McBride Principal Rockenbach Returns to Career Tech Ed Roots
After starting off his career as a woodshop teacher, Steve Rockenbach is returning to his roots in a 21st Century school that offers an entirely new approach to career technical education.
As the first principal of the new McBride High School in Long Beach, he will be a key figure in the creation of a model school with a career and higher education focus. Three small learning communities will offer students not only rigorous academic structure, but opportunities to experience first-hand what it’s like to work in one of three high-demand career paths: engineering, health and medical, and public service and forensic science.
All 210 incoming freshman were chosen based on their demonstration of strong interest in one of the career paths by completing essays and applications for school admission.
“Our students are highly motivated. Some have made the choice of foregoing competitive sports, and others are coming from long distances to be part of this exciting new educational endeavor,” said Rockenbach. “Our teachers have also demonstrated their desire to participate in building a new kind of small high school.”
Rockenbach, an assistant principal and counselor at Jordan High School for 17 years, said a team of educators, industry leaders, college professors and community leaders provided input for the design of McBride’s classrooms and labs, as well as its unique instructional program.
"The way this school came together was truly a team effort,” Rockenbach said. "For example, when we began developing the equipment list for the forensics academy, we got great advice from the forensics people at the Long Beach Police Department. As a result we will have a state-of-the art forensics lab that will simulate a real-life working environment."
As a career tech school, McBride will not have an interscholastic after school athletic program, although physical education will be offered during the school day. After school clubs and enrichment programs will also be offered.
A long-time Long Beach resident, Rockenbach and his wife Mary Jo (also an educator) have four children in LBUSD schools.
"The question I will constantly be asking myself and my staff is, ‘Is this where I would want my son or daughter to go?’” he said. “That’s the high standard we will be setting at McBride High School.”
Back to UPDATE Newsletter.