SANTA BARBARA — Dos Pueblos High School teacher Brian Slotnick-Lastrico received the Teacher of Excellence Award from Academic Innovations for his commitment to helping students set goals and find their career paths. Slotnick-Lastrico was given the award by Olympic Gold Medalist Dain Blanton. Slotnick- Lastrico has taught the innovative Career Choices curriculum at Dos Pueblos High School since 2013. “I think the program provides students with the ability to learn skills and strategies for determining their future that they are simply not taught anywhere else,” said Slotnick- Lastrico.
“I wish that I had experienced a class like this in high school, but did not and made decisions based on gut instinct instead of learning how to figure out who I was, what I really wanted, and the best way to get there. Every student should have access to this class.” Slotnick-Lastrico was honored at the July Focus on Freshmen conference in Los Angeles. Career Choices & the online 10-year plan is an interdisciplinary curriculum that engages students and teachers in an interactive learning process, helping them develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to successfully:
● examine their own lives
● explore and evaluate a wide range of education and career options, and
● make reasoned and researched goals for their future.
The Focus on Freshman 2015 Conference attracted nearly 400 teachers and administrators from all across the United States. Slotnick-Lastrico teaches Freshman Seminar and English at Dos Pueblos High School and has also served for nine years as the school’s Vocal Music Director. Originally from Philadelphia, Brian attended Carnegie-Mellon University, and the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute as part of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He received his Master of Education degree from UCLA, taking advantage of continuing education opportunities at Juilliard and UCSB, the latter from which he earned a certificate for Gifted and Talented Education. He was one of only two teachers nationwide to receive the “Teacher of Excellence” award for 2015. “The class has helped to make students much more focused than they otherwise would have been, and taught them to advocate for themselves and choose classes after they leave Freshman Seminar that will get them the kind of future they envision,” Slotnick- Lastrico said. “I feel humbled and honored to be able to be a small part of their journey towards this future.”