Friday, January 30, 2015

What's New in GUHSD

Grossmont Students Model Career Readiness

Superintendent Swenson conducts a mock interview with student Ranya Gorgees
On Wednesday, January 21, I joined more than 20 local business professionals who took time out of their busy schedules to assist Grossmont Business teacher Nicole Thren’s mock interview program. For more than 17 years, the mock interview is the culminating final project for the first semester in Grossmont’s English for Business class.

Many local companies and District personnel have assisted in the effort year after year, lending their knowledge and expertise to our students as they prepare for real-life job interviews. The process helps students refine their job-seeking skills and provides them with valuable feedback concerning their appearance, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, documentation, and the overall content of their answers.

Grossmont students prep for their interviews
For this activity, students were required to select a job that they are qualified for presently, or will be qualified for upon graduation from high school. Next, they craft professional resumes, cover letters, and reference pages that were emailed to their prospective interviewers a week prior to the actual interviews. Upon arriving at the library for their interviews, students check in, complete applications, and wait to be called. Once called, they present their interviewers with a clean copy of their resume, cover letter, reference page, and their application. Following the interviews, students wrote follow-up thank you notes that were immediately emailed to their interviewers.

The community members that interview the students then grade the students using four “p’s” – presence (appearance), preparation (documentation), presentation (communication skills), and  performance (body language). This project constitutes 20% of the semester grade.

This year, Grossmont High School has expanded the program and is offering six sections of the course with the help of English teacher LeAnne Ginn. Together, Nicole and LeAnne prepare the students to meet the challenges of the job market. Students are using their documents they created in class to obtain real jobs within weeks of beginning the unit. 

The commitment by our community volunteers, especially those who are willing to incorporate interviews for open positions, is equipping our students with vital skills that will help them outshine the competition in the pursuit of their goals.

Mount Miguel Students Hone Industry Skills

Mount Miguel students present their travel destination projects to industry leaders
On Tuesday, January 13, sophomore students enrolled in Mount Miguel High School's Academy of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) presented in front of their HTM Advisory Board. Several students outlined their experiences and the benefits learned from their mentoring session with San Diego State University HTM students. Activities in the mentoring sessions included goal-setting strategies, college life lessons, and with the assistance of members of Sea World's Human Resources staff, resume review and mock interviewing skills. Student also presented their "travel expert" projects, which included informational brochure design and promotional videos developed for countries they selected.

Key agenda items for the meeting included plans to expand Mount Miguel High School's three-year academy to a four-year academy by implementing a ninth-grade component. Additionally, the Academy is "re-branding" to be more inclusive of other business sectors without losing the hospitality focus. Beginning in 2015-2016, the Academy will become the Matador Business Academy (MBA) with the tagline "emphasizing hospitality and tourism management, marketing, sales and service."

The meeting was co-chaired by Luis Barrios, Director for the California Hotel and Lodging Association, and Jim Greene, General Manager of the Bahia Resort.  Representatives from Sea World, the Declan Suites of San Diego, Hotel Indigo San Diego, and Viejas Enterprises were present. Additionally, Anthony's Fish Grotto, the Multi-Cultural Convention Services Network, SDSU School of HTM and the National Association of Minorities in Hospitality were present. Their ongoing commitment to the success of this program is vital to ensuring that the skills learned by our students translate into careers.

Grossmont Health Occupations Center Holds Vocational Nursing Graduation and Capping Ceremony

Members of the "Class 61" graduating class
Over the past 50 years, the Grossmont Union High School District has graduated more than 1,000 Vocational Nurses who are trained to work in our community. On Thursday, January 15, 2015, the Grossmont Health Occupations Center celebrated the commencement of its 61st graduating class. “Class 61” was comprised of 29 dedicated students who have completed 18 months of rigorous classroom instruction, lab simulations, and clinical rotations.

The event commemorated their hard work and passion for entering the nursing field. The audience was full of proud supporters as the students took their Nurse’s Oath. Many of these students are planning to continue their journey as Registered Nurses while others will find their special niche as Licensed Vocational Nurses. Whichever road they choose, we know they will help many patients and touch many lives.

Before the graduating class left, the festivities continued for “Class 62.” With family and friends looking on, students of “Class 62” received their nursing caps. Each new student was “capped” by a graduating Vocational Nursing student. The capping ceremony is the traditional way to recognize students who have completed their school work prior to beginning hospital training. “Class 62” students will now begin 12 months of clinical training at hospitals around the county, while continuing their classroom learning.

The evening graduation of “Class 61” and the celebration of the milestone for “Class 62” at the Health Occupations Center were full of promise, passion, and excitement for the road ahead. Congratulations to all!

GUHSD Honor Band & Orchestra to Perform on Saturday

The GUHSD Honor Band and Honor Orchestra are performing at West Hills High School on Saturday, January 31, at 7:00 p.m. The ticket booth opens at 6:00 p.m.

The Honor Band and Orchestra are comprised of talented high school musicians from throughout the District. We are fortunate to have guest conductors working with these students. Emily Threinen, Director of Bands at Temple University, will be working with the Honor Band and Michael Gerdes, Director of Orchestras at San Diego State University, will be directing our Honor Orchestra. 

Superintendent Ralf Swenson