Technical Education Post

News and Information for Technical Educators

Mentors Needed to Assist Career Technical Education Students

Like many programs around the country, the Career Technical Education (CTE) program at Ramona High School in southern California, seeks new members for its advisory committees to improve its student experience. Here is how they do it. Please share your schools experiences and needs.

Contributions can be made by business representatives and community members to the seven CTE pathways: Agriculture, automotive, culinary arts, engineering, Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC), photography and welding.

CTE Department Chair Christine Escovedo Hill, who is also Ramona High’s engineering and Femineers teacher, said advisory board members can become invaluable mentors to students learning trades skills.

“Connecting students with mentors in their chosen field is an ideal learning opportunity,” Escovedo Hill said. “All CTE teachers at RHS have multiple years of experience in their chosen field of study and bring that expertise to the classroom. But they cannot do this alone. Each pathway has an advisory board made up of local business leaders. Advisory members not only offer industry expertise but continually go above and beyond to support CTE pathway intentions and individual student goals.”

To share knowledge in the seven pathways as a speaker, mentor, potential employer, or to join the advisory board, call Ramona High Career Specialist Marjorie White at 760-787-4024 or email her at


The main agriculture pathway consists of three courses: Sustainable Agricultural Biology, Chemistry and Agriscience, and Interdisciplinary Science.

Sustainable Agricultural Biology is a University of California life science class that counts for life science/biology credits and covers basic agricultural science and genetics.

Chemistry and Agriscience is a UC physical science course that deals with the chemistry of soils and agriculture and how that affects the life processes of plants and animals.

Interdisciplinary Science is a UC physical science Honors course that requires students to take what they learned during the first two years and apply that to solving real world problems in agriculture.

Ramona High also offers Floral Design, which is a UC fine arts course that deals with the art and business of floral design.

This past year, local cattlewoman Margaret Drown, business owners Matt and Kristy Parker, and Tractor Supply Company employee Shelly Myers served on the Agricultural Advisory Committee. They gave valuable input on how to improve not only the agricultural courses, but also the FFA chapter.


Students enrolled in Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR) study all eight Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) training areas. Students perform entry-level repairs and training tasks. The course path is three years, encompassing MLR 1, MLR 2 and MLR 3.

Upon completing the 540 hours of training, students are prepared to pass the ASE entry-level certifications. While keeping up with industry standards, students learn about, work on and build electric vehicles. Students who complete MLR 2 and MLR 3 training are eligible to earn college credits through an articulation agreement with Cuyamaca College.

With the assistance of Auto Advisory Committee member Don Horn, a service manager at Perry Ford of Poway, Ford donated a Fiesta car last year to Ramona High for training and is coordinating internships for the students. Tim Brecht of BMW of Escondido is seeking workers for the Service Department and Dennis Sprong of Snap-On Tools is providing tool purchasing opportunities for the students.


The culinary arts pathway consists of two courses: Culinary Arts 1 and International Cuisine.

In Culinary Arts 1, students learn problem-solving, project management and critical analysis of their work. Through this process students gain an understanding of modern equipment and techniques, current trends as well as classical techniques. They also learn about the migration and preparation of cuisine and have an opportunity to investigate entrepreneurial business.

International Cuisine focuses on understanding the differences and commonalities we have with other cultures around the world. A common denominator in studying cultures is through cuisine. Students participate in a capstone project and a series of labs that progress toward mastery of the college and career readiness skills of an entry-level position in this industry sector.

Culinary students appreciate their advisory board members who include John Saavarda of Disneyland, Ramona Unified School District school board member Kim Lasley, Carolyn Buggiln of Sycuan Casino, and Jessica Nelson of the San Vicente Country Club in San Diego Country Estates.


The engineering pathway consists of four courses: Introduction to Design, Principles of Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, and Engineering Design and Development.

Students in Introduction to Design can earn fine arts credits as they learn about the design process and design with 3-D modeling software and 3-D print projects.

In Principles of Engineering, students investigate the major fields of engineering and design. They design, build and program various types of robots.

Aerospace Engineering students explore the design of airplanes, satellites and aircraft. These students regularly visit the Ramona Airport where they are mentored by local airplane builders and pilots.

Students in the capstone course, Engineering Design and Development, work throughout the year in teams with mentors to design a product. They create a presentation that will be judged by a panel of industry experts at the end of the school year.

During the 2018-19 school year, the Engineering Advisory Committee consisted of two local businessmen, Scott Poindexter of Solmar Precision and Steve Smart of Billet Badges as well as a local engineering manager, Bruce Hill. Ramona High teachers and students are particularly grateful to Poindexter, who came to the Ramona High campus in the evenings to teach students how to use a Haas Automation milling machine.


Cadets who participate in NJROTC and enlist in the military will graduate Boot Camp at a higher pay grade than E-1 (some services offer E-2, some E-3). Cadets are more competitive for college ROTC scholarships, which typically provide up to $180,000 toward tuition. Some scholarship opportunities are only available to cadets who participate in NJROTC.

All military services provide information to the cadets during the school year and the instructors work closely with the different services’ recruiters, ROTC scholarship coordinators and service academy representatives of the Naval Academy, West Point, Air Force Academy, Coast Guard Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy.

NJROTC is a high school elective course and cadets are not required to join the military after graduation, though leadership positions do enhance college applications.


The photography pathway consists of four course: Digital Photography 1, Digital Photography 2, Yearbook Design 1 and Yearbook Design 2.

Digital Photography 1 is designed to introduce students to basic photographic technology and techniques. Students explore the world of photography by experimenting with digital photographic equipment and image editing computer software. Topics of study include photographic techniques, photographic history and the masters of photography.

Digital Photography 2 picks up where Digital Photography 1 ended. Students continue to experiment with manual setting and digital manipulation using Adobe Creative Cloud applications. Student projects emphasize the elements of art and principles of design and the creation of original, creative and communicative photographic works. Skills in composition, lighting and portraiture through use of the camera’s eye continue. Students research and apply the historical and cultural contributions of photographic masters, past and present, in their own work. Theories of aesthetic valuing are stressed through the use of portfolio review.

Yearbook Design 1 is a yearlong course designed to have students understand the role of visual art and design, and its impact on society and culture, particularly in published mediums. The course focuses on students creating, designing and editing a publication that appeals to their target audience. Assignments have students process, respond to, and judge design works using their knowledge of the elements of art and principles of design.

Yearbook Design 2 allows students to apply skills they learned in the first course while developing leadership skills.

Photography Advisory Committee members Larry McDaniel of Georges Camera, photographers Todd Argetsinger and Jeanne Wood, and Maureen Robertson, Ramona Sentinel editor, have been instrumental in advancing the photography pathway.


Students in Welding and Metal Fabrication courses learn the proper use of shop equipment, personal protective equipment, and three areas of arc welding. The course pathway encompasses two levels, an introductory course and an advanced course. After completing the pathway, students will have the skills and experience to enter an apprenticeship program or move towards college level training.

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