It's not yet official, but the Lodi Unified School District Board of Trustees are enthusiastic about a measure to widen student course options on the road to high school graduation.
Currently, high schoolers are required to complete one year of a visual or performing arts class or one year of a foreign language to graduate. Assembly Bill 1330 allows school districts the opportunity to amend that list of options to include an approved career and technical education course.
Family and consumer education, industrial arts, graphic design, art and history of floral design, Web design, computer repair, fire science, sports medicine, and medical assisting are just a few of the courses that could soon be included to count toward graduation as something more than an elective.
"It provides the principals and counselors with flexibility in planning the master schedule," said Bill Atterberry, principal of Lincoln Technical Academy.
This legislation offers districts that flexibility, if the school board approves.
Tuesday's report was a policy revision, so it will be brought before the board at a later time as an action item. For now, the board of trustees seem to support the idea.
"Let's get a few classes in for next year, if that's all we can do," said trustee George Neely. Many of these courses are already offered at Lodi Unified high schools and Lincoln Technical Academy.
There is a difference between high school graduation requirements and the requirements to enter a college in the University of California or California State University systems, Superintendent Cathy Nichols Washer said. This amendment would change only the graduation requirements, and possibly distance them further from university entrance requirements.
But students are realizing the need for career focused education.
"Some people would rather work on a class they'll excel in instead of wasting time in something they don't enjoy," said Homero Herrera, 18, a senior at Tokay High School. Right now he's taking an art class and learning shading, but doesn't see the connection to his life.
"Art is not something that's in my future. It's just a class," he said.
Another student thought it might be easier for some students to graduate if they can focus on a less academic and more hands-on class.
"You don't need an art class to be a nurse," said Jenna Rohde, 16, a sophomore at Tokay High School. "This could help students in a real career. It widens their options."