GOLETA, Calif. - A growing movement on school campuses for a more hands-on approach to teaching and learning has Dos Pueblos High School carving new Career Technical Education pathways for future students.
"Two 14,000 square foot buildings, one for the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy (DPEA) and one for the Dos Pueblos Media Arts Pathway," said Principal Bill Woodard. "They broke ground about a month and a half ago and expected to be complete by August of 2022."
The site previously housed eight deteriorating portables dating back to the 1970's. The original plan was to replace the structures with new portables.
"Your tax dollars at work!" said Woodard. "$5 million dollars of your bond money plus matching funds from the state, Career Technical Education Facilities grant and private foundation funding from the DPEAF. And, Virgil Elings with a very generous donation."
Elings, a well-known philanthropist who helped support the original DPEA more than a decade ago, donated $4 million dollars to help make this project possible.
The major financial collaboration has those involved with the project describing it as an education gem, not just for the campus but the entire community.
"All the classrooms are connected in the middle and visually connected through glass," said John Dent, Director of Dos Pueblos Media Pathway. "So that a team of students that are designing something can then go and manufacture it with a team in another room ... as the rest of the team produces for the school and the community."
Construction is expected to take two years. Current freshman and sophomore students are lucky to be among the first who will see the facilities fully operational.
"It's a huge deal for us and we talk about how the Engineering Academy is actually our second child," said Emily Shaeer, DPEA Director.
Shaeer, along with her husband and DPEA Founder, Amir Abo-Shaeer, said the couple spent more than a decade working on their vision to make this project possible.
"We're planning to expand upon our education opportunities that we already currently offer to the Engineering Academy students to ensure that they can offer a broader impact to the community," said Shaeer.
Both credit the large, community collaboration while giving special praise to Elings for his generosity over the years.
"We're very fortunate to be able to be in an environment where you've got both folks that are interested in supporting the vision but also a district that's willing to support the vision as well," said Abo-Shaeer. "I think all those things coming together have allowed us to dream big like this and it's really exiting!"
For more information about Dos Pueblos High School, click the following link: https://dphs.sbunified.org