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Essential Skills Showcase 2021

Celebrating innovations in education during distance learning

Employers have the greatest difficulty hiring entry-level employees with strong essential skills. To succeed in tomorrow's labor market, our students need to be resourceful and dependable people who can communicate, collaborate, think creatively, and act with emotional intelligence. Check out how San Diego students have developed their essential skills...

The San Diego County Office of Education and the San Diego Workforce Partnership designed the Essential Skills Student Showcase to celebrate student successes in developing their essential skills. Students from across the county submitted projects that demonstrated their growth in essential skills along with their reflections, several of which we have highlighted below.

To learn more about essential skills, explore our resources.

Chula Vista High School

Students from Sharon Maley's Drama Production class weren't able to perform a play this school year, so instead they wrote and produced their own film, "Murder at the Manor."

Students worked together to develop characters through dialogue, costumes, "set design," and more. They also put together a marketing plan for the film, including a promo trailer. Watch the full film using the link above and read more about the students' experience and how they used essential skills during production by reading their reflections below.

CVHS Student Reflections

"This project showcased my growth in creative and critical thinking, through my ability to help reschedule filming times and dates, methods to edit and stitch the show together, and ways to publicize the show. As a former Stage Manager, I never had to reschedule rehearsals or make accommodations for actors, but as a Production Manager, I had to help reschedule recording times for actors due to personal and technological conflicts. This required critical thinking in order to accommodate everyone’s needs and to find an ideal recording time. This also required creativity because we needed to fit filming times into various time slots, since an entire filming date was cancelled.

Furthermore, as an Actor and Stage Manager, I haven’t had much experience within the field of movie-making and editing. During this show, I had to creatively figure out how to efficiently edit together clips and add in music (both promotional videos and the film), and I was able to expand my knowledge on editing softwares, which opened up new creative opportunities for me.

Lastly, I was able to come up with new methods of promotion for our show. While I took inspiration from outside sources (other theater programs and social media), I came up with a lot of the material on my own. I critically analyzed things that people seem to be more attracted to, in hopes that if we do the same thing, we’d get similar levels of attraction, and I creatively came up with ways to display the promotion." - Michelle Zeng, Grade 12

"I am strongest when I’m able to find new challenges and use my knowledge to be successful. I always find ways to work around difficult tasks to make them easier and more effective to manage. And when creating my monologue, I used my personal experience as being an orthodontist patient and applied what I knew to my monologue writing; I knew workers fixed braces, applied braces, made molds, and even changed braces’ colors. I was able to define my monologue by asking my director questions about dialogue choices, I asked her how I should deliver certain lines to make it seem more believable that I was an orthodontist." - Fantasia Guerra-Rivera, Grade 11

"I want to be able to help others solve issues when it comes to collaboration. Although I feel collaboration is one of my stronger skills, I tend to take following roles rather than leadership roles. This has me feel as if disagreements are best resolved between the leaders and the people involved. I believe if I can build more confidence in myself, I can help peacefully resolve disagreements with others in order to maintain the peace. I also need to start realizing that my peers are here to help and are willing to take an even amount of workload. I tend to take on the heavier load so as not to stress my peers. I would like to grow and realize that a collaborative piece requires everyone’s equal contribution that makes the process smoother." - Valeria Rodriguez, Grade 12

Chula Vista High School "Murder at the Mansion" project team: Michelle Zeng, Hailey Corum, Ilenia Matto, Vanessa Ledezma, Evany Monica Chaidez, Valeria Rodriguez, Genesis Barela, Ana Garcia, Israel Cervantes, Fantasia Guerra-Rivera, Cristian Gonzalez

San Diego Unified School District

San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts

Reimar, a student at SCPA, created his own photography website to share his portfolio and to provide professional tips to other aspiring photographers. He noted that his projects have improved his creative and critical thinking skills as well as his decision-making skills. You can see more of his work here.

San Diego High School

Intro with background color, paddings and a video on the right. Mobirise helps you cut down development time by providing you with a flexible website editor with a drag and drop interface.

Kearny High School

In Ms. Ogo's Biomedical Innovations class, students experience the invention process in their Project Invent assignment. Teams first form relationships with community partners to determine their needs and then ideate products or services that could help them. Teams submit their top 3 ideas for a Review by the community partners and obtain their feedback. This is one team's Review presentation to the partners. Their next step will be to prototype their idea.


Kearny High School

Collaboration infographic created in Canva.

"I understand when people talk, they explain their ideas and I explain my point of view to see their side of things again just to make sure they are alright with their final choices. If I don't agree I can use my charisma to convince them that I'm right about what my point of view is and show them where they are wrong in a way they can learn from it, or make an idea that comes from both views."

- Xitlali Valadez, Grade 9


San Diego County Office of Education
6401 Linda Vista Road                     
San Diego, CA 92111


Email: [email protected]    
Phone: +1 (858) 292-3582