Vocational instructors have an ‘Impact’ on students

February 6th, 2017

By Dennis Nartker | KPC News - The News Sun

Kendalville -

“Our instructors are our greatest assets,” said Impact Institute director Jim Walmsley.

February is national Career Technical Education Month, and Impact Institute administrators are celebrating it by recognizing instructors in its CTE programs and visiting the institute’s 13 member high schools to promote CTE programs to sophomores.

“Our instructors spend 2 1/2 hours each day with their students over two years. They talk about their students. They get to know them in a personal way, who they are as a person. They care about them and want them to succeed,” Walmsley said.

Impact Institute administrators plan to honor instructors at a luncheon Friday, Feb. 17.

Referring to Impact Institute’s CTE programs, he said the classes are a great way for juniors and seniors to start their careers while in school and earn credits for college.

Impact Institute — formerly known as Four County Vocational Cooperative until 2013 — was formed in June 1969 by a joint service agreement between 10 school corporations in northeast Indiana.

“Vocational classes at the high schools had gotten too expensive, so the school corporations decided to pool their resources to provide vocational opportunities for kids,” Walmsley said.

Impact Institute now serves 13 school districts in Noble, LaGrange, DeKalb, Steuben and Whitley counties, provides vocational programs and administers adult education courses, including high school equivalency. The institute has a 95.4 percent graduation rate.

It offers CTE programs at several Kendallville locations:

  • Culinary arts, automotive technology, computer-aided drafting, cosmetology and criminal justice, 580 Fairview Blvd.;
  • Auto body and collision repair, 1102 Dowling St.;
  • Interactive media and marine mechanics, 221 N. Angling Road;
  • Welding, precision machining and HVAC, 892 Dowling St.;
  • Primary health care, 351 N. Allen Chapel Road; and
  • Health occupations education, 401 Sawyer Road.

According to Impact Institute, its vocational programs use a competency-based curriculum approach and rely on student data and industry standards for continuing improvement.

High school juniors and seniors enrolled in a program spend half their school day in Impact Institute classes and half in high school classes.

Students can earn college credit and graduate with a certification in their chosen fields.

“It’s hands-on learning,” said Walmsley, who taught at East Noble High School and then was Impact Institute’s assistant director before becoming director in 2014.

Stephanie Ross is the assistant director for CTE/special populations coordinator, and Caroline Foster is the assistant director for adult education.

More information about Impact Institute and its career and technical education programs is available at impactinstitute.net, or email info@impactinstitute.net.