The Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) school board unanimously voted on March 14 to withdraw from the Coastline Regional Occupational Program (CROP) effective June 30, 2023.
This comes after the Board of Trustees previously submitted a letter of intent to withdraw from CROP. At the time, the main issue came from the funding model changes which gave HBUHSD less flexibility on how classes would be selected and paid for. HBUHSD had to pay for the courses upfront, recruit to fill those courses, and still continue with courses despite low student enrollment.
One major benefit to the partnership with CROP included the option for students to travel to other local high schools outside of the district for a wider variety of classes, such as Administration of Justice or Dental Assistant Back Office. However, due to reasons such as limited space and time, most students are unable to utilize these opportunities.
“Our students are not utilizing class outside our district due to travel distances,” HBUHSD Board President and Representative to CROP Diana Carey said. “The ROP structure remains inflexible, requiring us to offer classes with very low enrollment and not allowing us to offer classes with high student interest.”
For students currently enrolled in these various ROP programs, both inside and outside the district, HBUHSD confirms they will continue to expand opportunities within the district, but with changes.
In September, a report provided to Baron Banner showed that 10 of 15 out-of-bell classes at HBUHSD schools had less than fifteen students, with a low of three students in Baking and Pastry at Valley Vista High School. However, when the classes were offered during the bell schedule, six of seven classes had over 20 students enrolled.
The change to withdraw from CROP will not affect HBUHSD’s goal of growing opportunities for students district-wide. With the change, HBUHSD plans to offer up to 43 Career Technical Education (CTE) classes, which increases CTE pathways with significantly less cost.
“Most of the current ROP courses will still continue to be offered, but through our district. We are expanding to provide a wider array of courses,” HBUHSD Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Rocky Murray said. “Another reminder is that student interest will be a great driver for what is offered on our various campuses.”
For Fountain Valley High School (FVHS), some of the new career pathways will be coming next year. Robotics 2 is a new addition to the Robotics CTE pathway. While Pharmacy Technology ROP will not be offered, the alternative will be Medical Careers and Health Systems class.
Both Murray and FVHS Assistant Principal of Guidance Rachel Kloppenburg have emphasized that these courses can only continue to be offered if students express interest and select these courses for the next school year.
Other pathways added to other HBUHSD schools include Construction Tech, Costume Tech, Cinematic Arts and Farm to Fork. The district is also planning to work with Golden West College to offer second-tier course placements to build on existing course pathways.
“We look forward to growing amazing opportunities [district-wide],” Murray said. “It’s an exciting time for the staff and students of our district.”