A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

EXEMPLARY CAREER GUIDANCE PROGRAM, 1996-97

PROGRAM NAME: Career Connection's Foundation: The Career Planning System

LOCATION: Volusia County Schools, Florida

POPULATION: 7,741 students, high and middle schools

CONTACTS:

Lisa Guess
Career Connections Specialist
Volusia County Schools
200 N. Clara Ave.
DeLand, Florida 32721-2118
(904) 734-7190
(904) 738-6963 fax

Zelda Rogers
Career Education Supervisor
Florida Department of Education
844 Florida Education Center
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
(904) 488-0400
(904) 487-3601 fax

DESCRIPTION: The Volusia Flager Career Connection Consortium has created a seamless school-to-work system for all students K-12 and beyond. The system blends a variety of initiatives into one coordinated system including School-to-Work, Tech Prep, the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act, Career Academies, High Schools that Work, and Florida's Blueprint for Career Preparation.

The Consortium uses the Career Connection Planning System to provide an array of choices in educational programming that meet individual needs and engage all students in the career development process. Career Connection helps young people move smoothly from school to work by making connections between their education and their future. The system has been adopted by all 10 high schools, 12 middle schools, and the alternative education centers in the county. It is based on the Florida Blueprint for Career Preparation Career Competencies, derived from the National Career Development Guidelines.

District teachers, administrators, and staff work to make their vision of Linking Learning to Life a reality. This motto is prominently displayed in school classrooms and halls, as well as on stationery, coffee mugs, and other places. Teachers use techniques acquired in a strong professional development program to relate classroom learning to real life. A Career Planning Sequence for grades 6-12 is currently in use; a link to the elementary schools is being piloted in two schools during 1996-97.

The elementary and middle school career awareness and exploration programs prepare all students to better understand themselves and the world of work. During middle school, a career planning and development curriculum is infused into regular classes. Results of student interest inventories and other assessments and career development activities are kept as part of their V.I.S.A (Visual Information of Student Assessment/Activities). Students and their parents use their V.I.S.A. to select a career cluster (a group of careers with similar characteristics) in high school and design a 4-6-8 year course of study. Career plans are updated annually with the help of counselors and a Career Connection facilitator.

All the area high schools are at some stage of organizing their curriculum around career clusters, with some schools having the clusters in place. The Career Planning System is designed to help students and parents make wise decisions when opting for a career cluster and a plan of study. There is total flexibility in moving between clusters as students mature and make new choices.

In ninth grade, all students take a Career Research class where they begin to develop their Passport, a portfolio constructed during high school. It contains their numerous high school career development activities, which may include more career and educational assessments; information on their internships, youth apprenticeships, "job shadowing" (observation) , and career mentors; resumes; vocational education; and a senior project. Extensive collaborative efforts exist between the schools and the community, including business and industry and community colleges. Parents are active participants in the schools.

PROGRAM EVALUATION: The Consortium is currently developing a project management tool that will include a Career Connection Report Card. An evaluation subcommittee, comprising business and industry representatives, leads program evaluations and analyzes the information to ensure continuous quality improvement. Success is measured by students' acquiring the Blueprint for Career Preparation Career Competencies. A tracking system for students within Volusia County Schools is being developed to tie individual student information with the district's Management Information System.

PROGRAM EFFECTIVENESS: The Career Planning System has been recognized as exemplary by both the Florida Departments of Education and Labor. School-based personnel report that the planning system engages all students in the career development process and that students are provided an array of choices in educational programming that meets their individual needs.

The Career Connection Coach, a mobile career resource center equipped with the latest multimedia technology, is very popular not only with students, but teachers and business members. It is a year-round program that has expanded to include alternative education center, juvenile justice system and summer youth programs. The Coach is proven to be successful in helping the students focus their career interests and plan their courses in high school and beyond to prepare for the job they want.

Results of the career planning system include:
- increased attendance rates;
- decreased dropout rates;
- increased Applied Technology enrollments and completion;
- increased student enthusiasm for course work;
- increased business involvement.

PROGRAM RECOGNIZED BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR RESEARCH IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION.


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This page last updated February 13, 2003 (syr).