Career Guidance and Innovation

All educators need to be innovators in order to assist students in becoming “Future Ready.” As a counselor, I have observed many innovative ideas that are used to engage students in the career development process. For instance, I am an advocate for starting career development at the elementary level and continuing the journey as a lifelong process.

Kindergarteners are eager, ready to learn and soak up information like a sponge. District-wide we have embraced this enthusiasm and used this opportunity to help students expand their horizon. Many elementary students tend to look towards careers that they are familiar with, which can translate to a very narrow understanding of career options. One innovative partnership we developed with the City of Denton is to provide “Career on Wheels” for our elementary schoolsClick here and check it out.

Middle school students are in that transition process where the responsibility level is shifting – They are not quite a child, yet are still maturating and learning to make adult decisions. At this stage, the career development process should encourage students to investigate career options and gather information to assist in making educated decisions. We use career interest surveys, career investigating projects and culminate this process by designing a high school plan. Each student must select an endorsement or major for his or her plan.  Just recently, I was working with a middle school student assisting him with planning his future which included, a CTE coherent sequence that provided both articulated credit as well as an industry credential.  He was so excited and said “WOW that gives me an adrenaline rush.” Providing students with innovative options that add value might just give them an adrenaline rush that engages them in their education.

Recent innovations in the high school guidance setting such as attaching QR codes to guidance events, utilizing computerized surveys to determine program effectiveness, having a google counselor request account and using iPad’s in classroom guidance have updated the way we conduct business. The past five years technology has opened the door to use innovative ways to increase parent involvement through better communication. For example, we may make mass phone calls and send mass emails to communicate information to a large group of parents. This has been both a blessing and a challenge as well. As counselors we strive to make meaningful connections through our communications with parents and students. We must find a balance that will most effectively help our students. For instance, this year we conducted student conferences to update the student’s future plans. When working with a student whose parent was unable to attend, he said “Let’s face-time my mom to talk to her about what I am going to be doing.” What an innovative idea on his part. Times have changed- we as educators must embrace the ever changing needs of our students – the innovators see solutions and step-up to accept the challenge.