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Success Stories: Rural school takes career planning to new heights

November 27, 2018 Jay Steeves, Principal, Spruce View School, Chinook’s Edge School Division


Spruce View School revamped its approach to career counselling in order to better engage students throughout their high school years. 

Just three years ago Spruce View School revamped its approach to helping students plan for their futures, and all high school students have since benefited.

In an attempt to provide students with unlimited access to career practitioners and counsellors, this small rural high school has redefined the roles of a number of staff.

Using the learning commons as a central hub, the librarian and central office staff all dedicate time to providing students with expertise based on their personal passions. Meanwhile, teaching staff provide career counselling. This new approach has opened up new learning opportunities for students and enabled them to access information throughout the school day.

Strategic plan

An assessment of the existing preparation sequence revealed that students and their parents received significant support early during their high school experience but then were not re-engaged until Grade 12, as they prepared to apply for post-secondary study. Based on this assessment, the newly formed support team redesigned the sequence in order to engage students throughout their high school years and especially at points that are critical for career preparation.

Here are some examples of the changes that have been implemented.

  1. Careers class
    As part of the high school redesign project, Spruce View School created a three-credit course for Grade 11 students specific to planning and open exploration of career possibilities.

  2. Career planning open house
    Every September all high school students and their parents are invited to an evening with representation from local post-secondary schools, off-campus learning opportunities, dual credit, etc.

  3. Grade 12 application day
    Every Oct. 1 the learning commons hosts an event for Grade 12 students to receive support in applying for post-secondary study — even if the date falls on a Sunday!

  4. WISEST conference
    Each year a group of female students is encouraged to attend the Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology conference hosted by the University of Alberta.

  5. MyBluePrint training
    All students in grades 9 and 10 spend significant time using this course selection and career planning website to chart their futures.

Always a Viking

As the school slogan suggests, all former students are welcome to return and receive assistance as they attempt to better themselves. As a community, the school promotes the idea of lifelong learning and, at any given time, we will have returning students in their early 20s present in our library space.
In the most recent accountability pillar from Alberta Education, Spruce View School received a 100 per cent transition rate to post-secondary. This exceptionally strong data suggests that the school is using its strategic plan effectively and this, in turn, benefits the future of all Vikings. ❚

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