The St. Johnsbury Academy Career Awareness Program of the Career and Technical Education Department is giving elementary and middle-school-age students in the St. Johnsbury area an opportunity to think about possible careers before they enter high school.
After outreach and preparation last spring, the program kicked off in in the 2011-2012 school year as Kirsten Keach, career-awareness coordinator at the Academy, began visiting 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade classrooms at The St. Johnsbury School, Barnet School, Monroe Consolidated School and Good Shepherd Catholic School in St. Johnsbury. Keach has facilitated discussion of career interests and introduced students to the online Kuder Career Planning System. Through the Kuder system, students set up personal educational- and career-planning profiles that they can keep through life.
"Kuder is a great educational package. Students can research subjects that interest them or discover whole new career pathways that they may not have considered," said Keach. "It's been very positive and beneficial -- they enjoy doing something that's looking toward the future. Our hope is to open their eyes to a career choice that they don't even know is out there."
"Our students were thrilled to be researching careers they were interested in and colleges they might attend. We also took our whole sixth- through eighth-grade crew to the Technical Education Day (last fall) at the Academy, which they loved," said Louisa Bliss from the Monroe School.
"Kirsten has been an invaluable resource to me and to my career-exploration work with our Barnet students. The Kuder program has expanded the students' choices and brought a deeper dimension and understanding of what the future might hold," said Jean Denson, Barnet School counselor.
"Using Kuder, students take interest inventories and skill assessments that help them explore matching careers, educational requirements, occupational trends and post-secondary training and education," said Brian O'Farrell, school counselor at The St. Johnsbury School.
The Academy is extending the Career Awareness program to the Waterford School in April, and Keach is discussing future programs with the Lyndon Town School, Danville School and Blue Mountain Union School. Students in the Academy's freshman Career Navigation Course are also using the Kuder system.
For more information on the Academy's overall programs and course offerings, go to stjacademy.org/academics.