Island High Students Benefit from Business, Community Partnerships

Alameda Unified School District Instructor Gerard Dumak supervises a student as he uses a Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) router at Island High’s new Engineering Design Course.

Island High Students Benefit from Business, Community Partnerships

Island High School students have been introduced to new learning experiences in classes that are the result of a business and community partnerships.

Island High’s new Engineering Design course provides students with real world training opportunities. The course introduces students to a wide range of equipment, including a heat press, 3-D printers, and dye sublimation printers, as well as principles of computerized design. In the class, students use a Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) router, which acts as a computer-controlled saw, that can be used on a wide range of materials (including plastic, glass, and steel), for precision cutting and design. In one instance, an Island High student used it to carve his name into a six-sided piece of wood.

The course, which has 10 students, was made possible by an innovative set of community partnerships and funding sources, including a K12 Strong Workforce grant from the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) and a grant that will be used to purchase laptops that can run specialized design software. The Alameda Education Foundation (AEF) is helping to pay College of Alameda faculty to both support instructor Gerard Dumak and provide additional training in the college’s Fab Lab.

“This class provides students with an opportunity to learn schematics, problem-solving, computer skills, math, and real-world applications,” says Dumuk.

Later this spring, after the students master the fundamentals in the classroom, they’ll be introduced to equipment in the Fab Lab, such as vinyl cutters, t-shirt printers, laser cutters, a full-size CNC router, and a desktop waterjet cutter.

For Island High student Bella Cristales, the class is a chance to explore a more hands-on approach to learning.

“It’s easier for me to learn when projects are hands-on or more visual,” she says. “It makes more sense to me. I like to come to this class.”

Island High is also offering a Child Development I class. In the class, students learn how children grow, what they need to thrive, and how best to interact with them. This class is supported by a partnership with both Alameda Family Services and Head Start.

Students in the pathway have an opportunity to take child development classes, as well as work with students at Woodstock Child and Development Center and participate in paid internships with Alameda Family Services.