After opening comments by Parvin Ahmadi, Castro Valley Unified School District Superintendent and Castro Valley Rotarian, she turned the program over to Castro Valley High School Principal Blaine Torpey to provide an overview of the school and presentations.  In his opening comments, Principal Torpey praised the inspiring CVHS teachers for responding to the pandemic and designing ways to support student learning.  In her closing comments, Superintendent Ahmadi echoed Principal Torpey’s comments about the teachers throughout the district.
The presentation focused on just three of CVHS’s many outstanding academic programs: (1)Engineering Pathway; (2) Honors Afrocentric U.S. History and Literature; and (3) the Library program.
Engineering Pathway
Teachers Jessica Porter and Lisa Holmes provided an overview of the Engineering Pathway, which is one of the programs in the Career Technical Department.  Jessica and Lisa repeatedly stressed that the program is designed about problem-solving, project-based learning, and innovation.  The goals of the Engineering Pathway are
  1. Foster highly transferable skills in collaboration, communication, and critical thinking which are relevant for any coursework and career.
  2. Prepare students to apply engineering, science, math, and technology to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context.
  3. Expose students to tools, practices, requirements and certification for careers and post-secondary study in engineering or related fields.
The Pathway is a 4-year Pathway (the Class of 2021 is the first class to complete all 4 years) that included the following sequence of courses:
  • Year 1:Introduction to Engineering Design
  • Year 2: Principles of Engineering
  • Year 3: Civil Engineering & Architecture
  • Year 4: Engineering Design & Development
During the presentation, Jessica and Lisa shared a great video of the program (be sure to watch it) as well as many examples of student projects and activities.
Honors Afrocentric U.S. History and Literature
This University of California approved course combines a student’s history and English courses into a two-section course.  Kevin Batchelor, who teaches the U.S. section of the course, described the program that has been taught for 8 years after 2 years of development.  In the Bay Area, only CVHS and Berkeley HS offer this type of course.
This class provides a comprehensive review of the history of the United States from pre-colonial times to the present with a focus on the unique role of African Americans within that history. Students will study the accomplishments, history, and culture of African Americans within the American and global context.  This class is cored with an American Literature class that will focus on works by African American authors.  When the course started about 90% of the students were African American, but as enrollment has grown so has the diversity of the students, but the majority remain African American.
One of the key features of the class is that students are reading literature from the historical period they are studying, which provides a better context for both the literature and the history.  During his presentation, Kevin shared many of the prompts assigned to students to make the connection. (Readers are encouraged to watch video to see the complexity of the assignments.
CVHS Library Program
Teacher Librarian Angela Anthony, who is new to CVHS this year, described the two-part Mission of the Library: 
(1) Create inclusive collections that acknowledge and celebrate diverse experiences to help sustain a strong reading culture on campus; and
(2) Provide instructional opportunities and spaces to empower learner as effective users and creators of information and ideas.
Angela described adding 500+ titles to the library collection that reflect the diversity of the students and implementing a weekly curbside pickup so students can access the collections during the pandemic.  She described programs such as SORA, which links students virtually to the public library, and ProQuest, which provides student access to major sources of information.  As a Teacher Librarian, Ms. Anthony often works in partnership with teachers, especially English teachers and students working on research projects, to expand the library program beyond the four walls of the library.  Learn more about the CVHS Library here.