“Chaparral’s Career Technical Education Classes Set Students on Path for Success”


Chaparral High School senior Hannah Hollebrand shows off the personalized decal she designed and created

as part of the school’s Graphic Production Technologies class  

The career path for students at Chaparral High School looks even brighter now, thanks in part to the slate of Career Technical Education (CTE) courses offered to students as part of the school’s academic curriculum.   CTE courses teach specific vocational and technical skills that help students gain employment in their desired career after high school.  For the 2017 - 18 school year, Chaparral is offering four CTE classes:  Advanced Computer Technologies, Graphic Production Technologies, Ornamental Horticulture and Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism Management.  (See below for course descriptions).

Students in Chaparral’s Graphic Production Technologies class are learning how to design, create and manufacture signature marketing elements that businesses use to promote their brand.  Led by teacher Raul Reyes, students are receiving hands-on experience in learning all aspects of graphic design and production including: training on Corel, an industry leader in graphic design software, creating their own design imagery by either recreating an existing image or designing one of their own, learning key elements of the design process including color blocking, sequencing print jobs that consist of 2-color, 3-color or more imagery, and how to use a vinyl press and textile cutter.  During the Fall, Reyes’s students are putting all of this knowledge to work by designing and producing vinyl decals.

Developing these skills at this age is critical says Reyes, given how companies in the current business environment are demanding even more creativity and technical expertise from job seekers.  And Reyes believes his class is helping students develop the transferable job skills they need to succeed.  “Graphic design is a key part of a company’s marketing plan,” said Reyes.  “Companies both large and small use graphic design, and in particular vinyl decals, to quickly tell their story through their logo, whether set on a large window display or on a t-shirt.”


Ruben Reyes, Chaparral’s Graphic Production Technologies teacher, shows student Hannah Hollebrand how to use the textile cutter while students print their designs on the vinyl press

Chaparral launched its CTE program in 2014, thanks to a grant from “VC Innovates” a collaborative in Ventura County established in 2013 to improve education and workforce development for youth in Ventura County.  Since 2013, VC Innovates has received over $20 million in funding from the “California Career Pathways”, a trust established by the California State Legislature to provide funding to K-12 schools and community colleges to better prepare students for the 21st Century workplace.  VC Innovates has underwritten Chaparral’s CTE program by providing teachers, and funding school equipment including laptops and a vinyl cutter.

Hannah Hollebrand, a senior at Chaparral, designed her own custom vinyl decal by finding inspiration in both nature and her name,.  She says she finds the course both fun and educational.  “In creating my design, I saw a rose and asked Mr. Reyes if I could use my last name to create the vine and he said yes,” said Hollebrand.  “So I created this piece that is very interesting and personal to me.  I hope to do (graphic design) after I graduate.”

C.J. Harlan, also a senior at Chaparral, finds the course beneficial in honing his skills and preparing him for his career goals.  “I knew Corel a little and learned more in this class,” said Harlan.  “This class gives me the opportunity to create and use my ingenuity.  My mom’s friend has a small business like this, and I hope to use what I learn here to get a job there after I finish school.”

In addition to creating work product for in-class assignments, Chaparral students have also designed the school logo, created the school banner featured prominently on campus, and designed marketing materials as part of a commercial job for the “Safety Town” initiative.  It’s these types of real-world projects that Reyes says encourages students the most.  “Seeing the tangible results of their efforts is really rewarding for our students.  It helps them immediately set their sights on what their future could look like through hard work, creativity and perseverance.”

Chaparral Career Technical Education Courses for 2017 - 18 Year include:

Advanced Computer Technologies / IT Essentials:  Covers fundamental computer and networking skills for entry-level IT jobs.  This course includes hands-on labs that provide practical experience.  Students develop working knowledge of how computers operate, critical thinking and complex problem-solving skills using hands-on labs and virtual learning tools, and apply skills and procedures to install and upgrade hardware and software and troubleshoot systems.  Students may earn a Certificate of Proficiency upon completion.  Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Introduction to Hospitality & Tourism Management:  Introduces students to the largest industry in the valley, including hotel and restaurant management, food service, event planning, and tourism marketing.  Students may earn industry-recognized certifications.  Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30 - 10 a.m.

Graphic Production Technologies:  For students with an interest in creating and producing graphics for t-shirts, signs and clothing.  This course focuses on the exploration of emerging platforms for production and distribution.  Students will develop skills to create original work, complete projects, and collaborate with peers and industry partners at the professional level.  Students will research, develop, and design projects to create original products and online images that will be marketed and distributed to the school, community and other venues.  Monday and Wednesday 8:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Ornamental Horticulture:  Learn basic plant identification, anatomy, and physiology, as well as a variety of propagation techniques.  Plants are grown and raised in beds, aeroponic, and hydroponic systems, as well as directly in the ground.  Landscape design, soil building, and worm composting are integral parts of this course as well.  Tuesday and Thursday, 12:45 - 2:45 p.m.