High school to offer new Firefighter course

Story by Catherine Stachowiak

High School principal Alan Paradise had the opportunity to speak with some people about a course Kern Valley High School campus offered more than a decade ago.  He told the Kern Valley Sun, Wednesday April 10 that the school was offering the course again to students.

Paradise spoke with several members of the community on and around campus, who were previously influenced by the older firefighter class, as well as those retired and working as firefighters and people connected with Cerro Coso Community College and 

tried to get a new Firefighter Course started. 

Then the US Forest Service came out to the school to do a presentation for the junior grade students sharing the opportunity to be involved with Fire Technology course.

The college career day on campus also featured the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management firefighters and Kern County Fire Department.

“One of the things we do that is important for students is we give them options and opportunities. So it’s really important that there are multiple paths to success. 

This year we had five students that were taking Regional Occupation classes that we were able to bus down to Bakersfield to take some of those career technical education classes there and be in the position for maybe a job after high school, or a career path that they’re interested in, that they can get additional training afterwards.”

The goal of the district is to see that the schools build college and career readiness. The plan for the fall would be to have classes through Cerro Coso Community College to enable students to attain certificates toward basic firefighting knowledge.

The high school firefighter course would be a one-semester introduction to the series of firefighting courses Cerro Coso Community College offers for Firefighting Technology course of study.

“The plan is to make it a sixth period class, on campus, at the end of the school day,” said Paradise.

Students have already indicated an interest. Working together in partnership with the college. Kern Valley High School would be solidifying a plan for the fall shortly.  

“We’ve been in discussions since first semester. And I’ve been impressed with how much support Cerro Coso has offered and also likewise with the Forest Service.

They’re very interested in partnering with us to help students.”

“I think the key to doing this is really trying to find opportunities for our students.  I think there are a lot of opportunities in the Kern River Valley that we need to connect with. Our mission statement at Kern Valley High School is to provide all students with a comprehensive, academically rigorous education and a safe environment,” Paradise said.

“Not everything is within distance of Lake Isabella. And so having a Fire Technology program at the high school just gives our students more opportunity.”