During tonight’s board meeting, the Lodi Unified School District will receive updates on Valley Robotics Academy, a collaborative project with San Joaquin Delta College intended to provide science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and career technical education (CTE) opportunities to students who otherwise might not have them.

Inspired by their success in working with Delta College through Middle College High School, LUSD developed the idea for Valley Robotics as a way to respond to regional employment needs in areas such as robotics, automation and manufacturing.

Valley Robotics will eventually serve seventh-grade students up to high school seniors, offering classes in robotics, drones and automation held at a Lodi school site that has not yet been identified, as well as Delta College in Stockton.

LUSD has already formed an initial steering committee, which will review the proposed plans along with the school board before the district develops a draft budget and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Delta College later this month.

Once the budget is approved and the MOU is executed in March, the district will be able to post positions for administrators, counselors and classified personnel.

The district will be able to post teaching positions created for Valley Robotics by April 15, which will be covered under current agreements.

The district has also developed drafts of a proposed enrollment plan for Valley Academy — which can be adjusted based on student interest, program success, available resources, board direction and staff feedback — as well as a proposed education plan. Ninth-grade enrollment has the potential to change at any time.

In the 2019-20 school year, the school would have 30 students in seventh grade, 30 in eighth grade and 32 in ninth grade for a total of 92 students.

In the 2020-21 school year, the school would have the same number of seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students, and would add 30 students in 10th grade for a total of 122 students.

In the 2021-22 school year, the school would have 60 students in seventh grade, 30 in eighth grade, 32 in ninth grade, 30 in 10th grade and 28 in 11th grade for a total of 180 students.

By the 2022-23 school year, the school would have 60 students in seventh grade, 60 in eighth grade, 32 in ninth grade, 30 in 10th grade, 28 in 11th grade and 28 in 12th grade for a total of 238 students.

Under the proposed education plan, middle school students would attend Valley Robotics Academy from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily.

High school students would attend Valley Robotics from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day, and from 2 to 4:30 p.m. on Delta College days — currently projected to be two days a week for ninth grade.

A 1 p.m. bus would take students one-way from Valley Robotics to Delta on Delta College days, but no home-to-school transportation.

All high school students will complete CTE pathway, high school diploma and job shadowing, an internship or an externship.

All students will also have an option to obtain an industry certificate, associate’s degree in automation mechanics and transfer to California State University, Bakersfield for bachelor’s in industrial automation.

Further discussion is needed to align the curriculum from Valley Robotics to the other schools, and the district is also reviewing pathways for middle schools to offer semester-long CTE sequence courses.

LUSD and Delta College have discussed a Valley Robotics “cohort,” meaning that Delta would open robotics and automation courses and fill them only with Valley Robotics students. Delta will also consider offering afternoon classes, allowing students to fulfill Delta requirements on the high school site as well as the college site.

Following the MOU’s execution in March, the district will also expand the steering committee, meet with current LUSD robotics instructors for input on the education plan and to discuss ideas for collaboration and meet with stakeholders.

In other action, the district will also review safety plans for each school site during tonight’s meeting.

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