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Posted On: 2017-05-02 01:24 PM
By Kelly Doscher, for Edkey Inc.
Were you career-ready at 16? Many adults would likely answer with a resounding "no." But the students of Sequoia Choice Precision High School (SCPHS) tell a different story.
Career readiness is the name of the game at SCPHS. It's a place where high school students can identify their inherent talents and focus on fleshing them out before learning how to apply them in the real world.
During their quest, students hone their unique skills and interests with the help of the school's dedicated and diverse staff and through its partnerships with local community colleges, top companies, and world-class organizations. Come graduation day, SCPHS's kids are ready to hit the ground running when they enter the job market.
Free for Arizona residents, SCPHS provides a safe, community-driven environment that fosters each child's individuality while maintaining a structured, student-focused curriculum.
Career readiness and kids
SCPHS students begin their journey by answering a few simple questions in an enrollment survey that serves as a personality test and a career aptitude test all rolled into one. With this information, the school's counselors assess the child's strengths and desires, which helps to define each child's academic path.
Whether they're looking for traditional vocational training, like carpentry or construction, or for a more 21st-century career, like computer engineering or cinematography, the school helps them to "turn their ideas and proficiencies into job skills and career goals," says Principal Jaime Tejada.
As most working people understand, knowing how to do a job doesn't guarantee securing a job offer. That's why students are taught more than just job skills. They're taught how to find those jobs. With instruction in off– and-online job search techniques, and how to talk (and ask) about the job market, the students of SCPHS are arguably more prepared to enter that market than other kids their age.
Community and Corporate Support
One advantage that SCPHS students possess is access to community outreach programs. At the academic level, juniors and seniors can participate in a dual enrollment program with local community colleges. This allows them to satisfy high school math and English credits while checking off prerequisites for their future Associate's or Bachelor's degrees.
Corporate partnerships bring a new flavor to sometimes-boring school subjects like science, and math.
INTEL and Hitachi are two notable companies who've recently become part of the school's extended career training program. From Hitachi's generous temporary donation of an electron microscope to the science department for a week to INTEL's mentorship program, which works with interested students on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) projects, these partnerships aren't just another layer of preparation and exposure to what's "out there". Students have the chance to see first-hand how professionals do their work and determine how they can personally fit into that equation.
Community and accountability
Smaller class sizes make a big difference. Students at SCPHS profit from the fact that they aren't lost in the crowd. "There were too many kids at the public high school," Tejada recounted one student telling her. "Here, I get to know the teachers and I can come to learn without being pressured from other kids or being distracted," the student told her.
It's important to note that in this small, community-like environment, students and teachers are there to support one another. Kids will be kids. But at SCPHS, faculty and peers alike help young adults to face the challenges of learning how to communicate, how to identify where they may have gone wrong, and how to approach the situation differently next time.
Sandy Ramirez, the school's counselor, concurred with Principal Tejada, as she explained that a combination of staff with strong problem-solving skills and a schedule with time set aside for calm contemplation can assist students through both positive and negative experiences. Teachers emphasize the idea of instructing their students to ask themselves, "What choices did I make that got me here?" This idea is one that serves to empower students each day at SCPHS. "Choices bring freedom. Bad choices restrict freedom," Ramirez explained.
Flexibility in Learning
SCPHS supports a variety of student needs, and one of the most significant is extended hours to complete coursework. For a variety of reasons, some students can't attend regular daytime classes. It's for this reason that extended hours courses are available to those who need extra time to finish their work. More specifically, students have access to the computer lab and the Sequoia Choice – Arizona Distance Learning program, which provides accredited online high school courses, until 6:30 p.m., or they can access these classes from home at any time.
NCAA and Arizona Education
Did you know that high school kids are recruited from all over the U.S. and internationally to attend an Arizona institution that grooms them for Division 1 college basketball? You bet your jump-shot they do.
Phoenix's Hillcrest Basketball Academy provides exceptionally talented basketballer's exceptional preparation for advancement, which includes a quality high school education at SCPHS. This is just another way that SCPHS is a unique, diverse learning environment for local and not-so-local students.
With the integration of the SCPHS structured education and the focused, goal-oriented training provided by Hillcrest Basketball Academy, parents know that while they're perfecting their free-throws and jump shots, their student's education and training are in capable hands. And the same could be said of all SCPHS students.
Are you looking for a top-quality education for your high-schooler in the Phoenix area? Help them hone out their skill set and make the most of their abilities at Sequoia Choice Precision High School.
Members of the editorial and news staff of the USA TODAY Network were not involved in the creation of this content.