The state recently announced its plan to award $307,641 to the Le Grand Union High School District, a tiny school district made up of one rural high school.
The money will pay for Le Grand High School to develop and begin a program meant to tie core classes like math and English to vocational learning.
Donna Alley, the district superintendent, said the school is developing a medical pathway. Students in the program will get vocational learning in nursing and health care, a popular area of study for the school.
The high school started a “medical academy” this year, she said, which has about 150 students in it. The entire district is made up of 495 students, she said.
The other most popular area of study, agriculture, will eventually get its own pathway. “We’re looking at sustaining this program through our local control funding formula,” she said, referring to the method the state uses to determine a school’s yearly funding.
In the first year of the two-year grant, the district will look to hire an academic adviser, she said. The district would likely hire a science teacher in the second year of it.
The district plans to have the new pathway ready to go by the time the next school year starts.
The grant was competitive; the state received 123 applications requesting $709 million in grants for this round of funding.
Eight rural school districts in all received funding through the $4.2 million California Career Pathways Trust, which will pay for the programs that fit into state Superintendent Tom Torlakson’s Career Readiness Initiative.
“These grants are especially valuable in rural areas, where few career education programs are generally available,” Torlakson said in a statement. “I am pleased the Legislature and the governor provided us with additional funding to help smaller, rural communities prepare students for jobs in promising industries.”
The pathways are designed to lead students to a higher education degree or certification in vocational fields that require higher skills, offer better pay and have a higher potential for job growth.