As part of a state-wide effort to promote college and career readiness among younger students, Grayson County Middle School has designated March as College and Career Awareness Month.
To help make students more aware of college, Grayson County Middle School has asked all of its teachers and students to wear clothing advertising a college to school every Friday of March, GCMS Assistant Principal Becky Miller said.
Miller said conversations about college have already sparked among students due to a new bulletin board display with a map of the United States showing where several middle school teachers attended college.
In addition, GCMS Curriculum Coordinator Becky Pearl said each day the school will post a question from the state-mandated EXPLORE test, and a student who correctly answers the question will be selected to receive a prize.
According to Grayson County School District Public Information Officer Caryn Lewis, the EXPLORE test is, essentially, the 8th grade equivalent of the ACT; however, EXPLORE does not affect a student’s college career. Rather, Lewis said, the EXPLORE test is meant to show how well students are faring on their path to post-graduate life and provide insight into possible career paths they may be best suited for.
Of the middle school students who took the EXPLORE test, 38 made benchmark (the number at which students are determined to be on track for college and career readiness), and those students will have photographs of them with a college flag posted on another bulletin board in the main hallway of the middle school for the duration of March, Pearl said.
Pearl said the students featured on the billboard were spoken to individually about what plans, if any, they had for college and careers. All 38 expressed interest in attending college, Pearl said.
Pearl said the middle school recognizes that not all students will want to attend college, so GCMS promotes vocational studies among students, as well.
GCMS takes all of its 8th grade students each year to visit Grayson County High School’s vocational school and is considering taking the 6th graders in the future, as well, Miller said.
Miller said she also encourages all 7th graders and their parents to attend the Elizabethtown Community & Technical College Spring Fling on April 27, to give students an idea of what the institution can offer them. Miller said the middle school plans to make the Spring Fling an annual trip for 7th graders, who will then have the oppurtunity to visit Western Kentucky University as 8th graders.
Miller said, “We really want our students to know that when they’re successful, it’s not by accident. It’s a result of a lot of hard work and planning.”