Head of School
Pacific Ridge School
When schools and community organizations work together to support learning, everyone benefits. For those of us in education, partnerships can serve to strengthen, support, and even transform our program quality and curricula. For companies, supporting schools makes the community more desirable, boosts brand awareness, and helps build a skilled, local labor force for the future.
At Pacific Ridge School, we believe that a critical element of a purposeful education – one that should not wait until college – is creating opportunities for students to connect to and learn from their world. Our curriculum reflects this through our global education program and how we foster community connections here at home. Pacific Ridge students volunteer at nonprofits in San Diego County each week, hear from local business leaders in career lunch talks and work with companies through on-site jobs and internships. COVID has thrown a wrench into these activities, but we look forward to restoring them to their full breadth and depth once the pandemic eases.
For schools that aim to prepare students for the future, our community is one of our strongest assets. North County San Diego has emerged as a leader of technological innovation, with over 850 tech firms in the area. There is tremendous opportunity for schools to partner with these forward-thinking companies.
And, as we are fortunate to be opening a new facility on our campus, my mind is drawn to how we might form more of these alliances.
Our new Innovation Center & Library houses an advanced biotech lab, a technology and electronics lab, an ample robotics and makerspace, and our campus library. The Center will give our students the opportunity to conduct advanced scientific research and, hopefully, to collaborate with local professionals in a number of areas. From building prototypes with engineers, to studying genome sequencing with local scientists, to learning to code with professional developers and user experience experts, the opportunities are endless. Given that our facility will allow us to expand our academic offerings, we also look forward to collaborating with local tech partners on curriculum development.
Whether on a school’s campus or at a company’s site, when students are afforded the opportunity to pursue their interests in a work setting, they are better prepared for their post-secondary experience. They gain practical knowledge, get introduced to new technology, and find out about emerging fields. A number of our alumni can trace their career choices back to an enlightening experience they had during a high school internship or summer job, and a few are pursuing high-tech careers right here in Carlsbad.
For companies focused on discovering cures, developing new technologies, or just starting and growing a business, working with high school students may not always seem like a priority. However, building and maintaining relationships with schools doesn’t always require a huge amount of time or effort, and can be a high-yield investment for individual companies – and for our region’s future.