High school is often too late to try to get a student plugged into the value of an education.
It is why Manteca Unified is now exploring expanding the be.tech vocational charter school programs into the seventh and eighth grades.
“We aren’t reaching some students who end up just going through the motions of going to school when they get into high school,” Manteca Unified Superintendent Jason Messer said. “We are looking at ways to get them connected at an earlier age.”
One way may be mixing in vocational education with traditional disciplines at the seventh and eighth grade levels. Messer said teachers and administrators tasked with how to expand be.tech to younger students have been given broad parameters to work within so the best possible expansion can take place with the goal of getting students that are coasting along and not really connected to what an education can lead to can get excited about school and step up their learning.
The envisioned be.global program — an international business/agribusiness/logistics pathway for high school students — is now in the planning stages. It reflects the employment opportunities of the Northern San Joaquin Valley that is emerging as the dominate north state logistics center with the likes of firms ranging from Amazon to Home Depot. Not only is the agribusiness sector the biggest employer in San Joaquin County but the region is also picking up steam as a hub for international agricultural trade. The Republic of Ireland, for example, was recently looking in Manteca looking at sites as a way to wed the country’s interests in agricultural trade and being connected with Silicon Valley business opportunities.
Messer said the plug is being pulled on be.ourguest — a program aimed at connecting with career paths in the hospitality industry — due to insufficient enrollment. All other be.tech programs offered at the district campus as well as the various high schools are expanding based on growing student demand.
There were 215 students enrolled in be.tech schools at the district campus in the disciplines of culinary arts, first responders, and industrial fabrication during the past school year. Those programs are part of an umbrella of independent study and adult school offered at the district office complex.
In addition to the charter high school, be.tech had 559 students enrolled in at auxiliary programs taking place on the Sierra, Manteca, and Weston Ranch high school campuses.
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