How younger students match interests with potential careers
Students in Grand Prairie ISD near Dallas engage regularly in “career cruising” activities.
They start with Xello software to match interests and favorite subjects to career paths, says Dana Jackson, executive director of counseling services.
Fifth graders do research about these professions and create science-fair-like displays to share with younger students at career fairs.
Elementary students can also participate in mock job interviews that will allow them to job-shadow principals, school nurses, P.E. coaches and other personnel.
They learn key interview skills such as how to dress and how to speak clearly, Jackson says.
Such activities are particularly important in a district with a high population of students on free lunch.
Educators want students to know about professions, such as graphic design and auditing, that they may not come into contact with, Jackson says.
“We want to expose them to careers they may not see in their community. And let them know that college and careers are in their future—that the sky’s the limit.”
Because Grand Prairie is a district of choice, educators want younger students and their families to begin looking ahead to choosing a high school career pathway.
The district’s high schools offer pathways in STEM, fine arts, leadership, culinary arts, healthcare and other fields, Jackson says.
“It’s never too early to start feeding the bigger possibilities into kids.”
Read the other stories in DA’s series on elementary school CTE.