Principal's Message

January 2020


Welcome to Trade Tech! We strive to provide an alternative setting to high school students seeking preparation for college and careers through engaging, STEM-centered learning.  We are “More than just a school!”

I am often asked how our school is different from other high schools. Everything we do answers that question. Yes, we are a traditional high school in that we meet five days a week and offer English, Math and Social Studies, but that really is the end of the comparison, as traditional testing measures don’t give the full picture of what we do. One metric I am very proud of is our 5 year graduation rate of 99% over the last 10 years, which tells me we are on the right track. We work with our students to prepare them for their future.

What really makes Trade Tech different is our focus on Relationships, Relevance and Rigor. Students engage when they are a part of a team that cares about them. Our small classes and hands-on work lend themselves to students engaging in
their studies.

We are a school-to-career high school with a commonsense approach to learning. College and postsecondary education is what you do on the way to a career, but our society places tremendous pressure on students earning college degrees for their own sake. Unless a student has researched and explored careers, they do not understand the true value of further education, whether it is in the form of technical training, certifications or college degrees.

Every one of our 11th grade students are required to take a year-long Personal Finance course. We are addressing society’s need for prepared citizens in this way. We want students to learn about Credit and Debit, Bank Accounts, Job Applications and Resumes. They learn how to do their taxes and invest earnings using account through online investment sites. They fill out rental agreements for apartments and loan applications for cars. In a nutshell, they learn about the financial future that awaits them.

So, can our graduates go to college? Yes! Our graduating seniors have been accepted to school such as: UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, SDSU, Mt. St. Mary's, CSUSM and Vassar College in New York. Many of our students transfer to Palomar College or Mira Costa College. Most have already earned college credit either on our campus or at those campuses.


Our clubs and activities are student centered.  In sports, we have flag football, soccer and basketball.  We are not a CIF school and on our best days, we are equivalent to Rec League. We have FIRST Robotics that has an amazing rich, winning tradition.  We have an Outdoor Club, Key Club, Fishing Club and a Music Club.  Students have also formed interest groups in popular cultural topics like Anime and Dungeons &Dragons.

The most important way Trade Tech is different is that we look at students as the individuals they are. Through our Advisory program, we try to guide each student to help them determine their strengths that will lead them to a successful career. Everything we do is focused on their short- and long-term goal setting and successes.


A little bit about some of our programs this year:


The Freshman Experience (9th Grade)


New for 2019-20, the Freshman Experience offers 9th grade students their year-long core classes (English, Math and Science), Health and Fitness (in which students earn a First Aid/CPR certification), Success Skills or Spanish and 6 semester long exploratory offerings (Drafting, Engineering Design, Digital Media, Mechatronics, Construction and Manufacturing).  In addition, there are activities designed for the 9th grades, and sometimes their families, to engage them in school.

HG Fenton Green Build Tech Academy (A California Partnership Academy) (All Grades)


The academy is Trade Tech.  The focus is on sustainability and solutions to help our environment sustain lives.  All the CTE (Career Technical Education) classes include lessons in sustainability. 


Our two annual Schoolwide Projects are geared towards looking at the future and sustainability.  We have two Night of Excellence presentations for students to show the school and community their ideas and work.

Construction Courses (10th through 12th Grades)

We offer 3 years of construction with the capstone National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER – Non-Union commercial) and MC3 (Union commercial) approved courses. Also we are certified by the BIA (Residential) using their BITA curriculum. The program is designed to progressively teach students the hands-on skills and background knowledge needed to work in the construction industry.

Construction 2 & 3 are our industry preparation courses.

Building Maintenance is an advanced course designed to introduce students into the careers working for industries such as time-shares and property management.

Finish Carpentry is an advanced course that teaches students about careers in finish carpentry.


Engineering Courses

Our engineering courses blend in-class learning with hands-on projects. Participation in Project Lead The Way and MESA through SDSU maintains a project-based focus and access to engineering.

Introduction to Engineering Design is focused on students learning to use AutoDesk’s Inventor softw are. Students are taught to both reverse engineer parts and create virtual models of components and assemblies. Articulated for credit with Palomar CC
with a B or better.

Civil Engineering and Architecture teaches every aspect of construction designing - from site planning to rendered house plans. Students learn AutoCAD Revit Software Suite. Students are encouraged to enter their projects in the San Diego County Fair and NAWIC Architectural Competitions. Articulated for credit with Palomar CC with a B or better.


Mechatronics 1 and 2 are courses that teach mechanical engineering and electronics.

This after-school program includes every aspect of managing a business: from design, prototyping, fabrication and programming of the 150 pound robot to budgeting, marketing and fundraising of the team. We compete in the FIRST FRC program.

Manufacturing/Machining Courses

Graphic Design and Modeling begins with the fundamentals of stop-frame animation and computer based animation programming and moves into model making using different manufacturing processes involving casting, forming, as well as basic material assemblies.

Manufacturing 1 & 2 teaches manufacturing processes including forming and machining technologies, including programming CNC machinery using CAM software and G and M codes. 


Computer Science Courses


Digital Media 1 & 2 teaches creating, editing and publishing digital content.


Game Design 1 & 2 teaches the fundamentals of designing and creating animations and game functions.


Computer Programming uses curriculum to teach programming to students.


Thank You,

Phil Lutgen