student career exploration readiness Kent ISD

Are Your Students College and Career Ready?

Upon graduation, educators all hope and believe that our students will go on to be productive, healthy, happy, contributory members of our society. This means they will have a career path, and hopefully a trajectory that will fit well with their likes, their capabilities, and the market.

Kent Intermediate Superintendent Association (KISA)

KISA is a committee comprised of Superintendents from the twenty constituent public districts, as well as the Superintendents from the Christian and Catholic School systems in Kent County. The group meets monthly to address the following areas:

• Student Achievement
• Engagement
• Inclusion

KISA 2016-17 Goals

* Every Child Prepared for Kindergarten
* Every student reading at grade level in 3rd grade
* Every student performing at grade level in math at 8th grade
* Every student college and career ready

The fourth goal which is, “Every student college and career ready,” is directly supported by the Career Readiness Department, led by Director Jarrad Grandy. The department wraps its work around the following two driving questions to support this goal:

  1. What do students want to be when they grow up?
  2. How can schools, families, and communities help them explore their options?

student career exploration readiness Kent ISD

The Kent ISD Career Readiness Department has a system with several outlets for this type of work:

  • Employer partners visit classrooms and show the relevance of classroom lessons to every day work in their field.
  • The classroom teacher receives support and lesson content to build on the business discussion.
  • Students are given the opportunity to go to places of business to see their learning in action.

Student Engagement

The employer partners come from our three Career Exploration Coordinators. Aligned with the strongest West Michigan work sectors as defined by The Right Place.  These wonderful educators have developed a number of programs that allow students to engage employers in meaningful, hands-on ways.

Amy Pierce works in engineering/construction/ & advanced manufacturing; Lindsey Tilley works in technology & design; and Krista Harmon works in health care. Here are some programs to check out:

Explorers Program High school students explore a field of their choice through a single job shadow experience. Participants travel directly to the employer location and spend one and a half hours with a mentor. Industries of focus include: advanced manufacturing, construction, engineering, health sciences and technology and design.

Groundhog Shadow Day February 2nd isn’t just about Punxsutawney Phil anymore. As part of a national movement in career exploration, hundreds of high school students experience a “day in the life of…” during job shadows with local organizations.

Talk & Tour Career Series Held in the evenings, 7th-12th grade students and their families learn about in-demand careers in a variety of industries during tours and presentations hosted at local businesses.

Health Careers Internship This job shadow experience allows high school seniors to explore a health careers by observing a variety of healthcare professionals, like nurses, radiologists, physical therapists, physician assistants and more, in action. students commit to approximately five hours each week for 15 weeks.

Teacher Resources

Looking for a PD for yourself that would allow you to answer the question, “When will I ever need to know this?” Check out the offerings from the Career Readiness Consultant, Eric Kelliher:

Teachers In Industry Series Educators spend a full day out of the classroom visiting 2-4 different employers, exploring industry trends and ways to connect their classroom content to the business world. Employers may host from one to 30 educators at a time for 60-90 minutes. Offered multiple times throughout the year.

Educator Workshops Our PD offerings help educators connect what they teach in the classroom to current practices in business and industry. PLUS, they demonstrate the real-world relevancy of their lessons. We offer a variety of formats, including webinars view-able from anywhere.

To have the learning really hit home in the classroom, we offer support for our teachers in the classroom too. Contact the STEM Consultants Ebiri Nkugba and Rick Mushing. They each have educational, as well as industry, background that you can leverage in the form of technical assistance.

STEM Thinking series PD will provide educators with technical assistance, professional learning opportunities and lesson development.

YouTube video series, STEM Business Problems Library installments.  In this series, Kent ISD Career Readiness gets you in the door of a local business partner to see the real-world application of classroom content. Teachers can use these short videos to reinforce or introduce the standards they need to teach, based on an industry problem. The installments cover everything from basic forces and interactions to advanced electronics, coding, robotics, and much more.

Share Your Thoughts

How could students in your classroom(s) benefit from such a system? Comment below.

This blog post was written by Ebiri Nkugba, STEM Consultant for Kent ISD; and, it was edited by Amanda Walma, Professional Learning Coordinator at Kent ISD.

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