Students at Jim Hill Middle School got a head start on planning their future careers last week, a move mandated by the state Legislature.
Eighth-graders logged onto a site called (rureadynd.com) where they took an interest inventory, looked at descriptions of potential jobs grouped into career clusters, and started an electronic portfolio that will follow them throughout their high school careers.
The state Legislature has mandated that middle school students all have a chance to meet with a school counselor individually and begin planning the classes they'll take and talk about career goals.
Andrea Johnson/MDN - - Barb Boyeff talks with eighth graders about their future career goals at Jim Hill Middle School last week.
"I want you to love going to work," school counselor Barb Boyeff told the students. "I want you to love what you're doing."
Boyeff said her goal is not for the students to decide immediately on a future career, but she wants to get them thinking about what they want to do and what classes they might need to take to reach their goals. For instance, a very shy eighth grader will probably not want to plan to become a used car salesman, she pointed out.
The career clusters list jobs that the kids might never have even considered.
"I got perfumer," said eighth-grader Ethan Umpleby, listing one of the possible careers that was listed when he took an interest inventory.
The eighth graders will soon receive registration guides and will be mulling over which classes to take during their freshman year in high school. Boyeff said they will have a lot of possible electives.
"It's just so cool," said Boyeff. "I can't wait until you kids get this book. You're going to just love it."
At the same time, their grades could limit their options, even now. Boyeff told the students that they will not be able to enroll in a foreign language class as ninth graders unless they have A's in language arts classes as eighth graders.
"Your grades are becoming really important," she said.
Steve Beutler, a school counselor at Minot High School-Magic City Campus, said the district has always used career exploration with its eighth graders, but the Legislature's mandate added a bit to what the district is doing. The Bank of North Dakota is providing the program at (rureadynd.com) for all high school and middle school students in the state. Students will be able to access their electronic portfolios from any
Internet connection, including one at home. The Legislature didn't provide funding for its mandate, which can make it a challenge for every middle school student to have contact with a counselor to work out an individual plan, said Beutler, but it is getting done.
Beutler will meet with the kids next month to go over their plans. He will also talk with students at Erik Ramstad Middle School.
The same process is taking place with middle school students across the state this year.