Doctor. Artist. Business leader. Fashion icon. Video game designer.
Blazing a path to each student's dream is the focus of College and Career Kickoff Day, celebrated throughout Jurupa USD on Thursday, Oct. 6. Students of all ages will dedicate part of the school day to assessing college, careers – and possibilities.
"It's about planting seeds with younger students," said Roberta Pace, Director of College and Career Readiness at JUSD. "For secondary students, it's a chance to look at interests and passions. And seniors receive an immediate benefit through support and help with their financial aid applications."
Activities for the Kickoff will vary by campus. Most older students will partake in web-based career exploration, while elementary classes will get creative – for example, by "adopting" a university to study, or snapping photos of pint-size pupils in caps and gowns with signs showing their expected year of college graduation.
Many students also will learn about career pathways offered at each of the district's three high schools, including sports medicine, welding, engineering, retail sales, graphic design, and information technology.
The Kickoff not only will help students become more college and career ready, but also will support them in actual college and career planning. The day is part of a broader effort "of constantly planting the message that students are capable of doing amazing things, and staff at the school district are available to help every step of the way," Ms. Pace said. "Families don't have to navigate the process alone."
Indeed, the Kickoff and its activities were devised by a committee of JUSD Career Center specialists and other educators. Ms. Pace praised teachers and staff districtwide for their strong work on the initiative, adding that on Thursday, many staff will don college gear and share their own stories with students.
The Kickoff debuts alongside a change in when students can start applying for college aid. The window for submissions of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opened Oct. 1, 2016. In past years, it was closed until Jan. 1. Given this shift, many other Inland school districts, along with the Riverside County Office of Education, are holding a similar Kickoff Days this month.
At Jurupa USD, the day will nurture goal-setting and achievement. "There's so much that is possible with this day," Ms. Pace said. "We want students to walk away with a better sense of what their future could be and a better plan for how to get there."
For additional support and information, students and parents should contact their school's Career Center.