Licking Heights South Elementary School and Counselor Lindsey Das were showcased during the recent Ohio School Board Association's Student Achievement Fair for a virtual career program held at the school.
Each year during the annual OSBA Capital Conference, the Student Achievement Fair highlights the innovative programs that Ohio school districts have created to boost student achievement and engage youngsters in learning.
According to the OSBA event magazine, "The exhibition offers opportunities to learn about new programs, to share ideas and to celebrate what public education in Ohio is all about - helping students achieve."
Das said each year, she traditionally offers an in-person career day within the elementary school.
"Pre-pandemic, we would invite parents and community members within the building to take part in an all-day career day," Das explained. "In the past, we've had over 60 presenters come through during the day. It's always been something that we really enjoy doing and that has always been very beneficial for the kids to learn about different careers they may not have thought about before, or to delve deeper into some options they maybe have thought about before."
As with so much else, COVID-19 forced some changes in the annual offering, Das said.
"When the pandemic hit, we had to get creative and think outside of the box about how do we meet these needs for our students in a way that's still going to be engaging for them?"
With COVID-19 conditions complicating matters, Das reached out to the same parents and community members who'd shown strong support for the career program in the past.
"To my surprise, a lot of people stepped up," Das said. "Also, a lot of people who in the past may have wanted to participate but were not able to take the time off of work were able to."
This year's participation took the form of short, submitted videos, Das said. These five- to ten-minute videos, she explained, "Talked about aspects of their career - what it takes to excel in a career, what skills, what training and what character traits that makes someone good in their job."
Das received a wealth of videos from professionals around the community that were then assembled in a slide show with links to various career resources.
Four South Elementary students - second-, third- and fourth graders - also participated in the OSBA conference on Nov. 8 to discuss what they enjoyed about the Virtual Career Day…what worked, and what engaged them.
Although some might be struck by the age at which students are being encouraged to consider potential careers, Das said it's important for students to begin thinking early about what character traits will benefit them in the future, and what their emerging passions might indicate in terms of a potential career fit.
This article originally appeared on Newark Advocate: Licking Heights South counselor showcased for virtual career day