October 13, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. This night is designed to learn about post-secondary options specific to your program. You can also learn about the military and the various branches. There will also be presentations on financial aid and how to secure your South Tech articulated college credit. You can click on October 13th on our school calendar to open a flyer for this event.

Schedule:

  • 6:00 to 8:00 Browse post-secondary options and meet with representatives from trade and technical colleges, nursing colleges, universities, labor organizations and more
  • 6:15 to 6:45 Learn how to secure your St. Louis Community College Articulated College Credit in Room C-205
  • 6:00 to 6:45 and 7 :15 to 8:00 Financial Aid Presentation from the Scholarship Foundation in the Business Conference Room
  • 6:45 to 7:15 Meet with teachers in their classrooms to hear presentations on post-secondary options specific to your program
  • 6:15 to 6:30 and 7 :30 to 7:45 Military Presentation about branch options in the gym
  • 6:00 to 6:45 and 7 :15 to 8:00 Teachers available in their classrooms for individual questions
So You Want to Be a Chef?

This article first appeared on South County Times and was written on March 18, 2011. You can view the original article here. The article has been updated by South Tech staff to include current names and titles.

Cooks in chef’s hats and spotless white coats diligently man their work stations in the kitchen at South Technical High School in Sunset Hills. One group slices and dices; another crafts pretty white roses from frosting. Brittany Brookins creates pastries as Chef Melissa Manness looks on. She has been accepted into the Culinary Institute of America.

These chefs-to-be are students in South Tech’s Culinary Arts program. South Tech’s culinary arts program, led by Chefs Melissa Manness and David Bass, is one of more than 30 career-oriented education programs offered at the school.

This program is a great opportunity for kids to find out if this is a career they want to pursue,” said Program Advisory Board Chair Diane Stubblefield. “They receive ServSafe (food safety) certification and they learn a lot, not only on the cooking end but the baking end.

Career Focused

South Technical High School helps train students for specific careers, like court reporting and automotive technology. The programs give students practical experience and a considerable leg up when joining the work force or moving on to college.

The school accepts students from every school district in St. Louis County. Programs are offered to juniors and seniors in place of regular elective classes like band or drama.

Instead of going down the hall for their electives, students at high schools like Lindbergh and Kirkwood head to the South Tech campus on West Watson Road in either the morning or the afternoon. Bus transportation is provided for those who don’t wish to drive.

One of the biggest misconceptions about South Tech is that its programs are meant for students who aren’t succeeding at their home high schools, said Manness. In fact, the opposite is true.

They have to have decent attendance and grades because we’re one of the more popular programs,” she said. “We’re slowly becoming more in demand, with people wanting to learn a skilled trade. We’ll take capacity in the culinary arts program, which is 60 students.

Manness said all the teachers in her program have real-world experience.

I was a hiring manager at all the different restaurants I worked for, so I can tell you how to be successful, she said. That includes knowing which vegetable is which; how to identify cooking utensils; and learning how to put things back where they belong.

Some of the students cook at home with grandma or mom, or maybe mom or dad’s a cook,” said Bass, who worked for Ameristar Casinos and who was also the research and development chef for Qdoba. “At the very least you can learn to cook for yourself.

Culinary Success

Two of the many outstanding students in South Tech’s culinary arts program are Brittany Brookins and David Dahle, both seniors at Lindbergh High School. They are among 12 students who will be heading to state at the end of March.

Brookins, an aspiring pastry chef, has an armful of medals acquired over the past two years in district and state competitions. She was recently accepted into the Culinary Institute of America.

“I’ve been baking since I was little,” she said. “I wore out five Easy-Bake Ovens. I also watch a lot of Martha Stewart. I thought it would be a great experience to be here and work in a real kitchen.”

The upcoming state competition, like the culinary arts program at South Tech, focuses on real-world skills. In addition to cooking and baking competitions, some students will compete in leadership contests that assess talents like job interview skills.

