Clark Middle School Offers Real World Views of Careers
Atypical programs give students insights into variety of careers
ANCHORAGE - Applying the real world in the classroom, students at Clark Middle School are getting an up close and personal look at future career paths.
It is definitely not the middle school you and I went to. But with the job market getting more and more competitive each year, the academies at Clark are designed to get kids to make that connection between careers and their futures a lot sooner than before.
Who says math and science can't be fun? Clark Middle School student Shanai Leon is making it so with or without a textbook. “I want to see if this can go straight across the room and try not to hit anybody,” said Leon who is trying to fly his plane as part of an aviation class.
Leon is one of many students taking a series of elective classes. They're called job-related academies and they cover a wide range of subjects. Everything from first aid and anatomy to flying and navigating planes. Even dentistry is offered. The idea is to get students fired up about careers to move beyond just talking about what you want to be when you grow up.
“It’s kind of like training wheels to get you prepared for it in a way,” said Aspen Harless, who is a part of the First Aid Academy at Clark.
“This gives me the chance to learn how to look at human bodies in a different perspective rather than just the insides,” said Tiani Beaman, who is also part of the First Aid Academy.
“That future planning is what we are starting nice and early and gets the kids excited about careers,” said sixth grade counselor Stephanie Asplund. “It gets them excited about salaries.”
What makes these classes cool is that they are open to all students regardless of how they are doing in school. The young adults are soaking it up and thinking about what they have to do to do these jobs. It's a concept that's working.
“They want to be there, they enjoying doing it, they suck up the information, they ask me questions faster than I can answer them some days,” said teacher Dana Eckton who teaches science and first aid.
“I know when I get older I want to be a doctor and I knew that in order to be a doctor, you have to learn all about the body, not just like the insides but also the oral part,” said Zoey Mujica, who is part of the Biology Anatomy Academy.
The preparation goes beyond the career and actually gets these students planning out how to succeed in life. The career academies are based on the nation-wide STEM model: That's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Students can continue the academies into high school at Bartlett, East and King Career Center.