Students at Bellflower and Lynwood unified school districts are now able to enroll in 14 new hands-on career technical education (CTE) courses in policing, firefighting, nursing, culinary arts, visual arts, business and health through a partnership launched this year by the two districts.

Enrollment for the fall 2016 courses, based at high schools across the two districts, began this week through California Advancing Pathways for Students (CalAPS). The two districts created the CalAPS joint powers authority in December 2015 and secured final approval from the state Board of Education in May.

“These fall courses represent the first step by CalAPS to expand career educational resources significantly for both districts,” Bellflower Unified Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs said. “In each case, we are targeting a high-demand career field with opportunities in our region.”

“CalAPS is helping to enhance our number one goal: To prepare all students for college and their future careers,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Paul Gothold said. “Our current CTE programs are already strengthening our students’ understanding of what they want to do in the future. Now, CalAPS will offer additional career possibilities that will help more of our students discover their passions.”

The semester-long courses will run in afternoons and on weekends with transportation to host schools provided free to participants. They will supplement some of the 56 CTE courses offered at the two districts, including those that are part of academic career pathways. Pathways are three-year course progressions that give students concurrent credit in high school and college.
“The new classes extend opportunities beyond what either district offers within the school day,” said CalAPS Executive Director Lisa Azevedo, who is also Bellflower’s assistant superintendent of instructional personnel.

Students studying biomedicine, nursing or health careers can train to become certified nursing assistants; those studying culinary arts, film or photography can take hands-on courses in those topics.

Still other classes cover career fields not yet available at either district.

Through the CalAPS Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course, students can train with professionals at local hospitals.

Two CalAPS courses teach the standards required for firefighter training and preview skills areas such as arson investigations, emergency medical services and rescues. The twice-weekly courses meet for about three hours and include training in first aid, CPR, rescue practices and fire apparatus. Students also can enroll in an eight-week Saturday course at the Los Angeles Metro Fire Academy, where they will demonstrate the skills acquired in the two courses.

A similar sequence of courses and Saturday enrichment is available to law enforcement students. Other courses offer training for careers in education and business entrepreneurship.

The idea for CalAPS grew out of changes mandated by the adoption of a new state accountability and finance system in 2013-14. The new system eliminated a regional career technical program that served the two districts, directing each to operate its own program. The shift allowed the districts to customize their approaches to career technical education.

“Our CalAPS program will create new ways in which students can pursue their passions across our region, helping to enrich the lives of not only Bellflower Unified students, but those at Lynwood Unified as well,” said CalAPS JPA Board President Debbie Cuadros, who serves on Bellflower Unified’s Board of Education. “We also will be providing critical training for the region’s high-demand career fields, especially in the sciences and public service sectors.”

“These programs are going to open so many doors for our students who are still unsure of what they want to pursue as a career or college major,” said CalAPS JPA Board Vice President Gary Hardie, Jr., who serves on Lynwood Unified’s Board of Education. “Helping our students gain experience in these professions ahead of time makes them a top priority for many employers.”

For information and to register for programs, visit the CalAPS website at