BELLFLOWER – A newly convened community advisory group that includes industry experts and educators will tour classes in 12 career technical education (CTE) pathways at Bellflower and Mayfair high schools on Monday, March 21.

The tour is part of the CTE Advisory’s Board’s orientation to Bellflower Unified career tech programs, which are now undergoing a renaissance as the District builds a partnership with Lynwood Unified to offer a regional program of CTE opportunities.

The 20-member board will provide perspectives from parents, K-12 teachers, post-secondary institutions and industry experts to ensure CTE programs align effectively with the rapidly changing, high-demand career fields Bellflower Unified students are training to enter.

“We are extraordinarily fortunate to be able to tap into the expertise and talents of so many dedicated community members to help ensure our program is second to none,” Bellflower Unified Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs said. “They will help us stay connected with industry and ensure our programs remain relevant and viable.”

Starting at 10:15 a.m., the board will visit Bellflower High School’s TV/video, woodshop, engineering, culinary arts, graphic arts and automotive programs. At 1:45, members will visit Mayfair’s accounting/business, computer program, woodshop, engineering and health occupation programs.

“Our goal is to see how we can organically grow programs within the District that leverage technology to prepare students for jobs as well as promote ways to integrate technology across the curriculum,” said CTE Advisory Group Chairman Erik Linstead, a computer scientist and a professor at Chapman University’s Schmid College of Science and Technology.

Linstead, a Mayfair High School graduate and an expert in artificial intelligence, said smart teachers at Bellflower Unified helped prepare him for his career by using technology creatively in the classroom.

“Technology isn’t something that is housed in a single room. It needs to become second nature. Everything is becoming technology driven, from biology research to the trades,” he said.

Linstead said his goal is for the advisory group to work with the Board of Education to ensure Bellflower Unified’s CTE programs are not only innovative, but also become self-sustaining. Making that happen will draw on the diverse strengths of the new board, he said.

The board includes post-secondary representatives from California State University, Los Angeles, Universal Technical Institute and Cerritos College. Industry representatives include experts from Siemens, Lakewood Regional Hospital, the Society of Mechanical Engineers, LabWorks, the Community Clinic of LA County and Komputers 4 R Kids.

Other individuals represent Project Lead The Way, the Los Angeles County Office of Education, Bellflower Unified teachers, administrators and parents.

“It really is an incredibly diverse group of people,” Linstead said.
Bellflower Unified has been recognized for the strength of its CTE program, earning a 2015 Golden Bell from state education leaders for its health sciences career program.

The District has taken on a larger role in managing CTE programs since the state’s adoption of a new funding system in 2013. Now, the District is forming a partnership with Lynwood Unified to allow students to take CTE courses at both districts. Called California Advancing Pathways for Students, or CalAPS, the program will effectively double the number of career training options available to area students.