“I will be competing in knife cutting, like julienne, small dice, large dice,” said Dahle. “I also have to cook a four-course meal. I have to cut a chicken into eight pieces, then turn it into chicken stock. I have to do a pan-seared chicken; another course is poached shrimp. I also have to do a scent test. I have to identify 10 spices blindfolded.”

Preparing for the Future

Kirkwood High School (KHS) senior Brody Kampschroeder takes his core classes at KHS in the morning, then heads over to South Tech for the afternoon.

“I’m always doing culinary stuff at home, so my mom suggested it,” he said. “I get to interact with people I’d never get to meet otherwise.”

Like many of his fellow students, Kampschroeder wants to study in the culinary arts program at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park after high school graduation.

“I’ve heard their program is just as good as L’Ecole Culinaire, only cheaper,” he said.

Dahle also has plans to attend Forest Park, and said he is grateful for the head start South Tech has given him.

Only two or three students out of our program have not gone on to post-secondary education,” said Manness. “We have articulating credits at Forest Park, so they get a jump on college.

There is also a hands-on program for younger students that can help them determine if South Tech might play a role in their future, said Manness.

Generally during the first or second week of summer we offer camps for middle schoolers so they can see what it’s like, she said.

South Tech culinary arts students also accept some catering requests from the general public. They recently prepared a breakfast for MPC, a group of media professionals. The event was hosted on the South Tech campus.

We’ve done an event off-site for the chamber where we went to a golf club and did barbecue,” said Manness. “It gives the students an opportunity to get out and see what it’s like.

For more information about catering opportunities, call Manness at 314-989-7460.

Other programs at South Tech also welcome interaction with the public, like the automotive technology and cosmetology departments. For more information, contact the individual instructor. Names and contact information are available at www.southtechnical.org.

High schoolers wanting more information about South Technical High School’s programs can talk with their home school counselor, or call South Tech at 314-989-7400. A complete list of programs is available online.

The Veterinary Assistant Program & Saving G.R.A.C.E. Rescue Partnership

The instructors of the veterinary assistant program have been rooted in the rescue community for many years now; Ms. Hobbs for over twenty years, and Ms. Zengerling for over seven. They have worked hard to integrate rescue animals into their program in order to take their students’ experience level with animals to the next step, as well as open up their eyes to the animal welfare issues plaguing our country.

The first foster dog taken in by Saving G.R.A.C.E. and cared for by the veterinary assistant students
Cliff, the first foster dog taken in by Saving G.R.A.C.E. and cared for by the veterinary assistant students.

Over the summer, Ms. Zengerling decided to take on the responsibility of creating her own animal rescue group, Saving G.R.A.C.E. “Giving Rescue Animals Chances Everyday”. This rescue group was created to partner with the veterinary assistant program at South Technical High School. The instructors work together to rescue animals that will fit into the program’s curriculum and environment, many of these animals have special medical needs. Medical needs that the instructors are able to teach their students about, and where the student’s then help to nurse these animals back to health and then find them great homes.

Instructors and students have been working together on fundraising and volunteer opportunities that they can also integrate into their FFA chapter; soon they will work together to run adoption events at a local pet store.

Working with Saving G.R.A.C.E. and exposing students to real animals needing real medical and emotional care, has truly instilled a sense of responsibility and pride in the veterinary assistant students that is quite apparent. Not to mention they gain hands-on skill and knowledge that will carry them far into the career field and college.

The first foster animal rescued by Saving G.R.A.C.E. and brought into the program to work with students was a dog named Cliff. Cliff was found tied to a tree in a local park, and as you can see in the picture he was in very bad shape.

Together the teachers and students learned that Cliff had demodex mange, skin infections, extreme emaciation, a previously fractured pelvis, and more.

Everyone fell in love with Cliff through his recovery time with us; students also learned how to perform a skin-scrape, give medicated baths, medicate animals with liquid and capsules, and proper post-surgical care.

As a team the teachers and students turned Cliff into a whole new dog. Throughout his time with us Cliff kept the same trusting, and happy personality; the fact that he still loved humans so strongly and was always wagging his tail was something everyone who met Cliff found to be amazing, and drew personal strength from.

