Committee adds to career choices |

Committee adds to career choices

Cindy Ramunno
BM First Day CVR BH 8-21/Friday Photos Vail Daily/ Bret Hartman Battle Mountain High School students fill the hallways Thursday before first period on the first day of the new school year.

The Career Advisory Committee has been working to ensure that Battle Mountain, Red Canyon and Eagle Valley high schools get some extra choices in career education.

Last August, the Eagle County School Board directed that the group be formed to study and make recommendations regarding:

n Level 1 – career assessment, resume writing, job shadowing, portfolio development.

n Level 2 – career and technical course offerings on and off campus for high school and dual credit.

n Level 3 – internships available to all juniors and seniors for high school credit.

n Level 4 – career center campus shared by multiple high schools.

The committee consists of the school district’s director of secondary education, the three high school principals, Lissa Tyler from the Vail Valley Foundation, Colorado Mountain College’s Donna McGinnis, school board President Scott Green and Edwards resident Melinda Gladitsch.

In October, the committee administered a student interest survey to all eighth- through 12th-graders in the district. The objective was to gain a better understanding of students’ academic and vocational interests in order to guide the planning of future course offerings.

The results showed that 73 percent of those students plan to attend a four-year college, 10 percent plan to attend a two-year college, 8 percent plan to work full-time and 8 percent plan to join the military.

The results were similar regardless of ethnicity, post-high school plans or east vs. west sides of Eagle County.

The Level 1 recommendations for career assessment, resume writing, job shadowing and portfolio development are required for graduation. Battle Mountain requires all sophomores to take a Critical Skills class. At Eagle Valley, Freshmen Seminar is a required class for incoming students. Red Canyon requires students to take a Careers Count class before graduation.

Ron Beard is one of two Freshmen Seminar teachers at Eagle Valley.

“We spend a lot of time on career exploration. Kids need to start thinking about what they want to do for a career,” says Beard.

The Level 2 recommendations from the committee include over 20 semester-long Career and Technical dual credit courses added to high school catalogs and 12 career areas offered at all three high schools.

School-to-work internships offered at Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley look a little different for Level 3 recommendations. Battle Mountain currently has Introduction to the Workplace, and Supervised Work-Study. Eagle Valley has the PACE (Professional and Community Experience) program.

Under consideration for this next fall are the automotive and the culinary arts programs.

“These programs will all be privately funded until they are funding themselves,” says Green. “Once these programs are run like businesses, they will run themselves.”

Eagle Valley High School students used to build houses in the early 1980s for teacher housing under teacher Gary Hollandsworth. The current idea – if the same type of thing would be implemented – is to actually sell the house at a low price to Eagle County School District employees.

Green says that the Youth Foundation and the Vail Valley Foundation have been a huge help in the committee’s work.

“We think these programs will keep more kids in school and fortunately, many community members agree,” says Green.

For more information, call 328-6321.

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