How to provide classes that inspire students’ passions was among the topics on the table Thursday during a town hall meeting hosted by Stockton Unified School District’s superintendent at Cesar Chavez High School in Stockton.

It was the third in an ongoing series of forums moderated by the district’s superintendent, Michelle Rodriguez. She said the topics of the town halls were previously determined through listening sessions she held where parents and the community voiced their concerns.

The Sept. 14 session focused on broad course of study, meaning the various courses being offered at the schools within the district.

Rodriguez said the district is attempting to see how its classes are aligning with students’ interests and passions.

Kasey Klappenback, assistant superintendent of education services with SUSD, showcased to the few people in attendance programs such as the career pathways by industry sectors.

Kasey Klappenback, assistant superintendent of education services, explains how various Stockton Unified programs help students gain the upper hand when it comes to their college education. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)

These pathways include specific classes that deal with arts, media and entertainment, business and finance, engineering and architecture, transportation and other career paths students can take.

He also discussed how programs are helping students to have an upper hand when it comes to their college education.

Programs like Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) have a mission to prepare a student for college and career readiness and success in a global society while still in high school. There are 40 AVID sites in the district.

Seeking better informed choices

People at the meeting said some of their priority recommendations included providing ethnic studies at all high schools and suggested that when counselors begin pre-registering eighth grade students for high school, they should be informed of all possible courses in the district, not just one school.

Alisia Lopez, an Edison High School parent, shared with the audience that supporting students with generational poverty is also something teachers and the district need to do.

Lopez said although schools can offer programs like football, not everyone can afford the sports.

Alisia Lopez, mother of an Edison High School senior, shares about the invisible costs of schooling parents incur during the town hall at Cesar Chavez High School in Stockton. “It’s expensive and I am a single mother struggling to make ends meet,” she said. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)

“It’s expensive and I am a single mother struggling to make ends meet,” Lopez said.

District officials said some of their goals going forward are to continue to expand offerings in preschool for 3-year-old children, continue to offer new sports such as flag football, and expand ethnic student offerings including into other areas such as language arts.

The last two town halls will be held Monday, Sept. 18., at Hong Kingston Elementary School at 6324 Alturas Ave. and Oct. 3 at Hamilton Elementary located at 2245 E 11th St.

The Monday meeting will be about parent, student and staff engagement and the October town hall will deal with safety.

Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.

Victoria Franco is a Stockton-based reporter covering the diverse news around the Central Valley as part of the Report for America program. As a Stockton native, Franco is proud to cover stories within her community and report a variety of coverage. She is a San Jose State University alumna with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. In her collegiate years she was Managing Editor for the Spartan Daily. From her time at the Spartan Daily she helped lead her staff to California College Media Awards and a General Excellence first place. Victoria encourages readers to email her story tips and ideas at