The Diamond Technology Institute in Watsonville was recently recognized for its college and professional readiness programs.
The school receives a gold medal for its work with the Career Choices Series and curriculum My10YearPlan.com, created by Academic Innovations, an award-winning educational publisher.
The Career Choices program is designed to help students in grade nine and up create 10-year plans for their future educational and career goals.
Mindy Bingham, founder and president of Academic Innovations who authored the curriculum, said the program takes students through a comprehensive counseling process and works with counselors and educators. The goal is to prepare them for more than just going to college.
“It’s about asking, ‘What is the endgame?’ Not just whether you can get into a top school, ”said Bingham. “Research shows that students who have these plans are much more likely to get where they want to be. And universities … choose students who know what they want to do after graduation. “
Diamond Tech is a Career Technical Education (CTE) school under the jurisdiction of the Pajaro Valley Unified School District that combines academic and professional training. All students have a degree in digital media art, engineering, business design or agricultural science.
Career choice and My10YearPlan.com are “fundamental” to Diamond Tech’s vision, said instructor Ryan Richards.
“We have asked children for the past few years to provide honest feedback … and over 90% respond positively when asked if they feel ready for college and careers,” he said. “That’s way above most high schools. The students feel empowered here. You have answers. “
Alumnus Angel Ortiz, who graduated from Diamond Tech in 2019, said the school helped them prepare for many courses at UC Merced.
“Most of the courses I have right now are a look back at what I had [at Diamond Tech]”Said Ortiz. “I will forever thank you for preparing me for college.”
Richards said that over the past year, 70% of Diamond Tech students applied to colleges and universities, and the career planning they adopted was an important factor.
“Some of my favorite moments as a teacher are when these kids are getting their admission letters,” he said. “I’ve worked with a lot of first generation students going to college. This program gave them the potential to gain that experience. “
Diamond Tech is among 22 schools across the country to be awarded a Career Choices Medal for the 2020-2021 school year, which has posed many unprecedented challenges for the education sector, including the move to distance learning and the need to educate yourself social contacts of students to take care of -emotional health.
Bingham said that being awarded a gold medal means that a school is using the program with “allegiance”. Diamond Tech has done this and more, she said at a very challenging time.
“Diamond Tech is doing it right – they mean this very seriously,” she said. “You have done a lot of unique and creative things with the program.”
This includes a series of videos that students record and create to talk about their time at school and working with Career Choices. Each student explains their own 10-year plan, which includes everything from budget planning to college selection.
Senior Adriana Jimenez said she appreciated that Diamond Tech offers so many different types of courses. Not only are students expected to take basic courses, but they can also register for electives.
“You can explore a lot of options,” said Jimenez. “My time here … I realized I wanted to go to nursing. Diamond Tech helped me create a schedule for this. They help you prepare for your future. “
Fellow Senior Gordon Xiao had a similar experience.
“I really like that this school gives you different paths to take,” he said. “You go into really great detail about your future, such as what your goals are and how your future budget fits in with them. After I’m here, I have a plan … I want to become a pharmacist. “
Richards said the school that received the gold medal was “a really great honor”.
“Everyone, my colleagues and the students worked so hard,” he said. “It means a lot to get this recognition.”