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From the outhouse to the penthouse

For The Madera Tribune

Nichole Mosqueda is Chief Administrative Officer for Camarena Health. She is also an an Industry Partner with Madera Unified’s new concurrent enrollment middle school.


By now most everybody knows that Madera Unified is making a bold step forward in its Career Technical Education program. The Tribune has been reporting on this development since Jan. 2015, when Sheryl Sisil announced that “a new day was coming to MUSD.”

Sisil had just been appointed Director of College and Career Readiness, and she was talking about the burgeoning Career Pathways movement. Sisil said that the new program would be like moving from an “outhouse to a penthouse.”

Well, on Thursday, Aug. 15, Sisil, who is now Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, proudly watched work on that “penthouse” begin. A ground breaking ceremony announced that the district’s most unique campus, its concurrent enrollment middle school, was about to become a reality.

This writer covered the ceremony and tried to do justice to what is happening there on the corner of Sunset and Tozer, but after writing the story, he realized something was missing. He looked at his notes and realized someone told the story of the concurrent middle school a bit better. Her name is Nichole Mosqueda, Chief Administrative Officer for Camarena Health. She is also an industry partner for the new school and the chair of MUSD’s Career Technical Education Advisory Committee.

Mosqueda spoke at the ground breaking ceremony, and what she had to say gave us a look at how the school is going to work from the vantage point of one who is connected with the new school and yet is not part of Madera Unified’s administration.

Mosqueda directed her remarks toward the new school at large and at one of its labs in particular — the Health Careers and Medical Occupations lab. Her presentation brought the audience virtually to the edge of the lab table, right out there on the dirt and grass. I think what she had to say is worth repeating.

“It is incredible,” Mosqueda intoned, “to think that this dirt we are standing on today will soon be an academic institution that people will call ‘state of the art.’

“This vision is now becoming a reality because of board members, administrators, and community leaders, past and present, who believed in a better Madera for our students. They were leaders who knew that if we wanted to prepare our students to be college and career ready when they graduated from high school, we needed to begin developing their skills and providing learning environments for them before they get into the 9th grade.

“In the near future this site will host over 1,000 8th graders from all over the district who have chosen to be bold, to dream big, to learn differently. These 8th graders will have the opportunity to meet their math, science, and English standards in one of six industry sector classroom labs. Eighth graders attending this school will be challenged to debate, probe, explore and question with peers who have the same interests and possible career goals as they have. These students will be encouraged to tinker, create, and learn from these amazing educators who stand before us today. This school will be a place where 8th graders can be students and also scientist, builders, engineers, coders and my favorite…providers. This is the future of education and the future of our work force.

“I would like you to imagine that where you are sitting today is the Health & Medical Careers Lab. A group of 8th grade students are standing around a long table. With the click of a button, the table turns on, and virtually displays the anatomy of a human body. The group of students are able to pull up a virtual human heart. These students will listen and watch the movement of each heartbeat, they will be able to analyze the arteries and blood flow from a human heart of a patient who has high blood pressure vs a patient with normal blood pressure. Their English assignment will be to research and create a brochure for local industry partners to use with their hypertensive patients that communicates lifestyle changes that can be made to reduce blood pressure.

“As an industry partner, I cannot be more thrilled to know that these 8th graders will have the opportunity to learn and thrive together in an educational environment similar to those in which our clinical Physician Assistant Students, Nurse Practitioner Students and even Residents learn.

“It is in moments like today that we can affirm our students’ futures…that when they graduate from our schools, they will be college and career ready!

I leave you with this…

“These 8th graders who will soon fill these labs are the future of Mad Town Robotics, Madera FFA or HOSA clubs. They are the future of our business and trades or our med schools and residency programs. They are Camarena Health’s future workforce… and I couldn’t be more proud as an industry partner of Camarena Health in saying WE BELIEVE!”

Well said, Ms. Mosqueda, we applaud your insight and your willingness to share. We also applaud all the partners from the other industries who have the same enthusiasm and dedication to put our concurrent enrollment middle school in the vanguard of excellence. A new day has come.

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