California School District Receives Ed Tech Grant

The Burbank Unified Schools have received a $434,805 California Career Technical Education Incentive grant, which will help fund three makerspace facilities that can be used by students pursuing technical career paths.

(TNS) — The Burbank Unified School District has received funding that will help it maintain and expand its career-technical education programs, which expose students to as many career options as possible to help them figure out what they would like to pursue when they enter higher education or when they enter the workforce.

On Friday, school officials announced the district received a $434,805 California Career Technical Education Incentive grant, which will help save several courses that were threatened to be cut because of the district’s projected budget deficit.

Sharon Cuseo, assistant superintendent of instructional services, said the district received the same grant last year, and it helped fund the completion of three makerspace facilities at Burbank and John Burroughs high schools, as well as at Jordan Middle School.

The makerspaces are work areas with a specific emphasis that allows students to learn about certain careers. For example, Burbank High dedicated its makerspace to stagecraft technology, while Burroughs High focuses its facility on aircraft and small-engine engineering.

“Some of these programs require a lot of space because [they] involve robotics kits or stage sets, and that’s really hard to do in a normal classroom,” Cuseo said. “Now, they have a place where they can work that’s clean and has air conditioning, and the room for them to work.”

With the new grant, the district plans to expand on its medical pathway by adding a biotechnology course. Additionally, school officials plan to use the funds to implement engineering classes at both high schools.

Some of the other pathways that students can explore in the career-technical education program include animation, digital media production, retail marketing, digital manufacturing, construction and culinary arts.

Cuseo said hands-on programs help students who are better at learning a skill through everyday experiences rather than learning about througha book.

“They should try different things while they’re in high school, where the education is free, rather than waiting until college to figure out that the path they’re on is not right for them,” she said. “It can get really expensive to change majors when you’re in college, but if you can start having an idea of what you like and what you’re interested in while you’re in high school, that’s a great opportunity.”

©2019 the Burbank Leader (Glendale, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.