School News

Preparing for Success with Golden West College

18:16 10 February in News

During the 2016-2017 school year, HBAS has focused on preparing students for college and careers.  Our work with the Coast Adult Education Consortium has led to exciting collaborations with Golden West College (GWC).

In Fall 2016, GWC Instructor Crystal Proud began offering College Success Workshops at the Learning Center. These workshops serve HBAS Diploma and GED students planning to move on to community college in the next 4-6 months. To expand this effort in 2017, HBAS and GWC are now launching a College Success Course.

Through this course, students can earn three transferrable college credits. To supplement the online coursework, Instructor Proud will continue to provide workshop-style sessions twice a week, offering students individual support as needed.  The workshops will also be open to other students, though only students enrolled in the course will earn college credits.

The College Success Course is just one of many collaborations with our closest community college neighbor.  Starting this month, Golden West College is providing Mathematics Mentoring at the Learning Center. Like the College Success Course, this opportunity is also geared towards students intending to transfer to community college in the near future. Students will work to improve their math skills in preparation for the mathematics placement test.  With higher placement scores, students can avoid remediation classes when enrolling in college.

And the best part? These courses and workshops are completely FREE for our students!

Our work with Golden West College is made possible by Adult Education Block Grant funding through the Coast Adult Education ConsortiumGWC Dean Alex Miranda Ph. D has been instrumental in working with HBAS Grant Coordinator Philip Villamor to provide these opportunities at the Learning Center. We look forward to expanding this fruitful partnership, always seeking new ways to help our students reach their goals.

* Find workshop hours and locations here.

You’re Hired! – Student Support Services Update

22:57 16 December in News, Student Success Stories

Anongnat Suebsak – Pharmacy Technician

At HBAS, we seek first and foremost to help students transition from our programs into jobs and/or post-secondary education. Teachers are working diligently to understand what is expected from employers and post-secondary institutions so that they can make sure students are well-prepared for their next step in their journey.

Jason Roth – HS Diploma

As a core part of our work in the Coast Adult Education Consortium, we have invested in additional student support staff, and opened the College and Career Center at our Gothard campus.

We are also developing new approaches to enrolling and supporting students throughout their time at HBAS. These new approaches will focus on the development of job readiness skills, often referred to as “soft skills,” while acquiring their academic and vocational skills.

Zoe Garcia – Pharmacy Technician

With all these efforts underway, it is always exciting to hear when our efforts bear fruit. Recently, we were happy to hear that four of our students were hired right after completing their training with us:

  • Anongnat Suebsak, a former ESL student who also completed our Pharmacy Technician program, was hired at Walgreens in Huntington Beach.
  • Diana Moore is working in the field as a Medical Biller with Pacific Medical Lab in Irvine.
  • Jason Roth, who is currently working on his high school diploma and close to finishing, was hired at California Closets.
  • Zoe Garcia, a Pharmacy Technician student, was hired by Telenet RX in Yorba Linda.


Diana Moore – Medical Billing

These student successes represent a number of similar success stories that are happening more and more often at HBAS. This brings great joy to me and my staff.

As we bid farewell to 2016, we look forward to another year of helping our students reach their goals at HBAS…and beyond!

Steve Curiel
HBAS Principal

Back to School: Fall 2016

17:11 14 October in News, Uncategorized


With a month of the fall semester under our belts, let’s catch up on what’s happening at the Huntington Beach Adult School:

Staff Training 

Before the semester began, the HBAS Certificated and Classified staff gathered for a Back to School retreat.  This 3-day event included a day at the Microsoft offices in Irvine, where HBAS staff received training on an array of Microsoft 365 tools for communication and instruction. We also met for two days at our Gothard Campus to prepare for exciting changes in our programming and our ongoing work in the Coast Adult Education Consortium.

“In a nutshell,” Principal Steve Curiel explained, “It’s all about transitions. We will continue to work with our local colleges and employers to build pathways for students. A major focus will be the student support services we provide to strengthen those transitions.”


The ESL Program has been an area of major expansion for HBAS this fall. To meet an increasing demand from English learners, we have added classes in Westminster, Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa. With over 1,200 students enrolled, almost all classes are full, and we have waiting lists for several classes.  A special thanks to our ESL office staff, who have spent weeks tirelessly enrolling students, distributing books and making ID cards.

Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for updates on newly hired staff, our College and Career Center, and our added site at the Costa Mesa BESST Center!

