Glenn Schlichting: Field trip helps students prepare for their futures
La Grange School District 105 worked with officials from Loyola University Chicago to organize a field trip to the university for all Gurrie Middle School seventh-grade students last spring.
The field trip included presentations about admissions standards and requirements, majors, career options, and campus life, followed with small-group campus tours guided by Loyola University students. The tours included lunch in a dining hall, informal discussions with the tour guides and visits to the library, a dormitory, classrooms, academic buildings, and athletic and student recreation facilities.
Throughout the day, presenters and tour guides encouraged students to ask questions and make comments. This was the first time on a college campus for most of our seventh-grade students, and many of them would be the first ones in their families to attend college.
Our District 105 mission is to provide a safe, supportive and engaging learning environment in which students develop the foundation to pursue their interests, talents and dreams. Developmentally, middle school students are seeking their own identity and are especially receptive to exploring career and college options.
With this in mind, we planned the trip to help our Gurrie students build strong, positive images about their futures and to better understand how education will play an important role in helping them achieve their goals. Our middle school staff prepared the students for this trip by having them take career and interest inventories and helping them analyze the results.
We are now drawing upon that campus experience to emphasize to students the importance of their success in eighth grade and their preparation for high school courses that align with their plans for the future.
This trip was a special highlight for our seventh-graders, who openly shared what they learned and saw with their teachers and parents. It provided an excellent opportunity for the important adults in their lives to talk with them about how their success with family, school and community will help them prepare them for their goals.
Glenn Schlichting is superintendent of La Grange School District 105
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