As an educator, it is my job to teach my students. As someone with compassion and vested interest in her students, it is my privilege to help them find a successful career after high school. In an Alternative Learning Environment (ALE), we face the harsh facts that less than 5% of our seniors will further their education past high school. Is this any reason for them to lead substandard lives in a minimum wage job? No, it isn’t. Through the right connections, it is absolutely possible to help students secure high skill/high wage/high demand (HS/HW/HD) positions upon graduation. At our school, we work with our students to do this.
Our main focus was “no kid left behind”. We didn’t want graduation to get here and our seniors not know what to do next. We designed a leadership team of teachers and counselors that would ensure our students’ success. We began by talking with the kids to see if they had a chosen pathway. If not, they began taking assessments to see where their interest lay. For those interested in a 2-year or 4-year college, we helped them research school requirements, admission procedures, and filled out financial aid forms. For others, we brought in trade occupation recruiters: electricians, plumbers, cosmetologists, welders, etc. Our students have the opportunity to find out exactly what would be involved in these careers. This year, about 75% of our seniors have shown interest in the HS/HW/HD positions and have taken the next step by completing the application process. 50% have been accepted into the programs…the others are still waiting. We haven’t hit our 100% as a leadership team, yet. How do we do that?
My PLC team consists of FACS, Art, Business, and Health. We are currently designing a large poster that will hang in our rooms consisting of all careers that require no college or a 2-year vocational school. These will be careers that can rise from CTE classes. We will create an interview committee (teachers, administration, community partners) in order to help our students learn the valuable skills needed to obtain a job/career. Our community partners will help assist by providing internships to our students while they are still in high school and after graduation. The students we will be focusing on are not only seniors…but sophomores and juniors. Getting them early in their high school career will help our leadership team reach a much higher rate of careers after high school.