Thanks to the care and compassion Cliff received, he has recovered fully and was recently adopted into an amazing family! Cliff is one of many special needs fosters that Saving G.R.A.C.E and the veterinary assistant program will work together to save and give a happy ending!

Check out the Saving G.R.A.C.E. website to see the awesome things they have been doing.

Skilled Apprenticeship: The Career Path Less Traveled

This article first appeared on The Business Journals. You can view the original article here.

When you hear the word “apprentice,” you might picture a medieval teenager slaving away with a hammer and nails.

Or perhaps you envision Donald Trump shouting, “You’re fired!” at a stunned celebrity.

But craft apprenticeships aren’t relics of the olden days. And they have nothing to do with the Donald’s boardroom.

Often called “the other four-year degree,” modern apprenticeships offer cutting-edge training in the skilled trades — plumbing, pipefitting, and bricklaying, to name a few. And that training often translates into college credit.

But instead of gathering debt, apprentices “earn while they learn” their trades.

North America’s Building Trades Unions have been offering apprenticeship programs for more than 100 years. The organization’s president, Sean McGarvey, told me why now is the time to learn a skilled trade.

1. You can build your way to a college degree

The average college grad is suffocating under a $35,000 pile of student debt. Apprentices learn skilled crafts and earn college diplomas without incurring such crippling debt loads.

Two hundred colleges across the country have formed the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium to ensure that apprenticeships count toward Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees.

“The opportunities are endless for students who possess both academic and craft skills,” said McGarvey. “And because they’re not weighed down by student debt, apprentices are free to walk through any door they choose.”

2. The skilled trades can boost your skillset

Working with one’s hands is a skillful, noble career option. But for some reason, many Americans consider the skilled trades grimy, dangerous, and grinding labor.

“Anyone who views blue-collar work as a second-rate career has probably never set foot in an apprenticeship training facility,” said McGarvey. “Modern apprentices are more likely to use a computer-based modeling system than a hammer and nails.”

In his book The Mind at Work, UCLA’s Mike Rose combats the blue-collar stereotype by comparing welding to artful calligraphy and even surgery: “You’re taking two separate entities and making them one.”

Apprenticeships equip workers with the problem-solving and planning skills — not to mention the eye for details — that today’s employers crave.

3. Help is most definitely wanted

Thanks in part to an aging workforce, 2.5 million blue-collar jobs will open up by 2017. The lack of qualified applicants for this growing number of openings in the skilled trades is keeping employers up at night.

In this environment, high-quality apprenticeship training is a ticket to secure employment.

McGarvey’s organization runs 1,900 privately funded apprenticeship training centers across the country. Contact your local building trades council to inquire about apprenticeship opportunities, and find job openings here.

4. Apprenticeships offer a leg up on the ladder to the middle class

Many apprenticeship programs recruit with an eye on diversity. Detroit’s union-community pre-apprenticeship partnership Access for All, for example, diligently recruits in underserved communities.

The first graduating cohort boasted a 100 percent acceptance rate into full-time apprenticeships. Increasing demand from employers for apprentices is driving the program’s growth.

Thanks to apprenticeships’ “earn while you learn” model, apprentices don’t just survive as members of the middle class — they thrive. Newly-minted apprenticeship graduates go on to claim $50,000 annual starting salaries.

“It’s about time someone offered underserved Americans a leg up on the ladder to the middle class,” said McGarvey. “Apprenticeship programs are doing just that.”

Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a blue-collar ” information gap.” Many young people don’t know that debt-free apprenticeships exist — or that they can provide college credit. Skilled-trade apprenticeship programs offer a modern, financially sound, diverse education.

“If we let students know this from a young age, we’ll illuminate a viable pathway to stable jobs — and America’s future will look a lot brighter,” said McGarvey.

More Than 260 Students Attend Career Fair In Greater St. Louis Area

This article first appeared on People and Parts. You can view the original article here.

Planned as annual event, some students hired on the spot.

