In recognition of their dedication to providing quality Career Technical Education (CTE) programs, College and Career Advantage (CCA), in partnership with Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD), has been awarded the prestigious Golden Bell Award for 2023. The Golden Bell Awards, presented by the California School Boards Association (CSBA), celebrate outstanding educational programs and practices that make a significant impact on students’ lives. With over 230 applications submitted for categories ranging from Equity and Access to Technology Innovation, CCA and CUSD are among the 50 winners who have been honored for exceptional commitment to their programs.
The CCA team led a CSBA representative on an immersive tour of the CTE offerings in CUSD, spanning from elementary school to the Adult Education program. The journey began with a visit to the groundbreaking iCan Lab at Malcom Elementary School, just one facet of CCA and CUSD’s innovative approach to making CTE accessible to all students. In the 2022-23 academic year, CUSD and CCA embarked on an ambitious initiative, introducing CTE labs in all 33 elementary schools across the district, marking a noteworthy achievement. These labs are complemented by elementary educators who deliver CTE-infused core content lessons in subjects like mathematics, science, social studies, and English. What sets these labs apart is their seamless integration of cutting-edge technology tools, including 3D printers, Cricut cutters, Marty the Robot, and an array of other resources, directly into the core academic curriculum. This integration serves a dual purpose: introducing students to the world of CTE tools and igniting their passion for the broader CTE curriculum awaiting them in middle and high school.
Notably, CUSD distinguishes itself as one of the select few districts in the state offering CTE elementary labs. This underscores their unwavering commitment to equipping elementary students with the skills and knowledge required for college and career readiness, beginning at an early stage.
The validator also had the opportunity to explore the state-of-the-art labs at Capistrano Valley High School, including the Engineering and Manufacturing lab. Here, students are gaining hands-on experience with industry-grade CNC mills and lathes, as well as laser engravers and 3D printers. The tour concluded at the CCA Career Training Center, conveniently situated in the same parking lot as the high school. This center plays a pivotal role in offering career education courses tailored to kickstart students’ journeys into promising and dynamic career paths. With six well-equipped labs, it provides training opportunities across various fields, ranging from dental assisting, emergency medical technology, and pharmacy technology to surgical technology and hotel hospitality. These immersive visits offered a firsthand look at the transformative CTE opportunities that CCA and CUSD are delivering to students, spanning from elementary school through to adulthood.
CCA and CUSD have seen remarkable growth in CTE participation over the last eight years, with an 83% increase in students taking CTE classes. When factoring in the elementary iCan labs, the increase in students with access to CTE rises to an impressive 483%.
This Golden Bell Award is a testament to CCA and CUSD’s commitment to fostering innovative, impactful, and inclusive educational opportunities for their students. This recognition not only highlights their dedication but also showcases them as role models for other school districts in California. The Golden Bell Awards ceremony will take place on November 30th, 2023, at the CSBA conference in San Francisco, where CCA and CUSD will be celebrated for their outstanding contributions to CTE and their unwavering commitment to providing students with the skills and knowledge needed for successful futures. For more information about the CSBA Golden Bell Awards, visit http://awards.csba.org/golden-bell. For more information about CTE offerings for CUSD students, visit www.ccadvantage.org.