Wow! Hard to believe, but we are ending our 12th year of providing an alternative to high school students seeking preparation for college and careers through hands-on, STEM-centered learning. I am especially excited to welcome students to our new expanded facility in Vista [Click to view Video].
We are making plans for next year to be our best ever. We will be adding a Game Design class and a Digital Media class to our Computer Science pathway next year, Mechatronics to our Engineering pathway, and a sophomore and junior SAT prep course for our college bound students. In addition, phase 1 will be completed next year and we will have a great new fitness center and mechatronics classroom.
When I came to Trade Tech 9 years ago, I had a vision for what I wanted this school to be. I am humbled by how little I knew and have been thrilled with results that we have had so far. The staff here is truly amazing and I really only have a couple pieces to my vision to add and a couple improvements to make and then I can work on the next level. What are those missing pieces? Welding and Fabrication Lab, an Automotive Shop (with vehicle fabrication elements) and a better lunch program.
Welding is an amazing skill and career profession that can provide for an individual and family. I hope to expand our facility and equipment to offer it here one day soon. Same exact problem for the automotive program. As you can see, it is just money that holds those programs back. Lunch and food service is a different story. Next year we are breaking away from the school food model and moving to a sustainable restaurant model. It will be a multi year process, but will start with changing our schedule to include a nutrition break. We will serve breakfast, nutrition and lunch. We will do to the food what we have done with every other class and program here, we will care. It is no longer going to be about meeting the check boxes only. It is time to rethink school food and create a program that uses local eateries to provide some of the food. I will not be happy until my students and I can all answer “If this were a restaurant, would you eat here?” with a firm “Yes!” Better than that, our science students will begin composting our waste and the students will research and implement ways to reduce our food service’s footprint on the planet. Great for education and good for the planet.
I am always asked how our school is different from other high schools. Everything we do answers that question. Yes, we are a traditional high school in that we meet five days a week and offer English, Math and Social Studies, but that really is the end of the comparison, as traditional testing measures don’t give the full picture of what we do. One metric I am very proud of is our graduation rate of 99% over the last 10 years, which tells me we are on the right track.
What really makes Trade Tech different is our focus on Relationships, Relevance and Rigor. Students engage when they are a part of a team that cares about them. Our small classes and hands-on work lend themselves to students engaging in their studies.
We are a school-to-career high school with a commonsense approach to learning. College and postsecondary education is what you do on the way to a career, but our society places tremendous pressure on students earning college degrees for their own sake. Unless a student has researched and explored careers, they do not understand the true value of further education, whether it is in the form of technical training, certifications or college degrees.
So, can our graduates go to college? Yes! Last year, one of our graduating seniors was accepted to UC Irvine, UC Riverside, SDSU, and CSUSM and was offered a full ride at Vassar College in New York. Many of our students transfer to Palomar College or Mira Costa College. Most have already earned college credit either on our campus or at those campuses. We have a student moving onto San Francisco State in the fall and … we just had our first graduate accepted to UC Berkeley. Now that is exciting!
The most important way Trade Tech is different is that we look at students as individuals. Through our Advisory program, we try to help each student determine the strengths that will lead them to a successful career. Everything we do is focused on their short- and long-term success. Thank you for being part of that journey.