SULLIVAN TWP. — Increasing career technical education at Black River Middle School was discussed during Thursday’s school board meeting.
Black River Middle School Principal Cathy Aviles spoke to board members about the benefits of teaching middle school-aged students about the modern workforce.
“My proposal is to implement a career connections course at the middle school,” Aviles said.
The purpose of the course would be to provide middle school students with an earlier start in exploring their interests in future career and college paths.
Aviles said that high school arrives quickly, and not all students are prepared or have had an opportunity to explore future career paths that might interest them.
“This way we can start planting those seeds with them, giving them the opportunity to explore and also help them recognize what skills they have and what skills they are developing,” she said.
Aviles said middle school is an opportune time to teach students about career options, because they are more open to learning about the options that are out there for them.
“All they know at that age is what they have seen in their own home, maybe their own family, maybe extended family,” Aviles said.
Superintendent Chris Clark said the district has already started looking at what changes need to be made to make the new course possible.
Aviles said she envisions a career tech course at each middle school grade level, with sixth-graders receiving
18 weeks of instruction and seventh- and eighth- graders reinforcing that with an additional nine-week course each year.
“Over the course of the three years at the middle school they would have 36 weeks of career exploration,” she said.
Aviles said a lot of the resources that would be utilized in the course would be free, with information and support coming from organizations including Ohio Means Jobs, OSU Extension and the Medina County Economic Council.
Board President Scott Meredith asked Aviles how students’ success rates would be determined as they progress through the course each year, and what criteria would be used to determine a success rate.
“I think we would be looking at doing some preassessments on the student’s knowledge of what careers are out there,” Aviles said. “It would probably be a gradual evaluation of where they are at because it would take place over those three years.”
Meredith said he understands that this type of course would show the district its benefit over a period of years.
A timeline for when the middle school career tech courses could be implemented was not immediately available.