I was unable to follow my Mon-Wed-Fri schedule for blogging this week and missed Wednesday. I hope you are not too upset at my unpredictability. The Mon-Wed-Fri blogging days are a part of my routine. Most people love the security and comfort of a routine, and though they won’t admit it, many students find their school classrooms comforting. Their routine schedule gives them a sense of normalcy. However, sometimes students want to break out of that repetitiveness, and this is mostly fulfilled outside of school. Clubs and internships aren’t the only way to experience something new. A great way to learn in a structured setting, but outside of the four walls of a classroom, is to enroll in the Regional Occupational Program (ROP).
ROP is a career training program and gives high school juniors and seniors the chance to develop real world skills. These courses combine lectures with activities and/or internships that allow students to integrate classroom skills with new concepts learned at ROP. Contra Costa County ROP includes courses such as Veterinary Science, Computer Graphics Art, Radio Broadcasting, Cabinetmaking, Sports Medicine, and many more. Most ROP courses are taught off-campus at centralized settings and require students to have reliable transportation. However some ROP classes may be taught at your high school. In Fremont, CA, most ROP courses are offered in the Mission Valley ROP building, but there are some that are directly offered at Mission San Jose High School such as Digital Imaging. Fremont city MVROP courses include Biotechnology, Fire Science, Nursing Assistant, and many others.
ROP courses are differentiated from normal high school courses through their intensive practical training. For example, the veterinary science course in Contra Costa consists of lectures in animal anatomy and physiology combined with labs and after-school training at real veterinary clinics. One of my friends took the Nursing Assistant ROP course in her hometown in Livingston and had the opportunity to actually help nurses deliver babies. The pros of ROP courses include learning new things, having great experiences, and being more prepared for a career in a certain field. The only real downside might be the fact that you need to arrange for your own transportation.
Overall, you can seek experiences outside of the classroom but still learn in a structured setting through ROP. The aim is to build career skills which can help you obtain internships or jobs. At the same time, you also develop a larger network of contacts in your community because you can work with and observe real professionals. These people may offer you an after-school job or a letter of recommendation. Since this program is open to juniors and seniors, sophomores should talk to their high school counselors as soon as possible to learn more.
Fremont, CA: http://www.mvrop.org/web/index.html
Hayward, CA: http://edenrop.org/
Contra Costa County: http://www.cccoe.k12.ca.us/stsvcs/rop.html
Santa Clara County: http://www.sccoe.k12.ca.us/depts/scrop/
Pleasanton, Dublin, and Livermore: http://www.tvrop.org/Schools/Pleasanton-Unified-School-District/index.html