MCC teaches employment skills through The Spartan Way.

October 7, 2019

MCC teaches employment skills through The Spartan Way.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

SCOTTVILLE — Mason County Central High School is making efforts to teach its students the skills it takes to be employed. This fall the school launched The Spartan Way, a program that rewards students for displaying specific skills, which include collaboration/community involvement, ethical citizenship, personal accountability, flexibility and adaptability, and communication.

Principal Jeff Tuka said the program was adapted by a similar concept, Skills 4 Success, created by the Ottawa County Intermediate School District.

“The employability skills were developed by businesses as traits that are desirable when they interview and hire employees,” Tuka said. “These are all skills that you can learn and display in high school here at Mason County Central. If you learn, practice, and display these skills you develop life long skills that can be used at both the educational and workplace level.”

Through the program, students in the high school’s general education program work with teachers and advisors to work on the identified skills. Those students who are following the track successfully will be allowed an hour long lunch on Fridays during the second trimester of the school year (normal lunch time is 30 minutes).

“The long term goal, however, is for our students to learn the skills it takes to be productive citizens,” Tuka said. Those who complete the tracks will receive a credentialed letter with their diploma that states MCC deems the student to be employable.

During the student’s daily 30 minute advisory period, he/she will go over their goals and how to obtain them.

“Teachers have 20 to 25 students in an advisory period, so they don’t necessarily go over those skills with each individual each day,” Tuka said. “But, the students do interact with the advisor on a regular basis.”

The program includes five pillars:

  • Collaboration/community involvement. The student participates and collaborates with others, including, but not limited to school teams/clubs/organizations, volunteering, scouting, tutoring, and more. The student must have documentation of one experience per trimester and signed off by a supervisor, adult, advisor, coach, etc.
  • Ethical citizenship. The student maintains appropriate behavior in school.
  • Personal accountability. The student regularly attends school as measured by not receiving grade reductions due to poor attendance. Students will maintain a 2.00 cumulative grade point average to show progress toward the Mason County Promise.
  • Flexibility and adaptability. The student is expected to conduct a conversation and assessment with an advisor and also write a summary of future educational and professional plans, detailing self-reflection.
  • Communication. The student is expected to keep a thorough and up-to-date log documenting communication showing an ability to use verbal and written forms of communication with school personnel.

“What’s been a challenge before has been tying in these life skills into the curriculum,” Tuka said. “The state is recognizing that these basic life skills had been taken away from the curriculum over the last several years and that has been a reflection on the state of employment right now. We, along with other schools, have heard from employers that high school graduates seem to be lacking some basic skills and this program is meant to remedy that.”

In addition to the advising program, the school will also be bringing in speakers to help teach students some life skills. This Friday, for example, Mason County Central alumnus Kevin Eikenberry (class of 1980) will talk to the students about leadership. Eikenberry is considered one of the top 100 leadership consultants in the world.

“We want our students to be successful when they leave our school,” Tuka said. “I believe The Spartan Way is a program that will lead them on that path to success.”

This story is copyrighted © 2019, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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