Classroom to Careers pilot program coming to Washington High School next year

Published: May. 28, 2019 at 9:30 PM CDT
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A group of high school students in the Sioux Falls School District are getting a unique opportunity next fall.

They’re getting to take duel credit classes for free in a new pilot program.

The program called Classroom to Careers is looking to not only provide students with this unique opportunity, but also inspire them that they can do and be anything they put their minds to.

“We hope that they see they can be successful in higher education,” Southeast Technical Institute Vice President for Academic Careers Benjamin Valdez said. “That they can take advantage of careers that are in high demand and being able to go into a career that is a love of life.”

Next year 25 juniors and seniors at Washington High School will have the opportunity to get a taste of college a little early.

“They might not realize they can do this and this gives them the success in their high school in a college level course,” Sioux Falls School District Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum services Dr. Teresa Boysen said.

The Classroom to Careers program is a joint effort with the Sioux Falls School District and Southeast Technical Institute.

It targets those students who because of various life circumstances may not have the same opportunity as others to pursue a post-secondary education.

“College can be very daunting and can be overwhelming for a student,” Valdez said. “Even a student who has straight A's. This gets them prepared ahead of time.”

In the first semester, next year students will take an English and a student success course.

The second semester will focus on those students career interests.

“Whether they're wanting to go into nursing, they can start working on LPN courses,” Valdez said. “They can go into pharmacology or any of the other programs that Southeast Tech offers. Getting them really excited and moving forward in their career field.”

The best part: the courses and the student’s books are free thanks to the City of Sioux Falls, First Premier Bank, and Sanford Health.

“We hope that it takes a big load off their shoulders and we also hope that gives them a look into Sanford Health and shows that we care,” Sanford Executive Director of Human Resources Karla Haugan said. “We have a softer side to us and that we really do want to partner with those kids.”

“It’s getting students to understand they can be successful when they go to college,” Valdez said. “They may not have thought this was an option for them. They can get some success under their belt and they can see the value of going to college.”

A career developer with the program will work with local businesses to provide opportunities for job shadows and internships to identify student’s strengths and where their interests are.