Friday, March 23 , 2018, 3:10 am | Mostly Cloudy 51º


Assemblyman Das Williams Heads Back to School

The former teacher visits San Marcos and Dos Pueblos high schools

Assemblyman Das Williams recently visited his alma maters for an academic hands-on experience.

San Marcos High School Health Academy teacher Rick Ceriale, right, explains to Assemblyman Das Williams how students use clay to mold the muscle tissue on small mannequins.
San Marcos High School Health Academy teacher Rick Ceriale, right, explains to Assemblyman Das Williams how students use clay to mold the muscle tissue on small mannequins.

As a former teacher, Williams knows the value of hands-on experience in the classroom and supports every effort that creates a path for youths to have access to a world-class education.

The medical mannequins, hospital beds, gurneys and blood pressure machines give interested students at the San Marcos High School Health Academy a head-start in the medical profession.

“Students are being taught about what happens in the real world,” Williams said. “There is value in the peer-to-peer experience, instead of just being infused by a textbook.”

Many of the students in the program are finding entry-level jobs right out of high school, and in some cases, students are going right on to medical school. During the three-year program, students have the opportunity to participate in local internships, visit the UCLA Medical Center and take health-care classes that focus on giving them a strong career outlook.

It recently celebrated its 11th year of providing high-quality learning opportunities for students in the Santa Barbara area.

In a land not so far away, in a garage-style setting, students are learning a different hands-on experience. The nationally recognized Dos Pueblos High School Engineering Academy, headed by Amir Abo-Shaeer, incorporates art into the traditional experience of learning engineering.

“My goal is to reform and transform education,” Abo-Shaeer said. “This program is intentionally designed to not be your typical engineering project, but instead it’s designed to empower the art of engineering.”

“Our community is very fortunate to have these programs,” Williams said. “Not only are they preparing students for the real world, but they are preparing them to be successful in college.”

The Dos Pueblos Robotics Program recently won the 2012 FIRST Robotics Los Angeles Championship and the 2012 FIRST Robotics Central Valley Championship and earned the Creativity Award at the National Championship in St. Louis.

Both academies are funded the Santa Barbara Unified School District and the Regional Occupational Program.

— Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios is district director for Assemblyman Das Williams.

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