Principal, counselor want 8th graders thinking about what comes after high school
Too often, Marion High School Principal Tod Gordon sees a student choose what classes to take based on what buddies are taking, which can hinder everybody involved.
Taking a class just because friends are in it can hinder those friends, other students, and the teacher through distractions, Gordon said.
It can also prevent that student from taking classes that would better help them prepare for life after high school. Gordon remembers helping a student who was deciding what classes to take. Gordon asked the student if he knew what kind of career he wanted, and the student said he wanted to be an athletic trainer.
Finding a class that would help prepare for that was easy — anatomy would give that student a jump start on college classes to become a trainer. But the student was resistant to taking anatomy, because none of his friends were taking it.
To combat that phenomena, counselor Mark Felvus has been working with eighth graders to identify their interests so they can begin mapping out their high school classes. The process started with interest surveys earlier this year and continued with a meeting for eighth graders and their parents Monday night.
Felvus provided each family with a packet covering basic graduation requirements, requirements for admission to Kansas Board of Regents schools, the Kansas Scholars curriculum, and eligibility to play NCAA sports. Four-year schools in Kansas have been increasing their admissions standards, and he expects that to continue.
“The four-year schools are worried about retention,” Felvus said. “They want kids who are ready.”
Families were asked to select the classes for their students to take as freshmen. Four of the classes are required of all freshmen: English, biology, physical education/health, and a math class.
Felvus said that in the fall, he will meet with each freshman to map out a four-year plan for classes.
Schools work on
Mark Meyer spoke to the students and parents about the career pathways system the state has introduced. Each pathway represents the first stages of education for a specific career field. A student who completes introductory, technical, and application classes in the same pathway can receive three hours of college credit and an industry certification.
Most introductory classes fit in several different pathways, so if a student decides that a program they started on isn’t right for them, they can switch and complete another pathway.