Operation Preparation is a go.The statewide college and career advising month kicked off Tuesday in Clark County with a proclamation at George Rogers Clark High School and meetings with community advisors at Clark Middle School.
“We understand here in Clark County the importance of our students being college and career ready so we’re very excited about the opportunity to have adult community members share time with our eighth and 10th graders again this year,” Superintendent Elaine Farris said.
“It’s good for us because it lets us spread our volunteers out,” she said.
Those volunteers, some of whom spent part of Tuesday at Clark Middle, will spend one-on-one time with students advising them on their individual learning plans and how to approach high school and college.
The advising sessions are designed to address career aspirations and the required training, whether the student is on target to meet his or her goals and whether the student is taking the courses recommended to prepare for the future.
The program has also joined with Community Education and Cora Heffner to allow nearly 100 Clark Middle students to take part in job shadowing. Heffner has organized job shadows for high school students in the past. High schoolers are taking part in job shadows though next week. Middle school students get their chance to do the same for the first time this year beginning next week.
Eighth-graders who weren’t selected for a job shadow will have the opportunity to speak to one of the community volunteer advisors.
“The advisors are good at sharing their personal stories and what they do with the students,” Cindy Whiteside, a counselor at Clark Middle, said. “They look at the students want to do and give them advice on how to get where they want to be. They try to pull their own knowledge and experiences and give the kids a good pep talk.”
Whiteside and fellow counselor Lunelle Matthews had 27 volunteers at Clark Middle Tuesday. Whiteside there would be some advising sessions at the school today.
Sharmy Carr, a college and career advisor with GEAR UP Kentucky, the sessions are sometimes eye-opening experiences for the students.
“Kids will say they want to be doctors and won’t know what it takes to be a doctor,” she said. “Some of them, once they hear it’s going to be 10 years, they say, ‘No.’ I don’t want to discourage them, but I will educate them.”
Sometimes the students get a touch of tough love, too.
“We look at their GPA and if it is lower than I would like going into high school, I tell them they need to work on that or do this,” Carr said. “I can really break down what they need to do. That’s the value of it.”
For eighth-grader Brandon Kiniry, it was a reminder that school doesn’t last forever.
“It helped me realize the real world out of school is coming up a lot faster than I’ve thought it would,” he said.
Audrey Yates, a Clark Middle student who plans to become an architect, said she initial thought it would be awkward to have a stranger look at her ILP.
“Now that I’ve come in and talked to her, it was really nice,” Yates said. “She was really helpful. She gave me tips.”
Conkwright Middle joins in the action next week while the high school plans to take part the last week of the month.
“Anybody who would like to volunteer, they should contact the high school or the middle schools to sign up,” Disney said. “They would love to have the help. If they can give us an hour, if they can give us all day, if they can give us 30 minutes, it doesn’t matter. Each advisor session last about 10 or 15 minutes. Depends on how talkative the volunteer is how talkative the student is.”
Contact Casey Castle at firstname.lastname@example.org.