A pilot school program has high school freshmen declaring career choices in an effort to encourage students to focus on their futures.
At an alternative school in Delano CA, Miguel Zeferino earned Cs, Ds and Fs. But he transformed his grades from junior high to his freshman year of high school, and is a three sport athlete. He eared Bs and Cs at another alternative school in Bakersfield, and As and Bs by his first year at South High school.
According to Miguel the pilot school program and sports changed his life by requiring him to map out his future. Now that same curriculum will be experienced schoolwide at South. Bakersfield and other high schools will it with 1500 to 2,000 freshmen.
That curriculum, Career Choices, requires students to create 10-year plans and answer three questions designed to help shape their course loads: Who am I? What do I want? And how do I get it?
Miguel, an incoming sophomore at South, said he is thinking about wrestling in college and majoring in drafting and design, a class he took his freshman year.
“I just want to get a better job and a better life and help out my family,” he said.
Requiring students to start thinking about their futures early and plan beyond high school are new concepts for many students, who graduate unprepared for college or career, counselors say.
Just 32 percent of KHSD graduates passed courses required to enter University of California and Cal State schools with a grade of C or better in 2012-2013, though that’s up from 17 percent in 2002-2003.
The number of those graduates who have passed college-prep courses has lingered below the state average for more than 15 years. That average was 39 percent in 2012-2013, according to the California Department of Education.