FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some common questions we have heard regarding Career Paths, course offerings, and programs at the JHS/FTC. If you have additional questions, please email webmaster@joplinschools.org.
 
What is unique about JHS/FTC?
While developing the plan for the new JHS/FTC, teams of educators and community members visited successful schools across the country. There are several schools that offer specialized programs of study and career-focused education opportunities. However, students and their parents must often choose between these programs and a traditional high school experience, an experience that includes a wide variety of class options, sports, and extra- and co-curricular activities. And, in many cases, access to these programs is limited to only a select number of students. At the new JHS/FTC, we have incorporated research-based strategies and structures found in successful schools across the country into a program that allows ALL students to participate while still enjoying a full high school experience. 
 
Why are rigor, relevance, and relationships so important?
For our new high school to be successful, students need to be challenged by the coursework, and they need to understand the importance and real-world application of what they are studying. We will incorporate real-world experiences into curriculum and activities as much as possible. In addition, the learning environment will be more conducive to building relationships with both faculty and students. Finally, it is critical for the students to have connection to their school, teachers, and fellow students in order to take full advantage of the high school experience.

Why is personalization so important?
For years, schools have tried to work around the Carnegie unit at school to offer rigorous experiences with student interest being at the forefront of the learning. Personalization of learning can occur in personalized learning experiences (PLE) in the new school. When students have a high interest in the subject matter, they will tend to go deeper in their learning and excel. By going the next step and offering students a choice in their learning experiences, for those who are interested, we can help students tailor learning to their interests and possibly their future endeavors. Students will be able to approach their teachers with ideas for courses as long as they meet standards set by the school related to research, reflection, product, and presentation of the subject studied. Students who have a high interest in a subject may be interested in PLEs. 

Why are college and community partnerships important?
Students as well as teachers can learn from college and university educators and community members. By expanding university and college partnerships with the new JHS/FTC, we will expand the course offerings for students. In addition, the ability of our staff to work more closely with post-secondary educators as well as community partners will enrich our teachers' experiences. Our students stand to gain from theses partnerships as rigorous and real-world experiences will become more prevalent as a result of this type of collaboration with post-secondary institutions and community resources. 

Why is a technology-focused program necessary?
For the last three years, JHS has offered all students computers 24/7 during the school year. This has led to all students learning more about research and managing and organizing data. Students have access to multiple sources of information, computer programs to present information, and more. The modern world will continue to evolve with different forms of technology; however, computers remain an important tool for learning for the foreseeable future. In addition, Franklin Technology Center, for years, has offered students access to state-of-the-art equipment in order to prepare them for the workplace. The new high school will not only have state-of-the-art equipment used in the workplace, but also new equipment designed to offer students similar experiences they will encounter in post-secondary schools in order to learn about new and emerging technologies. 

How will the 21st century skills help students at college in in their career?
The new JHS/FTC will employ modern teaching and learning techniques, so regardless of which career path a student embraces, they will learn Joplin’s 21st century learning skills such as communication skills, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, technology skills, ethics, and creativity.

How will the bell schedule accommodate learning?
JHS/FTC will utilize a “modified” block schedule that will combine a traditional schedule with a block schedule. This type of schedule will be conducive to large block career education courses, face-to-face courses that meet daily, online courses that only meet periodically, or blended/hybrid courses that meet two to three times per week. The schedule is flexible enough to accommodate teaching and learning styles with its varied class meetings. All students will have the opportunity to meet with their teachers at least four times per week unless they are enrolled in an online or blended/hybrid course. 

How will the Transitions class be able to help students navigate the high school experience?
The new Transitions course is designed for each grade level so that students can learn more about themselves, their interests, and the skills and knowledge necessary for high school and beyond. Students will have one teacher/advisor for their entire high school career who will instruct them in each grade level competencies. The teacher/advisor will develop a relationship with each student so that each student will have at least one adult at the school with extensive knowledge of their academic situation in addition to their guidance counselor. Finally, the Transitions course will also have a study skills component with incentives and interventions for students to get the help they need to be successful academically. 

How will students select the career path that is best for them?
During middle school, students will participate in guidance activities, discussions, and presentations about their interests and how they relate to possible career choices. During middle school, the schools will help parents with discussions that will help them have conversations with their student about their area of interests. Also while in middle school, students will take “interests surveys” which will provide them a better idea of what aptitudes and interests from a variety of sources including Missouri Connections. By studying this information, meeting with school counselors, and talking with parents, students will be educated better than before as they select the career path that best fits their future aspirations. Transfer students will work with their counselor, teacher/advisor, and parents to make the best possible selection.

