Lodi Unified School District will offer a new educational opportunity to its students in the 2019-20 school year when Valley Robotics Academy opens its doors to combine career technical education (CTE) with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) courses.

A collaboration between LUSD and San Joaquin Delta College, VRA will offer courses in robotics, drones and automation for students in grades seven through 12 at the Walter J. Katnich School site on North Extension Road, according to a Monday press release, as well as Delta College’s campus in Stockton.

“We are giving students the flexibility to learn and engage with CTE and STEM in a completely new way. By extending the program offerings through a hybrid, independent study model with dual enrollment, we are offering students an all-inclusive education in robotics,” said Jeff Palmquist, assistant superintendent of secondary education at LUSD in the press release.

VRA students will graduate with a high school diploma through a CTE pathway that includes job shadowing, internship and externship opportunities. They will also have the chance to earn a Delta College certificate, associate of science degree or transfer to a four-year university to pursue a bachelor of science degree.

“Preparing students for the future is a top priority for the district,” said LUSD Superintendent Dr. Cathy Nichols-Washer in the press release. “We are always seeking new and innovative ways to equip students with the skills they need to be successful in their future endeavors. We are excited to expand our partnership with Delta College on this new academy that will support the development of skills necessary for the 21st century.”

“When students graduate from VRA, they will have the skills needed to pursue higher education, technical or trade schools and secure employment. It is our goal to build and advance local and regional workforces to ensure our economic growth and global competitiveness in San Joaquin County and beyond,” said Salvador Vargas, dean of CTE and workforce development at Delta College.

Students at VRA will have access to the same support services offered to Delta students including counseling, computer laboratories, students email addresses as well as the library, food services and bookstore.

VRA plans to enroll 90 students in grades seven through nine in its first year, and include grades 10 through 12 in future school years. One-way transportation will be provided from the Lodi campus to Delta College.

LUSD is accepting applications for the 2019-20 school year until May 15. For more information or to apply, call 209-331-8008, email valleyrobotics@lodiusd.net or visit valleyrobotics.lodi usd.net.

Parent information nights will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 1 at the Ronald E. McNair High School Theatre, 9550 Ronald E. McNair Way, Stockton and from 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 2 at the James Areida Education Support Center, 1305 E. Vine St., Lodi.

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