Granada Hills Charter High School (CTE & ROCP)

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Granada Hills Charter High School is an independent public school located in Los Angeles County that seeks to create lifelong learners and productive citizens of its student body. Since its conversion to a charter school in 2003, the school has seen its API score increase 113 points to 874. Granada Hills Charter High School currently serves over 4,100 students.

Thank you to Marc Munkres, who serves as the Career Advisor/Work Experience Coordinator and Perkins Grant Coordinator, for sharing this information about the Granada Hills Charter High School ROP program.

CCSA: Why did you decide to pursue ROP?

Marc Munkres: In 1995 Granada Hills was offering industrial education courses where the students were making nice things (i.e. jewelry, shelves, metal working). It wasn't clear, though, how they could take these skills to find a job upon graduation.

Around this time, Mr. Bauer was starting to become aware that the demographics were changing here at our school. We had to face the reality that we needed to serve another clientele that wouldn't necessarily be going to a four-year college. These students needed math and science skills that could be used in the work place. We wanted to take the foundation that we had and use ROP to change the focus from making a shelf to learning a trade. Wood working became construction. The metal class shifted toward robotics. The food class became culinary arts and food preparation. The whole object was for our classes to become more job-focused, with real world applications and teaching workplace skills.

Today we do integrate a lot of academics in our ROP classes and for many of our students, that helps keep them interested in school. They don't just get geometry out of a book, but instead understand that geometry is related to building and mechanics.

CCSA: How did you start ROP at Granada Hills?

Marc Munkres: Starting an ROP Program involved working with our industrial education teachers to shift the focus of their instruction to teaching a trade. Because we are a conversion charter school, we have an arrangement with our authorizer, LAUSD, so that the district actually hires and pays for these teachers for us. We provide all of the instructional materials and any of the machinery needed for instruction. Our program generates $200,000 in ADA to the district.

CCSA: Would you please describe your student population?

Marc Munkres: Our FRL population has increased by 10% since we've become a charter school. The ELL population has gone down and we have very few ELLs. Our student attendance is very stable and we have a waiting list.

CCSA: How many students/what percentage of your student body is enrolled in ROP?

Marc Munkres: We have 4,200 students on campus. 650 are enrolled in ROP.

CCSA: Are there any differences in expectations that Granada Hills has for ROP vs. non-ROP students?

Marc Munkres: Students can't access ROP until they're 16. They come into the ROP Program with a very strong academic foundation from 9th and 10th grade. And, once they enter the Program, they are still taking college prep courses. We don't offer "ROP" English or "ROP" Math. Instead we integrate our ROP and college prep classes so that, for example, our auto shop graduates will have the ability to do a number of different jobs within the auto industry. We have the same high expectations for ROP students as for non-ROP students. We expect all of our students to do a post-secondary application, be it a two-year apprenticeship, a two-year degree, or a four-year degree.

CCSA: What advice do you have for charter schools who are thinking of offering an ROP Program?

Marc Munkres: We receive direct funding from the Carl D. Perkins Program and other charter schools can apply too. We applied five years ago. We had to create a four-year local plan to explain how we would create a state-of-the-art, real-world CTE Program. The Perkins folks want to see what your school's vision is and what you're going to do with the federal money that you receive. The Perkins Program keeps close watch over what is taught in the classes that it funds to make sure that the content is current. The funding is auditable and CDE staff regularly visit recipient schools to see how the money is being spent.

It would also be a good idea for any charter school to meet with their local ROP Director, with the goal of developing a relationship with them. This is because charter school student access to ROP classes is often dependent upon relationships with the charter's authorizer or the ROP District.

Of course, if I were a new charter school, I would want to wait to start offering ROP. In these economic times and without direct funding, it is difficult to start a brand new program.

CCSA: What do you need from the Association and the Legislature around the ROP issues?

Marc Munkres: We've been trying to open up a door where charter schools could be directly funded from the CDE for the purposes of ROP, and not have to go through the district or county office of education. Anything that the Association could do to help with this would be great.

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