School News

Legislation Day

02:10 14 April in News


Legislative Day is an event organized jointly by CCAE (California Council for Adult Education) and CAEAA (California Adult Education Administrators Association).  Supporters of Adult Education make their way to Sacramento to discuss the most immediate and pressing issues facing their schools. Those who make the trip have the opportunity to meet with legislators from their area.  Most who make the trip have the opportunity to make at least three or more appointments with state assembly members and/or senators.  This year our representatives were able to meet with two Assembly members and a Senator. We were able to meet and speak personally with the Assembly Member for our district, Matthew Harper.  Mr. Harper was glad to visit with the folks from HBAS, being a former member of our school board.  He was receptive to the issues that we brought to his attention and was open to support them when they come in the form of an actual Legislative Bill.

Teams of three to six (made up of Adult Education instructors, administrators, and students) present their individual program successes and goals, as well as being sure to hit on the talking points that the Adult Education Associations want to make sure everyone involved is following up on. This year the talking points included 1) a willingness to continue consortia efforts started under AEBG and highlighting the beneficial strides made with this; 2) Conveying the short term perception problems of using the word “grant” and ask the term be revised in statute to words like Allocation or Funding; 3) Support increased funding for AEBG in the form of a COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment); 4) Propose the establishment of an AEBG stakeholder Advisory Committee to make recommendations to CDE and the Chancellor’s office on AEBG policy and guidance. Overall it was a good positive experience in Sacramento for all of us here at HBAS.

Thank you to Tracy Foreman, Jesus Garcia, Suzanne Hammoud, Sherry Mancini (Student), Jim Turnbough, and Phil Villamor for representing HBAS!

Sherry, Suzanne, and Jesus in (Capitol Cafeteria)

Sherry, Suzanne, and Phil (Gov Office in Capitol)

Briefing/ Legislative appt. training (Hyatt Hotel)

Lifelong Learner Awards – 2017

01:59 04 April in News, Student Success Stories, Uncategorized

Adult Education students achieve tremendous growth in learning while facing various personal obstacles. They often proceed to more challenging levels as they achieve their initial goals and discover new interests and set new goals.  Their desire to learn continues to grow and they continue to overcome life’s challenges. These students become models of Lifelong Learning for all of us, young and not so young.”    –  Principal Steve Curiel

Our 2017 Lifelong Learners (front row), with HBUHSD Board Members Dr. Dishno & Dr. Simon, Superintendent Dr. Harwick, and HBAS Principal Curiel (back row).

With these words, Principal Steve Curiel kicked off our 2017 Lifelong Learner Awards on Thursday, March 30th. This annual event is a special opportunity to honor some of our most dedicated and motivated students.

Each year, HBAS educators are asked to nominate students who stand out as lifelong learners.  At this year’s awards ceremony, we honored six HBAS students from our Diploma/GED, Personal Enrichment and Career Technical Education programs. While our 2017 Lifelong Learners come from diverse backgrounds and educational paths, they all inspire the teachers, support staff, and fellow students they meet along the way.

Thanks to HBUHSD Superintendent Dr. Harwick and Board Members Dr. Dishno and Dr. Simon for joining HBAS to celebrate our Lifelong Learners. Thanks to the HBAS teachers who nominated their students, and to the staff members who coordinated the event. And thanks most of all to our amazing 2017 award recipients:


Our faculty and staff are proud to serve these students year-round, and to recognize their accomplishments at the Lifelong Learner Awards.  Please feel free to get inspired: click on each Lifelong Learner’s name to read their story!

– Briana 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. 

Community Advisory Committee 2017 Meeting

20:23 28 March in News

Administrative Assistant Breakout Session

Every March, HBAS calls our community together for an annual “check up” of our Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. At this year’s Community Advisory Meeting, held on March 23rd, we shared updates and sought advice from our diverse CTE community members.

This year, we had one of our biggest turnouts ever! It was an honor for our faculty and administrators to host students, community college and business partners, and HBUHSD Board Members Bonnie Castrey, Dr. Duane Dishno and Dr. Michael Simons.
First, Assistant Principal Shirley Vaughn reflected on several initiatives taken after input from past CAC meetings, including:

  • Career Readiness Skills course
  • Electronic Health Records course
  • Incorporating Microsoft Office and Outlook into our computer course offerings
  • Hiring a Job Specialist and College & Career Specialist
  • Adding English and Math Pre-tests for certificate programs, and offering free courses to improve students’ skills when needed

Ms. Vaughn also emphasized the importance of labor market data and feedback from local businesses in driving our career programs. She explained how these factors led us to establish the Personal Care Assistant Program, and to develop an accounting certificate program that will start next year.

During lunch, Principal Steve Curiel shared student demographic data, and described our efforts to a school safety net for students as we prepare them to transition to college and careers. Attendees also got a brief update on our career pathways from teachers in each program.

Pharmacy Technician Breakout Session

The meeting concluded with the most important part: industry breakout sessions. These sessions give our teachers and administrators a chance to seek advice from students and business partners in their fields.

The annual CAC meeting helps HBAS identify strengths, weaknesses, trends, and practices related to our CTE programs in order to better serve our students and our community. We are thankful to all who attended this year’s event, and look forward to implementing what we’ve learned!

– Briana 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. 

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!