Signature Program Students Tell Their Story

Signature Program Students Tell Their Story
Shawnee Mission School District

Signature Program students had the opportunity to share their story in a one-on-one session with a professional. The idea came from the Kauffman Foundation to provide the Class of 2021 an opportunity for a professional conversation. Many students have not had in-person, professional experience during this past school year. The exercise, while not an interview, was designed to help students improve their ability to talk about their achievements and aspirations in a professional setting and strengthen interpersonal skills.

“The conversation helped me build my confidence, even though I was meeting someone I didn’t know, the more experience I can get, the better,” Alex Henshaw, Medical Health Science 1 student, shared. “I really enjoyed being able to share my accomplishments in depth with an expert.”

Dr. Andrew Frye, Contemporary Communications instructor, supports students with their English Language Arts credit while enrolled in Signature Programs. Frye has been focusing on incorporating Professional Skills, like creating a resume and LinkedIn profile, into his courses.

“These professional conversations are another way to help our students prepare for college and careers,” Frye noted.

Partners from the Kauffman Foundation, SM Education Foundation Board Members, and business partners from AdventHealth along with Shawnee Mission School District Human Resources administrators participated in the conversations. The professionals asked the students four questions about their high school experience, their accomplishments, and their future pathways.

“The students I spoke with all had a passion for their pathway. Their passion really helped them with their communication skills,” Dr. Bill Nicely, Kauffman consultant and former school superintendent noted. “These students have had 15 years to figure out the career they want to pursue, and this exercise was an appropriate culmination of their hard work.”

Students at the Career Technical Campus also participated in professional conversations with retired fire volunteer, John Karpinski. Karpinski shared that the conversations allowed the students to vocalize and therefore present in a more confident discussion.

“Having the ability for interaction following all the missed time is critical to the collective success of our students,” Dr. Todd White, Kauffman consultant and former superintendent noted.