Career and Technical Education (CTE) Vista’s Shift in Education is Impressive

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By Roel Godinez –
On Tuesday, October 2, 2018, Rancho Buena Vista High School hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting for its brand new TV and film class studio. This federally funded $500,000 project introduced several audio recording rooms, a control studio, and a state-of-the-art broadcasting room. In its entirety, it is comparable to a real life newsroom that is complete with high-tech cameras, teleprompters, and multiple green screens. Students enrolled in these classes will receive real world experience in its finest form by using the most up-to-date equipment and filming practices. These renovations are projected to serve approximately 165 students annually. However, the new studio is far from a stand alone project. The Vista Unified School District (VUSD), has been striving to improve their CTE classes.

What is CTE? According to CTE Coordinator Kelley McKinney,

“Career and Technical Education courses are hands-on classes, taken in a 2 or 3 course pathway that prepare students for a pathway beyond high school. The focus of the courses is on how what they do in class would be used in industry. CTE gives students real world experience in a high school classroom and prepares them for industry.”

Since education experts acknowledge that core classes such as mathematics and language arts alone do not prepare students for employment, CTE is being recommended by school counselors and colleges. This is why McKinney is so dedicated to seeking federal grants that are used to sponsor such projects.

Kelley and the Vista Planning Commission are working toward replacing the portable classrooms at RBVHS with a two story CTE building; although, the grant request is currently pending.

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Architect Josh Eckle, who has designed many of the CTE classrooms says,

“The buildings are unique and interesting. Not just unique for the district, but unique for most schools in general. It’s part of a plan to get kids into their preferred industry and the jobs of the future.”

RBVHS, as well as VUSD’s two other competitive high schools, Vista High School and Mission Vista High School, have been gaining significant ground with such improvements. This year was RBVHS’s inaugural year with a Patient Care Class which is designed to replicate a typical hospital room. The curriculum for this class includes guest speakers such as nurses, therapists, firefighters, and student mentors: college students who are also pursuing careers in the medical field.

While RBVHS’s CTE program is still growing, Vista High School, which is by far the oldest school in the district, has a well established CTE program that is fashioned to prepare students to go directly into the workforce. Students have many uncommon opportunities, such as flight simulators, drone certification classes, a fully functioning auto shop, and a farm that is both agricultural and pastoral; they have about four cows, four sheep, and two goats. State-of-the-art classes include Culinary Arts, Photography, Game Design, and Film classes. The equipment in each classroom is impressive.

Mission Vista High School, the youngest of the three schools, offers CTE classes that are geared towards college preparedness. This past summer, the school had three classrooms completely renovated: Photography, Computer Science, and Graphic Design. Each of these classes offers from beginner to multiple level skills that aim to provide students with valuable skills that can be used in college as well as the workforce.

The photography teacher at Mission Vista High School, William Salley reflects,

“After I came back from the break, I was surprised by how dramatically that everything had changed. A big part of it was the general shift in energy. I think it was pretty exciting to be able to have such flexibility within the classroom.”

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