On March 18, 2019, the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) hosted nearly 70 high school students for the inaugural “Sparking Joy Future Educator Pathway Summit.” All student participants are enrolled in the Teacher Pathway Program at either Esperanza (EHS) or Valencia High School (VHS).
The goal of the summit was to match the professional learning opportunities that PYLUSD teachers receive in benefit of students.
“We want to grow our own teachers. That means imparting the idea that teachers are lifelong learners,” shared Cary Johnson, Director of K-12 Innovation and Technology for PYLUSD.
The morning began with a few words from distinguished guests including PYLUSD Superintendent, Dr. Greg Plutko, Deputy Superintendent, Candy Plahy, Cary Johnson, Director of Human Resources, Cara Robinson, Association of Placentia Linda Educators (APLE) President, Linda Manion, and California State University, Fullerton’s College of Education Interim Associate Dean, Dr. Kim Case. All of the speakers shared about their personal experiences in education, as well as uplifting notes of encouragement for the future teachers.
The event then went on to feature a variety of STEM-oriented breakout sessions for students to choose from instructed by PYLUSD teachers on special assignment Kim Voge, Jenner Rasic, Stacy Owens, Will Truong, and STEM Coordinator Eddie Tabata. Sessions included specialized information about effective instructional practices, as well as integrating technology into the classroom.
In partner with the North Orange County Regional Occupational Program (ROP), the Teacher Pathway is one of the District’s newest career technical education programs. Students in this pathway, known as teachers in training, learn about the growth and development of children, classroom management, lesson planning, exceptional student issues, and much more.
Esperanza’s program, known as the Aztec Bulldog Connection or “ABC,” partners with Glenview Elementary School down the street from their campus. Valencia’s program, named Tigers Leading Cubs or “TLC,” works collaboratively with Kraemer Middle School and Ruby Drive Elementary School. Classes offered include Principles of Teaching and Learning, Teaching Students with Special Needs, Child Development. The programs are lead by North Orange County ROP teachers Bird Potter at EHS and Amy Jensen at VHS.
“Our purpose was to emulate an authentic professional development day. Students need to write their future story; we’re just helping with the narrative,” ended Johnson.