South Orangetown Central School District

On the past two Fridays, our elementary schools have celebrated College and Career Days to spark conversations about interests and the options students have for their futures. Many staff members sported college spirit wear and Elementary School Counselor Stephanie Mueller visited classrooms to provide a lesson on community helpers at William O. Schaefer Elementary School and how interests relate to careers at Cottage Lane Elementary School. “Ask Me About It” signs posted outside classroom doors invited students to ask their teachers about the paths they took to their own careers. During morning meeting, some classes chose to read aloud books including “Snowmen at Work,” “Career Day” and “There’s No Dream Too Tall.”

CLE students took an interest inventory to identify career clusters most closely related to their interests and had the opportunity to explore a career in their cluster. Mueller reported that most students were surprised and excited to find that the outcome of their interest inventory closely matched their interests in and out of school.

“Career education at the elementary level is crucial. I want my students to start thinking about their futures at an early age,” Mueller explained. “As a school counselor, I play a critical role in students’ career development by introducing them to careers and the world of work; providing learning and experiential opportunities for students to acquire behaviors and skills for career readiness; helping them understand the connection between school and the world of work; and working with students to identify their interests, abilities, specific career clusters and postsecondary plans. Each year, students at WOS and CLE are exposed to a variety of career related activities to get them thinking about how they want to contribute to their world.”

A lot of prep work went into this two-day, two-school event. Mueller contacted college representatives from across the country asking for information and pennants that could be displayed in hallways to expose elementary students to different opportunities. “I received hundreds of packages! The colleges were so generous and many sent handwritten notes about how excited they were to be part of this event,” she said. “Donated t-shirts, pencils and giveaway items were awarded to the classes that displayed the most school spirit. I didn’t want this event to be just about college, as some of our students may not opt to attend college. I made sure to hang up posters depicting a variety of careers to give students a broad range of ideas about what they can be when they grow up.”

More photos on Facebook.

Grade 2 students participate in career exploration presentation