Truitt Middle School orchestra director Luis Perez speaks with his students Oct. 9 on financing a college education as a part of the school’s “College Week” activities and presentations. Each teacher used the advisory period during the week of Oct. 9-12 to discuss different topics relating to higher education, with each followed by activities such as building a resume and researching careers.
CYPRESS — Like a number of schools across CFISD, Truitt Middle School participated in “College Week” activities during the week of Oct. 9-12. The biggest event of course, was College Night, which saw nearly 5,000 guests attend the two-day event at the Berry Center where students and parents were able to meet representatives from more than 200 colleges, universities, technical and specialty schools and military academies and recruiters.
Schools across CFISD exposed their students to not only different colleges and universities, but presented information on the selection process, financial aid and different paths in higher education.
In addition to presentations and theme dress day during Truitt Middle School’s “College Week,” students worked on activities during their advisory period. They included finding careers that began with each letter of the alphabet to constructing a first resume.
For the staff at Truitt, the week was actually a continuation of the conversation teachers and administrators have been having with students since the school year began. And one they hope continues as eighth-grade students begin discussing high school four-year plans and endorsements.
Under the leadership of Yvette Garcia, who was named Truitt’s new principal in November, the campus has turned Monday into a day where all staff members wear shirts representing the colleges and universities they attended. Staff members have their colleges and degrees on a sign by each classroom.
“The kids are curious about the colleges we went to,” said Maggie Deal, an eighth-grade algebra teacher at Truitt. “In some cases, there’s no one talking about college at home, while in other cases, there is someone talking about college at home – but it’s only one college. Now they’re seeing all these others.”
Truitt Middle School seventh-grade teacher Gloria Martin works through a presentation with her students entitled “Why College?” as part of the school’s “College Week.” Teachers used their advisory period during the week of Oct. 9-12 to discuss different topics relating to higher education, with each followed by activities such as building a resume and researching careers.
During Oct. 9-12, teachers used their advisory period each day to present to not only eighth-grade students, but to all three grade levels. Each day also corresponded with a different theme, whether it was wearing neon clothing or camouflage. PowerPoint presentations were made on higher education in general, different colleges and universities, financial higher education and simply giving each teacher the chance to share his or her story with students.
Activities followed the presentations, with students picking careers that began with each letter of the alphabet to putting together a resume and writing down educational goals.
“I think this was important because it can teach you more about life and your possible future,” sixth-grade student Melanie Silva said. “Instead of quitting, you can have a plan.”
Added eighth-grader Conrad De Leon: “I like planning out my future so this helps us prepare to jump right into it. It really gets us ready and has us more prepared.”
A number of teachers have said they enjoy the open dialogue from students who ask of the different college shirts worn on Monday. It’s giving students perspective they may not see outside school.
And while the final day of activities was designated as “Share your story,” many put their own personal touch on the week’s presentations, whether it was financing their own or their children’s studies or the search for the best university.
“The different paths are important for them to see,” said Ginger Phillips, an eighth-grade U.S. History teacher. “Everybody’s not following the same thing and I think sometimes, they assume that. Once they start seeing options – and knowing it’s okay to take that different path – they feel better about the future.”
Starting Oct. 15, Truitt eighth-grade students were set to begin learning of the five endorsement options (STEM, Business & Industry, Public Services, Arts & Humanities and Multidisciplinary Studies) they’ll eventually chose from to form a four-year plan entering high school. In learning of options beyond high school in the prior weeks – both in higher education and the working fields – students are better prepared to select an endorsement.
It becomes a springboard into ninth grade, says Amber Novotny, an eighth-grade language arts teacher.
“I’m really excited to get ready for high school and making that four-year plan really helps because I’ll know what’s going to happen and then I’ll have even more to get excited about,” said eighth-grader Jahnaye Sanchez. “We’ve done the career cruising and we’ve learned in class about how nothing is set in stone yet – you choose things based on who you are but those can chance as you go along. The teachers here are really helpful with that.”
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