Carson schools to reapply for work-based learning program

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Carson City School District is preparing to submit its renewal application for its work-based learning program to the Nevada Department of Education’s Office of Career Readiness and Adult Learning Options.

The program provides students access to career exploration, readiness and training opportunities through academic alignment, employer engagement or connection to employment, according to district administrators. Local school boards are required to file an application through the NDE, which stays in effect for five fiscal years once approved, and then have it renewed if they wish to continue their activities.

CCSD has been a proponent of incorporating WBL since Goal 2, “Curriculum That Matters,” of the district’s strategic plan emphasizes preparation for college, career and life when students graduate from high school.

Tasha Fuson, associate superintendent of educational services, announced earlier this month that Candi Robles, Career and Technical Education and Fine Arts department chairman of Carson High School, has stepped in as acting Work-Based Learning coordinator after the position was vacated by Marc Rodina. Rodina became vice principal of Mark Twain Elementary School this year.

Robles presented an overview on Nov. 8 of the WBL program and the steps necessary to approving the application to the Board of Trustees.

“Work-based learning is an educational strategy that offers students the opportunity to connect classroom learning to authentic business and industry experiences,” Robles said.

Robles presented the Work-based Learning Consolidated Report for 2021-22, a collaboration of committee members Fuson, Medina and district administrators and staff members Cheryl Macy, director of equity in curriculum and instruction; Amy Freismidl, CTE vice principal at CHS; Susan Roman, Career Center specialist, and Bridget Gordon-Johnson, CHS CTE lead counselor, and herself.

The report shares data collected from the CCSD Perkins V Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment and the CTE Perkins Consolidated Annual Report. The WBL program recorded 370 total participants enrolled in career learning opportunities for which they received credits by job shadowing, taking part in a school-based enterprise or simulated workplace or through a similar experience, which includes 38 students, or 10.1%, who are in an Individualized Education Program.

Robles said these real workplace opportunities can serve as a contributing factor to receiving an endorsement to a career ready diploma if the students choose to pursue one. For example, the report indicates three students during the 2021-22 school year received paid workplace experience directly related to their interests, abilities and goals in cooperation with employers. One student worked at JC Penney and earned one credit. Another worked in a marketing career cluster earning a half credit while working at Walmart and another in who completed CTE work experience in the health science career cluster and earned a half credit by working at the Carson City Aquatic Facility. The report notes participating in the CTE Work Experience program is a qualifying criterion for students to earn the district’s career ready diploma endorsement.

All students who participate in a WBL activity for at least 30 hours are required to fill out an application and follow sample training plans.

Robles said with 2023 being a legislative year, one goal is to place a few students at the Nevada Legislature as interns and gain work hours. Last year, three students were a part of the Carson City Orchestra who received similar internship experiences, she said.

After Robles’ presentation, Trustee Mike Walker praised the district’s teachers for the options they’re making available to students.

“When we look around in every industry, we’re struggling for people to work and do those jobs and we’re providing great opportunities for students, they’re going to be able to start in a trade and make good money or possibly that ends up being their career,” Walker said. “I think it’s great students have opportunities such as this.”

According to Huda Hassan with the NDE’s Career Readiness, Adult Learning and Education Options Office, the district application process for WBL programs exists to help districts ensure greater academic or transportation access for students.

“The idea/intent is to make work-based learning least restrictive and allow opportunities for maximum students,” Hassan said. “Student qualifications should not be too tough, whether it is related with discipline or their academic performance. Districts should do their maximum to help with any transportation barriers and word it carefully offering support with any transportation issues.”

Nevada Revised Statute 389.167, which lists the requirements for providing credits toward graduation from high school for completion of WBL programs, stipulates students at a public school “must be allowed to apply one or more credits toward the total number of credits required for graduation from high school if the pupil successfully completes the number of hours in a work-based learning program required by regulation of the State Board to earn such credits.”

Robles said Carson City has been working to be transparent about pathways for students in the workforce beyond high school.

“CCSD students are participating in some amazing experiences with our community partners that help them align their skills, interests and aptitudes with what they are learning in the classroom so that they can make informed postsecondary decisions,” Robles told the Appeal following the meeting.


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