February is Career and Technical Education month and The Milpitas Beat is spotlighting the Metro Education District’s Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE)…
The school’s been in existence for over a century.
Back in 1917, SVCTE actually started out as San Jose Technical High School. It offered only five classes and solely accepted male students. But SVCTE has come a long way over the last hundred years.
Over these past decades, the center has evolved into a dynamic force in our community, preparing thousands of students to graduate from colleges and universities and go on to establish successful careers.
SVCTE is based in San Jose, but it serves six school districts in Santa Clara County. Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) is one of them, along with Campbell Union High School District, East Side Union High School District, Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School District, San Jose Unified School District, and Santa Clara Unified School District.
This means that 11th- and 12th-grade high school students from any of these schools can choose to take any one of the 23 programs offered at SVCTE.
The options at SVCTE are varied, with a wide array of courses from different industries: Animation, Culinary Arts, Dental Assisting, Fashion Design, Film Production, Forensic Science, Law Enforcement, Medical Assisting, Nursing, and Mobile App Design/Computer Coding. The list goes on and on.
In these courses, students get access to hands-on, state-of-the-art learning. They’re able to develop and cultivate technical skills that can open the door to higher education or a fulfilling career…or both, if they so choose.
It works like this: Students spend part of their high school day over at SVCTE. They’re able to choose a morning shift, which goes from 7:30am to 10:30am, or an afternoon shift, which goes from 12:45pm to 3:45pm. The other part of their day is spent at their high school. Transportation is provided from their high school to SVCTE and back.
The beauty of the program is that as students are getting the opportunity to delve into deep, experiential study in their chosen field, they’re also able to earn up to 30 high school credits at the same time. And many of the courses offer dual enrollment and UC-approved credits.
The program is free of charge to qualified high school juniors and seniors. SVCTE receives 60% of its funding from the six aforementioned school districts; the other 40% of the funding comes from sources they acquire on their own, like grants.
The six schools that SVCTE serves came together to form a joint powers authority, creating what’s known as the Metropolitan Education District (MetroEd). A representative from each school serves on MetroEd’s Board of Education. In the case of Milpitas, MUSD’s Board President Chris Norwood is currently the representative on MetroEd’s Board.
This past December, The Beat went on a tour of the campus, guided by MetroED-Silicon Valley CTE’s Superintendent Alyssa Lynch.
“Although all of the students are coming from different high schools, they all get along together really well,” said Superintendent Lynch during the tour.
Touring the facilities, one cannot help but feel a sense of awe.
Being guided through each building was like unwrapping a new present. Each classroom was fully equipped to immerse every student in the subject at hand.
“This program is an eye-opener,” Kobe Tran, a senior at Milpitas High School (MHS), told The Beat. “It provides insight toward a pathway that we may or may not be interested in.”
Tran is currently a part of the Dental Assisting program.
Tuyet Le, also a senior at MHS, is part of the program, too.
“It gives you an opportunity to do a lot of hands-on work along with the book work. It’s a great way to get experience,” said Le.
MUSD Board Member Kelly Yip-Chuan also attended the SVCTE tour, and was amazed by what she saw. “The tour to MetroED opened my eyes about the opportunities and pathways for our future leaders,” said Yip-Chuan to The Beat. “Superintendent Lynch is doing an amazing job, and I’m grateful for her leadership.”
Recently, one of SVCTE’s former students, Isabelle Leong, discovered that The Fashion & Music Conference had selected her to showcase her SHEIN collection clothing designs on the runway at Los Angeles Fashion Week 2023 this coming March. Leong had been a student at SVCTE in 2017, taking Fashion Design and Textile Art under teacher Johnny Paul Vera.
“I have learned a lot of advanced skills from Mr. Vera that I carried on to Middle College and Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FDIM)…” said Leong in a release from MetroED.
Leong graduated from FDIM with a Bachelor’s Degree and is now a technical design intern at K+K Clothing, a company that produces apparel for Macy’s and other well-known brands.
On its campus, SVCTE has 1,250 high school students from the 6 participating districts; they also have 400 students in Adult Education classes.
Although SVCTE has come a long way over the years, they’re still moving forward and evolving. Next Fall, they’re adding Cybersecurity, Nursing Careers, and Electrical Vehicles/Automotive classes.
The center will undoubtedly be shaping the futures of many more students in the years to come.
“From the day they step off the bus, to the first two weeks, you can see them change. They come here because they either know this is what they wanted to do, or because they came as a middle school student on a tour, or someone they know came here,” said Superintendent Lynch. “It’s a place where students can feel like they really belong.”