Pathways Trust and Vallejo school district celebrates grant

By John Glidden
Vallejo Times Herald
jglidden@timesheraldonline.com @glid24 on Twitter
Posted:   10/21/2014 11:12:06 PM PDT

French novelist and Nobel Prize winner Anatole France once remarked that "nine tenths of education is encouragement."

That encouragement just received some encouragement of its own.

On Tuesday morning, various representatives from the Vallejo Career Pathways Trust met at the Solano Community College Vallejo Center to discuss how local children and college students will continue to receive that encouragement, after the trust was awarded a $6 million grant as part of the larger California Career Pathways Trust.

The CCPT awards grant amounts to individual districts and colleges to craft partnerships, which helps students learn a certain program, preparing the students to enter a career field after high school or continue on to college to learn more about the field.

"Very few school districts got this grant," Vallejo City Unified School District Superintendent Ramona Bishop said to those in attendance. She said the district's distinctive wall-to-wall academies was one of the reasons why the grant was awarded to the VCPT.

Bishop said that VCUSD is only one of three districts in California offering the wall-to-wall academies. Eleven high school wall-to-wall academies are split between Vallejo and Jesse Bethel high schools, which are comprised of biomedical, culinary arts, law, hospitality, engineering, health and fitness, multimedia, biotech, green, international finance, and visual and performing arts.

Bishop also said that the wall-to-wall model takes a huge group of students, normally seen in high school, and breaks them into smaller communities.

"We need to support kids' passions," said Touro University California's Justin Heard, assistant dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences and director of the Graduate School of Education. "That happens with the (Vallejo City Unified School) district."

Heard was one of eight members of a panel discussing the merits to district children with the formation of the trust.

He also said that several hundred district students have made a visit to the university as a way to learn about the various health degree programs that Touro offers.

"They even like to visit the cadaver lab," Heard said, causing those in attendance to laugh.

Heard said that the partnership is also helping to create teachers.

"We want to create highly motivated and passionate teachers," Heard said, while many in attendance nodded their heads in agreement to his statement.

Also speaking was Lilibeth Mora, lead teacher at the Vallejo High School Hospitality Academy.

"It's about developing partnerships in the community," she said about the grant and the wall-to-wall academies.

Mora said that students in the hospitality academy are able to earn college credit from Napa Valley College and Solano Community College, respectively.

"My students have something to show," she said. "They have something to prove.

Mora said that she was thankful toward the district for the wall-to-wall academies and what they have offered to her, as a teacher, and what they offer the students.

At the end of the presentation, Bishop asked for more community involvement.

"We need more community partnerships," she said. "We have 11th- and 12th-graders who are ready (to learn from community businesses).

"It's a bright opportunity," she added.

Contact John Glidden at 707-553-6832.