School curriculum helps students find career path

Local4 News at 5
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:10 PM CDT
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AURORA, Neb. (KSNB) - Most people find their career path in college, but one high school is helping its students “Find Their Grind” as freshman. Aurora Public Schools has a course called “Find Your Grind,” which gives ninth graders a chance to find a lifestyle they want to live.

The curriculum was introduced four years ago and uses a technique called “flipping the funnel” to do so. Officials said that technique is the catalyst of the course. Now, “Find Your Grind” is required for all ninth graders.

“Because they’re so many careers out there right now that could be obsolete you know in the next four or five years,” Dana Thompson, Find Your Grind instructor at Aurora Public Schools, said. “So what their purpose is they want kids to identify a lifestyle because they want to know what the kids are passionate about and most of the time you have a strength in that.”

Thompson said the curriculum aims to take students to a place where they can hopefully do what they love. It also helps eliminate an age old question.

“One of the first things that I ask kids is, do you get tired of people saying, ‘Aye, what do want to do when you grow up?’ They almost always respond with yes. “ Thompson said. “So my thing is, I tell them, here’s what you need to tell people, ‘It’s not what you want to do when you grow up, it’s who you want to be.’”

Thompson said the program teaches students about what goes into their brand and provides resource that’s available to them. The course also provides students with personal, career, and mentor insight. For some it changed how they view preparing for the future.

“I think my mindset going into this was like ‘Oh, I’m only a freshman I don’t need to worry about any of this stuff yet,’ Sophie Etherton, current Find Your Grind student, said. “But then once you actually are considering like what career you might want to go into like it really effect your life. It effects what classes you take and what you want to be involved in.”

Etherton said the course opened her mind in what is possible and she feels more optimistic about the future. Her main interest are performing arts and becoming a veterinarian. Students feel that one of the most helpful parts of the course is having access to mentors.

“I got to look through a lot of mentors,” Savanna James, former Find Your Grind student, said. “Each unit had new mentors that we needed to look at and they really helped. A lot of them had specific jobs that they talked about or just their lifestyle in general and that kind of helped me put into perspective what, if I chose that lifestyle what my future might look like.”

James said hearing the mentors talk about how their lifestyles fits them encouraged her to do the same, and she wants to become a marine biologist. The course has become the template for students to find their career and passion.

“They identify that lifestyle they want to live and they can see all these different career areas that are available in those lifestyles that they want to live,” Thompson said. “So then they can kinda focus the next four years that they have in high school to kind of hone their skills in that area.”

Thompson said doing that allows them to adapt to any type of career in their chosen lifestyle.