Preparing Students for a Strong Future

Center School District, Missouri
By: | July 8, 2019
District Name: Center School District
District State: Missouri
District Website:

Challenge: Center School District leaders were concerned that students did not have enough career and technical education opportunities to prepare for future success. Relevant learning experiences and career pathways were needed.

Initiative: The Center Professional Studies Program provides experiential real-world, project-based learning. By collaborating with local industries, colleges and technical programs, the Center Professional Studies Program offers business and technology, STEAM, human services, and teaching pathways. Within those pathways are more defined courses of study in engineering, finance, web design, computer technology, biomedical research, nursing and culinary arts, among other areas. The program features college courses and industry mentorships and internships.

Impact: College and career ready programs have experienced a 31% increase in enrollment over the past four years. Last year, 13 Center High School students received dual credit in computer programming, with eight being selected for the prestigious Cerner Corporation Scholars internship program to work alongside industry experts.

Advice: District administrators should find industry partners and model any initiative on successful programs in other school districts and states. By doing so, students will have the same opportunities to compete in high-demand careers and trades.