Consolidated High School District (CHSD) 230 had challenges like many school districts had in Illinois that were either developing or already offering strong work-based learning opportunities for its students. CHSD 230 hadn’t even had one complete year of their new initiative called D230 Works which was showing tremendous success. Like much of education, everything came to a halt last spring but fortunately for CHSD 230 there were three tremdomus CTE lead teachers that were not going to let the work stop because of the pandemic.
The three teachers meet regularly over the summer and are continuing to meet this school year to plan a District wide virtual career fair and a program called “A Day in The Life of…” This has been a big lift that is quickly taking shape to the point that students had to be turned always from the last guest speaking event due to the 100 person limit on Google Meets which is a problem we are willing to figure out a solution to!
The virtual career fair is being planned for Wednesday, December 2, 2020. This will be a District wide event involving all of the District’s 7,500 students. Students will be at home as they have been this school year on this Wednesday due to “deep cleaning”. They will participate in an opening session in the morning with introductions from the District’s Superintendent, Dr. Jim Gay followed by 3 breakout panels discussions that they can choose which one they attend. The panel discussions will align with the 7 career clusters that Illinois has placed the 16 nationally recognized career pathways into. The panels will be made up of 3 different individuals from that particular pathways ranging in a variety of positions that require different skill sets and postsecondary level attainment. After each session and at the end of the day when they meet with their advisory (also known as homeroom) teacher, the students will be filling out reflections on each session and overall for the day. These reflections will be shared with their school counselors for registration purposes as well as staff who teach and run co-curriculars in the respective career interest areas.
The second initiative, “A day in the Life of” is set up to occur three times a month during what is called our “intervention” period. We have select days where students can sign up to see a teacher for additional support in any of their classes. Each school also offers “enrichment” opportunities during these times for students that don’t necessarily need support from a specific teacher. Each month the guest speakers are focused on a specific career area. For example, last month the focus was on Healthcare Science. We try to expose the students to a variety of different career options within the specific career field for the 30 minute virtual discussion that is taking place during this time through Google Meets.
We are looking forward to continuing to build our D230 Works programming in a variety of ways. This includes continuing to develop and build our connections with local community industry partners, continue expanding our work-based learning opportunities, and exploring new initiatives such as Illinois’s Career Endorsements pilot program.