New college and career readiness initiatives at Loveland Schools

To prepare students for higher education and career choices, the Loveland City School District has launched Tiger Steps Ahead  ̶  a program allowing students a systematic approach to career advising. Starting with activities as early as sixth grade, Tiger Steps Ahead offers students career exploration, internship opportunities, career shadow experiences and lunch and learn sessions with local professionals to help them hone in on their own strengths, interests and passions.

“We are excited to see the increased engagement and use of career planning tools by our students in sixth through twelfth grade,” said Loveland Schools College and Career Counselor Drews Mitchell. “Using advisory time for career assessments at school helps students better understand their personal strengths and gives them research opportunities to assist them in planning for high school and beyond. The follow-up to the career assessments also creates more awareness of potential academic pathways available right here at Loveland.”

Academic pathways have been accessible to students at Loveland Schools for several years and serve as guiding maps for students as they explore personal career interests and make connections to their course sequencing. The district has clearly defined pathways for a list of careers, and partnerships with local colleges and universities that can expedite a student’s chosen path. Academic pathways define core requirements and provide resources for extended learning opportunities, including internships and job shadowing experiences. Over the past year, students have been placed in internships with several local companies and organizations, including First Star Logistics, the Little Miami River Chamber Alliance, NEST Learning Center, Whistle Stop Clay Works and Loveland Magazine. Career shadowing opportunities have been created at Real Link, Bond Furniture, Festo and Lifeboat Digital Media.

While Tiger Steps Ahead is an intentional progression of traditional academic counseling services, it also allows student input data to impact the planning of future programs and courses at Loveland Schools:

“When planning for program expansion and course offerings in the district, it’s critical that we align them with potential career pathways for our students,” said the district’s Director of Teaching and Learning Andrea Conner. “The knowledge of trends in student choices gives us valuable information to make purposeful decisions, while also making us better equipped to support our students in their post-secondary planning.”

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Photo caption: Loveland Schools College and Career Counselor Drew Mitchell presented about Tiger Steps Ahead at the Board of Education business meeting on October 15