Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Archive for the ‘Highlands Community Charter and Technical Schools’ Category

Computer Science Math Course & Study Group On Hold Indefinitely

without comments

Well, after putting over 50 hours of work into the creation of a high school math course focused on computer and data science (over Thanksgiving break)….  Yesterday threw me a curve ball at work, and it looks like this work won’t be relevant with Highlands Community Charter School for the time being.  But, this doesn’t mean that it won’t come to fruition in the future, as the foundation I was building, and the Open Educational Resources (OERs) that I was compiling, I feel have really good value and are of excellent quality.  But it does mean that the study group and class are on hold…

Twin Rivers IS doing Good things with Good People

without comments

I am glad to see the Sacramento Bee running an article about the top notch leadership team that Twin Rivers now has.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jacob Walker

July 12th, 2015 at 11:59 am

My Graduation Address to the Sacramento Stride Center Graduates

with 2 comments

Photo of Jacob J. Walker Giving Graduation Address at the 2015 Sacramento Stride GraduationTonight, I had the honor to speak at the Sacramento Stride Center graduation. Stride empowers economic self-sufficiency for individuals through technology training, and this year Highlands Community Charter School formed a partnership with them.  Here is what I said:

Stride graduates: today is a milestone on your road to nerdom. I know some of you never thought you would have that term used to describe you, but I hope you take the word “nerd” with pride, because as Charles J Sykes wrote “Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them.”

For better or worse, technology is profoundly changing our world, including the economics. In fact, it can be argued that the biggest force that is leading to the greater disparity between the rich and the poor is the fact that productivity gains no longer lead to higher paying jobs for most people, but only leads to higher paying jobs for the few who have the knowledge and skills to work integrally with the technology.

As you know, Highlands Community Charter School, has a partnership with Stride, and at our charter school we have other career programs, including truck driving. I believe truck driving is a valuable job skill, as it is the truckers who currently keep the economy moving. There would be no Amazon, at this time without trucks. And I know that my driving skills are not at a place where I should be trusted behind the wheel of a big rig. But, I also see the danger in the future for the truck driving profession. While autonomous cars from Google are getting the headlines, with less fanfare autonomous trucks are being developed right now.

This is why your path to nerdom is valuable. You have now gone beyond being a user of technology to being a technician. You have the skills to solve basic hardware and software problems. And this may be enough for many of you, as technicians can make good money. But I want you to dream higher, I want you to know that you can do more. There are jobs that pay $90,000 a year that you can obtain. But it will require you to continue to learn, both formally and informally. And all of these jobs, require you to become more than a technician.

This starts with learning a programming language. Many of you know I am a fan of Python, but Ruby, PHP, Java, C, VB, and others are all valuable. This also means you must learn deeper not only about what to do when a problem happens, but to truly have an accurate mental model about why the problem is happening. And this means that you need to understand computer security at a deep level. Our nation is literally under cyberattack from Russia, North Korea, and China, and it will literally be the nerds that have the only chance of saving us.

So please, embrace being a nerd. As geek is chic. And strive to become an uber nerd, otherwise known as a “nerd of nerds”.

Thank you, and congratulations!

Written by Jacob Walker

June 18th, 2015 at 10:59 pm

I’m doing a FREE orientation tomorrow for my Microsoft Office Training with Highlands Community Charter School

without comments

hccs_logo_artwork_cropped_600At long last, I’m starting to teach Microsoft Office again.  But before some of my former students get their hopes up about joining my class, I should be clear about the requirements: These classes are only for students who do not yet have a U.S. High School diploma (but those with only a GED can join).  It is also a full-time program for students to work towards earning their diploma, where classes start at 10:20 am, and go until 5:10 pm.  My specific Microsoft Office classes will go from 3:10 pm to 5:10 pm.  Also, we can only accept students who are at least 22 years old.

If you know anyone who could meet these requirements, and want FREE classes, then please invite them to the orientation I am doing tomorrow (December 1st) at 3:10 pm, at 1333 Grand Avenue, Building F.  They can also email me for more info, or call our office on Monday, at (916) 844-2283 .  Please also share this on your Facebook, and if you haven’t already like us on FaceBook.

Written by Jacob Walker

November 30th, 2014 at 11:59 am

HCCTS Offers Free English for Immigrant Classes

without comments

Map of the U.S. with pictures of immigrantsAs I talked about recently, our nation was built by immigrants, and the commonality that we share is our language. But many English as a Second Language (ESL) programs have closed down, making it harder for immigrants to learn English. But, now Highlands Community Charter School has a free program that is about 20 hours per week, that focuses on teaching English to immigrants, and it also gives them the opportunity to later work towards earning a U.S. high school diploma, if they so choose.

