- At iLEAD Academy in Kentucky, students learn which jobs their state believes will continue to grow after they get out of school, as well as what they can expect to earn in these careers, Education Week reports.
- This approach, rather than focusing only on college preparation, reflects a realization moving across the country that not all students should or need to earn a bachelor’s degree to be successful. Students in Kentucky create an individualized learning plan starting in 8th grade that takes into account their career plans, and the classes that will support those goals.
- Educators also consider what classes to offer students at iLEAD based on how many openings there may be in a particular field. Too few, and a course many not be created despite student interest. But iLEAD administrators believe they’re helping their students find the best outcome for their future.
The goal of all educators is to prepare their students for the future — not just with practical skills — but hopefully with the tools to succeed. Certainly that includes enough math to balance a checkbook, but also critical thinking abilities to make wise decisions, while lighting a spark that keeps their love of learning alive.
Not every student leaves their K-12 years and enters college — nor should they. Some students are ready, eager and excited to enter the workforce, such as those who were recently honored by their district for accepting full-time jobs straight out of high school. Administrators should consider having as much data and information as possible, from job training requirements to salary expectations, so they can help students make informed decisions for their future.
Administrators should also bear in mind that some careers pay more than others, and students should never be encouraged to ignore their passion for sheer practicality. The world needs future thinkers, inventors and scholars as well as technicians, and curriculum designers can help students plan for their future if they develop lessons that show how content is applied in a variety of professions.