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Wausa High School

A Growing Leaders Case Study

How Habitudes Helped Wausa High School Students Prepare for Their Futures

Dawn Friedrich and Gregg Conn teach career education at Wausa High School. In this case study, they discuss how Habitudes has helped promote career-readiness skills among their students:

Last year, we began work to create a new set of curricula that would meet the state career ready standards for students. Our program had been running well, but we knew student engagement and teacher adoption could be better. We were running low on fresh ideas and new materials to help teachers engage students in practicing these standards before they graduate.

We then learned that the Nebraska Department of Education had partnered with Growing Leaders to create a new Habitudes curriculum package that aligned with the career-ready standards. It offered a new approach to teaching career-readiness skills, leveraging the power of visual learning through images. We had to try it out for ourselves.

Habitudes offered a ready-made curriculum that fit easily within our current career classes. In our school, every teacher has a career period with a group of students ranging from 7th-12th grade. In these classes, students stay with the same teacher every year, allowing them to build strong relationships over time. We provide each student with their own copy of Habitudes for Career Ready Students, and our teachers incorporate the images into the year-long program that includes career explorations, résumé workshops, and job shadows.

Since the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, we have seen Habitudes help students in a number of areas:

  • Increase awareness to be intentional in preparing for their career
  • Utilize critical thinking skills in making school and career decisions
  • Engage in deeper discussions sparked by the easy to understand images
  • Build accountability that led to practicing the career ready skills they learned
  • Use a common language when talking with each other and their teachers about career ready skills

One of the biggest benefits we’ve seen from using Habitudes is that it allowed students to really own their education. Each student used the workbook as a journal, answered discussion questions, participated in self-assessments, and wrote personal notes in each chapter. At the end of the year, they will take these workbooks with them to have as an ongoing resource.

From a faculty standpoint, we saw more teachers get on board with our career readiness programs than we’ve seen before. Habitudes allowed teachers to easily see the purpose and importance behind this type of educational experience. We look forward to seeing how Habitudes helps create a school culture around long-term thinking and career ready mindedness!