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The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

The Student News Site of Granite Bay High School

Granite Bay Today

Mind Matters Students are “Mind Blown” for this new CTE Pathway

Photo courtesy of Sarah Yee
Mind Matters students discuss what they’ve learned about anxiety and how this applies to their lives.

Mind Matters, also known as Mental and Behavioral Health, officially became available in this 2023-2024 school year for all grade levels to take. This CTE Pathway, which is only offered in select schools across the state, features Mind Matters 1, 2, 3 and a CTE internship that is available after taking the first three courses. (Mind Matters 2, 3 and the Internship pathway are still pending on board approval as of now.)

This course is taught by Natalie Elkin, who has taught at Granite Bay High School for 26 years, and teaches Social Psychology, AP and IB Psychology currently. Elkin was determined to start a CTE pathway based on psychology because she wanted to provide a more-in depth guide for students to explore aspects of mental and behavioral health for career paths associated with the field.

“When (the students) leave, they’ll have a whole portfolio of all the information, resources and skill sets to go out  in the world and get themselves a really decent job,” Elkin said.


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Mind Matters Pathway:

  • Mind Matters 1 is the first course of the pathway that covers mental illness, stigmas around mental health, anatomy and physiology of the brain and the roles of mental/emotional health in the human experience.
  • Mind Matters 2 explores a deeper range of research into different areas of psychology like in field support systems and services, meeting the needs of different demographics and confidentiality in public and private industries. 
  • Mind Matters 3 is the last part of the CTE pathway where students can obtain the highest level of skill and information, which involves an internship. Elkin aims for students to do job shadowing and be able to do some formal interning, as well as creating a resume and working on job interview skills. 

In comparison to AP Psychology, Mind Matters has more detailed content that focuses on an in-depth application to real life settings. AP Psychology has broader topics that are used for standardized testing.

“(In AP Psych,) there’s lectures and tests … (while) Mind Matters takes everything that you learn in AP Psych and expands them. Whether you take AP Psych or not, you can go into Mind Matters,” senior Ava Casagrande in Mind Matters 1 said.

Casagrande took AP Psychology in junior year, and that was one of the main reasons why she took Mind Matters 1. 

“If I had known about this pathway earlier, I would have jumped on it and (went) through the full thing. I think that the freshmen that we have in the class are super fortunate to be getting to touch this class now, and for them to (explore) their careers for high school,” Casagrande said. 

Casagrande wants to pursue a future in psychology and study in the medical field.  After taking AP Psychology she was more determined to go down this path. Her plan is to major in psychology and minor in child development, so she could be a therapist for adolescents. 

She has also made a club called “Project Mentalmorphosis” with seniors Katherine Wilson and Sarah Yee and sophomore Samantha Yee.This club is about mental health advocacy and was inspired from the psychology classes that they took along with their own personal experiences. The club strives to provide a safe space to help students that are struggling with their mental health, breaking stigmas and spreading more awareness about mental health to the community.

“My main goal … is to expand on the idea of mental health around the school, and (to) have kids (with) a safe place to go to if they’re struggling or if they want to know more about mental health. Mental health is stigmatized, (and) it’s everywhere, specifically in Granite Bay. Being perfect is really hard, and the competitiveness in our school is very large,” Casagrande said. “So to have a club talking about struggles, stress and anxiety and what that could look like for people is super important and crucial.”

Just like Casagrande, Aarav Naveen, a freshman, also enjoys Mind Matters and has a passion for the class. Naveen likes the teaching style that Elkin uses which includes group work, class discussions and interaction with the material, having an overall hands-on approach.

Senior Aida Crosby, is interested in a career related to special education and nursing. Mind Matters 1 was her first class in relation to the psychology field. The environment and the group reflections of the class made Crosby feel more comfortable and like the curriculum of the class.

“Elkin’s just really sweet and open with everyone. If you have a problem with (something), you can totally talk to her about anything, … but I do recommend (Mind Matters) for everyone. I think whether or not you have an interest in mental health, I think it’s great to just reflect on yourself too, because it’s like a chill period. If you’re having a hard day, you can just go in (the class) and not have to worry about any crazy tests or work because (Elkin) makes it super accessible to everyone,” Crosby said.

Mind Matters 2 is in the process of getting approved this fall; it could be available in the Course Catalog selection in the spring. Email Natalie Elkin ([email protected]) for further details on this CTE pathway.

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About the Contributor
Emily Lau, Assistant Editor
Emily is a sophomore and Assistant Features Editor. This is her second year on the Gazette Staff.

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