Kearney Schools Build Bridges Between Classes and Careers

Students learn about career pathways and other opportunities

Kearney, Mo., February 17, 2022: Kearney High School senior Keyton Ramsey knows how to engineer an education.

Mr. Ramsey was one of several KHS students who gave Kearney Middle School sixth-graders a glimpse this week of the opportunities they’ll have to prepare for careers in engineering and medical fields as part of Kearney School District’s Project Lead the Way (PLTW) program.

KHS senior Keyton Ramsey talks about his plans to study engineering at KSU during a recent presentation to sixth-graders at Kearney Middle School.

“Take some time to learn about these types of programs,” Keyton told students in Ulrike Hayes’ broadcast media class. “There are some great options and experiences, and you might be surprised by what you end up loving.”

February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. Schools across the district are all doing career-related activities, according to KSD Career Readiness Coordinator Stacy Holtzclaw.

“The PLTW Biomedical and Engineering students have been speaking to the sixth graders this week about the programs and careers and they have been doing a phenomenal job,” Ms. Holtzclaw said. “It’s exciting to see how our students and staff are really embracing the spirit of what we’re trying to do this month.”

Kearney Junior High School Library Media Specialist Amy Whitener created this special display of career-related materials for Career and Technical Education Month.

School librarians have created displays of career preparation books. Seventh graders are learning about planning and all of the BeyondKSD opportunities available to them in high school. KJHS and KHS students are watching exploratory videos with professionals from a variety of fields.

“This is really about helping our students build a bridge between what they are learning in their classes and their future careers,” Holtzclaw said.

Students have a number of clearly delineated career pathways they can explore when they reach KHS. Those pathways include classes and experiences in digital arts and media, healthcare, construction, engineering and advanced manufacturing, agriculture, marketing and management, and public service.

Career pathways are part of a wider Real World Learning initiative to provide market value assets for every KHS graduate. Those assets can include industry-recognized credentials such as a Certified Nursing Assistant license or Adobe certifications.

KMS sixth-graders examine engineering designs created by KHS senior Keyton Ramsey during a recent presentation about the Project Lead the Way program.

Keyton talked about how following the engineering pathway and taking PLTW classes taught him how to design and build a contraption to carry all the tools he uses between jobs for his lawn care business. Ms. Hayes’ students passed around a three-dimensional drawing as he described the process of conception to construction. His experience in the PLTW program at KHS has put him in a position to study engineering at Kansas State University starting this fall.

“This is why education is important,” he said. “You’re learning how to turn your ideas into reality.”