- Career & Innovation
CCSD adopts new tool for innovative career planning
Providing an innovative education requires innovative tools.
The Career and Technical Education (CTE) team at Cherry Creek Schools recently pioneered the use of the software program Salesforce to better manage college and career planning for students.
“Six months ago, we were paper-only,” CTE project coordinator Maria Martin said. “We had industry credentials in one place, partnership details in another and student certificates in a different place, as well. We’d tried different platforms but nothing seemed to work.”
That was when Mike Wadleigh, the Internship & Apprenticeship Coordinator for the district, suggested Salesforce. Wadleigh was familiar with what the program could do and thought it might help the district streamline its efforts.
“We encourage our students to think outside the box,” Wadleigh said. “We want our kids to think creatively and this is one way that we have a chance to model that for them.”
The process wasn’t as simple as installing a program, however. Staff from Cherry Creek Schools worked with the company to build a custom interface that would allow information to be accessed easily by staff and, eventually, students and industry partners.
“We’re pretty excited to streamline how students can explore, plan and prepare for careers,” CTE Campus Administrator Lawson Miller said. “Students will be able to take full control of their college and career planning.”
Eventually, middle and high school counselors across the district will be able to use the software to help students with college and career planning. The program will also offer industry partners such as construction companies, health care facilities and restaurants a way to screen prospective students for internships. While student privacy filters will keep identifying details hidden, employers will be able to look for students who have earned certain certificates or taken specific classes.
“We’re very future-focused,” Martin said. “We’re thinking about how we can continue to support kids in five, ten and fifteen years with this same software. Being able to help students begin thinking about their pathway of purpose means being able to help kids start that journey.”
The transition to a new software has had an unexpected benefit of creating opportunities for connection. The Cherry Creek School District team has been working with a group in Michigan that is developing a regional CTE program and looking to build a facility that’s similar to the district’s Cherry Creek Innovation Campus. That new facility would serve as a center to share ideas, avoid potential challenges and brainstorm innovative new ways of serving students.
“We tell our students how important it is to share information, collaborate and work together,” Martin said. “It will take all of us working together to make sure our students are ready for whatever workforce challenges emerge, and we will not let our students down.”