New MUSD program will be the first of its kind in California high schools
Mammoth High School Teachers John Simmeon and Chris Leonard are currently working with administrators Chris Powell and Lois Klein, as well as parents, to develop a Ski Area and Resort Operations Management vocational education program at Mammoth High School.
Mammoth Unified School District was one of 14 school districts to receive a Specialized Secondary Programs Grant from the California Department of Education to write and develop a curriculum for a unique career tech program at MHS last year.
The program, which will provide students with the necessary skills to start careers in tourism and resort management with a special focus on ski area operations, is set to start in Fall of 2017 and will be a two-year program open to juniors and seniors in high school. It will be the first of its kind at any high school in California. According to MHS Principal Chris Powell, MUSD received $30,000 to develop the curriculum, which includes hiring substitute teachers, consulting curriculum experts, and travel costs for involved administrators and teachers to visit similar existing programs. Powell said that another $100,000 is expected once the curriculum is approved for purchase of program materials.
According to Leonard, the plan is to provide students with skills and technical training that will allow them to graduate high school and get a career-oriented job in Mammoth Lakes. The program will likely be modeled in part off of an existing curriculum at Colorado Mountain College. The funds will be used to purchase materials such as ski tuning equipment, a small snow cat, and other tools. “You could sit in a classroom and tell a kid to learn Algebra 2, or, you could get outside with a tape measurer and have them learn to build a terrain park and say, ‘How do you make sure you don’t land on your butt on the other side of that jump?’” said Leonard this week. He envisioned students being trained in grooming ski trails and event planning by developing a Nordic track at the middle school and hosting a regional race.
The class of 2019 will be the first group of students eligible for the program, which will offer opportunities to learn about customer service, mechanics, snow equipment, event planning and management. Other skills such as ski tuning and patrolling and instruction will be taught as well. Deanna Campbell, Director of the Eastern Sierra Cerro Coso Community College Center, told The Sheet her organization was very interested in expanding its existing partnership with MHS. “About 25 percent of MHS students are taking college classes already,” said Campbell this week.