Staff and teachers from the Burbank Unified School District and representatives from local studio and creative media partners including Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and mOcean help kick off the Verdugo Creative Technologies Consortium Wednesday evening, October 29, at Glendale Community College.
They join staff from Glendale Unified School District, California State University at Northridge, Glendale Community College, the Verdugo Workforce Investment Board and several other digital manufacturing and media businesses to celebrate the development of school and industry partnerships aimed at better preparing students with skills for the 21st century.
The group of schools – BUSD, GUSD, CSUN and GCC – the VWIB and local industry partners applied as a cohort for a California Career Pathways Trust Grant as the Verdugo Creative Technologies Consortium (VCTC.) The VCTC was announced as a grantee in July 2014.
Over the five years of the grant, the VCTC will receive six million dollars from the state to fund digital media and manufacturing programs at the high school and college level. Burbank Unified will receive 1.4 million of those funds based on its relative size to other partners in the group, explained Burbank Unified Director of Instruction and Accountability, Sharon Cuseo.
Industry partners will provide additional enrichment, resources and job shadowing for students, added Cuseo.
Grant funds will help BUSD buy industry standard software and computers and pay for professional development, she said. Industry partners, such as Nickelodeon also have donated Cintiqs and other computers for use in the schools as well.
“We’ll have the industry partners come in and help us with the curriculum development,” commented Cuseo. “So that they can make sure that we are teaching the skills they would like to see in their employees.”
While BUSD has some digital media classes in place at the three high schools and plans to add additional classes, the focus is on upgrading the curriculum to utilize more sophisticated computers and software like those in use at Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and mOcean currently. The district’s digital media pathway for students begins at all three middle schools.
Digital manufacturing is an important component of the grant and BUSD staff and teachers are also working on programs including engineering, robotics and other STEM subjects. Cuseo indicated that Glendale Unified and Clark Magnet High School are assisting with the development of STEM-related programs in BUSD.
“Manufacturing will actually take more time because we have to develop that program,” explained Cuseo. “We don’t have anything in place.”
“We want to thank and acknowledge our business partners for participating in this,” Cuseo also said. “That support is really what helped us get the grant in the first place.”
“They have always donated generously in terms of materials and supplies,” continued Cuseo. “This [partnership] is really more so that we are teaching what they need and that our students can have those opportunities to maybe intern with them – not at the beginning because they won’t have the skills but as [students] get further along the pathway and they have those skills, they can go there and intern and really learn about the careers in the field.”