 – Briana (Madden) Valadao is a teacher and “field reporter” for the HB Adult School.  She meets with staff and students to learn about the programs offered and share stories and new opportunities with the community. 

Career Pathway: Personal Care Aide

18:55 22 September in News


Class Starts: Monday, October 3rd @ 3:30pm
Westminster High School Campus – Room A1 – 14325 Goldenwest Street
Instructor: Alan Bell 

This fall, HBAS is offering a Personal Care Aide training course. Personal care aides give assistance to people who are sick, injured, mentally or physically disabled, or elderly and fragile.  As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age, the demand for personal care aides is growing rapidly.

How high is the demand locally?  HBAS Jobs Developer Arlene Flores has already made connections with three home health providers who are “really excited about our program.”  In fact, these companies are ready and waiting to hire our Personal Care Aide students!

Connecting students to jobs and further education is a key goal for our school.  While open to everyone, the Personal Care Aide Course is designed as a pathway to employment for our higher level ESL students. To best prepare our level 3-4 ESL students, HBAS is pairing the Personal Care Aide course with a specialized ESL course.

This course is also a great first step (and resume builder) for students interested in the health care field.  Students may start in Personal Care, and then decide to continue their training to become a medical assistant, pharmacy technician or nurse.

We are excited to offer this new pathway to our students…especially when there is a job at the other end.  Enroll today!

 Personal Care Aide Class 
– Class Schedule: Oct. 3 – Dec 15th, Mon-Thurs, 3:30pm-5:30pm
  – Early Bird Price: $389 (by Sept 26th)
  – Regular Price: $419 (after Sept 26)

Please contact Instructor Alan Bell with any questions:  

Briana Madden is a teacher and “field reporter” for the HB Adult School.  She meets with staff and students to learn about the programs offered and share stories and new opportunities with the community. 

Congrats to 2016 Grads!

18:03 28 June in News

Before celebrating the start of summer, HBAS celebrated our graduating students during ceremonies on June 9th.

Adult Diploma Graduation

SYF Scholarships 2016HBAS hosted its Adult Diploma Graduation Ceremony at the Westminster Mall, site of the Learning Center where many students did their coursework. Over 90 students graduated this year, and 50 of them received their diplomas at our ceremony.

HBUHSD Board Members and the Simon Youth Foundation joined faculty, staff, family and friends to honor our students.  After remarks from Principal Steve Curiel, math instructor Ann Cosgrove presented Recognition of Achievement Certificates to several students who “stood out to their instructors, be it for hard work, determination, and great attitudes.”

School counselor Cynthia Bonnycastle announced scholarships for six students who showed perseverance, attendance and academic promise.  Given by local organizations, these awards aim to help graduates achieve “continued success in a post-secondary setting.”

  • Huntington Beach Administrators Association (HBAA): Sara Bailey, Hayden Butsk, Amber Jezak
  • Schools First Federal Credit Union (SFFCU): Janeth Flores, Matthew Hinojosa, Yvonne Pougand

Principal Curiel then introduced Dr. Durnil, President of the Simon Youth Foundation, whose support has enabled HBAS “to provide students a comfortable high tech learning environment,” and offer our teachers “professional development and additional classroom materials.” Dr. Durnil awarded SYF Scholarships to Melissa Wahlstrom, Briana Johnson & Juan Hernendez.

Once the big checks were handed out, it was time for our students to receive their diplomas and turn their tassels.  Congratulations to the Class of 2016!

*click here for our graduation album *

Career Technical Education Pinning Ceremony

_Z0A4215On June 9th, we also recognized our career tech program graduates during a pinning ceremony at Ocean View High School.  Students who completed Medical Assistant, Medical Billing & Coding, and Pharmacy Technician Programs were honored by their teachers and the District.

After all students received their pins (and big hugs from their instructors), Assistant Principal Shirley Vaughn congratulated our students, many of whom “held jobs and maintained a family while attending school.” She also gave our students a chance to stand and applaud their family and friends, “who have supported you in so many ways throughout your program.”  Our staff and faculty at HBAS are so proud to send off our CTE students to the next step in their careers!

Briana Madden is a teacher and “field reporter” for the HB Adult School.  She meets with staff and students to learn about the programs offered and share stories and new opportunities with the community. 

Honoring our Retiring Teachers

18:15 12 May in News

Sharon Pritzos, Principal Steve Curiel and Randa Baird at the HBUHSD Certificated Recognition Celebration.

