Hart district aims to dispel rumors that ‘shop’ classes aren’t offered  

The William S. Hart Union High School District office
The William S. Hart Union High School District office

Don’t call it a comeback: William S. Hart Union High School District officials are saying “shop” classes have been on its campuses for years, but have shifted focus and broadened in scope.  

While many remember the days of having an auto shop, metal shop or wood shop in their school, officials with the Hart district said these classes still exist but now fall under the umbrella of its career technical education pathways along with on-the-horizon, and currently existing, connections to College of the Canyons.  

However, Hart officials say rumors that shop classes are dissipating seem to bubble up in the public conversation every once in a while and they wanted to set the record straight.  

“Any discussion or suggestion that the district has abandoned or backed off our commitment to career and college readiness is categorically false,” said Mike Kuhlman, superintendent of the Hart district. “I don’t know where that came from… I’m very proud of the work we’re doing and we’re not backing down.” 

How students access what used to be traditionally defined as “shop” classes has changed.  

For example, the traditional “wood shop” classes are now offered as CTE construction courses under the district’s residential/commercial construction pathway. But, the course is only offered at Saugus High School and Placerita Junior High School. Kuhlman confirmed the district is actively seeking to fill a position to teach the course. The district is, however, creating new pathways through COC under its dual enrollment program.  

What many would consider traditional “metal shop” classes are offered at Castaic High School as part of its iCAN academy, which consists of COC courses taught by COC professors on Castaic’s campus. The class is being offered as a welding and manufacturing pathway as part of iCAN. Students must have a 3.0 grade point average.  

Traditional “auto shop” can still be found on the campuses of Canyon High School, Hart High School and Saugus High School under the district’s systems diagnostics service and repair pathway. The course is also offered after school at Castaic for students of schools who don’t have it on their campuses. Auto tech was offered as a course at Saugus, but was discontinued due to staff resignation for family reasons. Hart district officials say they are actively trying to fill that role and bring the class back to the campus.  

The reason for a shift toward CTE, district officials said, was because of communication with local industries and learning about the needs of these industries. Hart district officials said the district aims to put students on a pathway to secure a job in the field of their choice and their hope is that this new program can do that.  

Currently CTE offers courses in a multitude of industry sectors such as agriculture, business, education, engineering, manufacturing, public services, arts, media, medicine, hospitality, marketing, transportation and more.   

Courses through dual enrollment at COC are also offered to Hart district students.  

COC, unions partner for carpentry pathway 

At a Santa Clarita City Council meeting last week, local resident Josh Christensen announced that a new career pathways program would arrive in the near future.  

The program is a partnership between Southwest Mountain States Carpenters and COC. The program aims to provide a pipeline between COC and the organization by giving advanced training and science, technology, engineering and math education so students can directly apply for an apprenticeship program.  

The program would bypass the “sponsor” portion of the apprenticeship application, meaning that students who participate in the program could potentially go right into an apprenticeship straight out of high school.   

“All the while they’ll still be earning certificates from us that, should they choose to go their career route right out of high school, they can come straight to the carpenters union, or they can continue their education at (COC) and have different options and opportunities,” said Jeffery Scott, title outreach specialist for SMSC.  

Carolyn Hoffman, who oversees CTE at the Hart district and serves as its director of career and college readiness, confirmed a dual enrollment construction and carpentry program would be held at Valencia High School with talks of expanding it to Saugus High School — which would open the course up to all Hart district students.    

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