School districts purchasing new equipment with grant funds
SHERIDAN — Sheridan County School Districts 2 and 3 will soon be implementing new learning tools and equipment into their career and technical education programs through grant funds provided by the state, which districts believe will make students more employable.
Both districts will each receive up to $50,000 per year over the next two years from the Wyoming Department of Education through the department’s new State Career and Technical Education Grants. Weston County School District 7 in Upton is also a recipient of the grant funds.
SCSD2 will use the available funds to purchase multi-process welders, a computer numerical control (CNC) plasma table and a CNC simulator.
CNC plasma tables are used to precisely cut through various metals using a computer system. SCSD2 Assistant Superintendent Kristie Garriffa said the simulator the district is purchasing will allow students to safely test out different CNC codes before running them on the actual plasma table. She said this equipment in particular will give students exposure to the kind of automated manufacturing skills they need to be successful in the industry.
“Our ultimate goal is to help students develop job skills before they graduate so they’re able to solidify career goals while they're still in high school,” Garriffa said. “This will just really allow them greater opportunities to run automation, and ultimately will make them more skilled and employable.”
Garriffa said the district will also be adding to its architecture and construction programs by purchasing work benches, telescoping gauge sets, square sets and other materials to help students develop design skills.
SCSD3 agriculture and welding teacher Caleb Green said he intends to use the grant to fund several new hands-on learning aids from a company that produces lifelike models of humans and animals.
“They’ll be smaller-scale models of cattle, pigs, sheep … you can take pieces off of them, and you can look inside at models of the internal organs so we can talk about digestive systems and reproductive systems of livestock,” Green said. “There's also models of different cuts of meat you can get from those animals. It really just helps [students] to be able to see the anatomy of livestock … it really just makes my curriculum more well-rounded.”
Green said he’ll also be purchasing electrical wiring boards and remote-control tractors that students can build and use to discover how weight distribution, gravity and gears work.
“I'm kind of trying to cover both the shop side and the classroom side with this … so it’s a very big animal science, vet science and [agricultural] mechanics approach,” he said. “I think it’ll just really give them the ability to work with their hands … and be able to kind of have that ‘light bulb’ moment.”
Green said he hopes to have all the new equipment fully implemented into his curriculum within three years of receiving the grant funds from the state, which he said will likely be sometime this fall.
Caroline Elik is the education and sports reporter for The Sheridan Press.