2017-02-10 / Letters

Pair paved the way for pathways

As a teacher at Simi Valley High School who is the advisor for the entrepreneurship and marketing pathway, I would like to thank the many teachers and administrators who have made Simi Valley’s career pathways program one of the best in the county.

In particular, I would like to thank Tammy Harter and Pam Castleman, who both played critical roles in the process.

Tammy Harter started planning the Medical Health Careers Academy at SVHS in 2010, several years before the pathway movement started to pick up steam across America. Her efforts led to several other pathways being started up at SVHS, and the Medical Health Careers Academy has become one of the best in California, if not the entire country.

Pam Castleman also played a critical role by being ready when Ventura County received a $13.2- million grant from the California Department of Education in 2014 to develop pathways in the county. She knew about the pathways effort at Simi Valley High as well as existing academies at Santa Susana High and efforts at Royal to start up government and ROTC programs, and she successfully won $1.3 million from that grant to build the pathways programs in Simi Valley.

As a result of the early efforts by Tammy Harter and Pam Castleman, Simi Valley now has more than 25 functioning pathways at the high school level and a growing number of pathways at our middle schools.

The old ethic that every student must have a college education and that the role of high school was to prepare students for college has now been replaced by the realization that the end goal of high school is to prepare students for their next step in life by having them explore a variety of careers so that they understand how to take the best route to get to their chosen career, whether that be college, a trade school, the military or jumping directly into the workforce.

Stephen Caswell
Simi Valley

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