A grade-by-grade look at career awareness in elementary school

Teachers in South Dakota district integrate college and career awareness into everyday instruction
By: | April 15, 2020
Educators in Rapid City Area Schools in South Dakota stress college and career readiness early so all students graduate with a post-high school planEducators in Rapid City Area Schools in South Dakota stress college and career readiness early so all students graduate with a post-high school plan.

Rapid City Area Schools in South Dakota offers a wide-ranging college and career readiness program for its elementary school students.

“We’re hoping kids see college as any type of training opportunity that comes after high school,” says Melissa Miller Kincart, director of strategic partnerships and college and career readiness.

“We want them to be thinking that what they’re doing now will affect their future and that they’re going to graduate with a plan,” Kincart says.

Younger students:

In kindergarten through 2nd grade, students begin envisioning their futures by creating college pennants and reading books about the experiences they may have on campus.


More from DAHow school leaders promote middle school CTE courses


Older students:

In grades 3 to 5, students learn about the amount of training, from industry certifications to four-year degrees, that various careers require.

Teaching techniques:

Teachers integrate college and career awareness into everyday instruction by, for instance, connecting math and science skills to different occupations.

Planning for the future:

All of these activities lead to deeper career exploration in middle school and the district’s high school career pathways, which don’t all steer students toward a four-year campus.


Read the other stories in DA’s series on elementary school CTE.