BARSTOW Planning is underway for a new program that would make college and career classes more accessible to high school students, district officials said Wednesday.

Officials are currently in the planning phase of a partnership with Barstow Community College that would allow high school students to take college courses in place of traditional high school courses, said Teresa Healy, assistant superintendent of educational services for Barstow Unified School District.

The new classes would be offered at the high school and would be scheduled as a regular class 52 minutes, five days a week. The new classes could start as early as the fall, she said.

The district has had a similar partnership with BCC in the past. The classes would not only offer vocational classes, but also general education, such as history.

Healy said this and other initiatives are part of an effort to better prepare students for life after graduation. She said when a student moves from second grade to third grade, they are taught how to be a third-grader, but when a high school student graduates it's usually just, "Goodbye."

"We need to connect those kids to that real world we're putting them out into," Healy said. "We need to do a better job of making those connections."

The partnership with BCC would enhance the vocational training offered by both Barstow High School and Central High School. The high schools offer several specialized academies, including Mojave XP, which prepares students for careers in business, transportation and logistics. Through the county's Regional Occupational Program and the school's three specialized academies, such as Mojave XP Academy, the high schools offer classes in restaurant management, TV broadcasting, business, computer technology, welding and medical classes.

BHS TV broadcasting instructor Erica Greer said she teaches her students all the phases of video production including story development, filming, lighting and editing. Her goal is to have them prepared to go right into the film industry as entry level technicians.

"Not only is it fun for them and they get to be creative, but they get career development in a way that they wouldn't otherwise be exposed to in this town," Greer said.

She said it's important to her is that her students get to see the way the business operates and determine if video is something they would like a career in or not.

High School Principal Derrick Delton said the school is hoping to take advantage of BCC's newly constructed technical training center, which offers certification in welding and other vocational classes not currently offered by the high school.

"The (programs) are designed to expose and educate students of post-high school outcomes... and kind of bridge the gap between college and career," Delton said.

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