Career consultant highlights success of three Evergreen initiatives
Gail Kreutzer inspires confidence of Evergreen School Division administration and board of trustees.
There is no mistaking Gail Kreutzer’s enthusiasm for education and the difference it can make in the lives of students. That became clear when the long-time high school teacher presented the Evergreen School Division’s board of trustees an update on three programs she’s been working on with the blessing and direction of the division administration.
Kreutzer is the division’s career development consultant. Her time is spent developing and identifying programming— and, happily, working in the classroom.
Assistant superintendent Scott Hill introduced Kreutzer to the board. “I look at all this amazing stuff that’s happening none of which I can take credit for,” Hill, who works closely with Kreutzer, said. “A good deal of this work — that you’ll see is really important and compelling — is brought to you by this board. It’s the kind of work that, if it weren’t for the support of board and our local community, frankly, wouldn’t happen.”
Career development starts early. And that was the kicking off point for Kreutzer’s presentation about an innovative program for Grades 5 and 6 students: The 'Wonder of Work'.
While that seems a tad early, Kreutzer says research shows that early exposure to ‘careers’ and the environments in which they take place is a great learning experience for the younger set.
'Wonder of Work' is a program that exposes students to what people across many specialties do for a living. Fifteen Evergreen students head south to Winnipeg 20 Saturdays before a student-and-family celebration crowns the effort in May.
Each Saturday, the students “look into four different careers,” Kreutzer explained. “Parents are telling me ‘my kid loves this.’ They’re seeing that this is a valuable program.”
Participants go to universities, colleges and workplaces where they get the skinny on what people do — and why that’s important. It’s essentially an exploration of the deeper meaning of work and, says Kreutzer, a good early lesson.
“It’s a really memorable experience for those students who are involved,” the career consultant concluded of the Wonder of Work program. “I’m been really excited about this program because it’s just been so rewarding. I’m just grateful that you guys saw the value in this.”
MATURE STUDENT PROGRAM EXCEEDS INITIAL EXPECTATIONS
The division’s mature student program, reintroduced last school year and now ongoing, has proved a valuable resource for adults 19 and older to obtain credits missed and build academic self-esteem.
Thirty-eight people registered in the first go-around. This year’s number is expected to exceed that. Thirty-four of last year’s 38 were registered to obtain a mature student diploma.
“It’s proved to be a huge success, even bigger that we thought,” said Kreutzer. “It looks like we’re on track to to doing that this year.”
There are 42 people reigistered in the mature student program to-date.
In some cases those enrolled are seeking a high school diploma to advance in the workplaces or improve opportunities for job-seekers. A person looking a career as a dental hygienist, for instance, might want to obtain that missing credit in biology. A person looking to advance at her existing job may need the diploma to qualify for that new position.
There are many reasons and many career paths, Kreutzer explained.
“And others do it as a personal goal,” she added. “My job is not to be a stumbling block.”
A RETURN TO THE EARLY GRADES
Kreutzer also reported on a third program area, this one directed at students in Grades 1-4. Its focus is empathy — helping young students appreciate what it is and why it’s essential to human relationships.
“I didn’t realize how energizing and fun it is to work with these guys,” she said of working with earlier grades.
Kreutzer concluded as she began. “I love what I do — going into the classroom especially.”
“You’re fabulous — and we can tell it’s contagious,” first-term Gimli trustee Kim Malchuk told Kreutzer. “Thank you so much for everything you do.”