Student to Career Pathway
The ultimate vision of HEART is that youth and young adults in Saguache and the KV will be making a living and are prosperous. HEART of Saguache/KV recognizes that the most direct way to impact the future is to work directly with youth to help them shape and plan for their future at an earlier age. The goal is hope to work with the school to help students learn technical and soft skills that will better prepare them for life after high school regardless of whether they choose to pursue higher education or enter the workforce.
Partnership with Mountain Valley School
The new Mountain Valley School was opened in October of 2019. The Colorado Department of Education Capital Construction Board awarded $27 million to Mountain Valley School for a new school in Saguache.
In order to receive the $27 million, our community had to approve a matching bond. Mountain Valley School District voters showed their commitment to our youth and approved the $3.7 million bond to build a new school on November 7, 2017. It was an exciting moment for the entire community and the entire process took years of dreaming, planning, campaigning and organizing.
Mountain Valley School has traditionally struggled. Low student numbers always means less funding and the school is ranked in the bottom 50% of Colorado based on test scores. However low student numbers also mean a smaller student to teacher ratio which offers the possibility of more attention and consequently increased student performance. The smaller school size and a fresh start offers the possibility of incorporating and embedding innovative ideas into the school philosophy. This way of thinking has allowed HEART of Saguache/KV to create a strong partnership with Mountain Valley School District.
The Student to Career Pathway aims to build a new way of thinking about the future and encourages youth to consider their future plans at an early age. It incorporates classes on entrepreneurship within the curriculum and introduces new innovative ideas to students while giving them the ability to put these ideas into action. HEART also partners with the school to bring a Career Fair, organized by Miracle Cale our Initiatives Organizer.
HEART's annual Career Fair and Career Cabs are a unique approach to career exploration. Student input plays a large role in the content of the Career Fair. Using the Colorado Career Cluster Model, students choose the businesses they are interested in learning more about. Pre-surveys indicate their interests and then businesses willing to participate are identified. Students select 5 businesses they would like to learn more about and a personal schedule is created for each students. Students follow their assigned schedule and spend 20 minute sessions in small groups of 3-4 for one on one conversation with each business.
The Career Fair is followed later in the year by the Career Cabs, a field trip for Mountain Valley School sophomores. Students visit 7 local businesses throughout the day spending about an hour at each one and seeing in person what the working environment is like and what job options are. This type of interaction is essential to give our rural students a chance to experience the work environment first hand and to learn about. the skills that they will require. Student feedback has been overwhelmingly positive for both of these events.
HEART of Saguache/KV works with Mountain Valley School to create an entrepreneurship curriculum specifically for the students in our community. Community feedback indicated that many felt the students were not being given the tools they needed to advance and thrive beyond high school. With that in mind we have introduced entrepreneurship classes into both middle school and high school. HEART is bringing both innovative entrepreneurship classes as well as career exploration to Mountain Valley School as part of the curriculum.
Each year, HEART hires a senior from Mountain Valley School to be a paid intern and work in the HEART office. The job application process is used as a learning experience. Seniors create a resume, fill out the job application and all are interviewed for the position. In the future HEART will be developing an internship program that will involve the entire senior year and connect them with local businesses. Our goal is to ensure that all students from Mountain Valley School have the best chance to suceed in the outside world.