There is no replacement for real-world experience. But it can be difficult for students without work experience to find jobs in today’s workforce. That is why, at Toppenish High School, we’ve brought real-world experience to the classroom. The Toppenish High School print shop mirrors a working print company. It is designed to provide students with hands-on experience in printing and graphic design—skills that can translate directly into professional opportunities or pathways to continuing education.
“Our goal is for students to build further interest in graphic design, learn how to work with a variety of printing tools and operate a print shop,” says Monica Saldivar, Director of Career and Technical Education. “Students work in small groups or one-on-one in a real-world work environment where they can build knowledge and employable skills in graphic design, printing, and related careers.”
And that hands-on experience is important. A 2019 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found that students who were taught in classrooms employing active-learning strategies performed better than students taught through traditional lectures alone. That means students working in the print shop could have an advantage over students taught in traditional classroom settings.
At Toppenish, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students can work in the print shop if they meet the Graphics II pre-requirements, which include completing Graphics I and learning the basics of graphic design. Most print shop projects include promotional items like labels, stickers, banners, posters, signs, postcards, and logos for school-based clients. However, occasionally students tackle community projects as well.
Students interested in learning more about the graphics program or working in the print shop can contact Cecilia Rios, Print Shop Coordinator, or CTE Director, Monica Saldivar at Toppenish High School at 509-865-3370.