Careers: Interviews
A Chat with Ray Solorzano: Teacher, Cambridge Virtual Academy(CVA); Mentor; Anaheim Innovate Mentoring Experience (AIME) Internship Coordinator; about the power of community-based solutions and using technology to incubate learning and accelerate breakthroughs

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Ray Solorzano.

Ray SolorzanoI have been teaching Social Studies for 13 years in the Anaheim Union High School District (AUHSD). I believe in the power of technology to allow everyone to learn at their own pace, in their own way. Which is why I am so proud to be a teacher at Cambridge Virtual Academy(CVA). In addition to being a classroom teacher, I also support students in the workplace as an Anaheim Innovate Mentoring Experience (AIME) Internship Coordinator, mentor new teachers as an Induction Coach, and work with the iLab at Western High School to incubate learning and accelerate breakthroughs.

As a homegrown product of AUHSD I am proud to be a part of an organization that sees the value and potential in our youth. I believe in the power of community-based solutions to build a better world through our district's vision of "Unlimited You". By empowering students with the technical skills to compete in an ever-evolving job market and partnering with local businesses and colleges to further the students education, all while allowing for opportunities for students to sharpen and reflect on their soft skills; our students will be equipped to handle an ever changing and complex world.

In my work as an AIME Internship Coordinator, I oversee students interning with over 35 different local and national partners. Ranging from local government, to multinational corporations, our students have an opportunity the summer prior to their Senior year to see their value in the workplace. From construction, to aerospace R&D and everything in between, our students are immersed in real-world, authentic and relevant career fields that combine their classroom journey with potential careers.

I have been lucky enough to work in a number of award-winning high schools in the field of civic engagement. I have been part of a team that worked with students to earn recognition as a California Democracy School by the Los Angeles County of Education, as well as the Award of Excellence from the California Courts Civic Learning Awards program. While providing students with the technical skills and soft skills is part of the equation, it is my belief that igniting a student's voice is how a student discovers agency and purpose in their own learning.

My belief in celebrating failure led me to my work in expanding the entrepreneurial mindset in our district. Both for students and teachers, I believe that we need to take risks, make mistakes, and have the resiliency to come back and try again tomorrow. In so many walks of life, from sports, to band, to video games, failure is an expected and normalized outcome. I believe that mindset should be carried over to the classroom as well.

Education is not a one size fits all model. As part of our district and school's re-visioning process, we heard from a number of stakeholders that they desired schools to be more flexible. Which has led me to my current position as a lead teacher at CVA. CVA is rethinking what education could be. It is a virtual course-based independent study alternative for eligible students whose needs may be best met outside of the regular classroom setting. The entrepreneurial mindset is embodied here at CVA. With teacher created lessons, ground in our district's divers, while also aligning with all local and state requirements, our students become agents of their own learning.

TO WATCH THE VIDEO INTERVIEW, CLICK ON THIS MP4 file link

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