By Eileen Ong and Vivian Zheng
The Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD) implemented a new Office Occupation class to replace the Teacher Aids (TA) program that was eliminated in the 2016-17 school year. The Office Occupation curriculum was designed to align with the educational content requirement of California law AB-1012, which prohibits schools from enrolling students in “fake classes” with no academic coursework.
The TA program was removed from AUSD’s course listings due to its lack of educational content. As a result, the school district developed a curriculum that will teach students how to successfully perform in an office environment.
“I actually meet with the principal and the staff here in the office, and we go over some things that [we] think are necessary,” Office Occupations teacher Nancy Goodwin said.
Goodwin meets with students for training every Thursday during zero period at E207. The students apply the skills they learn to their work in the office and classrooms, completing non-confidential tasks.
“We go through the mandatory career technical education criteria: the safety, sexual harassment, goals,” Goodwin said. “We also learn about making resumes, filling out applications, customer service, how to interact with people, and then we do some office skills.”
Senior Shihwen Ma says the class is very flexible and the students are able to learn some office etiquette such as handling phone calls in a proper manner.
“I think it’s definitely a plus for those going into business because they’ll know basic office instructions, like what to do and not to do and how to act more professionally,” Ma said.
The Office Occupation class helps “ease students into the working world.”
“When students go out into the work world, they find that it’s totally different from school and sometimes it’s intimidating to them and sometimes it’s a shock,” Goodwin said.
Principal Debbie Stone said that teachers can request for help from student support interns in the Office Occupations class. Teachers will need to fill out a student request specifying the type of work the student will do and the duration of the activity. Goodwin will then review the request and approve it upon whether the student will benefit educationally from the project.
“I think it has the potential to help teachers out with different projects or the things they are working on,” English teacher Jordan Vogel said. “I think especially for the students, it can really be beneficial for them to get some career skills and just life skills that they can use throughout the future.”
Students and one of their parents are required to sign the SGHS Office Intern Semester Contract each semester, which engages the student in an employee-employer relationship with the supervisor. The contract must then be approved and signed by their counselor, Assistant Principal (AP) school counseling, and AP instruction. The contract covers rules and penalties for any violation of the contract.
“Only seniors can take the class,” Stone said. “[We] ensure they’ve satisfied all other [A-G] requirements.”
While the revamped class is still in its infancy, its success is yet to be determined; however, as the school year progresses, Stone hopes that the students will obtain skills that will benefit them.