Beacon Career Fair A Success With Teens, Businesses and Organizations

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There was great turnout at Beacon High School’s Career Fair today! Plenty of interested students asked questions... and foraged for free cookies. A Little Beacon Blog bribed passers-by with stickers, and for the writers and bloggers in the house (they are usually very shy and quiet when approaching the table), we gave writers our tote bag.

Each year we are happy to engage with teens to show them the resources they didn’t know about yet, like our recent article about the (free) Dia Teens Art Program, and the Open Sketch session at the Beacon Library. One student who visited the table is about to be published in the Poughkeepsie Journal for an article she wrote!

Salon Dae (the salon near Dutchess Airport) was in attendance with opportunities for hair stylists, and did braiding on the spot. Next to Salon Dae was Twins Barber Shop from Beacon’s Main Street, clipping away. The Twins always draw the largest crowd!

Across the way were the fire 🔥 fighters, who were giving demonstrations using a smoke machine. Antalek & Moore Insurance brought their corn hole game and had quite the competitions going on. For the rest of us, it was hard to compete with all that action!

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The EMS Education table was in a good spot to reach interested prospective first responders, who need the education first to even get into the field. Other first responders included the Beacon Volunteer Ambulance Corps and the Beacon Police.

A Little Beacon Blog’s table was in between Wingate’s caregivers table, answering questions for men and women who might want to go into nursing and caregiving, which we learned provides job security as there has been a shortage of nurses, we were told. Dutchess County Tourism was on our other side - where we learned all sorts of things like how they are organizing workshops for businesses to help educate about best practices, like ADA compliance for websites. Good stuff, those busy bees are doing over there!

If you’re a business who wants to represent at the Beacon Career Fair next year and reach the students, email the organizer, school counselor Michele Polhamus at polhamus.m@beaconk12.org. The notification about the Career Fair usually goes out in March-ish for this annual May event.

2019 Career Fair at Beacon High School - Seeking Businesses To Participate

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The Beacon High School Career Fair is Thursday, May 23, from 10 am to 1:30 pm, and once again, the school is seeking businesses to participate so that students can see the huge range of careers that exist in the Hudson Valley, or that exist at all.

Types of Participating Businesses

Past participants have included illustrators, writers, bloggers, podcasters, engineers, drone operators, insurance agents, document storage companies, first responders, public servants, T-shirt making companies, peace organizations, law firms, and many more.

Don’t be shy or think your business is too big or too small or too unusual to participate. This is your time to show kids what they can do, what they can become. This is your time to let them look up to you and your business, and figure out what they can dream about becoming.

I have participated three years in a row, representing A Little Beacon Blog (online newspaper) and Tin Shingle (teaches businesses how to get the word out). This year I’ll also probably have my couture branding agency, Katie James, Inc. represent. Businesses are grouped with like businesses, so I’m usually in the Media or Communications section.

Pictured above are the writer Sarah Crow, who at the time was a regular contributor to publications like GQ, Bridal Guide, and MTV. Currently she is a Senior Editor at Galvanized, where she does all sorts of things like manage freelance writers and run the social media account for the brand, as well as research for the Eat This, Not That! podcast. Also pictured here is Tom Cerchiara, founder of TEC Land Surveying.

Interacting With The Kids During The High School Career Fair

Each time, kids approach my table shyly (you have to gently encourage them to come up to your table - unless you’re Twins Barber Shop, who give haircuts at their table, or Antalek & Moore, who brought the giant Jenga game last year), and quietly tell me about their secret blogs. Correction. Their friends usually tell me about a kid’s secret fashion blogs while elbowing their blogger friend to go on and tell me about it.

One young man had a secret passion for sketching, and didn’t want to be that open about it at home. I told him about the Sketch Book Open Studio meeting at the Beacon Public Library every Wednesday (on my radar from its spot in A Little Beacon Blog’s Kids Classes Guide), and encouraged him to go check it out.

How To Participate

To participate, email the School Counselor, Michele R. Polhamus, at polhamus.m@beaconk12.org. She would love to hear from you. Participating is really easy. Tables and chairs are set up for you, with access to power if you need it, though you need to coordinate with Michele in advance.

Deadline: Friday, May 3, 2019! But if you’re seeing this slightly after that deadline, go ahead and give it a try just in case.

