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Santa Monica-Malibu School Board OKs ROP Revamp Plan

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Lookout Staff

February 10, 2015 -- Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District leaders last week approved a resolution calling for a top-to-bottom revision of the district’s Regional Occupation Program.

After much discussion, the district’s Board of Education voted 4 to 3 Thursday to approve the resolution that recommends “building a more robust” ROP program in partnership with official from local industries.

District staff is recommending the revamped program focus on five key areas: engineering and architecture; information and communications technology; arts, media and entertainment; education, child development and family services, and health science and medical technology.

The initiative would require the direction of an appointed steering committee to implement the changes. The committee would look at where current ROP courses overlap with regular district offerings. It would also look at creating new courses based on the City’s employment needs.

Some existing ROP classes would be merged, while others would be eliminated, according to staff.

“We’re taking a look at all of the classes that are classified now as ROP,” district spokeswoman Gail Pinsker told The Lookout last week. “What we’re finding is that some of them are actually better suited for our general education categorization.”

The district’s ROP now offers 23 different “hands-on” courses ranging from automotive technology to business management to computer repair to film and video production.

But the program also includes courses in floral design, dance, the culinary arts, photography and acting.

Pinsker said district officials are working to make ROP more real-world based by offering career- and college-focused courses “where students can actually be able to have a career once they graduate, or help them with their college planning.”

As part of the revamp, some ROP may end up losing their jobs or being transferred to regular school classrooms, she said.

Board members made no layoff decisions at their meeting Thursday.

But Pinsker last week noted that state law requires that districts by this March to send notices to teachers who they might be laid off, even if districts opt later to keep those teachers.

“This will be happening fairly quickly,” Pinsker said of the program changes.

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