Ed. Note: In 2011, California’s legislature passed AB 790, a statewide initiative aimed at addressing the growing number of high school graduates unprepared or under-prepared for either college or a career. Studies document that up to 70 percent of high school seniors fall into one of these two categories. The initiative targeted 20 school districts and some 600,000 high school students across California. Schools implementing the Linked Learning Pilot Program – one of a number of school reform efforts in the state – integrate academic rigor with a demanding technical curriculum geared toward a professional field. In its first two years, the program has met with promising success. Coachella Valley High School is not in the pilot program but is implementing a similar program. This is the third and final installment of a series of reports by New America Media’s ethnic media partners on how these programs are being applied in some of the state’s most underserved communities.
BRENDA RINCON/New America Media
THERMAL, Calif. – This June, Stephany Madrigal will not only be graduating high school, but will be doing so as a certified medical assistant, qualified to enter the workforce and earn about $25,000 annually.
But she won’t be doing that.
Instead, she will attend California State University at San Marcos where she plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She hopes to work part-time as a medical assistant. She credits her academic success to Coachella Valley High School’s (CVHS) Health Careers Academy (HCA), a classroom-career training hybrid program often misunderstood even on its own campus.
“Other teachers and counselors that don’t have the buy-in or don’t have the understanding of what happens in the academies are some of our biggest problems, if you will, as we try to be more successful,” says Simon Moore, lead teacher for the HCA.
Read more at Coachella Unincorporated