Our History

There has been a long-standing need to bring back reinvented vocational education - to bring it into the 21st century. In 2005, a group of dedicated individuals came together to do just that. Based on sound research of labor market needs in North County, a decision was made to focus on preparing students for 21st century careers in the building and construction industry. This decision was affirmed when, in February 2006, over 100 industry professionals attended a roundtable and joined in the planning. Another roundtable was held in April, with an additional 100 people representing community colleges, state universities, apprenticeship programs, community leaders and additional industry leaders, including architects, engineers and building trades professionals.

There was a broad-based commitment to ensuring that this high school would be open to all students and ensure that they would be prepared for success in life, college, and/or high skill, high wage careers. It was determined that opening a public charter school would be the best avenue to achieve these goals. Committees were established in curriculum and instruction, governance, facilities, and fiscal planning and operations. Together, a charter was drafted and submitted to Vista Unified School District in Fall 2006. Throughout the chartering process, there was tremendous community support for the school and in December 2006, the charter was unanimously approved by the Vista Unified School District Board of Trustees.

The school was originally scheduled to open in Fall 2007; however, the inability to find an appropriate facility that was safe and conducive to a career technical model delayed the opening until Fall 2008. The wait resulted in finding just the right facility. Trade Tech opened its doors to the class of 2012 on September 4, 2008 and is located in a beautiful, safe, tree-lined campus that previously housed a professional engineering firm. 

Support for the school has had tremendous momentum and showed up in support by the community, industry professionals, and private foundations. 

Major Highlights of Trade Tech:

  • September 4, 2008 - Trade Tech opens to students
  • Moved to new larger facility on Melrose for August of 2010
  • Trade Tech sets new state achievement record with an API increase over 100 points in 2011
  • FRC Team goes to World Championships in 2012 (working with FRC Team 3255)
  • First graduating class of 17 in June of 2012
  • First graduates offered positions as apprentices with Associated Builders and Contractors as electricians, most other graduates enrolled in college, primarily Palomar and Mira Costa, June 2012
  • Girard Foundation grant allows for remodel and update for Engineering and Science classrooms in summer of 2012
  • Began robotics FRC Team 4486 in January of 2013
  • Changed to Block Schedule in 2013
  • Reworked Engineering Design Pathway in 2013
  • Added Personal Finance for all 11th graders in 2013
  • Added New Construction Pathways of Building Maintenance in 2014
  • FRC Team goes to World Championships in 2014
  • Trade Tech chosen by Department of Education as one of 9 schools to create an advanced construction class with a thru g credit in 2014
  • Trade Tech wins competitive Specialized Secondary Programs (SSP) grant from State of California to develop Manufacturing and Product Development pathway consisting of Graphic Design and Manufacturing courses in 2014
  • Parker Foundation matching grant allowed for the Innovation and Design Center at Trade Tech to open in 2015
    • Drafting
    • Graphic Design
    • Computer Science
    • Casting
    • Machining and Modeling
    • Sheet Metal
    • Bike Repair/Small Engine
  • FRC Team goes to World Championships in 2015
  • Added facility for PE with weight room and half court basketball in 2015
  • Added Manufacturing 1 and 2 courses in 2016
  • Added New Machine Shop and Machining classes in 2016
  • Added Computer Science for all 10th graders in 2016
  • FRC Team wins Industrial Design Award for "Sir Barksalot" in 2016
  • Advanced Machining Program began in 2016
  • FRC Team is 4th Alliance captain on 2017 Newton stage at World Championships. After world championships, ranked 55th. There are 4500 teams worldwide