A century ago, city founder William Bremer envisioned a bustling future for the tiny city of Bremerton, on Puget Sound in Washington. Today, Bremerton has indeed grown dramatically since its humble beginnings. And just as the founder foresaw great things for this city, so do the Career and Technical Education staff at Bremerton High when it comes to the future of their students.
Student Career Portfolios have been added as a graduation requirement in Bremerton schools. To assist students with this goal, staff has turned to the Magellan software. The Magellan program is used as the introductory activity to help students identify their interests, values and aptitudes and to discover how these relate to specific occupations. All ninth grade social study classes spend 3-5 days in this activity. The information gained from the Magellan program is included in the studentsí portfolios.
For many students, this is the first realistic career planning they have done, and they are quite surprised as they discover training requirements, future job outlooks, and expected earnings, said Sue Kitchel, Occupational Specialist at Bremerton High School.
After exploring career opportunities, students select one occupation to research in-depth as a possible career. Students spend one week in the Magellan lab with their science class investigating that occupation on the Internet and prepare a research paper. The occupation is then used to identify a career path and assist students in selecting the appropriate courses to best prepare them for their chosen career. Making the important connection between the time and effort they spend in school and their future, student motivation is on the rise.
All ninth graders are assessed using the Magellan program as well as any high school students that transfer to Bremerton after ninth grade. It is our goal that every student graduating from the Bremerton School District will have had the opportunity to use the Magellan program to make better choices about their future, said Kitchel.
Bremerton High School has been using the Magellan program since 1995. In those 6 years, hundreds of students have explored various occupations and charted career paths with Magellan. All special education students are also given the opportunity to use the system as they are capable.
Students have commented that they actually enjoy their time in the Magellan lab. Because of Magellanís design, students do not perceive the assessment as a test, but more as a fun activity. As a result, they are more relaxed when they take the assessment and do better than they would in most testing situations.
One of the most powerful features of Magellan is its ability to incorporate Bremertonís 4-year class schedules and relate them directly to the studentís occupational choices. This directly benefits students, because they are able to make relevant choices when selecting their classes and are more readily able to identify a career path.
Prior to incorporating the Magellan program into the curriculum, students were making important and costly educational choices based on very little information. Additionally, career information was obtained only by those students who were motivated enough or savvy enough to know how to seek out the information from an unstaffed career center. Now, all students receive this valuable career data and are making more informed choices.
Our school had a difficult time introducing career paths to both teachers and students, said Kitchel. Magellan has taken us from the point of merely having career paths identified in a brochure, to students actually identifying and understanding the importance of preparing themselves for life after graduation.