Superintendent's Message


Career Technical Education

Our District motto states Great Things are Happening in Paramount Schools and indeed we have many examples to be proud of that support the statement. When our students graduate, we want to ensure that our students are ready to enter college without the need for remediation classes, so that they are ready to hit the ground running toward that 2 or 4 year degree.

We know that career demands presently and in the future require an individual who is knowledgeable and skilled. Additionally, preparation around what have been identified as the 4 Cs is essential - these are the skills of collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking.

A number of years ago, through the foresight of our Board of Education and staff, we established the Career Technical Education (CTE) program pathways as a way in which to prepare our students for college and career, and the 4Cs.

Currently, we have three pathways in the Engineering, Medical and Media Industry Sectors. All three pathways demonstrate robust local and national job market growth projections- an important factor when deciding and developing a pathway. In a little over 5 years, our Career Technical Education programs have grown from two hundred students at the West Campus to just under two thousand students (540 at the West Campus and 1400 at the Senior Campus). The student interest in these programs is very high and we are in process of developing a fourth pathway.

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) notes the following benefits of CTE.

CTE Works for High School Students

  • High school students involved in CTE are more engaged, perform better and graduate at higher rates.
  • A person with a CTE-related associate degree or credential will earn on average between $4,000 and $19,000 more a year than a person with a humanities associate degree.
CTE Works for the Economy-  Investing in CTE yields big returns for state economies.

  • In Connecticut, every public dollar invested in Connecticut community colleges returns $16.40 over the course of students' careers. That state's economy receives $5 billion annually in income from this investment.

 CTE Works for Business-  CTE addresses the needs of high-growth industries and helps close the skills gap.

  • The skilled trades are the hardest jobs to fill in the United States, with recent data citing 806,000 jobs open in the trade, transportation and utilities sector and 293,000 jobs open in manufacturing.
  • Health care occupations, many of which require an associate degree or less, make up 12 of the 20 fastest growing occupations.

To learn more about our CTE program, we invite you to visit the following website: http://phs-pusd-ca.schoolloop.com/CTE



Smarter Balanced Tests and the Common Core State Standards this Spring 

This spring students throughout the state of California will be taking the new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) tests, aka Smarter Balanced tests. The tests are aligned to the new Common Core State Standards. The tests will be administered to students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 for English–Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics.

The SBAC is very different from the previous California Standards Tests (CSTs) that were part of the (STAR) system*. The new tests focus on the Common Core standards, which stress problem-solving, communication skills and conceptual understanding of Math. Because the Common Core standards are more rigorous, than the previous standards, the state tests will be harder, too.

Last year, students from California and 16 other states belonging to the Smarter Balanced consortium took a Smarter Balanced “field,” or practice, test.  Smarter Balanced is predicting that between 33 percent and 44 percent of students in California and elsewhere will reach the threshold for Level 3 this spring. Level 3 is roughly equivalent to proficiency in this four performance levels test. Specifically, level 4 designates advanced work and Levels 1 and 2 demonstrate partial or minimal knowledge of the standards.

It is important to be prepared for a big shift in test results, and as some experts predict, initial scores will be low, as we all adapt to a whole new testing system.

In Paramount Unified School District, we have been working hard over the past and current years to prepare for this big shift by first and foremost training our teachers to teach the new Common Core standards to our students.

Teachers have attended professional development on Language Arts, Writing and Math to support this shift in curriculum and instruction. I am pleased to share that we are seeing good results in the work that our students are producing and in the deeper engagement of our students in their studies.

Additionally, we have invested our resources in the purchase of new computers and support technology that are used in day to day instruction. Because the SBAC test is administered on a computer, our teachers have been working to familiarize and orient our students to the new test format.

The CAASPP testing window for the Paramount Unified School District runs from:

April 20 through May 22, 2015

[schools will share their specific testing schedule with the parents and students they serve]

* Note: Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, STAR testing program has been replaced by CAASPP, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress program. For 2014–15, the CAASPP System encompasses the following assessments:

  • Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments for English–Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics in grades three through eight and eleven.
  • Alternate assessments for English–Language Arts and Mathematics in grades three through eight and eleven.
  • Science assessments in grades five, eight, and ten (i.e., California Standards Tests [CSTs], California Modified Assessment [CMA], and California Alternate Performance Assessment [CAPA]).
  • Standards-based tests in Spanish (STS) for Reading/Language Arts in grades two through eleven (optional).

Herman M. Mendez
Superintendent 

Educational Networks
Powered by Edlio