Academic journal

TUSD prepares response to civil grand jury report on technical education

To what extent local school districts, including Turlock Unified, provide Career and Technical Education (CTE) for English Language Learners and Pursuit High School Students was a focus this year Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury Report. The 2022 report was released on June 1, with a list of findings and offering recommendations on how the school district can improve, and TUSD has 90 days to respond to the report.

“We have worked with the Stanislaus County Office of Education and other Stanislaus County school districts in the response since the report was released,” said Marie Russell, director of communications, Family Engagement and TUSD outreach, in a statement. “TUSD Educational Services will present an information/action item to the Board of Directors at the September 6 Board Meeting, which will provide a detailed explanation of the process, the District’s response to the findings and recommendations , and the steps to be taken to respond to the recommendations.”

The CTE includes academic, professional, and technical course content with a specific career focus and is open to all students, whether they are considering a career in a trade or college education.

“The CTE in our high schools provides career options in the technical and innovation sectors that have the ability to attract the new businesses of the next decade to Stanislaus County. Non-tech jobs are also vital to Stanislaus County, such as healthcare, agriculture, food processing, trucking and construction,” the SCCGJ said in its report. “A skilled workforce in both technical and non-technical fields is necessary to achieve economic growth… CTE pathway programs are beneficial for the advancement of students’ education, career aspirations, ability to obtain academic credits and experiences that stand out on academic and professional applications, as well as future ability to support oneself.

After interviewing school administrators across the county, reviewing documents submitted by all school districts regarding English language learning and pursuit of high school students, reviewing school district websites, and conducting other methods of research, the SCCGJ reached many conclusions.

Some of the key findings listed by the grand jury include:

· High school access to CTE programs is very limited;

· Major scheduling conflicts limit English learners’ participation in CTE programs;

· District promotion of available CTE transport is lacking;

· ETC out-of-pocket expenses and access to technology are barriers to participation for some students;

· Promotion of CTE programs for English language learners and secondary school students is inadequate;

· The CTE completion rate for English language learners is low;

· Graduation rates in continuation secondary schools are significantly lower than those in comprehensive secondary schools.

Grand Jury recommends that districts develop strategies to reach English language learners and high school students to promote CTE programs, develop strategies to support English language learners and high school students who enroll in CTE programs , creating more flexible class schedules, making it easier for English language learners and high school students pursuing both meeting graduation requirements and attending CTE programs, promoting options for CTE transportation, supporting out-of-pocket expenses for CTE enrollees in their 2022-2023 budgets, developing a plan to provide CTE learning apps that reflect the diversity of their population and participate in an assessment at the countywide reasons why English learners and high school students who continue their studies have such poor prep scores aeration in college and career.

The September 6 board meeting where TUSD is expected to respond to findings and recommendations will be streamed live on YouTube on the “Turlock USD” channel at 6 p.m.