Groundhog’s Prediction on February 2: Early Spring
My prediction for students who participated in “Groundhog Job Shadow Day” on February 5: Lots of great experience and connections made
On February 2, Punxsutawney Phil (I will never understand that name for a groundhog) did not see his shadow, predicting an early spring for us. But on February 5, in collaboration with the Career and Technical Education Department and Rowan Chamber’s Workforce Development Alliance, many Rowan-Salisbury School students participated in the fourth annual “Groundhog Job Shadow Day,” predicting later success in life for them.
The month of February is CTE (Career and Technical Education) National Appreciation Month, so, what better way to celebrate than getting kids out into the real world to see firsthand the types of jobs they can do with their passions and interests? The job shadowing day was replicated from another school district about four years ago and continues to grow in RSS each year. This year, 77 juniors and seniors from Rowan-Salisbury Schools participated at 41 different businesses in Rowan County. In an effort to provide real-world experience in a career they showed interest in, students shadowed professionals from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
E-Learning Days and Eye-Opening Partnerships
Holly Pore, the Director of Career and Technical Education at Rowan-Salisbury Schools, says that this job shadow day was unique from past job shadow events because it occurred on an E-Learning day. E-Learning days are days where students don’t traditionally report to school; rather, they engage in learning electronically. RSSS has them built in the calendar throughout the school year. Because the event happened on an E-Learning day, where students weren’t required to be in the school building anyway, more juniors and seniors were able to participate without feeling like they were missing valuable instructional time in their school building.
“Additionally, GJSD was extraordinarily special and unique because we were able to partner with our RSS Transportation Department, under the leadership of Mr. Tim Beck, to provide transportation to our various job sites for students who needed this service since it was an E-Learning day. We also partnered with RSS Food and Nutrition, under the leadership of Lisa Altmann, to provide a school lunch to students who opted to receive,” says Pore.
I love these partnerships that the CTE department worked to ensure for our kids, because students truly have no excuse to not participate when there is transportation and lunch provided. One thing is for certain: our school system goes above and beyond for our students!
Connecting Academic Standards, Interpersonal Skills, and Unique Life Goals for Every Learner
Rowan-Salisbury Schools, especially in light of Renewal, strives to connect academic standards, interpersonal skills, and unique life goals for every learner, and this job shadow day is a perfect example of this connection.
“Anytime you can offer students experiences that align with their passion(s) and interest(s) while offering a bridge to their career aspiration, you have an authentic recipe for learning. There is no substitute for experience. It is as empowering to have confirmed what you may want to do for a career as it is to learn, although the experience was meaningful, perhaps you don’t want to do that thing; both are equally valuable and beneficial to our students which is why GJSD is so special,” says Holly Pore.
Dreams Coming True with Game Design
Vidael Catalan, who supports the entire school district in Technology Support Services, hosted LaRon McCullough, a junior from North Rowan High School who has dreams of going into game design. With Vidael, LaRon visited different schools and learned about the day-to-day procedures from the technology department such as responding to tickets, e-mails, and phone calls for various technical issues that users need assistance with. He was shown how RSS keeps the Apple devices up to date, and how software requests in CTE are handled and carried out through a special program used which requires less work than touching every computer to install multiple programs in the background. Specifically, they visited South Rowan High School to cater to what LaRon was looking to get out of the event: game design. LaRon was able to speak to the game design teacher there, Mr. Caleb Youngblood, and was given a few tips to start programming video games. Mr. Youngblood also agreed to share additional resources with LaRon to help him on this career path—a great connection made all because of GJSD!
The Ropes of Real Estate
Elia Gegorek, an entrepreneur and owner of Gegorek & Associates Realty, LLC, had Noah Hines, a junior at East Rowan High School, shadow her for the day. She and Noah spent the day exploring real estate and talking about the different ways one can be involved in real estate. They saw two listings and learned about safety in the job. Elia was able to share with Noah how long the classes take, some tips on how to pass the tests, and where he could take the tests.
Who Knew an HVAC Industry Could be So Challenging?
Cameron Sloop, a junior at Jesse C. Carson High School, shadowed Mike Beaver at Beaver Brothers. He says he learned a lot from the job shadowing day that he didn’t know before, such as the challenges of the HVAC industry.
“I learned that sometimes the job can be frustrating. You have to have patience to be able to diagnose different issues of why someone’s heating or air won’t work. I also learned how cool it is to travel around, see many different types of homes, and help people solve these important issues. You feel good when you fix their system and have benefited a family at the same time.”
A Day at Salisbury Rowan Utilities
Jamie Welday, another junior at Jesse C. Carson High School, spent her day with Salisbury Rowan Utilities, as she is interested in engineering. She got a tour of the water treatment plant and learned about the traffic engineers that strive to improve our roads and traffic conditions.
“A positive I got from this job shadowing day was getting to see how the water is filtered in their plant. I’ve learned about the process before in school, but it was interesting to see it in real life. Most people take their clean water for granted and don’t think about all the people it takes to make it that way, which is their goal. If the customers don’t have to think about getting water, that means that the people at Salisbury Rowan Utilities are doing their job. I also enjoyed seeing some design plans for new construction of Main Street in Salisbury. Being a driver myself it was interesting to see some changes that might possibly affect me in the near future,” says Jamie.
Jamie says the experience helped her see the wide variety of jobs available in the engineering field, and remarked that she didn’t even know about traffic engineers before the job shadowing day!
An Annual Event
The Groundhog Job Shadow Day will remain an annual event and will continue to occur in the month of February in special recognition of CTE National Appreciation Month. It hopes to maintain its collaborative spirit, between multiple departments within RSS, with CTE spearheading the collective effort, and the Rowan County Chamber’s Workforce Development Alliance.
Vidael Catalan says, “The job shadowing event is very important for students in our district because of the hands-on experience that will make every aspect of a career they are interested in easier to understand. This program is also much more likely to motivate the student to further pursue a career they are interested in or even reconsider what they would like to do when they see a different perspective on the everyday tasks of the job.”
Holly Pore would like to give a final shout-out to Dr. Moody for her support and promotion of this event, even hosting a student; to the RSS-CTE Leadership team for their coordination and promotional efforts; to the Rowan Workforce Development Alliance for their kind partnership in making this event a success for students and business partners; and, to the Rowan County Community, at large, for their support of GJSD 2020.
It takes a village, and we are lucky to have a supportive, wonderful “village” here in RoCo!