Principal's Message

August 2021


While we are still in the pandemic, I can assure you that our staff will work with our students to get them back on track. We will follow the state’s COVID guidelines and work to keep everyone as safe as we can.  The vaccine is encouraged for all people age 12 and over.  While there is no requirement to be vaccinated at this time, it is encouraged.


I am often asked what makes Trade Tech different from larger schools.  The answers everyone wants and needs to hear are pretty obvious.

  • Small School. We will max at 240 students, sometime in the future.
  • Small Classes. Class size average is less than 20.
  • Personalized attention.
  • Teachers that care.
  • Communication is more consistent and available with teachers.
  • Classes that prepare students for their lives ahead.


But the real truth is that “We care about our students! The school was founded by Doreen Quinn, a social worker, with the thought that “No child is left unknown”.  We care!  We do not care about their past, it is our job to take them from where they are when they begin with us to a level that can ensure success for a lifetime. We do not allow for the bullying that you see on other campuses.  Students are allowed to be themselves as long as it does not hurt or aggressively offend others.


Please see the FAQ section in “About Us” for more specific information.


I am entering my 11th school year at Trade Tech and I know we are special.  Our students have an amazing opportunity to grow with the incredible staff we have assembled.


Being a part of a small school gives more opportunities. Students that normally just get by, have opportunities to become stars in their own right.


Our Advisory Model is focused on Guidance, Support and Interpersonal Skill (also known as Soft Skills and Citizenship) development. I was once touring a superintendent from another district. He looked at our Personalized Learning Plans and told me one of their high schools does all that on paper? The questions that raced through my head were: Do you really?  Do your teachers really meet with every student daily? Do they get to know who they are? Do the find out their goals, dreams and aspirations? After further discussion, he realized that they did not.  Since then, their program was cut due to budget concerns and teacher concerns.  Advisory is the cornerstone of our school. Everything builds around it. 


We focus on CTE because it prepares students for life.  Our graduates go to colleges, universities or straight to a career path.  We have graduated working as electricians and welders.  Some work for Waste Water systems engineering and others in dental offices. We just had our first graduate from UC Berkeley's College of Engineering. Our graduates are diverse. We work hard to help students identify their strengths and move forward from there.


Our graduation rate is between 97 and 100% depending on the school year. Not every student likes the personalized approach and some leave Trade Tech, but a typical graduating class has more students that transferred to Trade Tech after their Freshman year than spent all 4 years here. And they get caught up and graduate!  We must be doing something right.


Partnerships matter.  Time is unfortunate.  The HG Fenton Company has been with us since the start. They have supported our Mission and Vision from the beginning.  Every year they provide funding for our construction and building maintenance program, plus they have had interns, hired students and sent employees to teach specific trades to our students.  We are fortunate for such a long term relationship.  It is rare, but The HG Fenton Company supports our goal to reach students who may not fit in at a large high school.


Other partnerships we have involve every sector our classes represent.  They help on Advisory Committees and help out in classes.  Time and treasure donations are amazing in today’s world.  The state funds our school, but most high schools have average class sizes between 35 and 40 students.  That is what the state funds.  Our mission is funded by the state and the generosity of donors every year.


How can we afford what we do? Lately we cannot.  We just received news that our 4 school vans used to carry students to and from site visits and field trips can no longer be used.  All 4 vans need to be immediately replaced.  That means we have no student transportation, short of arranging school bus transportation at a steep cost.  We will be having a fundraising event to raise funds to purchase new vehicles to drive students in.


Thank You,

Phil Lutgen