CTE teachers Pete Ferrara, Rob Wilson, Dave Meigide, Jason Jackson and Jared Powell updated members of the Rim Ed board on their classes. (Photo by Mary-Justine Lanyon)
What is CTE?
An impressive array of courses at Rim High
By Mary-Justine Lanyon
You may have heard people refer to CTE or ROP classes at Rim High. And you have wondered just what those acronyms mean.
CTE (Career Technical Education) or ROP (Regional Occupational Program) classes teach hands-on classes to high school students, preparing them for possible careers in the real world after they graduate.
The brochure that lists the CTE classes offered at Rim High puts it this way: “fostering skills and creativity.”
There are classes in game design, graphic design, TV and video production, media arts, woodworking occupations, medical and health fields, welding, emergency medical responder, fire technology and automotive technology.
Four of the five teachers at Rim High recently met with members of the Rim of the World Educational Foundation and coordinator Stephanie Phillips to update the Rim Ed board on what is currently available to the students. Also participating in the discussion was Jason Jackson, the CTE teacher at Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School.
Jared Powell, who teaches the TV and video production, media arts and game design classes, said he recently had the owners of Foxhound come in to talk with his students. Foxhound, he said, is building sound stages and green screens. “This is going to be something special,” Powell said.
“They offered to let us use their facilities. We will plan field trips to their Crestline location.” Powell is also talking with them about internships for his students once they graduate.
He also had two alumni visit his classes recently. One is a cameraman on reality shows. He did a two-day workshop with Powell’s students. They shot a short film, learning how to plan out a scene and set up the lighting.
“It was a very valuable experience,” Powell said. “I am starting to see pieces of that information being internalized and showing up in the students’ work.”
Powell also had an alumnus who is a storyboard artist come and talk to his students. She has worked for the Cartoon Network and Disney and did a one-day workshop on storyboarding with his students.
Dave Meigide – who teaches the automotive technology classes – has taken his students to the drag strip at the Pomona Fairplex. They have another trip planned in March.
“It’s an eye-opener for the students,” Meigide said, “to see all the jobs involved with racing.”
Several years ago, over the course of five years, Meigide and his students built a race car which he enters in four races a year. “We are the only high school that goes so everyone watches us,” he said. “They ask me how I get a crew like that. All the students know what they’re doing.”
The race car, he said, is a “tool to get them interested in how everything works.”
Rob Wilson, who teaches the graphic design courses, said he has updated the equipment in his lab so it meets industry standards. He recently connected with a Rim graduate who is an instructor at Riverside Community College and runs the graphic design program there. “I want to take my students down there for a tour,” Wilson said. “He confirmed with me that a lot of what I’m teaching is what he needs out of his students and what’s needed in the industry.”
Pete Ferrara teaches both the welding and woodworking classes. The welding shop has recently undergone a total makeover, including the addition of a welding simulator. While one student is welding, the others can watch on the big screen.
“They get practice before they waste the materials,” Ferrara said. “And there’s a safety aspect to using the simulator. It makes the kids more comfortable before they try actual welding.”
Stephanie Phillips, the CTE coordinator at Rim High, noted they plan to add three more welding simulators. And, because they are portable, one could be taken to Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School for those students to try.
The woodworking program will transition to construction trades next school year. Phillips noted they had such a program years ago. “We want our students to learn all the skills they need to build a house, to do excavating.”
Recently Phillips took students to an apprentice expo for the trades. “We purchased two driving simulators so students can learn to drive a big rig, fire trucks, ambulances. It’s like sitting in the cab of a truck. And they can change the weather conditions. It keeps track of the student’s progress.”
Prior to purchasing the simulators, Phillips said, she reached out to the industry to find out what they were training their people on. And that’s what she bought.
“I talked with a Teamster union person about the simulators,” she said. “He wants to come up and see how it works, talk with the students.”
The simulators will be housed in a portable and will be used by students in the emergency medical responder, fire technology and automotive technology classes.
Phillips said they are also looking at simulators for students to learn to use front-end loaders, skip loaders, backhoes and excavators. “They had them at the expo,” she noted. The students got on them. One, who said he drives a tractor at his grandparents’ farm, told Phillips the simulator was just like driving the actual tractor.
“It’s all about exposing the students,” Phillips said.
As the coordinator, Phillips has applied for multiple grants over the past few years, reaping $2 million dollars for Rim. “I’ll write more grants going into next year,” she said. They will cover consumables, equipment and supplies. While the school district pays for the teachers’ salaries and benefits, they do not cover anything else.
At MPH, Jackson said, they offer the students the Rim Reporters program. They learn still photography and are learning editing.
“The kids who come to my class and Jared’s class from Jason’s class are ahead of the curve,” Wilson said, “They help the other students.”
Jackson would like to see the wood shop at MPH reopen. “We are missing tactile instruction on the MPH campus,” he said.
“We want to provide the students with a real-world experience,” Phillips said.