2016-08-26 / Schools
Career education center opens at former high school campus
Enrollment open until Aug. 30
Officials from the Ventura County Office of Education and Moorpark Unified School District celebrated the opening of the center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday afternoon.
In April, nearly one year after Moorpark’s school board voted to move the district’s only continuation school to Moorpark High, MUSD officials agreed to lease the vacant school site to the county for $1 a year so that it could be converted into a career learning center.
District leaders believe the facility gives high school students a chance to explore job options as well as plan for alternative career pathways in lieu of a traditional college education following graduation.
Moorpark students will have priority enrollment at the center.
“This is the newest addition to Moorpark Unified’s ongoing efforts to provide individualized opportunities for parents and their students,” MUSD trustee Bruce Thomas told school officials and other members of the community who attended the ceremony. “My personal goal — and I believe that of my fellow board members — is twofold: one, enlisting the support of our business community and two, making sure the parents and their students are aware of the career center opportunities.”
Tiffany Morse, executive director for career education, also spoke at the event.
“I can’t think of a better place for this to happen in this beautiful location with wonderful education partners who’ve worked really hard over the last three years to make this dream come true,” she said.
Morse said high school students and adults can choose from 14 classes taught by a staff of 12 teachers. Class sizes will be from 15 to 25 students, she said.
Classes offered at the new center include digital media, computer technology, engineering, criminal justice and health sciences.
But that’s just the beginning, Morse said.
“We’re looking forward to expanding our offerings,” she told the Acorn after the ribboncutting. “Our goal is to pilot this and gauge student demand (and) student interest and see areas where we would like to grow.”
Morse also looks forward to expanding career education opportunities for students living in eastern Ventura County. There is already one career education center located at the Camarillo Airport, 465 Horizon Circle.
MUSD trustee Robert Perez is also pleased there’s a new career center closer to home.
“This is definitely going to be great for our kids, and the thing that I’m happy about is that they’re not driving to (the Camarillo Airport),” Perez said.
Superintendent Kelli Hays agreed.
“It’s something we have envisioned for several years now,” she said.
“To see everyone here so excited, and (to have) state-of-the-art facilities — what a great opportunity for our students. I’m beyond thrilled.”
The former Community High School site now houses a digital media lab, a certified nursing assistant training facility and a music and sound production lab.
George Gabriel, one of the teachers at the career center, plans to use the new technology for his music and sound production and digital media classes.
“I’m really excited to be able to pour the 20 years of experience
I have) both in video production and in music production into these kids,” he said.
I will work really hard to make the best program to keep the kids excited and morph the projects around their specific goals and strengths.”
Lori Burch, a health sciences teacher at the center, looks forward to introducing incoming students to the many career opportunities available to them.
“(For) students that aren’t going to go to universities, this is a really great option for them,” she said. “Universities are great, but for some of these high-schoolers . . . they can’t afford universities . . . so this is another option for them actually getting their feet wet (in health careers).”
Those interested in taking a class at the career education center have until Tues.,
Aug. 30 to sign up.
Most classes will be held between 4:15 and
6:30 p.m. Mondays through
Thursdays. Transportation to the new facility is available for high school students enrolled in the Moorpark, Simi Valley and Conejo Valley unified school districts.
For more information about the Career Education Center East County, call (805) 437-1420.