Beacon High School Gets "Satisfactory" Air Quality Grade After Mold Issue

Dehumidifiers and HEPA air filters have been installed, and cleanup continues after mold surfaced at the beginning of the school year at J. V. Forrestal Elementary and Beacon High School. The elementary school passed inspection with a “Satisfactory” air quality grade, and now Beacon High School has received a “Satisfactory” air quality grade as well. Meanwhile, cleanup will continue in the high school’s theater. Beacon’s Superintendent, Matthew Landahl, issued an update to the Beacon City Schools Website, which was emailed to parents on Friday, September 21, 2018:

 

“Adaptive Environmental Consulting tested seven different locations, either hallways or classrooms, throughout Beacon High School on Monday, September 17 and then repeated the testing on Wednesday, September 19. All results came back with low amounts of mold and a Satisfactory air quality rating. ServPro will continue to clean the theater in the high school and we will update you when that work is complete. Again, thanks for your patience and support as we work through this.”

 

Mold Creeps Its Way Into Beacon High School, J.V. Forrestal, and 7 Other Dutchess County Schools - BCSD Is On It

The official end of summer will be here before we know it, and September is proving to be an extremely hot back-to-school month. Forget fall wardrobe outfits and new boots on the first day of school, or even for school pictures which happen a few weeks later. We’re talking 100% humidity, people. And not all of the schools or classrooms in the Beacon City School District have air conditioning.

Two days after the first day of school, Superintendent Matthew Landahl emailed parents in the district about mold creeping into the high school, and the quality of the air. He wrote twice on Friday, September 7, and again on Friday, September 14. Then the Poughkeepsie Journal reported on it, as mold occurrences are happening in other school districts, including Millbrook’s Elm Drive Elementary School (classes are shifting to the middle school; remediation is estimated to take six weeks, according to the article). Wingdale Elementary School in Dover closed for a day, and Hyde Park apparently has a longstanding mold issue at Park Elementary School, according to Nina Schutzman’s Poughkeepsie Journal article.

Communication and action in the Beacon City School District looked like this, with emails from Dr. Landahl on September 7, 2018 (these are partial clips of the correspondences):

 

“I am writing to let you know about an air quality issue that developed in 6 classrooms in Beacon High School the past three weeks and steps we have taken to remediate it.

“On August 20, the Head Custodian at Beacon High School noticed some mold that developed overnight on desktops and other surfaces in four science rooms in the high school (rooms C127, C133, C135, C141). He immediately notified our Director of Facilities Anthony D’Amato who started working with the BOCES Safety and Risk Coordinator Brian Colandrea. We believe that the mold developed in those four rooms due to the classrooms having many potted plants and aquariums. That combined with the extremely high humidity outside helped to develop conditions for mold growth.

“We hired an outside company, ServPro, to clean the four rooms over Labor Day weekend and we have ordered HEPA air filters and dehumidifiers for those rooms which will be in place at the beginning of next week. We have already received the air quality tests from those four classrooms and the results came back Satisfactory with the recommendation that we install dehumidifiers and HEPA air filters in those rooms.
[Editor’s Note: In the original email, “humidifier” was used in that last sentence, but “dehumidifier” was intended, as confirmed to A Little Beacon Blog by Dr. Landahl.]

On Tuesday, September 4, staff at the high school noticed some mold growing on instrument cases in the closet of the band room (room D163) and underneath the risers of the Chorus room (D157). Our own staff cleaned the instrument cases and furniture immediately. We will have the same company come in to clean those two rooms, and the Band/Chorus practice rooms which are in the same wing on Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9.”

 

As of now, the dehumidifiers and HEPA filters have been put into place. Later that same day on September 7, 2018, parents received another update:

 

“It came to my attention today that two downstairs classrooms at J.V. Forrestal Elementary had mold develop in window sills and some of the edges of desks one morning a few weeks ago. It was wiped down immediately the day it was found and did not return. Since it was reported today, we inspected all of the downstairs classrooms in Forrestal with people from ServPro this afternoon. We did find small amounts of mold in rooms 6-12 (fourth-grade classrooms, third-grade classrooms, and art). We will have ServPro clean all of the those rooms on Monday, September 10. We will also install HEPA air filters and dehumidifiers in those rooms next week. We will test the air quality after the cleaning and share those results with you when we have them.”

 

A week later, on September 14, with the 100% humidity unrelenting, Dr. Landahl shared another update with new developments. All of these updates have been posted on the Beacon City School District’s website. These are snippets of his updates:

 

“I am writing to provide another update on air quality at Beacon High School. Yesterday, we noticed some mold growth on some of the cloth seats in the Beacon High School theater. We had the theater visually inspected today by the industrial hygienist we have been working with from Adaptive Environmental Consulting and he concurred with our assessment.

