New mandatory freshman classes builds students’ careers

Photo by Katherine Huang

This year’s freshmen have a new addition to their schedules to help them plan out their futures.

The Get Focused Stay Focused (GFSF) and wheel programs last for a full year, with each one being one semester long.  GFSF was designed to increase high school and college graduation rates and to help students successfully enter the workforce.

“[It] is a class that helps students focus on what’s important to them, to set goals and then achieve those goals,” Career Technical Education adviser Elizabeth An said.  

What makes GFSF different from other programs is its targeted audience and goals for students. According to its official website, the program was “designed for all students rather than a select few.”  It focuses on a 10-year plan for students’ careers, lives, and education, instead of the four-year plans that only aim towards graduation from college.

“It’s helping me find out what skills I have and how [to] use them,” freshman Peter Bui said.  

The wheel program consists of woodshop, drama, culinary arts, and computer science, and freshmen undergo a six-week rotation between each of these classes.  Jeannie Gutierrez, assistant principal of instruction, is currently in charge.   

“We’re trying to let them see the careers and experience them,” GFSF instructor Bruce Pardee said.

The wheel classes supplement the GFSF program by letting students get hands-on experiences for certain careers. With a bit of background knowledge from the electives, students can be more certain of how to build their ten-year plan.

“[The classes are] really an exploratory so they can see whether or not they like it, and whether they want to pursue that kind of a career,” woodshop instructor John Mason said.

Since the duration of each elective is shorter than usual, students part of the wheel program will go through more condensed courses with differences to their normal counterparts.

“My purpose isn’t to get [the students] to act,” drama and technical theater teacher Patrick Posada said.  “My goal is to get them up to be confident and speak.  It’s also to give them the… poise to interview for jobs.”

According to the GFSF website, the implementations of these new programs are meant to benefit the economy.  The labor market is currently in need of skilled and trained workers, so these programs are aiming to make sure students do not leave school without employable skills.  The electives part of the wheel program were chosen on this basis.

“We are attempting to create jobs and we are in industries where we are in need for qualified entry level mechanics, wood-working people, medical, computers, and culinary people,” Mason said.

These mandatory classes will raise graduation requirements permanently, starting with this year’s freshmen and going forth.  They are part of the A-G course, and count as electives.

“A few years back we reduced the graduation requirements to 210 credits, with the intention of reinstating 220 credits when [possible],” An said.

With the classes underway for their first year, time will tell whether or not these programs will be successful.

 

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