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The 8th grade students have the opportunity to learn about the importance of career exploration and about all their options in the future after high school during Quarter 4 Enrichment class. It's beneficial to have some idea of career interests while starting high school because many of the courses offered are geared towards a specific job field.

Every school in the state of Pennsylvania has guidelines as to what students should know or be exposed to at specific grade levels on the basis of Career Education and Work. The following PDF file explains the state standards relating specifically to Career Education and Work. Just like regular and specialist classroom teachers have standards, guidance counselors have standards as well!

8th graders will take time to focus more on high school/post-secondary planning. This will begin with an overview of levels of degrees, what a college major and minor are, universities in PA and other popular state schools, and really dig deep into where they see themselves in the next 5 years. College isn't for everyone, so students will be encouraged to look at local trade schools, technical institutes, community colleges, and the military. The students will take an interest survey and learn about Holland's personality types.
It is important to make the connection between interests and how those interests should guide your future profession choice after high school. Success isn't always about one's job status or the amount of money one makes in their field, but it's about enjoying what you do every day in your field of work! Degree's are introduced and connected to certain careers, as well as how continuing education takes a role in determining salary options and benefits. We will take a look at traditional vs. non-traditional careers and the benefits of having a "back up plan" - especially if you think you're going pro! We'll discover the fastest growing careers and search through other fun websites. The students will 'get their feet wet' about different career options, other than the more popular, well-known careers. They will be able to differentiate fields of work and specific jobs related to those fields. Lessons will include information on how the subjects they are learning now in school relate to all careers. They will be encouraged to keep a close eye on careers all around us, as well as be able to name all the many careers just within our school and around our community. Overviews of the more popular career clusters will be explored, such as the Health Field, Law and Public Safety, Hospitality and Tourism, Science, etc. Specific careers in each area will be labeled and defined.

Career Day
Middle school students will also have a day dedicated to learning more about a variety of careers. Around late winter/ early spring, "Career Day" is scheduled here at our school! Career Day is a unique experience for the students and usual is held on a half-day in the morning. About 6 professionals in and around our community speak to the students about their career, including job descriptions, education needed, and benefits of that specific career. Students have an opportunity and are encouraged to ask questions to our presenters!
Pictures from Career Day in the past:
I encourage all students to utilize the Education Planner website, www.educationplanner.org as well as the other kid-friendly career websites listed below from home and encourage parents to take the time to view the website as well. It's completely free and has many useful tips on starting one's career exploration.

"Education Planner" is a division of the "Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA)" http://www.pheaa.org/index.html
This free website is a great tool to help plan for the future expenses of college and other post-secondary programs. It's never too early to plan ahead! This spring or next fall, I would like to have a representative from PHEAA come in to talk to parents about this type of planning, as well as other information that might be helpful to know. This website "features the largest free database of college scholarships available on the internet".
If you have any questions pertaining to college Financial Aid, FAFSA Completion (the first application that families must complete to be considered to most forms of financial aid), and college grants, please contact the Northeast Region Representative, and she will gladly share information and guidance. She's a great resource! Don't forget, college planning starts in elementary school!!

I have brochures on PA529 college savings plans. Please ask me for one!

Linda Pacewicz
Northeast Region Representative for PHEAA
- Linda came to our school in October for a parent workshop on career and college programming for your children. Below was her wonderful powerpoint presentation if you missed it!!

Other websites useful for career exploration are as follows:
http://www.pacareerstandards.com/parent-guardian-resources.php (GREAT resource for parents/guardians)
www.todaysmilitary.com - many students have interests in the military and just as this website says, it's important to talk about a big decision like this one. This website it very user-friendly for parents, students, and educators alike!

Talk to your kids about careers and all the possibilies they have to choose from! Career development and deciding on a career is a process; not a one-time occurance or event that takes place!