Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Career Connections Sessions

We implemented Career Connections in an effort to expose students to a careers that match their interests. Our 4th and 5th graders completed career interest inventories to identify their career interests. The inventories used include: SCOIS CLIMB which is SC specific (and FREE for SC schools) and O*Net which is free for all (see post about how we utilize this inventory in lessons here). We recorded the top 3 interests for each student and we use this data to select students to attend Career Connections Sessions.

Career Connections Sessions are 25 minute sessions in which a guest speaker shares his/her career journey with selected students. What works for us is offereing two back to back sessions for each speaker (25 4th graders and then 25 5th graders). We recruited speakres internally by asking staff for recommendations for popular career clusters and then followed their leads. An alternative would be to send a letter out to school families to recruit speakers.

We notify students that they are invited to participate in Career Connections the morning of the session by delivering invitations to their classrooms in the morning. We had the invitations printed on business cards through VistaPrint. The kids enjoy the novelty of the business card invitations!

This year we have ten speakers on the schedule spread over five months. With two sessions per speaker we should have enough space for each student to go to two sessions. Personally, I find this scenario easier to plan than a large career day. I also like that it's based on student interest inventory results (data, data, data!). And with 25 minutes sessions they are getting in depth information and ample time to explore different aspects of the career. As for our K-3 students, we started the Tracker Career Awareness Program. I purchashed the program on TeachersPayTeachers. ALL students K-5 are exposed to a variety of careers between the Career Connections and Tracker Career Awareness Program as well as two career awareness & explorations classroom lessons per classroom. It's been a great experience to see the kids get so excited about careers!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Making College & Career Connections

My awesome co-counselor and I have been working on many program goals this school year. One of our goals is to raise College & Career Awareness across grade levels. We have several initiatives in motion to accomplish this goal including this awesome visual in our school's main hallway:
We gathered staff college data via a Google Form and used Publisher to create the signs to make a bar graph of sorts which was totally inspired by Pinterest. This visual is just one way we are trying to #ReachHigher and raise College & Career Awareness at our school. Other initiatives include classroom lessons in the career domain, Career Connections which is our guest speaker program that is similar to the ever so popular Career Cafe concept---without the hassle of food, College Connections PSAs which will be little blurbs on the morning announcements about college fun facts and staff college related facts like "favorite college memories", Career Tracker Program which is based off an awesome program we found on TpT, and our 5th grade students will complete college research and host a college fair for younger grades after state testing is complete later this spring. We did a Google Form pre-test with students in grades 3-5 to assess College & Career Awareness and I look forward to seeing the post-test results at the end of the school year.

I'd love to hear what others do to raise college and career awareness, please share your ideas in the comments section!