Schoolcraft teachers pilot new career program

Ava Coney and Vyvian Wonders give a presentation along with their teacher, Jennifer Sportel.

By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe

At a June Schoolcraft school board session, 4th grade students Ava Coney and Vyvian Wonders and teacher Jenny Sportel presented their experience with KRESA’s Career Builder’s program, piloted this year in several classrooms at Schoolcraft Elementary.

Dawn Pincumbe, a coordinator for the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency program, explained that the opportunity was presented to staff at several area schools, but that Schoolcraft’s teachers, “really embraced it, and what they did was amazing.”

This year, four of Schoolcraft’s elementary teachers participated in the program: Kristin Caroselli, 4th grade English language arts (ELA), math, and science; Sportel, 5th grade ELA and social studies; Gina Puhalski, 5th grade ELA and social studies; and Christy Winkler, 6th grade science and social studies.

KRESA offered professional development and ongoing support to the four teachers as they trained and implemented the program.

Students used career-building software called Xello. Sportal said the students especially enjoyed the research about careers, training and salary. The students listened to guest speakers, practiced active listening and learned how to ask follow-up questions.

Ava and Vyvian explained how the activities and practice helped them gain confidence.

Students practiced their own public speaking, and received instruction and practice projecting one’s voice, making eye contact, speaking into a microphone, and taking turns. Through their presentation, Ava and Vyvian demonstrated these skills, impressing the audience, teachers, and administrators.

Another part of the program was learning how to interview someone. 4th and 5th grade students interviewed a working adult. Sixth grade classrooms had Zoom guest speakers with careers including a nurse practitioner, software engineer, research plant physiologist, a Peace Corps worker, and a travel agent.

Coroselli’s 4th grade science class took a trip to KVCC where they learned about careers in science and experimented with wind power.

Sportel stressed the positive impact on her students as they researched, practiced and gained confidence. Caroselli, Puhalski, and Winkler agreed and expressed excitement to continue with the program again next year.

Leave a Reply