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Booklets help students chart path to career

February 23, 1999

Pathways to CareersBy BRUCE HAMILTON / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




The Washington County Board of Education is giving schools a new tool to help students plot a path through high school to higher learning and earning.

With the help of a state grant, the School Board has published "Pathways to Careers," four booklets that show students what courses they need to take to get the jobs they want.

Curriculum Director Frank Finan presented the booklets to the School Board last week.

"We think these documents are exemplary," he said.

"This is wonderful," said School Board member Doris J. Nipps. "Kids, parents and counselors can read it and it gives kids some idea of what they want to do with their lives."

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Sandy Shepherd, former school-to-work coordinator, designed the booklets before leaving the school system in December, according to Finan. "She gets all the credit," he said.

The booklets list high school graduation requirements and career planning pointers. Graphs show the necessary courses for a variety of job fields, from accounting to welding.

There are course plans for students who want to go to straight to work as well as for those who will attend a four-year college or two-year institution after graduation.

There are separate booklets for careers in "business, management and finance," "life sciences and natural resources," "arts and human services" and "manufacturing, engineering and technology."

Each "pathway" contains several career choices. For example, a student in the "drafting" pathway can become an architect, civil engineer or industrial designer.

A state grant contributed $16,000 for the printing and the school system chipped in $2,700, according to Fred Jacobs, School to Careers regional coordinator for Western Maryland.

The School Board printed 12,000 sets of the four booklets, which Finan said will be enough for three years. Guidance counselors will be given in-service training on their use in early June, he said.

John Ingersoll, supervisor of career technology education, is compiling a master list of all the careers, Finan said. A student will be able to pick one, such as "FBI agent," and refer to the "criminal justice" pathway in the yellow book.

"We'd like to give it to them before registration so they can plan courses based on general goals," Finan said.

This year's eighth-graders will be given the booklets in early fall, Finan said. Next year's eighth-graders will get them in January 2000.

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