We receive incredibly positive feedback from clients, those parents AND students, that experience the Career Coaching for Students program. We also consistently hear the same comment: “this needs to be mandatory in high school.”
When we talk to school counselors or administrators, we’re told they are adequately addressing career development. Using the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Career Development for Career Development as a guidepost, we find defined requirements for Middle School (7th – 8th grade) and High School (11th – 12th grade).
In middle school, it appears from the TEKS Career Development regulations that the middle school requirements “resemble” the Career Coaching for Students™ program which enables the student to move on to the TEKS high school requirements. Neither are mandatory, only recommended. However, we strongly believe 7th graders are not prepared or capable of gaining enough value from the middle school recommended focus, especially assessments for career matching. Generally speaking, focusing on career exploration in middle school is a great start and appropriate. Assessing students at that age may not be a good idea and will likely create more confusion than value, especially considering the assessments most middle schools may be using. However, providing a portal of high-quality career exploration links for middle students to learn about different careers can energize students. But every high school student we have in our program says the same thing, “I never received anything like this in school” and “I don’t remember anything from what we did in middle school.”
Talking with Career Development Directors in Texas, we hear a consistent statement, “The Career Coaching for Students program is exactly what we need in high school. If I could, I’d leave the Kuder program to middle school level and make Career Coaching for Students™ the standard curriculum for high school students starting in 9th grade.”
We have found the following formula for career development curriculum is very powerful:
Middle School – Use our Student Resource Central web portal of career and education exploration. Create a lesson plan that takes the student through career exploration TEKS requirements using Student Resource Central.
High School – Implement a four-year career development curriculum that starts at the beginning of 9th grade, and uses the Career Coaching for Students program as the foundation. Train all counselors in the use of the program. Train teachers who are passionate about career exploration to deliver the curriculum.
So, here are some pros and cons for implementing a more focused and tangible career coaching program for high school students. Consider these along with your own thoughts and experiences and then answer our poll question below (poll open for one week starting 1/15/2015). Please share on all of your social media so we can get a large sample size for the poll.
Pros of Implementing a Mandatory Career Coaching Curriculum for all High School Students
- By starting at the incoming 9th grade level (perhaps even the August before school starts) the program helps with 4-year high school course planning that aligns with post-secondary desires
- Greater self-awareness comes at the right age to leverage the insights gained
- Increased self-confidence enables the student to pursue a more challenging academic schedule
- Greater clarity about high-potential career possibilities (a high-quality short list that matches their talents/personality traits) empowers student self-direction.
- Less missteps towards high school graduation
- Lower dropout rates
- Greater student engagement that results in higher average GPA
- Higher percent of students enrolling in post-secondary education
Cons (based on what I’ve heard or what was implied)
- Already too many academic demands, no time to add more class time
- Not needed – time, money and attention need to be allocated to other more important things
- Already appropriately covered in middle school, don’t see the need to duplicate
- We’re already doing a good job in this area, don’t need to improve
- We don’t have the budget for it
- Better to let families address this rather than handle in school