LHS steps up to meet 21st Century educational challenges

By Ed Martin, Editor
Conor Shortnacy tends to his robotics project and hopes for a career in engineering.
Conor Shortnacy tends to his robotics project and hopes for a career in engineering.

As our society faces technological, educational and agricultural challenges in the 21s Century, the educational community generally agrees that its schools need to do a better job of preparing kids to meet those challenges.

While Lemoore High School recognizes the challenges and has worked to meet many of those needs already, it has decided to do more by expanding its “pathways” to new and exciting careers in education, engineering and agricultural design.

Lemoore High School has embarked on a unique and important “path” that will ultimately prepare its students for exciting and important careers in Engineering, Education and Agriculture. The Lemoore High School District has partnered with the Tulare-Kings Pathways Project, the James Irvine Foundation, the National Academy Foundation and ConnectEd to ensure that its students are able to complete high school and are prepared for their college and career options.

Beginning in the2015-16 school year students at Lemoore High School will be able to enroll in Engineering, Careers in Education, and Agricultural Design and Fabrication classes that will ease the transition to college and work-related careers.

“Industry themed Pathways blend rigorous academics with real-world technical skills and work-based learning. As educators and industry leaders, we all share the responsibility for preparing our students for college and careers,” said LUHSD Superintendent Debbie Muro.

For example, incoming freshmen interested in Engineering will enroll in Fundamentals of Engineering, and continue their engineering education in subsequent classes like Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering and Computer Integrated Manufacturing.

Students interested in education will enroll in Life Skills, Family Living and Child Development and Careers in Education. Agriculture students may enroll in a series of Agriculture Design and Fabrication courses throughout their high school career, which will enable students to pursue careers in mechanics, welding and Ag Business.

Introductory information and Pathway applications for the Pathways program will be presented to parents and students at a series of parent nights scheduled in the Lemoore High School Presentation Center February 25 through March 5 at 6 p.m. The following dates and schools have been scheduled:

Feb. 25 – Akers, Central, Stratford, Island

Feb. 26 – Liberty, MIQ

Mar. 3 – Liberty, UCS

Mar. 5 – Spanish/Espanol language meeting

A mandatory parent and student meeting will be held on March 10, in the Presentation Center, beginning at 6 p.m. which will provide parents additional details and the contracts, which must be completed in order to be eligible for the Pathway program.

Muro said that LHS has always been proud of the way it prepares students to meet the workplace challenges in the global workforce.  The Pathways have been designed with specific curriculum in mind to give students the skills they need to compete in a society that demands innovation and expertise. Research has shown that 52 percent of Pathway graduates earn their college degrees in four years, compared to 32 percent nationally. Pathway graduates also earn more than non-pathway groups.

The Pathways are funded by the California Career Pathways Trust grant in partnership with the Tulare-Kings Pathways Project, the James Irvine Foundation, the National Academy Foundation and ConnectEd.  The consortium that received this grant includes high schools from both Tulare and Kings Counties working in partnership with Porterville College, College of the Sequoias and West Hills Community College Lemoore.

The Pathways at Lemoore High School have been developed to ensure that students are able to complete high school and are prepared for their college and career options.  These pathways will focus on curriculum and projects specific to their career.  They provide work-based learning opportunities in our community in the three career pathway options: Engineering, Education and Ag Design and Fabrication. 

Lemoore High is working with INNOVATE Tulare-Kings to provide work-based learning environments for students in the areas of education, engineering and agriculture.   Students will be able to apply their knowledge as interns with business and community partners which can lead to employment after high school. The following are integral partners in this unique endeavor:

  • The National Academy Foundation (NAF) is an acclaimed network of career-themed academies that open doors for underserved high school students to viable careers. For more than 30 years, NAF has refined a proven model that provides young people access to industry-specific curricula, work-based learning experiences, and relationships with business professionals. NAF academies focus on one of five career themes: finance, hospitality and tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences. More than 4,600 business professionals volunteer in classrooms, act as mentors, engage NAF students in paid internships, and serve on local advisory boards. During the 2012-13 school year over 62,000 students attended 546 NAF academies across 39 states, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 2012, NAF academies reported 97% of seniors graduated.
  • The James Irvine Foundation, since 1937 has provided more than $1.3 billion in grants to over 3,500 nonprofit organizations across California. The guiding principle is to expand opportunities for people, including students’ success.
  • ConnectEd, partners with communities to transform education through Linked Learning, ensuring that all students, regardless of background, graduate ready for college, career and life. It combines strong academics, demanding technical education and real-world experience.
  • Tulare Kings Pathway Project, recently received $15 million in funds from the California
    Career Pathways Trust which will allow Tulare and Kings Counties, including Lemoore High School, to expand learning opportunities for students in those counties, giving them the skills they need to succeed in college, career and life. Eleven districts, including Lemoore, are participating in the Tulare-Kings Pathways Project: Corcoran, Cutler-Orosi, Dinuba, Exeter, Hanford, Lindsay, Porterville, Tulare, Visalia, and Woodlake.

Lemoore High School staff has been busy putting together advisory committees consisting of professionals, parents, educators and students, and is preparing curriculum for the new courses, and ordering equipment. School officials are also currently planning for the recruitment of eighth grade students who will make up the initial classes in Engineering, Careers in Education and Agriculture Design and Fabrication.


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