Career-Based learning exposes students to possibilities

Students at Cole R-1 High School are taking their classroom knowledge a step further in the hopes of finding a career path.

A multi-media class is expanding business-related skills into real-life promotional videos and someday a weekly school news broadcast.

A sculpture class allows young artists to more fully discover their talents and interests.

Shakespeare and advanced writing classes have offered wordsmiths an open door to creativity.

Biotechnology and landscaping classes are combining the fundamentals of the agriculture department into meaningful, hands-on projects.

And the addition of a jazz band class will benefit the student body, as well as the young musicians.

Alyson Bissonnette, a first-year science teacher from Columbia College, took on the new forensics and astronomy curriculum.

Because Columbia College offers degrees in forensics and criminal justice, Bissonnette was able to call on fellow graduates for career applications for her lessons, she said.

In addition to a more direct tie to potential jobs, students are able to take the knowledge they’ve learned in other classes and apply it to scenarios and problems, Bissonnette noted.

“For example, they learned about DNA in biology; here, they actually took DNA out of a strawberry,” Bissonnette said. “It can spark an interest that they didn’t know they had.”

The career-based curriculum additions were a deliberate move by counselor Brent Mettlen and principal Heath Waters.

“For our size of school, we try to offer a bunch of different things for students,” Mettlen said.

Last spring, a student survey polled topical interests. Then, Mettlen and Waters sought teachers interested in teaching the out of the ordinary courses.

At the end of the school year, Mettlen said they will evaluate the class offerings and take student suggestions and see what needs to be added, kept or dropped.

“The kids were excited and it gets the teachers out of the usual,” Mettlen said.

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