April 1, 2014
Monday through April 11 is K-12 Career Major Declaration Week across the Public Schools of Robeson County. During that week, counselors and teachers will talk with students about attendance, reading, homework and classwork. The district will also bring career professionals in to talk with children about the importance of school.
“The theme will stress to students to become more aware of why education is important and how they develop those academic skills. The event also looks at best practices for developing academic success,” Dr. Brenda Dial Deese said. Deese is working with schools across the district on Career Major Declaration Week. During the week, students at each grade level will be able to identify their personal strengths and start thinking long-term of how they can make this a career.
One of the most critical issues coordinators hope will emerge from the week is preparation. It is important for each student to be aware that they cannot wait until later in their educational career to say they want to be a veterinarian or a doctor or even a major athlete and think it is going to happen. These types of decisions must start earlier.
At the end of the week, students will declare which subject areas or extra curricular programs that they have strengths in and how to cultivate those strengths. Educators and school counselors will use multiple tools and resources to recognize student strength. They will look at learning styles, self-discovery inventories in the Career Cruising Program and ability profiling. Kindergarten through eighth grade is really where a student’s foundation is established. Students must develop best practices, which are inclusive of paying attention in class, doing homework, reviewing assignment, becoming a disciplined learner and practicing good decision-making skills.
Obviously kindergarten students will not decide a final career during this week, but the lower grade students will practice more creativity. The children will discuss careers that they are familiar with such as fireman, teacher, doctor and construction worker. Then the teachers will elaborate on how each student can work toward success in that career. For example, they may tell kindergarten students that, to be a teacher, they must go to a four-year university and they must also prepare to be a successful learner.
It is important for our students to know there is life after high school and you have to be prepared. But you are not prepared if you are not a disciplined learner. In some areas, students graduate from high school or drop out and they go home and sit and wait for something to happen. Personal accountability is important.
Parents play a key role for fostering school engagement for students. Parents should have a set time during which learning is the focus with no distractions, such as TV or games, at home. A major emphasis of this time should be reading. Without comprehensive reading, all areas of learning will not be successful. Children should go to bed 15 to 20 minutes before a scheduled bedtime with a book or magazine to foster independent reading.
Being prepared for the future does not happen overnight, but taking the right path in school can make the road a lot smoother along the way.
Johnny Hunt is the superintendent of the Public Schools of Robeson County.