Starting in the 6th grade, the RI Department of Education (RIDE) mandates that all students must participate in the Individual Learning Plan (ILP) program as a graduation requirement. The ILP is a mapped academic plan and profile which reflects each student’s unique set of interests, skills, needs, learning goals and graduation requirements.
Every student in grades 6 - 12 must have an ILP which is a goal setting program that progresses with them towards graduation. Every student sets academic, personal/social and career/college readiness goals on a yearly basis. As the middle school counselor, I conduct the career trainings for all the students in grades 6, 7 and 8.
Recently, I completed the trainings in the three grades and to my surprise and delight, Mr. Anthony Buco, 6th grade math/science teacher, took the program one step further. He instructed his students to conduct a survey by answering the following three questions:
- Ask parents what career(s) they wanted to do when they were in the 6th grade;
- Ask parents what career(s) they are in now; and,
- What careers are the students interested in (after completing their ILP career assessments).
The students did the research, provided mathematical data to substantiate their findings and presented their results to their classmates by using technology.
Both Mr. Buco and I were so impressed and amazed by the students’ results which consistently proved how their parents wanted to follow the more traditional roles when they were in the 6th grade such as teacher, police officer, lawyer, doctor, nurse, construction worker. Contrarily, the majority of the 6th graders are favoring the STEM careers in science, technology, engineering and math which mirrors the national statistics. Furthermore, their presentations were done with precision and lots of creativity! I told the students I felt like I was in the IBM board room as their presentations were so well done!
Mr. Buco was also pleased and proud of his students by commenting,
“The student math survey presentations on careers provided evidence to support the value of the ILP program. The ILP career assessment opens the door for students to explore the vast choices of careers available. Such knowledge encourages goal setting and begins the work in progress to achieve a rewarding career in a field they may never have thought of.”
Thanks to the fruits of Mr. Buco’s creative vision and his students, here’s some great photos of our future workforce: