In order to secure grant funding for career technical education, the Santa Monica-Malibu school district must have a committee dedicated to that particular sector.
Done and done. Almost.
The local Board of Education on Thursday night is expected to approve an 11-member panel to help the district in its efforts to train students for workforce opportunities.
The group’s existence fulfills a state education code requirement and makes the district eligible for money through the Perkins grant program, a key component as SMMUSD officials consider the long-term financial sustainability of career-focused education programs.
The district received about $56,000 in Perkins funding for career and technical education this school year, according to a state report, but it must have a committee to continue receiving the grant money.
Members of the new advisory committee will be tasked with making recommendations for programming while serving as liaisons between the district and potential employers.
“The policy and regulation require that the district develop partnerships with local businesses and industries to ensure course sequences, career technical and integrated curriculum, classroom instruction and projects, and assessments that have real-world relevance and reflect labor market needs and priorities,” reads a district report. “They also emphasize the importance of individualized career guidance and academic counseling that provides students with information about academic and CTE opportunities related to the their career goals.”
Over the last year and a half, officials have been making changes to the district’s popular Regional Occupational Program to meet new state standards for career-focused learning.
In March, the school board discussed updating its policies and regulations related to career technical education. Then, at its meeting last month, the board approved new language about the creation of a committee to focus on career technical education in the district. The panel must represent students, teachers, industry leaders, local and state administrators and disadvantaged youths.
Carla Fantozzi, a principal program supervisor with the City of Santa Monica, has been designated as the representative for underserved students. Fantozzi, who often works on Virginia Avenue Park activities, has also served as a program consultant for the city Youth Tech Program and co-chair of the Chamber of Commerce education committee.
Arati Desai Wagabaza, the founder and CEO of SmallCircles, will provide business perspective. Her Santa Monica-based organization links caregivers and care recipients to support networks with like-minded people.
Santa Monica High School will be represented by house principal Regina Zurbano, marketing instructor Mariam Shafiey and ROP coordinator Rebel Harrison.
Malibu High School assistant principal Phil Wenker, Santa Monica College academic affairs administrator Maral Hyeler and a labor market consultant from the state Employment Development Department will also be included. Students from Santa Monica, Malibu and Olympic high school will be called on for input as well.
Thursday night’s meeting will be held at Malibu City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Road, in Malibu. The public meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m., a late start that allows for a longer closed session beforehand.