Published October 20, 2009
Volume 17, Number 10

TVROP Students Learn by Doing

The Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program (TV ROP) has been providing career preparation and technical education to high school juniors and seniors in the Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, and Sunol Unified School Districts for almost 40 years. The course content may have changed—as this season’s new classes on Entrepreneurship and Alternative/Renewable Energy attest—but the mission to help students develop “skills necessary for employment success” continues.

This year a total of 39 classes in nine different categories appear on the ROP course list. The categories range from Arts, Media, and Entertainment to Health Science and Medical Technology to Transportation Technology. Students can acquire real-world skill sets in areas as diverse as cosmetology, collision repair, and crime scene investigation. Television production, web design, computer networks and systems, and child development are some of the other courses on the roster this fall.

“In today’s world, everyone needs some kind of education past high school,” observes TVROP counselor Ginny McGaha. The ROP classes provide “a bridge of opportunity” between school and career. Often they serve as the “glue” that keeps at-risk kids from becoming drop-outs. Being able to do things like paint their own car or operate equipment in a wastewater plant can make a big difference for students who need to learn by doing.

ROP courses are divided into three types, each with a hands-on component. Classroom sessions, or labs, in areas like auto shop and computer work, are held on site at the five local high school campuses. The Community Classroom entails a combination of more formal instruction and unpaid work experience, for example, at Valley Care Medical Center for a health course or at a preschool for a developmental psychology class. The third type, Co-operative Education, includes both classroom learning and a paid internship. In classes like Economics of Business Ownership students benefit from the opportunity to apply what they learn through a curriculum that is directly associated with on-the-job experience.

McGaha notes that both the Community Classroom and Co-operative Education tracks involve an affiliation with local employers, and Hacienda companies would be welcome to participate in the program. “We would love to hear about an opening in a Hacienda company, and be able to match a student in a community classroom or co-op type setting,” she says On the flip side, teachers are always looking for speakers to come in and talk to the class about their specialty, or for off-site destinations that can host a class for a presentation or tour.

In only its second year, the alternative energy class has sparked considerable interest, “the only high school class like this in the Bay Area that I know of,” McGaha points out. Among planned activities are  building a personal-size solar cell, a competition to design wind turbine blades, and work with algaes and compostables to maximize biofuels production. Here, too, the class welcomes visitor experts and sites where students can do unpaid internships.

For more information, contact McGaha at (925) 455-4800 or gmcgaha@tvrop.org. For a list of ROP classes, visit www.tvrop.org/Courses/index.html.


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