Normally, the Carbon County Commission Chambers hosts commission meetings, work meetings and the like. However, the chambers recently witnessed a special panel discussion that took place with the new Carbon School District Superintendent, along with city, county and school officials.
The new superintendent, Lance Hatch, had the privilege of sitting with Price City Mayor Joe Piccolo, Pinnacle Canyon Academy Principal Roberta Hardy, Carbon County Commissioner Jake Mellor, USU Eastern Chancellor Joe Peterson and USU Eastern Vice Chancellor Gary Straquadine. Castleview Hospital’s CEO Mark Holyoak acted as the moderator for the panel discussion.
The event began with Mellor welcoming all and introducing each member to the room at large. Then, he spoke about his role in assisting to make the Pathways program successful in the community. He stated that while some people take time to decide what they would like to do as a career, some know right now.
Pathways is a streamlining program for students that have already decided what career they want to pursue. There are times in education where what is taught is not necessarily what is needed for a career. Mellor stated that the program is striving to bridge the gap and help those that need the necessary training to be successful in the workplace.
“At the end of the day, we want them to be employed,” Mellor stated.
Superintendent Hatch introduced himself and stated that he grew up in a small town just south of Moab. Hatch has spent his entire career in rural Utah, which he loves. He has a passion for the rural areas of Utah and has spent time in administration in the San Juan and Uintah school districts. Hatch said that he looks forward to working with the great people of Carbon County and is excited to be here.
Pinnacle Canyon Academy Principal Roberta Hardy then took some time to speak about the talent ready grant program. The school was the recipient of a $200,000 grant. Hardy comes from a long history in the medical field and stated that when the school first began, she wished for it to be a medical based school, where each student that graduated had a goal to work in the medical field. At the time, however, that was not achievable.
Hardy went on to state that when the grant came available, she sat down with the local university and Castleview Hospital, stating that the medical field is where many of the jobs will be in the future. This grant assists the students in high school to start taking career driven courses and not wait until they earn their diplomas. Hardy explained that when she approached the university with this idea, it was well received.
Mayor Piccolo then spoke to the other panel members and the audience about how education and more job opportunities are going to help the city and county thrive. Chancellor Peterson and vice chancellor Straquadine spoke about concurrent enrollment and the ways that it greatly benefits students.
Concurrent enrollment is an opportunity for high school students to enroll in college courses. One of the greatest components to this program is that students are able to achieve these credits without paying regular college tuition, which constitutes an economical way to complete a portion of a college degree. There are two basic categories of concurrent enrollment: standard academic courses like math, English, biology, science and art as well as career and technical education.
The panel drew to a close with remarks stating that, as residents of the county, it is important to help support goals and encourage the younger people in the community to invest in human capital.
The panel was superintendent Hatch’s first official day as superintendent for the school district.