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25th Annual "BEST Day" for Teachers is a Professional Development Day Highlight

25th Annual "BEST Day" for Teachers is a Professional Development Day Highlight

While MDUSD students enjoyed their day off from school last Monday, dozens of Career Technical Education teachers from District high schools and middle schools took on the roles of students as they visited 13 local industry professionals to learn more about the jobs they are preparing their students to  tackle in the future. During the 25th Annual BEST (Business and Education Shadowing for Tomorrow) Day, the teachers got a chance to see how professionals who work in companies, organizations or public agencies do their work, ask questions, and get insights into what employers are looking for when they interview candidates, including MDUSD graduates.

The teachers educate MDUSD students in career pathways including hospitality, photography and digital arts, education, engineering, construction and wood shop, and sciences such as chemistry and biotech that can lead to healthcare careers. Teachers toured facilities including Alphagraphics, Berkeley Signs, Bertolami Engineering, Concord Child Care Center, Concord Police Department, CoStar, Donor Network West, East Bay Health, East Bay Times, Kindred Motor Works, Roof & Realm modular homes, and the Walnut Creek Police Department's Drone program. 

After the job shadowing, teachers shared their experiences with each other and discussed what they plan to tell students about what they learned. They also heard from Superintendent Dr. Adam Clark about the importance of their work with students, and from two guest speakers who stressed the importance of "soft skills" in their employees, such as being able to collaborate in teams and also to work independently, showing up to work on time, being enthusiastic, communicating well and meeting deadlines. The ability to think creatively, problem-solve, learn new skills, be resilient by learning from mistakes and being accountable were also common themes among employers interviewed by teachers, along with passion for their work.

This was the first time the program included middle school teachers in an effort to strengthen connections between career-focused classes such as wood shop in middle and high schools. Sequoia MS wood shop and Maker's Academy teacher Jim Bergmann was excited about his visit to Roof & Realm, where he saw how team members from Human Resources, Accounting and Permitting departments worked together and learned new skills as they transitioned from one job to another. Healthcare pathway teacher Dr. David Pintado said he learned about the need for organ and tissue donors at the Donor Network and found out people can donate tissue while they're still alive. 

Dr. Clark praised the District’s career pathways teachers for "thinking out of the box" to prepare students for college an careers. "I'm really appreciative of what you all are doing," he said, adding that career pathways classes help give students a sense of identity and motivate them to come to school. Guest speaker Claryzza Abille Arcala, who graduated from Mt. Diablo HS, said she was so inspired by Chef Kevin's cooking classes and mentorship that she had the confidence to buy a restaurant and now employs some MDHS students at  Papi Clary’s Kitchen  on Solano Way in Concord. She emphasized the importance of being kind to customers and relationship-building for both students and teachers, explaining that Chef Kevin's belief in her helped her to believe in herself.

Teacher Job Shadow Day
  • Career Pathways