Across most student transcripts, core classes spanning Math, English, Science and Social Science will arise as commonalities. However, these transcripts are diversified with more specified classes that range from topics such as graphic design to sports medicine. Such classes are in the Career Technical Education (CTE) and Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) departments.
Paly students must take at least two semesters of a course in both the VAPA and CTE departments in order to graduate and be eligible to attend a University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) school. Consequently, many students are faced with scheduling problems as having to fulfill the CTE and VAPA credit. This takes up valuable time that could otherwise be used to take other classes that the students could benefit from. If there were more classes that would satisfy both CTE and VAPA requirements in one year-long class, students would have more room in their schedule to take classes that they want to pursue in the future.
“I think it would be nice to have one class that fulfills both credits because even though it’s not a big deal, it’s nice to get rid of the requirements that are not that big of a deal,” junior Mina Kim said. “It’s like taking living skills, you want to take it in order to get rid of the requirement, but it’s not like that big of a deal.”
Although Paly does offer a wide range of electives that may deviate greatly from the standard English or laboratory science, these classes do not fulfill the CTE and VAPA requirements. Classes such as Principles of BioMedical Science fill the ‘g’ requirement, which goes towards “additional credit for graduation.” Rather than counting these classes towards other credits, these electives should go towards CTE or VAPA credits which would broaden the choices for students.
While there are some classes at Paly that offer both VAPA and CTE credit, such as classes associated with campus publications, these classes require a prerequisite class —Beginning Journalism— which already fulfills the CTE requirement. As a result, students are able to learn how art or digital art and applied academics correlate.
In the modern workplace, there is greater demand for employees who have a versatile skillset. Providing credit for other requirements in one class would help improve the overall scholastic curriculum and create a rich and diverse learning experience.
“It’s always nice to see an employee or intern that has a great personality and has a unique set of skills,” Ben Ruppar, Senior manager at Addepar, an investment management technology company, said. “To know that the employee has a great range of skills whether they are handy or not shows that they are willing to learn different things.”
Admittedly, the addition of more classes that fulfill both the CTE and VAPA courses would cause logistical problems with scheduling and increased requisite pay for teachers. However, there are many CTE and VAPA classes that have low enrollment such as AutoTech and Theatre 4. The school district can discard low enrollment classes in order to make room for other classes.
Furthermore, many students consider these VAPA and CTE classes to be beneficial and a relaxed period while allowing student to experience a different job path. Therefore, taking away low enrollment classes may be detrimental to some students. However, low class enrollments such as AutoTech could be combined with digital art to help students understand the breakdown and parts of an automobile. This could help fulfill both the CTE and VAPA requirements and create a creative learning environment.
“I feel like having classes that have the CTE and VAPA requirements would help us not only get our graduation requirements, but also be interesting to use different resources to understand what we are learning,” Kim said.
By creating more classes that fulfill both the CTE and VAPA class requirements, the district would be able to give Paly students the opportunity to fulfill both graduation requirements and have more space in their schedules in order to take part in other classes or to participate in other outside activities.