Making room for students to explore college and career options

Making room for students to explore college and career options
Posted on 09/25/2023
Career-Options.jpgNow, more than ever before, Mehlville School District’s high school students have opportunities for relevant, real-world college and career experiences. In addition to core classes in English, math, science and social studies, students are exploring careers and higher education through electives, clubs and activities, and, increasingly, through choice programs.

“Our goal is for every graduate to have an understanding of what college and/or a career may look like for them,” said Dr. Brian Smith, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. “That can happen through the classes students take on campus or through participation in what we call our choice programs. Educators in Mehlville School District have been working hard to expand choice and opportunities for students to explore careers that excite them.”

The newest program available to high school students is called Make It Count. The program allows students who have met all of the state credit requirements for their diploma to attend St. Louis Community College during the second semester of their senior year. Students can still participate in high school athletics and activities.

Emily WorthmoreEmily Worthmore, a 2023 graduate of Mehlville High School, took advantage of this program to advance her goal of working in journalism and politics. In her senior year, she was able to earn 18 college credit hours through online classes at St. Louis Community College and Lindenwood University.

“With all that extra free time, I’ve been working,” Worthmore said. “I’ve gotten a job at KFUO, which is a radio station, since I do want to go into broadcast. It’s been a great opportunity to learn about radio production. I get to run the board. I get to talk on air. It’s been amazing.”

Make It Count is just one way high school students can earn college credit. High school students can also attend the Early College Academy for two years. This program for juniors and seniors allows students to earn their high school diploma and up to an Associate of Arts.

Maddie KramerMaddie Kramer, a 2023 graduate of Oakville High School, graduated with her diploma, and will have her associates degree as an 18 year old. Kramer said the Early College Academy is helping her achieve her goal of being an advanced practice registered nurse. “I’ll be out and have my BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) by 20 and hopefully go for my masters and CRNA (nurse anesthetist) by 24.”

Early College Academy and Make It Count are offered in addition to classes taught on the high school campuses that allow students to earn college credit, like dual credit courses and Advanced Placement courses. 

Another new choice program is called Access Point. Students interested in a career in information technology can apply for this program at the start of their senior year. Once enrolled, seniors have the opportunity to receive college credit, leading to a paid apprenticeship after graduation. This program develops each participant’s existing coding experience to a junior software engineer level. During the 2022-2023 school year, two students participated in Access Point.

Gabriella PedrazaOne of the most popular choice programs at both high schools continues to be career and technical education classes offered through South Tech. Students who enroll in South Tech their junior year spend half of their day at their home high school and half of their day at South Tech in Sunset Hills. Students earn industry certifications, high school elective credits and college credits, and skills that are in demand. South Tech currently offers 24 programs that include “majors” like automotive technology, construction trades, dental sciences, graphic design, computer programming and early childhood education.

Joshua Bayer, an OHS senior, attends South Tech’s Firefighting and EMT program. Bayer, who is pictured on the cover of this issue of Messenger, could earn up to 10 college credits, and certifications like Fire I and Fire II and Emergency Medical Technician Basic by the time he graduates.

St. Louis Centers for Advanced Professional Studies is another option for students. In this profession-based learning program, students learn in professional settings, solve real-world problems, use industry standard tools and are mentored by experts in one of five fields of study: Global Business and Entrepreneurship; Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing; Healthcare, Medicine and Bioscience; Technology Solutions and Logistics; and Careers in Education.

For students who may want to take their studies on a path not offered through the high school course catalog or these other programs, MyPath is an incredible option. In the MyPath course, students propose a personalized plan of study focused on their unique post-secondary interests and goals. Students work with an instructor to create a project management plan. Within this plan, the student identifies topics to cover, learning goals, activities and a timeline. The student creates periodic presentations on their learning and progress, culminating in a capstone presentation to a public audience.

Matt MyPathMatt Wolf, a 2023 graduate of Mehlville High School, took advantage of MyPath to explore careers in ministry and to intern at a local church. “I was able to test the waters a little bit … and get myself prepared for college and a life of ministry,” Wolf said.  “For my future career, there’s not a lot of classes here. MyPath really opened the opportunity for me to make my own class.”
The Mehlville School District strictly prohibits discrimination and harassment against employees, students or others on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, or sex including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity and other characteristics protected by law. The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: contact Adam Smith at 314-467-5006 or [email protected].