By Mary-Justine Lanyon
The goal of the Career Technical Education (CTE) classes at Rim of the World High School is to expose students to different careers and the paths they can take from there.
Stephanie Phillips, the CTE coordinator at Rim High, outlined the program to members of the Rotary Club of Crestline-Lake Gregory at their Oct. 26 meeting.
The classes are A-G approved, which Phillips said means they qualify for the Cal State and UC universities.
The courses are offered in two-year pathways. Rim currently offers nine pathways – automotive technology, construction trades, emergency medical responder, fire technology, game design, graphic design, medical core, television and video production, and welding technology – with 19 courses.
The most recent available data (2021-2022) showed that 535 students at Rim High were enrolled in CTE classes. Because many students take more than one class, there were 721 enrollments in the 19 courses.
The CTE classes meet the four SPSA (School Plan for Student Achievement) goals: rigorous, relevant and engaging learning; every student college and career ready; high-quality physical environment; and parent and community involvement.
These classes, Phillips explained, are aligned with state standards just as math and history are. As for their relevance, industry professionals offer input for all the classes, which are taught by people who have experience in that field. And because there are project-based learning opportunities, the courses are engaging.
Students attend the annual college and career fair and experience hands-on learning in their classes, gaining technical, academic and employability skills.
In automotive technology, for example, the students work on the race car that teacher Dave Meigide races every year, with advanced students acting as the pit crew. Students in the fire technology class went on a field trip to the San Bernardino County Fire Department training center. There they observed a live fire demonstration, a forcible entry demonstration, victim recovery, CPR and the loading of patients into an ambulance.
CTE students attended an apprenticeship expo and went on a field trip to TV station KVCR and San Bernardino Valley College. The program manager, Rick Dulock, told Phillips, “In my 20+ years at KVCR, I cannot recall a more engaged and enthusiastic group of teenagers. Thanks for the visit. It made my day!”
Rim Today, produced by the TV and video production students, is in its 23rd season at Rim High.
“We have just finished spending $2 million in grants,” Phillips said. “We have all state-of-the-art equipment and software.” Much of that equipment, she added, is what is used in industry.
Phillips recently purchased welding simulators on which beginning students learn the necessary skills. This saves a tremendous amount of money as the supplies are expensive. Once the students master the skills, they start working with the materials.
She also purchased driving simulators on which students learn how to drive big rigs. “We researched them for months,” Phillips said, “and we found the most realistic. When the student starts the engine, the seat rattles and it makes a semi-truck sound.”
When Athen Services called the driving simulator manufacturer in Canada to inquire about them, they were told, “You have two in your backyard.” They called Phillips, came to the school and sat in them.
“They were amazed we have them at a high school,” Phillips said, “And they ordered them. Industry reached out to us!”
The graphic design and ceramics teachers – Rob Wilson and Jason Stehmeier – partnered to design and create 3D-printed stamps that are being used on Lake Arrowhead Brewing Co. mugs.
At the CTE Corner Store, a variety of Rim gear is sold. A major donor came to visit and said, “This is exactly what I want students to experience.” And she cried, Phillips said, out of happiness.
The medical core students have an ambulance simulator they work in, as well as an ER.
The welding shop was gutted, painted and rebuilt by the teacher and the students. “They have such ownership and pride in it,” Phillips said. “This is a state-of-the-art, truly amazing welding shop.”
Students in construction trades (formerly woodworking) have said they have learned math better in that class than in math class. “The math teacher is partnering with us to see how we’re teaching,” Phillips said.
These CTE classes are designed, Phillips said, “to provide students with a challenging, market-relevant curriculum that leads to the mastery of job skills and reinforces academic as well as workplace skills.”