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职业与技术教育

The Benefits of Providing Career Pathways in High School

An assistant principal explains how a focus on industrial arts can generate enthusiasm among high school students.

经过 Sean Cassel
June 7, 2021
monkeybusinessimages / iStock

Creating academic programs for all students is an important part of a school leader’s job. Often, we create clear pathways for high achievers, complete with AP classes and college counseling, while other students are left to find their own way through high school. At the high school where I am assistant principal, we’ve been deliberate about mapping courses for students that lead to careers and certifications, clustering courses around students’ interests in automobiles so they can leverage that knowledge into career readiness.

Classes like woodworking and automotive repair once fell under the umbrella of trade and industrial arts. Today, if schools have them at all, they’re categorized as technology, together with courses in engineering, science, and applied mathematics, but the reality is that STEM courses often eclipse traditional industrial arts courses because of ongoing budgetary constraints, changing state mandates, and standardized testing. When school leaders need to make tough decisions, industrial arts courses are often the first to go.

My school has taken a different path: We have chosen to value and invest in both STEM and industrial arts—automotive courses specifically—because we strongly believe that we need to serve all students, including those who are not planning on going to college.

The Planning Process

我们学校的旅程始于汽车职业行业的新计划。我们有几门课程可以参加汽车护理基础知识和汽车维修,但它们是分散的:从这些课程到职业的线性路径没有。学生可以将汽车课程作为选修课,但是没有明确的课程可以为职业和认证要求做好准备。在我们的总监和教育委员会的支持下,我们的汽车老师和校长开始更广泛地思考我们如何帮助我们的汽车学生摆脱对汽车的热情。

What started as a brainstorming session in 2018 grew to what will be a fully functional career and certification pathway for our first cohort of incoming freshmen students in 2021–22. In the intervening three years, we collaborated with professionals in the auto industry to align our vision for a cohesive program with what skills a student starting a career in the field would need.

An important part of the planning process was gaining accreditation from the national automotive organization that grants certification—theASE (Automotive Service Excellence) Education Foundation。为此,我们需要汽车行业(经销店和维修店)的本地合作伙伴,以洞悉我们的课程如何为学生在汽车领域的工作做好准备,以及实习让学生获得现实生活中的工作经验。

Building a Pipeline

一旦计划了该计划,我们需要接触新生及其父母,以便他们知道这是一种选择。因为我们在大流行期间公布了该计划,所以我们制作了一个视频,介绍了我们的设施,讲师,以及我们的计划将如何帮助学生在需求的领域中获得职业认证。作为一所区域高中,我们将视频发送给了我们的派遣中学区,后者与八年级学生分享了视频,并通过电子邮件通知了父母。我们还使用社交媒体作为促进该计划的一种方式。

We hosted a virtual open house for students and parents because of the pandemic, but going forward, open houses will be on campus so that we build excitement about the facilities and instructors among prospective students. Our school already had state-of-the-art automotive repair facilities that were used for our existing coursework. Once students showed interest, we scheduled interviews to get to know them and to help them understand the program’s expectations, specifically that students would need to pass all of their classes to stay in the program and graduate on time with the certifications. The jump from middle school to high school isn’t always an easy one, so having clear expectations is important for both the potential students in the program and their parents.

We made a point of letting students know they’d been accepted into the program in person. This gave the students a sense of accomplishment and generated excitement. A guidance counselor and I went to each of the students’ middle schools and gave them a letter of congratulations from our principal and a certificate recognizing their acceptance.

Making acceptance into the program an event marked the occasion: It had come to life after years of planning and recognized students who had not always experienced success in traditional classes. When I witnessed how proud they were, it was a turning point—I knew that the program would have a direct and very positive impact on them. One parent told me that acceptance into the program gave their child a sense of purpose and excitement about high school that had previously been absent. To me, that was a culmination of all the work that went into planning this new endeavor.

This summer, we will host an orientation for the students so they can meet their classmates. Building relationships with each other is going to be an integral part of our students’ staying in the program and graduating.

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  • 职业与技术教育
  • 管理与领导
  • 9-12 High School

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