On May 4th, HBAS took part in the Huntington Beach Union High School District’s Certificated Recognition Celebration.  This annual banquet recognizes employees for their many years of dedicated service and choice to retire with the district. HBAS honored two beloved and respected teachers retiring in 2016: Randa Baird and Sharon Pritzos.

Randa Baird first joined the HBAS as a substitute teacher in 1989. Within a few months, Randa became the lead teacher in the Medical Assistant Program. Since assuming this role, Randa has worked tirelessly to promote the program by participating in community events and leading a number of health industry associations.

While building the Medical Assistant Program into what it is today, Randa left a strong impression on her students and colleagues. A former student recently shared that Randa added so much more to her education than any books could provide. Randa’s past evaluations are peppered with words like “wonderful, caring, professional, dedicated and a cheerleader.” It’s hard to imagine HBAS without Randa Baird. Fortunately, we will still see her now and then as an advisor to our Career Tech programs.

Sharon Pritzos has been a key member of the HBAS family for over 30 years. After being hired as a substitute teacher, Sharon quickly began filling long-term assignments until she became one of the core teachers for our ESL Program.  Sharon was one of the first teachers Principal Steve Curiel met at HBAS.  He recalls being “immediately impressed with her passion for her students.

Principal Curiel describes Sharon as “one of our go-to teachers for just about everything,” from curriculum development and book selection to student attendance and transitions. The ESL Program has gone through significant changes during Sharon’s tenure at HBAS.  Through it all, students and HBAS staff could always count on Sharon’s reassuring and caring personality to help them adapt and succeed.

Both Sharon and Randa are perfect examples of the fact that it’s not the location of the school, the quality of the books, the comfort of the furniture, or even the technology in the class that keeps students engaged and coming back. It’s the teacher.  We are forever grateful for the contributions Randa and Sharon have made at HBAS, and wish them the best in their new adventures!

HBAS Teachers

Thanks also to our teachers who were honored for their years of service to the district:
– 25 Years: Li Ngo
– 20 Years: Deborah Klein
– 15 Years: Keith Meginley, Harold Mozell, Brandi Peterson

Classified Employees of the Year

00:41 06 May in News

Celebrating Cherie & Tomoko at the Gothard Campus.

When you think of school employees, the first that come to mind are likely teachers and principals.  But we all know that work of these certificated staff members would be simply impossible without our classified staff.  These vital members of the HBAS team are the nuts and bolts, the gears and pulleys, the moving parts that keep our doors open.

Every year, the Huntington Beach Unified High School District asks each school to choose a Classified Employee of the Year—someone who has gone above and beyond. HBAS staff members were asked to nominate coworkers that make a big impact in our school community:

In just six months, Gothard Campus receptionist Cherie Jackson has become the “official face of the school” and a leader at the front desk.    

Taryn Taylor, receptionist and aide at the Westminster Mall Learning Center, “builds rapport with Diploma/GED students.” 

Classified_AwardsAs a Clerical Assistant at the ESL Program’s Westminster High School office, Linh Nguyen “handles everything with precision and due diligence.”

Niza Rodriquez De Uribe, Administrative Clerk for the ESL Twilight Program, is someone “who students and teachers confide in.”

Out of these well-deserved honorees, Cherie Jackson was selected as the 2016 HBAS Classified Employee of the Year. At the HBUHSD 2016 Classified Awards Banquet, Cherie and classified employees from across the District were honored for their dedicated service.

IMG_0995Secretary and Renaissance woman Tomoko Gane was chosen as the HBAS nominee for the Orange County School Employee of the Year, and featured in the OC Register.  As secretary to Principal Curiel and coordinator of office communications and events, Tomoko has certainly earned this honor!

We are lucky to have so many classified employees who brighten the days of their coworkers and support our students in countless ways.  In a school with diverse programs and constant changes, these colleagues help HBAS thrive!


Lifelong Learners Awards 2016

23:01 14 April in News
Lifelong Learners

Dr. Plutko, Dr. Dishno, Dr. Castrey, Lifelong Learners Tina, Roberto and Angie, Board Member Iverson, Principal Curiel

On Wednesday morning, April 13th, the Huntington Beach Adult School hosted its 2015-2016 Lifelong Learners Awards Breakfast.  Administrators, teachers and staff joined family and friends to recognize three exemplary students as this year’s Lifelong Learners. Out of over 8,000 students, these Lifelong Learners were nominated by their instructors for their dedication, willingness to be selfless in class, and commitment to using their skills to help better the lives of others.