Automotive and collision repair students in the St. Louis area pondering their postgraduate employment were recently shown just how much their skills are needed. The St. Louis I-CAR Committee held its first career fair, the “Cars, Careers, & Celebrities Expo,” which it plans to be an annual event, April 28 at Enterprise Holdings’ global headquarters.

More than 260 students – from Lewis and Clark Career Center, North Tech High School, South Tech High School, and Ranken Technical College – brought their resumes to the eight-hour event, where they could talk with recruiters from more than 30 companies, some of whom offered them jobs on the spot. A variety of segments in the automotive aftermarket was represented, including equipment, paint, and paintless dent repair.

“Today has been incredible,” said Kurt Barks, CEO of Complete Auto Body. “I believe we have four solid applicants that we can use who will take our job offers.”

Barks said his business, which also includes mechanical repair, will be able to hire two for each discipline. The event will allow his business to hire students while in high school, he said, allowing them to work at a higher level and pay rate after graduating because they will more quickly gain experience, seniority and obtain their Motor Vehicle Inspection license, he said.

Committee member Gene Slattery, CEO of Automotive Technology Inc., said that unique among the career fairs being held in the country by I-CAR’s Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), the St. Louis committee sought the participation of mechanical students, who made up about half of those in attendance, because there is also demand for them in a collision repair shop.

Brandon Eckenrode, director of development for CREF, said the foundation held 10 similar career fairs in the country. But compared to CREF-organized fairs, the St. Louis committee was able to attract more than twice as many vendors and about 30 percent more students, he said.

“This local group was able to reach out to people they know and do business with,” he said. “So we’re trying to mimic what they’ve done here.”

Ken Neuman, Auto Body instructor at South Technical High School, said his students are coached through the guidance counselor’s office toward the end of the school year on how to participate in a job interview, but the career fair allowed them to put those skills to the test.

Recruiters were not disappointed.

“I go to a lot of job fairs, and these are probably the most disciplined students I’ve seen,” said Dan Lovekamp, director of training at the Auffenberg Dealer Group, who was at the fair with Recruiter Beth Schumacher. “They’re polite, they ask good questions, and they’re engaged.”

Lovekamp said he was impressed by the students’ respectful and professional introductions and their genuine interest shown.

“They say, ‘This is the kind of job I’m looking for. Do you have that to offer?’ They’re right on target. And they thank us for being here. And that doesn’t happen.”

In addition to door prizes awarded throughout the day, lunch, and refreshments were provided by Enterprise, which recognizes how critical the nationwide staffing shortage is to it and its business partners.

“The insurance replacement industry is a critical part of our business mix,” said Dan Friedman, Enterprise’s assistant vice president of the Collision Industry/Strategic Sales Insurance Replacement Division. “Being able to find enough skilled technicians to work in shops is arguably the most critical issue facing the industry. We do everything we can to support efforts and initiatives to address that concern.”

The inaugural event led up to the committee’s main event, the Sept. 23 Gateway Automotive and Collision Career Fair, held at Gateway Motorsport Park in Madison, Ill., from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. That will coincide with qualifying for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, and is expected to draw more recruiters and students from a wider geographic area. The committee is picking up the tab for students and instructors to participate in the day’s activities, Slattery said.

“We’re looking for 50 vendors at that program, and we’re going to be in a 1,500-person tent right on the starting line of the drag strip,” he said.

For a sponsor information packet, contact committee members Keith Hoeferlin, at Keith.J.Hoeferlin@ehi.com, or Kevin Haller, at kevin@schaeferautobody.com.

Online Registration Re-Opened

Complete your required school registration paperwork online through the SIS Parent Portal.

Click Here to Watch the Training Video

Parents and Guardians, if you have not used the Parent Portal before for Special School District or have forgotten your username or password, please complete the Parent Portal Access Form at www.southtechnical.org/Portal to receive your username and password.

Once you receive your username and password, please go to the Parent Portal: https://sdm.sisk12.com/ssd360.


Step by step directions for Online Registration can be found here. Even if you have completed this paperwork for your sending district (Mehlville, Rockwood, Parkway, etc.) we still need parents to complete this paperwork for Tech. In addition to Online Registration, the Parent Portal allows parents and guardians access to their student’s attendance record, class schedule, school schedule, and lunch balance.

