By Mary-Justine Lanyon
Since ROP/CTE (Regional Occupational Program/Career Technical Education) classes are typically hands on, the ROP teachers at Rim High have had to find software programs they can use with their students during this time of distance learning.
Stephanie Phillips, who has coordinated the ROP classes at Rim High for 27 years, told members of the Mountain Sunrise Rotary Club that what she has helped the teachers find is software that offers interactive lessons
“It’s all about trying to keep students engaged,” she said. “Many log on to the classes but they are not engaged. We are trying to make it fun and exciting for them so they’ll participate.”
She mentioned such programs as Quizizz, Virtual Job Shadow, ReelDx, Visible Body and Gravit.
Through Quizizz, students play to learn at their own pace and compete to improve. Virtual Job Shadow is a program the school has had for several years. It has more than 1,000 professionally produced job videos. Students take an interest assessment and can explore careers.
ReelDx gives students in the Medical Core classes the opportunity to review real patient case videos. They also use the Visible Body software, which is used by hospitals and doctors.
In the Auto Technology classes, students have been watching shop safety videos. Teacher Dave Meigide has also been doing live Zoom lessons on shop procedures and diagnosis.
The TV and Video Production students are using an online-based video editing platform to do what Phillips called “guerrilla-style videography.” A greater emphasis is being placed on film theory and film production in their distance learning classes.
“Students still have to pass shop safety in woodworking,” Phillips said. “And, when we come back, they will have to do shop safety again as a refresher because then they will be working on the machines.” They have watched a video on how to frame a house, on turning a wood bowl.
“We’re doing the same thing in welding,” Phillips said. In addition, students are watching teacher Pete Ferrera build a base for a 55-gallon fish tank that will go into one of the science classrooms.
Through Customer Service, students are learning about budgeting and finance – how to buy and finance a car and not get scammed – the expense of going to Disneyland, which is more than just the ticket.
The most important thing during this unusual time, Phillips said, is the well-being of the students. “Teachers are doing their best to support students emotionally by focusing on positive teacher-student relationships and by creating a class environment that is relaxed and fun.
“Maintaining a consistent positive attitude is hopefully giving students a little ray of hope and joy. We get emotional just thinking about it,” Phillips added.
She noted that she had been fortunate enough to cover Criminal Justice until about a month ago, when a new teacher was hired. “I told the students the highlight of my day was logging in and seeing their faces on Zoom.
“Letting them know we care is so important,” Phillips said.
One teacher, she said, spends a large part of his day recording his lesson so students have access to it at any time.
“Students cannot always work on their assignments when teachers expect them to,” Phillips said. “Some are caring for younger siblings or they may have a bad Internet connection.”
She was excited to tell the Rotarians about the ambulance simulator the school is buying with a $53,000 grant. “The fire department and local emergency agencies are very excited about this,” Phillips said, “and want to be part of this.
In the same portable where they will install the ambulance simulator, they will also install a mock emergency room.
“We are reaching out to Mountains Community Hospital and Loma Linda. Brian (Leidner, the Medical Core teacher) and I met with the MCH folks. They are looking for things they can donate to us – beds, IV racks. We’re writing a grant for a lifelike mannequin.”
“I don’t think everyone realizes how lucky we are,” said Rotarian Rory Balmer of Twin Peaks Auto Service. “There is not this commitment in other small rural communities. Stephanie is so committed – she makes this happen for us. This is an amazing thing.”
Balmer added that the crew in his shop has been working every day during the pandemic. “It’s important for the kids to understand they have this option. Stephanie helps connect kids with their passion. Many schools don’t connect students to their passions and what they can achieve in life. A lot of people will find it later in life and wish they had had someone like Stephanie in high school.”
“If you find a passion,” Phillips said, “you never work a day in your life. We get students interested in a career. If they want to be a fireman, we show them how fun and fulfilling it is. Our Rim High reporters work with students in middle and elementary school. The Fire Science students give assemblies at the elementary schools.”
“A lot of people probably question how you can teach these classes online,” Balmer said. “They can – technology is amazing. The students can rewatch it so it can be retained better. Students are learning a lot more than you might think. I know because I’ve had to take update classes online.
“We have to realize how blessed we are and support these programs.”