As Principal Steve Curiel explained, “while many people struggle to find or make the time to better themselves through education,” our Lifelong Learners “have overcome similar challenges and have succeeded.” Each honoree was called up to accept an award from their instructor, and Principal Curiel shared their educational journeys.

Growing up in Mexico, ESL student Angelica Reyes had to work full-time at age thirteen, and was only able to finish elementary school. When she came to the US, Angie was “motivated to learn English so she can support her daughter with her homework,” and is now also enrolled in the GED study program.

A working husband and father of three, Roberto Ruiz returned to school after 20 years to earn his Adult Diploma at HBAS. He thanked the teachers and staff at the Westminster Mall Learning Center, claiming that “they seem to work all the time.”

Our Lifelong Learners with their instructors and families.

Our Lifelong Learners with their instructors and families.

Tina Olguin started out in the GED Program, and later moved on to the Pharmacy Technician Program. After using a variety of study methods (such as writing formulas and equations on the back of wrapping paper and covering her walls at home), Tina is now employed at Walgreens and told us, “I really love my job!”

This is one of our favorite events of the year: a celebration of our students and the impacts they have in our school and community.  Thanks to all who came to honor our Lifelong Learners, especially HBUHSD Superintendent Dr. Gregory Plutko and Board Members Dr. Duane Dishno, Dr. Bonnie Castrey, and Kathleen Iverson.


 – Briana Madden is a teacher and “field reporter” for the HB Adult School.  She meets with staff and students to learn about the programs offered and share stories and opportunities with the community. 

Adult Education Week – Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Workforce

20:23 23 March in News

Cisco High school 5From April 4-8, 2016, HBAS will join adult schools across California to celebrate Adult Education Week. With the theme “Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Workforce,” we recognize the importance of preparing our students for the jobs of the future.

At its last board meeting, the Huntington Beach Union High School District approved a resolution to recognize Adult Education Week from April 4th-8th, 2016.  In the resolution, the Board of Trustees “honor the Huntington Beach Adult School for the success of its educational programs and services.” 

Adult Education Week kicks off when we return from Spring Break.  What a perfect time to celebrate all the ways adult education enriches our community!

A New World for Adult Education

23:14 11 March in News

California’s 2015-2016 budget has brought new priorities and funding requirements for adult education.  As HBAS Principal Steve Curiel explains, the state’s Adult Education Block Grant “is all about getting students into jobs and into college.”

In the past, state funding of adult education was primarily based on attendance, not student achievement.  Now, the Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG) has reframed how schools measure success.   If our ultimate goal is to prepare students for college and careers, we must increase our efforts to support our students and to track their achievement—even after they leave HBAS.

Within the new framework of the Adult Ed Block Grant, funding across the state will be channeled through regional consortia.  For the past 2 years, Principal Curiel has been working with our local partners to establish the Coast Adult Education Consortium, which consists of:

  • Coast Community College District
    • Coastline Community College
    • Golden West College
    • Orange Coast College
  • Coastline Regional Occupational Program (Coastline ROP).
  • Garden Grove Unified School District (GGUSD) 
  • Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUSD)
  • Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD)


By establishing regional consortia, the state’s vision is to “create seamless transitions for students across adult schools and community colleges to accelerate academic and career success in order to earn a living wage.”  Overall, this is good news for adult education. Governor Brown recognizes our important role in preparing and supporting the state’s workforce.  By tying funding to the consortia, the state is challenging us to grow and enrich our services.  It will be more work, but it’s good work.

So how does all of this affect HBAS?   Here’s the short version: HBAS will continue to offer Adult Diploma & GED, ESL, Career Technical Education (funded through the AEBG and fees) and Personal Enrichment Programs funded solely through fees. The state has allocated funding for our current programs, plus additional funding to achieve the objectives of our consortium.

At HBAS, we have already taken steps to fulfill our role in the consortium.  New resources have enabled us to hire a Career and College Specialist, Job Developer, Data Specialist and Grant Manager.   In the weeks to come, keep your eyes out for in-depth features on our new staff members and their work with the Coast Adult Education Consortium.

Learn more: 


– Briana Madden is a teacher and “field reporter” for the HB Adult School.  She meets with staff and students to learn about the programs offered and share stories and new opportunities with the community.