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Santana High School Dedicates New Buildings, Celebrates Career Training Program

School officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the new Career Technical Education building, classroom building and campus library.

students can better prepare for life after high school with the completion of the school’s Career Technical Education building, classroom building and campus library.

On Wednesday, students, staff and community members dedicated the $2.8 million modernization project with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“I know that we’ve got to create a whole new generation of leaders, of innovators, of entrepreneurs,” said Patrick Ainsworth, assistant superintendent of California Department of Education’s Career and College Transition Division. “The way we’re going to do it is to make sure that every student is prepared for career and college.”

The new 10-classroom Building 200, CTE building—also known as Building 800—and library feature indoor and outdoor classrooms, laboratories and applied learning spaces to prepare students for the workforce. Building 800 provides courses on alternative energy, architectural design, principles of engineering, civil engineering and other subjects.

Santana High School Principal said he was inspired to improve his school’s outdated vocational education programs after he attended a forum that advocated project-based learning five years ago.

The school was able to improve and expand its Career Technical Education program after the state awarded Santana High School a $1.4 million grant, funded by Proposition 1D. The Proposition H and Proposition U school bonds passed by voters in 2004 and 2008, respectively, doubled the funds.

“As you can probably tell, schools after 46 years need to be updated,” Schwuchow said. “Thanks to the voters in the East County for passing Prop H and Prop U, we are realizing that come true.”

Students participating in the school’s CTE program now have access to modern equipment and tools used in the fields they are studying.

“These are things people use every day in the field,” said architect and instructor Sarah Hatinen. “We are lucky that they are ahead of the game.”

In addition to the state-of-the-art equipment, students are taught by teachers who have worked in the fields they are learning about.

“The real secret here, beyond the beautiful buildings and the incredible equipment, are the teachers that are in these programs and the way they interact with the kids,” said Ralf Swenson, the superintendent of . “We have been blessed to bring some teachers on board into these programs on this campus who’ve come from the world of work.”

CTE instructors regularly meet to collaborate so courses and classroom projects are often connected. 

When learning about roller coasters last year, Santana High School senior Spencer Love explained he had to use physics to create a track, learn about the history of roller coasters and write a paper about what he learned. Love, who has participated in the school’s Environmental Design Academy for three years, said the program has helped him excel in his academic and career training courses, earning a 3.6 GPA.

“This program allowed me to be the best student I could possibly be,” Love said. “As a freshman, I was lost and I didn’t know what I was capable of. The Environmental Design Pathway opened my eyes.”

After graduation, Love hopes to continue his studies in engineering and eventually work in sustainable energy.

“I would encourage every student to enroll in such a program if given the opportunity, because it is truly mind opening and a great education.”

For more information about the CTE programs at Santana and schools in the Grossmont Union High School District, visit rop.guhsd.net.

Gary Pandolfi November 20, 2011 at 02:07 AM
Seeing what you had before and being in automotive for 35 plus years the students need hands on with lathes and all types of machines and test equiptment.They need donated cars to work on and to see their abilities performed in front of knowledgeable teachers who have been in the field to guide them down a path of technology that they can use in their field and at home.In Germany it is determined which track a student will take by middle school.If it is trade he starts purchasing his tools at that time to prepare him for a hands on technology life or if it is academic life starting with college.Get students prepared with the proper needs if he or she is going down the blue collar career with knowledgeable teachers and up to date equiptment.Thanks,G from La Mesa
Doug Curlee November 21, 2011 at 05:35 PM
i remember when santan had a great auto mechanics training program..an award winner.. what happened to that? doug
Tracy Lutes November 21, 2011 at 08:08 PM
After reading this article it makes me ask, "What was Tim Schwuchow thinking?". The metal and automotive shops that were replaced provided hands on experience for those students not intending on going to college and starting a career in those job fields. Those students going on to college gained practical experience allowing them to understand how things work. If one has no practical experience it is more difficult to perform in a job if one becomes an engineer as an example. It also appears Schwuchow has failed to take into account the community he serves. The school sits in a working class neighborhood. A significant percent of the Santana students are not going to go to college. How is Schwuchow preparing those students for jobs and to make a living? How does Schwuchow know what skills industry wants, what tools are needed in an automotive technology center when he has no work experience in automotive and related industries? The new automotive facility at Santana doesn't have any automobiles in it or being worked on and no automotive tools! How then can Schwuchow say he is providing vocational training? T. Lutes
Doug Curlee November 21, 2011 at 08:47 PM
tracy.. i think we're confusing "trechnical" training with "vocational" training.. there's a BIG difference...and i agree with you..a lot of kids are NOT going to college...as i said earlier, i remember when the santana auto repair program had a linre of kids waiting to get in.. that's gone, and it's a shame.. don't know what GUHSD was thinking then, or is thinking now.. doug

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