Shawnee Mission North Students Explore Careers at Nieman Elementary

JAG student works with children at Nieman.
Shawnee Mission School District

A new career exploration opportunity launched this spring for high school students -- the Jobs for America’s Graduates – Kansas (JAG-K) program at Shawnee Mission North. Click here to see a video about the program

Juniors and seniors attend this class, where the curriculum includes topics like employability, leadership and community service. After completing an interview process, seven students were given an opportunity to explore different careers by serving as interns at Nieman Elementary School. They also had the chance to mentor students at the school each week.

Shawnee Mission North is the first high school in Johnson County to offer this pilot program.

Josie Herrera, Nieman principal, offered a variety of job opportunities for the high school students throughout the school, including working with the school nurse, tutoring and teaching lessons, and learning library science by assisting in the library. Students are assigned a teacher or staff member at Nieman, to whom they report each week.

Amya McIntosh, a junior at Shawnee Mission North, applied to work in the school office to learn more about the field of business.

“Amya is really willing to help out,” said Jonelle Carter, the office aide at Nieman. “She has the opportunity to see how busy you can be providing office support and how you multitask several different jobs. I wish I could have had this experience when I was her age; it would have really helped me have a better understanding of this job and all that goes into it.”

Michael Giarla, the JAG-K instructor, oversees the internship program and observes the students in their specific jobs. Students receive “employee reviews” at several times throughout the semester.

“An important aspect of the internship is the mentoring the high school students do with the elementary students in the cafeteria where they have lunch with the students,” Giarla said. “Lunch is a time the students can interact more informally and talk about topics unrelated to school with an older role model. The Nieman students look forward to seeing the North students each week.”

Students enrolled in the JAG-K program have an opportunity to explore a career and find or confirm their passion, according to Giarla.

“Exploring these options in high school provides an advantage to their future planning following graduation,” Giarla said. “Having gained vital work experience, students now have the tools to bolster their resumes, applications, and more.” 

You can read more about how students are exploring career possibilities at all ages in this issue of Inside Shawnee Mission School District: https://www.smsd.org/about/news-post/~board/district-news/post/read-the-spring-issue-of-inside-shawnee-mission-school-district