College and Career Explorations
When children are preschoolers, they love to think about what they want to be when they grow up. Some want to be garbage collectors, doctors, princesses, and athletes. Whatever career passions children relish, it is important to reinforce these interests with relevant play activities and enrichment outings to learn more about various careers. Parents can help children visualize a plan for a career opportunity by encouraging their children to:
- Communicate with folks in specific professions.
- Research the educational and job requirements for potential careers.
- Participate in field trips and community activities to learn more about specific careers.
- Attend parents’ work activities and shadow parents, colleagues, and friends to explore various careers
- Encourage children to help at work with duplications, mailings, and computer inputting if permitted by the company.
- Secure community service volunteer responsibilities, internships, and paid jobs.
As children enter middle school and explore various careers, they must learn how to research various college and career academic requirements to ensure that they are taking the proper courses for a specific career. They can attend career exploration days, meet with college counselors, and attend college tours to learn more about academic preparations. The more children understand the requirements for specific careers, the greater their successes will be to prepare and plan for appropriate course selections.
Early College Options
Early college, or the ability to take college courses in high school, can save thousands of dollars in educational preparations and tuition costs later. Middle school and high school students can learn more about early college by contacting their local school district to determine which high school campuses offer community college courses at the high school site. Parents and students can also contact their local community college to learn which courses high school students can register for during and after the school day. Additionally, many state and private colleges offer summer and vacation break intra-sessions on different careers including computer coding, science and math academics, performing arts, and writing workshops.
Community Service Leadership Opportunities
As part of their high school graduation requirements, most high school students are required to participate in community service activities. Some students use this time to explore careers and provide community services at elementary schools, for youth sports teams, and at various social service agencies. During summer breaks, students may participate in an international business program or cultural exchange program in another country. Other students work at summer jobs or internships to learn about merchandising, computer coding, and legislative support services for a local legislator.
Much success supporting your children’s school leadership and career planning options.
Mary Ann Burke, Ed.D., Digital Education Expert, is a substitute distance learning teacher for Oak Grove School District in San Jose, California and the author of STUDENT-ENGAGED ASSESSMENT: Strategies to Empower All Learners (Rowman & Littlefield: 2020). Dr. Burke creates digital language arts and substitute teaching K – 12 activities for teachers and parents. She is the Cofounder of the Genparenting.com blog. Burke is the former Director II of Categorical & Special Projects for the Santa Clara County Office of Education that supports 31 school districts serving 272,321 students in Santa Clara County. She is also a previous Director – State & Federal Compliance for Oakland Unified School District, the former Director – Grantwriter for the Compton Unified School District, and was the initial VISTA Director for the Community Partnership Coalition in southern California. Much of her work focuses on creating innovative digital trainings and partnership programs for teachers and families to support students’ learning. These programs were featured as a best practice at a National Title I Conference, California’s Title I Conferences, AERA Conferences, an ASCD Conference, the NASSP Conference, and statewide educator conferences.