“We want to take care of this as quickly as we can so we are going to close off this space for the next two [to] three weeks so we can run powerful dehumidifiers for an extended period of time and have cleaners from ServPro clean every seat and treat other surfaces in the theater. The reason we are closing the theater is so that the folks from ServPro can work uninterrupted during this timeframe. The Beacon Players will be able to rehearse in our gyms during this period of time. I apologize for the inconvenience this will cause people.

“We will continue to test for air quality throughout the high school and share those results with you. We will also continue to work with our air chiller in the high school to see what adjustments or fixes need to be done to help mitigate this in the future.”

 

Capital Plan Improvements In Beacon City Schools

Projects that are part of the Capital Improvement Plan, funded by a public budget vote in November 2017, may aid in the overall fight against mold that threatens any structure (you can read about them here in our article). For example, replacing carpet with tile at Glenham Elementary could help, as mold and dust fester in old carpets. I’m a mold-phobe, and have been known to rip out old carpet from my home in the middle of the night - only to make myself very sick in the process from dust and not wearing a protective air mask. I’m currently chiseling adhesive carpet tile from my sunroom. Block by block.

Rooftop ventilation systems are also slated for replacement at J.V. Forrestal and Sargent Elementary. Roof repairs are slated for Beacon High School and Rombout Middle School.

All eyes are on improvements, as it seems like things are on track to getting better. Until the next mold update!

UPDATE 9/21/2018

The Beacon High School received a “Satisfactory” air quality grade this week, resulting in an update issued from Dr. Landahl on the Beacon City Schools’ website and emailed to parents:

 

“Adaptive Environmental Consulting tested seven different locations, either hallways or classrooms, throughout Beacon High School on Monday, September 17 and then repeated the testing on Wednesday, September 19. All results came back with low amounts of mold and a Satisfactory air quality rating. ServPro will continue to clean the theater in the high school and we will update you when that work is complete. Again, thanks for your patience and support as we work through this.”

 

Beacon Team Wins Battle of the Books - A Multi-County High School Reading Competition

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The finals at this year's High School Battle of the Books on Saturday, August 18, 2018, culminated in a tight battle between kids from Beacon and teens representing neighboring libraries: Cold Spring and Wappingers. "The three-round final ended with Cold Spring and Beacon in a tie. Everyone was on the edge of their seats when the two teams met for the tie-breaking round," according to the press release from the Howland Public Library. Beacon answered the tie-breaking question correctly to become the 2018 Mid-Hudson Library System's third annual High School Battle of the Books champion.

Battle of the Books is a national summer reading program for middle- and high-school students in the five-county region of the Mid-Hudson Library System. The program began in 2005 as a way to encourage middle school students to read during the summer. In 2016, the program was extended to reach high school students as well. Congratulations to Butterfield Library's team, The Evil Latin Teachers, who were the second-place winners, and to Grinnell Green Grapes, who took home third place.    

Beacon Team Is Two-Time Champions, Five-Time Winners!

This is the Beacon team's second championship at the high school level, and their fifth win overall since the competition began in 2005. This year, 13 public libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System's five counties (Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, Ulster, and Greene) competed in this nationally recognized literature contest in which teens answer trivia questions based on books they read over the summer.

Individual library teams worked through the summer with their coaches to prepare for this final regional battle. Mini-battles were played throughout the summer to practice for the big event. Over 60 students in grades 9-12 participated, while coaches, family, and friends cheered them on. "The teams all proved to be winners when it came to knowledge, team spirit, and good sportsmanship," according the Howland Library's press release.

Join Next Year’s Battle of the Books Team

To find out when the Howland Public Library is recruiting for next year’s time for both Middle and High School age kids, subscribe to their newsletter and to A Little Beacon Blog’s newsletter. We usually put information like that in our Kids Classes Guide, as a helpful reminder of signup dates.

Special Thank You from The Howland Public Library

A message from the Howland Public Library:

A big thank you to the host venue, SUNY Ulster and Matt Pavloff, HS BOB chairperson. Congratulations to all of the volunteers and families who came out to support the teams, and the coaches and librarians who worked so hard throughout the year to make this special event possible.

The Howland Public Library team would like to give a special shout out to Harry Thorne for his help coaching the team and the Friends of the Howland Public Library who generously sponsor the Beacon team every year. Last but not least, many thanks to Pizza and Stuff for keeping the team's hungry minds fed all summer.