Greenville Middle Academy recognized nationally for career guidance program

September 22, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – September 22, 2008 – Greenville Middle Academy became the fourth South Carolina middle school in six years to be named as the nation’s top school for leadership excellence in exemplary career guidance programming. 

The National Consortium for State Guidance Leadership (NCSGL) selected the school as the 2008 winner for its “ABC’s of Career Awareness and Exploration Award,” which recognizes outstanding career guidance programs in the nation.  The annual competition honors exemplary career awareness and exploration programs for students at the elementary and middle grade levels.

“The strategies that are being used at Greenville Middle Academy to expose students to careers are a model for both South Carolina and the nation,” said State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex.  “I commend the guidance counselors, teachers and administrators for working so hard to equip our young people with the tools they need to succeed in life.”

The “ABC’s of Career Awareness and Exploration Award” is based on a guidance program’s standards-based accountability, curriculum integration, basic skills, career awareness and exploration and system structure.

Officials from NCSGL said the most impressive aspect of Greenville Academy’s program is how guidance is integrated into the whole educational experience.  Over the past 10 years, the school has focused on reading and writing across the curriculum for all grade levels, and student activities are designed according to the standards and competencies outlined by the South Carolina Career Guidance Model.

NCSGL applauded the school’s efforts to address life skills, employability and career and life planning through a program called GoalMine. Career professionals are invited into the classrooms to provide real world examples of what students are learning.  In some instances, they also lead lessons. 

Other program highlights include:
 – Students identify their interests and abilities at the beginning of each school year followed by an introduction or refresher on career clusters.  All students have the opportunity to take career assessments to explore occupations and learn more about the career clusters.
 – Seventh and eighth graders job shadow with local businesses.  They also participate in a district level Groundhog Job Shadow Essay Contest that allows them to reflect on what they learned from the experience. 

 – Students participate in Junior Achievement “Global Marketplace” lessons.  These lessons provide practical information about key aspects of the global economy, what makes world trade work and how trade affects students’ daily lives. 

 – School assemblies provide information about various careers. During National Career Development Week, students participate in career trivia, career dress up and a doorway to the future contest.  An annual career fair highlights over 30 different vocations and provides an opportunity for students to ask questions in a small setting. 

 – Character education lessons on decision making help students understand how important decisions they make now can affect the future.

Students use a team approach to work on traits like respect.

Last year, two Charleston area schools – James Island Middle School and Ft. Johnson Middle School – were named winners of the annual “ABC’s of Career Awareness and Exploration Award.” Other past winners include schools in Newberry County, Spartanburg District One, Lexington District One and Orangeburg Consolidated School District Five.