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Butler students to learn IT skills through grant

Air conditioning study also approved

Butler Area School District received a grant from Dell Technologies, which will give students experience with working on technology needs in their schools.

The school board approved a contract Monday, June 10, for a Dell Giving Charitable Grant, which provides $2,300 for curriculum and classroom support items for students; $1,700 for professional learning kits; and $400 for T-shirts for up to 20 children.

Lawrence “JR” Deere, director of information technology for the school district, said students will help prepare technology over the summer to be used by students in the coming school year. The work students do at the school district can even net them a certification through Dell, according to Deere.

“Every year, we have kids clamoring to help us out over the summer, we have a waiting list,” Deere said. “The program started from seven students all the way up to 15 students, and almost every single one of them is Dell-certified. That Dell certification is not just a student certification … they can carry it with them throughout college.”

Deere said the program is cost-effective for the district, and demonstrates good work ethic from the students involved.

“It saves us quite a bit of money,” Deere said. “Students are choosing to work with us for less than they would work at McDonald’s, we have a line of students that want to work for us … They are just tremendous.”

In addition to the education and experience the students receive in the IT field, Deere said he also will write them a letter of recommendation for future opportunities.

“It helps them with college, it helps them with getting internships and jobs,” Deere said.

School air conditioning

Also at Monday’s meeting, the school board approved a study of eight schools’ HVAC cooling systems for the potential installation of air conditioning in the buildings. Tower Engineering, a Pittsburgh-based company, will perform the study at a cost to the district of up to $21,800.

Superintendent Brian White said the schools included in the study are Butler Intermediate High School, Center Township Elementary, Connoquenessing Elementary, Emily Brittain Elementary, McQuistion Elementary, Northwest Elementary, Summit Elementary and Center Avenue Community School.

According to White, air conditioning has been a rising need in schools in the district, both because of failing air conditioning systems and student health and wellness.

“We are seeing more and more instances where we are getting pediatrician and physician notes saying that air conditioning is medically necessary for the student in the classroom,” White said.

The school district is asking for recommendations from Tower Engineering on how to upgrade HVAC systems in the buildings to improve their ventilation, cooling and dehumidification.

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