Foothiller Footsteps – Jan. 23, 2015

Posted: January 23rd, 2015 | Columns, Featured, Foothiller Footsteps | No Comments

By Connie and Lynn Baer

Grossmont students have the opportunity to enroll in one of five Career Technical Education pathways (CTE): Transportation; Education, Child Development and Family Services; Information Technology; Health Science and Medical Technology: Sports Medicine; and Arts, Media and Entertainment. According to Eileen Mandell, Grossmont’s CTE coordinator, each of these five pathways is a sequence of multi-year courses that build upon each other to create a deeper understanding of a specific industry sector using project-based learning in a work-related environment.

One of the benefits of a CTE pathway is that the sequenced courses prepare students for post-secondary study and career opportunities. Most of the CTE classes include college credit; students may receive three to nine college units while enrolled in high school. Also, CTE provides professional development opportunities for teachers, including job shadowing and course-related workshops as well as updated equipment that meets industry standards.

Future columns will explore all five of these programs, but this month’s column focuses on the three-year Arts, Media and Entertainment pathway (AME). AME is a “linked learning” pathway, which means the students are enrolled together in core classes. As sophomores, they enroll in photography, Pathway English and world history. As juniors, the students enroll in computer 3D design/animation as well as Pathway American studies; as seniors, they enroll in digital arts as well as Pathway film as literature. These linked learning classes integrate academic instruction with technical curriculum and field-based learning.

Pathway HolocaustMuseum meets Elsaweb

Elsa, a Holocaust survivor, spoke to Grossmont High School students at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. (Courtesy GHS Museum)


For example, as sophomores, the students in Karen Mann’s 10th grade Pathway English class, after reading “Animal Farm,” took a field trip to the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles. At the museum they saw photographs, writings and items that expressed what life was like in the death camps. They spoke with Holocaust survivors, such as Elsa, a Polish woman who was the only survivor of a family of 10. Their Pathway Photography class assignment was for the students to take photographs that told a story, showing how photography can make a difference.

“The AME Pathway photography students have won numerous awards at the Helix Water District completion and the San Diego County Fair,” said Mandell, who also teaches the AME Pathway photography and digital arts class. “During their junior year, AME students attend the Disneyland Animation workshop.”

Future Grossmont photography students will benefit from the Grossmont Art Department’s recent $80,000 grant from the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, part of which will fund the purchase of a complete class set of computers for the photography students.

Last year’s GHS senior class included 17 seniors who completed the AME Pathway. Another indicator of the program’s success is that the majority of these students continued their education at community college; 10 are presently enrolled in either graphic design, animation or photography classes at their colleges.

For more information about the AME pathway, please contact Eileen Mandell at Grossmont is excited about the new opportunities for student learning and achievement which the CTE Pathways provide.

Connie and Lynn Baer are retired English teachers who curate the GHS Museum. Visit the GHS Museum to learn more about Foothillers, past and present. GHS Museum’s regular public hours: 12-4, Wednesday, February 4 and March 4 or other Wednesdays by appointment. Reach the museum by phone at 619-668-6140, by email at or online at

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