Two California High Schools Teach Digital Printing with EFI Courses
Henry Sandoval worked in the commercial print industry for 25 years before he decided to pass on his knowledge and become a graphic arts teacher. After teaching in Whittier, California, for seven years, he moved to California’s Fullerton Joint Union High School District to set up a similar program there.
Students use a Xerox 1000i with an EFI Fiery digital front end (DFE) running the latest version of Fiery Command WorkStation, along with XMPie software for variable-data applications. They can also practice on a cutter, folder, digital creaser, and a trimmer. The district purchased the equipment and developed an instructional program working from plans designed by faculty at Fullerton College.
“The objective of the classes is to give the students hands-on skills, so that when they leave high school they have another path to get a job,” according to Sandoval. “The pathway that we’re targeting is for them to be certified.”
Sandoval is the only teacher in the program and teaches six periods: two for tenth-grade students and the other four for eleventh- and twelfth-grade students. To help him handle all this, he participates in the Xerox Digital Career Pathways Program, plus he uses eLearning courses from EFI.
A modern curriculum for today’s students
Sandoval says this is a two- to three-year program. “The first year will basically cover working with Fiery Command WorkStation. The second and third year will give students opportunities to learn imposition, color management, and more.”
The EFI eLearning courses provide a lot of flexibility for students to learn at their own pace. “The class that I’m teaching is Craft and Production. I would say probably about 25% of my students have completed up to 300-level courses. I did have one student move all the way up to the 700 series.”
The combination of hands-on and online learning also gives students a chance to learn in the way that suits them best — something Sandoval considers key to student success. “I have a broad spectrum of student ability. For example, I teach special education, and all those students got a certificate but one. I’m going to put him on the press and give him more hands-on work. Once he’s done it a few times, I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
The eLearning courses have also been good for the district budget. The schools get free online courses and free certifications, which Sandoval says is “outstanding for teachers and students.”
Learning leads to real work
Sandoval has entered student work in print contests at the Printing Industry Association of Southern California. “We placed as high as second and third last year, which was really awesome and gave us great exposure for the kids and the program.”
His plan is to build the program into more of a production class. To that end, his classes are doing work for their own school as well as for other high schools in the district. Sandoval’s facility has the only color press in the district, so the students produce all the color work district-wide. This also gives the program exposure within the district.
“Board members, other schools, and the district superintendent have all toured our facility. They all love what they see.”
In addition, he hopes to offer production services to companies in the local community. “We have a job in here right now for 14 police department services. We’re doing some training cards for them.”
Students also get an edge in college admissions. If students pass his class with an 80% grade, they can enroll at Fullerton College. Once they complete six units and bring their high school transcript, they get three college units. The college has a graphics department as well as a manufacturing and printing department. Sandoval’s classes toured the college facility, which he says let them see all the possibilities for them after high school.
Other opportunities include careers, and Sandoval is exploring those as well. “Yesterday I was at a Xerox seminar. I spoke with a number of office superstore managers and asked, ‘If my students have a certification, are they more likely to get an interview and a position with your company?’ They said, ‘Absolutely!’”
“Working with EFI has been a great partnership,” he adds. “The online university has been just phenomenal. My students learn about everything from color management to composition and workflow. It’s very user-friendly.”
La Vista and La Sierra are award-winning continuation and alternative high schools in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District (FJUHSD) that feature non-traditional educational settings. They share a campus plus a staff that is dedicated to working with students who are at risk of not graduating on time, are on individual education plans, or want a learning environment that is different from a comprehensive high school.
La Vista is the District’s continuation high school and has been named a Model School by the California Department of Education for the last 12 years. The school is proud of its collaboration with Fullerton College to support students as they transition into college and career.
La Sierra is the District’s alternative high school, and it offers more flexibility in organization plus more variety, innovation, and individualization in student educational programs. There are six different programs designed for students of all academic levels and abilities, including one that focuses on transition skills that can lead to careers.