If you or a friend is interested, the requirements are simple:

  • Students must be 22 years of age or older
  • Students cannot possess a U.S. High School Diploma (foreign diplomas are OK)
  • Students must be willing to attend classes about 20 hours per week, either in the morning (8:10 am to 12:20 pm) or in the afternoon (12:50 pm to 5:00 pm)

Those who are interested can call us at (916) 844-2283, (Our Office Assistant can speak Spanish, Ukrainian, Russian, and English!) or you can go right online and enroll!

Written by Jacob Walker

August 7th, 2014 at 7:07 am

Free Computer Science and Information Technology Training Opportunity

without comments

On August 18, I am starting a small computer science and IT training program with Highlands Community Charter School, that will have no more than 10 students in it. This program is open to students who are 22 years of age, or older, and who don’t have a high school diploma.  Students must also have sufficient computer skills before entering the program, although, students who don’t yet have sufficient skills may join a self-paced IT Prep program with the school, to work up to joining the class.  This is a full-time program, where students go to school 6 hours per day for a full school year.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thought of the Day: When Immigrants Don’t have the Opportunity to Learn English, we become less of a United States

with one comment

According to Census data, there are over 100,000 people in the Sacramento region who do not speak English well.  And despite what the media implicitly portrays, most of these individuals are here legally.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jacob Walker

August 3rd, 2014 at 7:31 am

Thought of the Day: Our Charter School’s Unique Opportunity

without comments

Picture of person between many conflicting road signsHighlands Community Charter School (HCCS) is just about to start classes on August 18. And, I wanted to share today why I’m so passionate about starting this school, and why despite numerous major obstacles that has hit our team over the past several years, that we have persisted.  It boils down to: there are no other good options for adult high school dropouts in Sacramento, so we needed to create one. To do otherwise, would have been unconscionable.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jacob Walker

August 2nd, 2014 at 6:49 am

Today’s Bee Article about Twin Rivers, Dr. Martinez, and John Dexter

without comments

Michelle Rivas for Twin Rivers School Board - Area 2I have been hesitant to “take sides” in the race between John Dexter and Michelle Rivas.  But, I don’t think I can be quiet any longer about John Dexter.

I have been working with a great team over the past two years to start Highlands Community Charter School, which has been designed to “serve the unserved”, and will make the Twin Rivers district additional income, while helping the parents of the district.  And by serving these unserved populations, we also are helping to change “tax takers to become tax makers”, which saves money for the State of California.

And, Superintendent Martinez “gets it”.  He is strongly supporting having Highlands Community Charter School succeed, because he knows that when the parents of the district learn more, their children will learn more.  This is simple fact.   As today’s article in the Sacramento Bee shows, Dr. Martinez works for systemic solutions, without attempting to get political gain, just to have gains for the students.

But, as Maiman’s Article also points out, John Dexter is still trying to back stab others for political gain, instead of truly working to solve problems.  First, I want to say that when John Dexter first started on the Twin Rivers board, I thought he was someone we could work with.  At the time, he seemed reasonable.

But, it was John Dexter who brought Joe Williams into the district, because John’s wife, Nancy, was Joe William’s secretary.  And it was Joe Williams that nearly killed Adult Education in the district, and who did everything he could to prevent Highlands Community Charter School from starting, despite it being a win-win for the district, the school, the community, and the State. And it is John Dexter that still supports Joe Williams, despite Joe not paying his fair share into his retirement.  Despite, Joe now being on “stress” leave, because he twisted the words of a community activist to serve his own agenda.

John Dexter publicly says he supports Superintendent Martinez, so that he could get the Bee’s initial endorsement, and he only temporarily supported Highlands Community Charter School to get labor union support.  But, he is now again trying to use our charter school as some sort of political pawn, and it seems pretty clear that he would still much rather see Joe Williams as superintendent than to truly support Dr. Martinez.

I am tired of this.  I just want to do the right thing, and build a school that can truly change people’s lives for the better.  While I know the district had some major growing pains when the unification happened with Rivas being the board president, and I had some serious issues with then Superintendent Frank Porter’s treatment of adult education, I also know that Rivas is dedicated to the students of the Twin Rivers District, and recognizes that educating parents directly translates into better education for kids.  This is why she needs to be re-elected.

While I try to not write anyone off, it would honestly take a lot of work on John Dexter’s part to truly show me that he thinks about students first, and not politics.  It would take recognizing and denouncing the damage that Joe Williams did to our district, and to truly support Superintendent Martinez, for example, by truly supporting Highlands Community Charter School.

Written by Jacob Walker

May 20th, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Some More Thoughts about StudentsFirst and Michelle Rhee

without comments

It is very clear that in the field of education, Michelle Rhee is a controversial figure.  She gained prominence as the chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools, in which she was featured in the documentary Waiting for Superman.  More recently she started the organization Students First, which is located in Sacramento and which I wrote a little about previously.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jacob Walker

April 19th, 2014 at 11:59 am