“Students/people have to learn to 'do things'!"
-- Bryan Kendall, teacher of graphic design and manufacturing at Jurupa Valley High School
JVHS, a hub of innovation, blends academic concepts with technical learning to help every student build hands-on skills and lay the groundwork for college and careers.
“The students I talk with all love the fact that we are giving them real-world education to go along with general and college-prep education," said Jeremy Rager, a construction teacher.
Mario Sanson, who teaches innovation and design, added that Career Technical Education (CTE) courses help students develop critical thinking skills – and understand how to get and keep a job.
JVHS offers CTE courses in agriculture, auto mechanics, construction, engineering, graphic design, Graphic Information Systems (GIS), innovation, and manufacturing.
The school's growing CTE portfolio also emphasizes soft skills such as teamwork, work ethic, and leadership. Richard Leach, the automotive technology teacher, said, “Students learn the importance of being punctual, accountable, and responsible."
According to JVHS Principal Kimberly Corbin, the school has expanded CTE to broaden student access to industry-related experience. As CTE educators engage students who might struggle in other classes, “we see students' confidence grow, which often spills over into their other work," she said.
At Jurupa Valley High, all CTE facilities are updated and contain state-of-the-art, industry-grade technology and equipment.
JVHS offers a range of new and expanded CTE programs and workspaces, including a state-of-the-art, $5.5 million, 9,600 square-foot Innovation Center opened in 2018.
Fernando Cerda, an engineering/manufacturing teacher, praised the Innovation Center as a flexible learning environment with “some of the newest equipment out there."
Desiree Morse, a teacher of graphic design, said, “Over the last five years we have brought in engineering, building and construction, GIS, graphic design and print tech, and dramatically improved our auto classes. CTE has made a big difference on our campus by providing more options for our students to explore."
This year, JVHS students in the GIS program have begun combing the community to collect and analyze geographical data using mobile technology. The school also added an advanced agricultural science course that receives honors credit.
Learning without limits
At JVHS, CTE courses are supportive, inclusive and provide a niche for every student.
For instance, Mr. Leach, who teaches six periods of auto technology, provides access to all students regardless of their physical, emotional and/or learning needs.
Mr. Rager said, “The thing I like to hear the most is when students tell me, 'I didn't think I could do that.' … “I had a student last year come in mid-year. She proceeded to tell me how she wanted out and 'girls can't do this.' After just one semester in my class, she is trying to get her credits back up so she can come back and take my advanced class to 'learn and have more fun' in BITA (construction) 2."
Agriculture teacher Rhonda Fuller added, “One young lady comes from a very low-income background. She has been able to raise money through the ag program and her projects. She is a leader in our program and has also been able to help her family."
The JVHS Innovation Center contains an evolving range of industry-standard equipment. The facility features 3D printers, laser cutters/engravers, various types of Computer Numerical Controlled machines, real and virtual-reality welding machines, VR headsets, robotics equipment, interactive projectors and more.
The school's engineering career path spans four years and covers, in order, 3D modeling, robotics, manufacturing, and design and development. In year 4, students apply their learning from years 1-3 to truly innovate, creating their own designs.
In students' words:
Braelea, a junior, enjoys showing animals, serving as an officer in the agriculture program, and building leadership skills. “I am learning what I need to know to teach agriculture," she said. “Ms. Fuller is giving me many opportunities to grow."
Tim Trapp, a senior, enjoys the challenge of diagnosing and fixing, various problems with vehicles. He is applying to the Universal Technical Institute (UTI): “I am hoping to be admitted to the heavy diesel mechanics program."
Adam, a JVHS junior who wants to join the California Highway Patrol, said, “This class will help with my career goals because of the knowledge I've gained. If I have to go into a building I will have an understanding of how it is constructed."
Isaiah, a junior, plans to become a chemical engineer and has learned to use tools such as a metal cutter, plasma cutter, laser cutter, bench mill, and 3D printer. “This class will help me reach my long-term goals," he said.
Juan, a junior who aspires to work in law enforcement, enjoyed learning about job opportunities related to GIS. He said, “Information collecting is interesting. You can find reports on crime rates in cities or weather in different countries."
Brian, a junior who plans to attend college and study business, enjoys Adobe Illustrator and says the ubiquity of graphic design might surprise people. “This class will help with making an iconic logo for a business that impresses the eye," he said.
Graphic Design and Manufacturing
Jason, a senior, enjoys designing and printing T-shirts, both for himself – a beach-themed shirt is a favorite – and others. “Taking this class gives me options. I know Adobe Illustrator and can be a screen printer if being a firefighter doesn't work out."
Innovation and Design
Chloe, a senior, said, “I enjoyed making a Puzzle Cube: a 3 x 3 cube that you build in five parts. You make a multi-view sketch and all of the pieces must fit together. The skills I learn here will help me in the automotive field or in engineering."
Mr. Cerda: “All of our CTE programs give our students skills that could get them a good-paying job right out of high school or give them a head start in their college career."
Mr. Rager: “Students have the freedom to choose many different pathways and can even take multiple pathways throughout their tenure here. We help them find a path that not only will help them succeed in school but also in the 'real world' by opening their eyes and minds to different points of view and career opportunities."
Learn more about JUSD CTE programs during the CTE portion of Jurupa Unified's High School Showcase, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 21 at 4850 Pedley Road, Jurupa Valley.