  • Online Registration should only take 10-15 minutes to complete.
  • Registration does not have to be completed in one sitting. Your progress is saved as you go.
  • The Parent Portal works on most internet enabled devices including desktops, laptops, tablets, and Smart Phones.
Success in the New Economy

The article “Success in the New Economy” by Kevin Fleming first appeared on CareerCruising.com. You can view the original article here.

Countless articles in the media site a correlation between higher degrees and higher income. This perceived higher earnings for having a 4-year degree has fueled a “college for all” philosophy; causing educators and parents to encourage going to the university – any university – to major in anything – in pursuit of future job security, social mobility, and financial prosperity. But with rising education costs and the oversaturation of some academic majors in the workforce, many of us know that that the university-bound pathway isn’t for everyone…at least not immediately after high school.

We know that only a quarter of those that initially enroll will complete a bachelor’s degree; and for many their career exploration process begins after graduation. It is here that many discover that their degree may not have prepared them for the world of work. They may be highly educated, but not every degree is direct preparation for employment (like my philosophy degree). This misalignment between degrees and job skills causes half of university graduates to be under-employed in what are called gray-collar jobs; taking positions that do not require the education they have received, at a cost that is more than they can afford. All while the income for the top individuals in a wide variety of skilled jobs that require an industry credential or 2-year degree is far higher than the average income for many occupations that claim to require a 4-year degree; and each of these technicians are in very high skilled areas that are in great demand. Well-intentioned attempts to send more and more students straight to the university will not change the types of jobs that dominate our economy, nor will a “college-for-all” mentality mask these labor market realities. This message needs to be significantly broadened to include career exploration and “a post-high school credential for all.”

Since new and emerging occupations in every industry now require a combination of academic knowledge and technical ability, we need to ensure that we’re guiding students towards careers and not just to the university. The Career Cruising products are excellent examples of tools that help to identify personally appropriate career pathways and educational alternatives for people of all ages. Alas, not everyone uses Career Cruising. So how else can we ensure each student’s success – regardless which path they take – and how do we communicate this message to our fellow educators, counselors, and parents?

In collaboration with Citrus College in Southern California, a motion graphics video was developed to explain the importance of self-exploration, career exploration, and why educational institutions and parents should be promoting alternatives to career-success other than solely baccalaureate achievement. This popular video, “Success in the New Economy: How prospective college students can gain a competitive advantage,” discusses the real workforce demands and the best role for career & technical education in preparing students for high-wage, in-demand jobs. You may view this video at http://vimeo.com/67277269. I encourage you to share this video and continue to educate others around you about the realities of today’s labor market. Thanks to companies like Career Cruising, and as a result of your personal passion for all students to succeed, the career & technical education revolution is spreading far and wide in schools across America. Keep up the great work; we owe it to our students, and to ourselves.

About Kevin Fleming

Passionate to help all students fulfill their potential, Kevin is Dean of Instruction for Career & Technical Education at Norco College (CA), serves as the Principle Investigator for the National Center for Supply Chain Technology Education, and is managing partner for Telos Educational Services.

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Special School District Notice of Non-Discrimination and Accommodation

Special School District does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation against an individual based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation, ancestry, disability, veteran status, age, or activity protected by federal or state law in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. Direct inquiries and complaints under this policy to Special School District’s Director – Compliance Liaison, 12110 Clayton Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63131, telephone (314) 989-8100 or to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, One Petticoat Lane, 1010 Walnut Street, 3rd Floor, Suite 320, Kansas City, Missouri 64106, telephone (816) 268-0550, fax (816) 268-0599, TDD (800) 877-8339, email OCR.KansasCity@ed.gov Information about the existence and location of services, activities, and facilities accessible to impaired persons can be obtained from the Special School District’s Director – Compliance Liaison at the phone number and address listed above.
314.989.7400 • 12721 West Watson Road, St. Louis, MO 63127