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High school students begin their careers as freshmen

High school students begin their careers as freshmen


visalia – High school students have varied career interests including everything from mechanics to movie make-up artists. And while career pathways used to be something that seniors discussed with their counselors before graduating is now something they begin training for as freshman.

Visalia Unified School District pupils studying in a variety of professional pathways set up displays to educate the public about their projects at the first annual Leaders of Tomorrow Student Expo. Held at the brand new and innovative Ridgeview Middle School, students spoke about their respective schools Career Pathways and Linked Learning Academies at the showcase.

Each VUSD high school had a variety of career programs on display. From Golden West, sophomores Michael Vinzon and Erik Alvarado discussed the photo essays of their dissection of drum brakes and pressure gages as part of the Ag Academy. Vinzon went on to illustrate how they pulled apart a harrow offset disc used to plow fields to understand how it works from both a mechanical as well as an conceptual perspective.

From El Diamante, Cheyenne Campbell and Nathan Velasquez went to Monsterpalooza last month in Pasadena through the Media ArtsAcademy. They were part of the only student team to build a costume, a latex dragon that could be controlled by a puppeteer classmate, for the conference contest. Nathan said he concentrates on cinematography and film editing while Campbell said she prefers production.

From Redwood, freshman Noelle Andrew showed off a 3D floor plan of her theoretical family law firm. She said her passion is to be a prosecutor but said she chose family law for her private practice capstone project.

VUSD offers two approaches to Career Technical Education in Visalia; Pathways and Academies.  VUSD offers over 15 Career Pathways across the district.  Pathways are a four-year sequence of career themed courses aimed at providing technical skill development in students.

VUSD also offers 10 career themed Linked Learning Academies.  Academies offer a four-year sequence of courses, but with the addition of two or more academic courses that combine students to create a cohort of classes and a school within a school model for students.

These programs are focused on college and career readiness, depending on the needs and next steps of the students. Visalia Partners in Education, Visalia Unified School District and the Visalia Chamber of Commerce work in concert to ultimately prepare students to meet needs of the 21st Century and ensure that there is a qualified workforce to support Visalia and Tulare County in the future.

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