Pathway Spotlight


Each month, a new pathway is given a spotlight article. Whether it’s the accomplishments of the Academy itself or the success of a particular student, we want to share with you how incredibly proud we are of each and every one of our Academies, students, teachers, industry partners, and administration.

Let’s continue to celebrate the many accomplishments we’ve achieved and continue to support our students and the entire West Contra Costa community!





Congrats to Pinole Valley High School’s Mock Trial Team!

Congrats to the Pinole Valley High School’s mock trial team as it moved onto the playoff round last week at the Contra Costa County courthouse in Martinez, then with a win (3-1) onto the bonus round Tuesday evening.

The Spartan team, led by student advocates Lindsey Thepmany and Angelyn Armistead, beat Monte Vista of Danville last week on the verdict (Not Guilty) and on points.

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Good Day to be a Spartan

Ethan A. (pictured) has just been notified by College Board today that he has been named to the National Hispanic Recognition Program for being amongst the top 2.5% in terms of test scores on his PSAT/NMSQT in our region. He was just notified earlier this month, and we just found out. Way to go, Ethan! Proud of you!

Jonathon’s Internship Story

jonathan-ncIn my fourth week at Nerd Crossing, I had to do the most daunting task I had ever had to in my time there. I had to do Angelica’s job all by myself because she went to go have fun on her day off. I answered phones as usual, and also did some basic admin stuff. It all seemed pretty easy until a customer called and asked me to schedule a house call and I didn’t have anybody to ask questions to. I had to quote prices all by myself I had to check the support calendar all by myself I had to schedule a non conflicting appointment for our SUPER BUSY technicians. I had to take into account that the customer also had a busy schedule and had to play a logistical game of tetris to make sure that the customer was taken care off, and that was just one customer.
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Pinole Valley Pacific Choral Academy Job Shadow at W Hotel

Junior Achievement and the W Hotel have teamed up to provide students with this Job Shadow opportunity at the W Hotel in San Francisco. During this one-day event, students will not only have the opportunity to shadow two department at the Hotel but become part of the W Hotel brand.

Student Learning Opportunities

  • Relate school to the world of work
  • Learn about various careers in the Hospitality and Customer Service Field
    • Students had the opportunity to shadow 2 different departments during their time at the W Hotel

–           Food and Beverage                 –           Style (Housekeeping, Design, Spa, Gym)

–           Banquets and Events              –           Security

–           Engineering                             –           Customer Service (Sales, Human Resources, Front Desk)

  • Understand professional requirements to successfully join the workforce
    • After lunch Human Resources managers provided the students with an overview of what they look for in a candidate
      • Resume Building
      • Dress Attire
      • Interview Tips

Junior Achievement & Pinole Valley Law Academy’s Reverse Job Shadow

The Pinole Valley High School’s Law Academy had a great start to the new school year with a wonderful work-based learning opportunity on their campus! Thanks to Junior Achievement, the Contra Costa Dicstrict Attorney’s Office, Contra Costa Public Defenders, Los Medanos College EMS, California Highway Patrol, and the San Quentin State Prison Sargent and Officers, the students got to learn about the process of the judicial system for drunk driving, texting and driving and much more.

This day’s event included sporting “drunk goggles” and operating a bicycle to understand the impact of drinking and driving, what the process of getting pulled over is like, what the impending trial entails, and much more. The students had a wonderful time and learned a great deal.

Learning events such as this could not be possible without our partners and volunteers. (This event had 16 volunteers and one K-9!) We are forever grateful for your dedication to helping our students learn about Law and Justice, and for improving their chances at being successful after their high school graduation.

Richmond NFTE Bizcamp 2016

We’re so happy to announce that two talented Richmond students, Kaleabe Moges from De Anza High School and Makeal Surreal from Deer Valley High School, have won the latest round of the NFTE’s Bizcamp competition. They will be representing the Bay Area in the final round of the NFTE’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in New York City on October 6th. These two young men will be joining the 40 top youth entrepreneurs from around the nation to compete for $25,000 in awards. Congratulations to these talented West Contra Costa students. We wish them the best of luck in the final round of this prestigious competition!

El Cerrito Media Academy

Not only do the students at El Cerrito High School have access to a fully operating broadcasting studio, video recording and editing equipment, animation software, and much more, but the teachers involved in the Media Academy have made sure that they always have fresh and engaging experiences. Here are some of the work-based learning opportunities these students have experienced:

  • There is at least one speaker per week to talk to the Media Academy students. Speakers are usually experts in Media fields who talk about their experiences and how they achieved their goals, as well as experts in other fields who are then interviewed by the students. The learning thread of these interviews then funnels the students’ experiences back to broadcast journalism.
  • Students frequently take tours of different businesses that are involved in Media, such as Pandora, public radio stations and advertising agencies. However, the students don’t just meet workers involved in the Media field. El Cerrito High School teachers make sure to introduce the students to those in Management, Finance, Engineering, and other non-Media fields.
  • Annually, El Cerrito High School and their radio station produce a massive World Music Festival, with 15,000 people in attendance. While students are recruited from the whole school, Media Academy students are heavily involved.

Students have many engaging and inventive projects to work on throughout the year. A few of these projects are:

  • An in-class Shark Tank. Students must ask pointed question to decide if they want to invest in other students’ “startups”
  • Students act as an ad agency, including typography, copywriting, design, and thoroughly communicating the message they need to convey
  • Creating compass roses using skills they’ve learned in geometry
  • Creating a full-year calendar that includes 1,100 design elements