Will students still receive education in the core subjects of English/language arts, science, social studies, and mathematics?
Certainly, however the instruction students receive in elective and career education courses may look different as traditional English and communications skills may be encountered in any course. With a career path approach, frequently core subject competencies or skills are embedded in the curriculum and lessons regardless of elective courses.

For example, a student enrolled in a business-related class in the Business and Technology Career Path may be introduced to lessons to prepare a brief, letter, or presentation while applying English/language arts skills (writing and oral presentations). Similarly, a student in an agriculture class in the Technical Science Career Path may utilize mathematical calculations as part of measuring and design to fix a problem in a welding course.

How many students will identify with each career path?
There is no set number anticipated for students in each career path. Because students' interests can be different with each entering freshmen class, we will strive to accommodate the career interests of our all of our students. The Transitions course is a key ingredient in the process for students to understand more about themselves, their relationship to the school community, and their aspirations for after high school. What is unique about our career path approach is that our model is centered on the student and their understanding of their interests while enrolling in courses that reflect a career pursuit. And, at the same time, we work to develop relationships with students of similar interests and career goals. It is the goal that each student will have a career interest or focus during high school, but it is perfectly understandable that some students will take a broad sampling of courses. 

Will the career paths meet the needs of students with different career aspirations?
The different career paths are developed to provide students with a broad base of learning in general career areas and, for many students, a more defined set of course offerings that may lead to a specific career choice. 

What if a student chooses to be in a career path and later decides they want to change their mind or interests?
Students may change their mind or focus from one year to the next if necessary. All students will need to earn 25 units of credit for a regular diploma and the core required curriculum is well defined. Therefore, students can choose different electives from different paths if they wish or stay within their anticipated path based on interest surveys, their likes or dislikes, and the best guidance we can offer them. 

What if a student is in a career path that emphasizes Technical Science for their high school experience, but they decide to attend college and study another area. Will they be prepared?
The new JHS/FTC will employ modern teaching and learning techniques so regardless of which career path a student embraces, they will learn Joplin’s 21st century learning skills such as communication skills, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, technology skills, ethics, and creativity. The field of study emphasized in high school should not always dictate the field of study for college because changes can occur based on circumstances. 

If a student is in one of career path but wants to take classes like band or foreign language – can they?
Students will have the opportunity to enroll in courses such as band, orchestra, art, or any other class not directly related to their chosen career path. It is important for both students and parents to understand that because students must make choices for their courses in the regular school day, there will be times when a student cannot take every class they wish due to scheduling conflicts.

What are the plans for honors, dual credit, and Advanced Placement classes?
We will continue to provide the many honors, Advanced Placement (AP), and dual credit courses currently offered. In addition, we will add dual credit courses in the technical sciences not previously offered. It is our goal to offer as many AP and dual credit courses in each career path so that students can stretch themselves academically regardless of which career path they choose. Offering a robust selection of rigorous advanced and college-level courses is very important for our students. 
 
What are blended/hybrid classes?
Blended or hybrid courses are designed to give students both traditional and online learning experiences. Students meet with their teachers face-to-face at least two to the three ties per week and are not required to meet in person the rest of the week. Instead, out of class time during the week has online activities that are required to be completed by the student. The JHS/FTC blended/hybrid model allows students to meet with their teacher during “out of class time” if the student requests, parent requests, or the teacher requires the student to meet. This allows for students who are disciplined to learn how to navigate study time on their own but still offer students who need extra one-on-one attention with the teacher and opportunity to meet. 

What are interdisciplinary courses?
Interdisciplinary courses combine two subjects that are traditionally taught separately but can be combined so that students can work more effectively and efficiently with the subject matter. Courses in social studies and English are good courses whereby two teachers can work together with two groups of students to enrich the coursework for students. The goal of these courses is to allow students to use the skills of one course with the content of the other course to learn the objectives of both courses simultaneously. 

Will students ever have face-to-face opportunities or be able to get help if needed if they take an online course delivered by JHS teachers?
Yes, students who take online courses taught by JHS teachers will have the ability to schedule time with their teachers as needed. In fact, several online teachers will schedule periodic meetings with their students to check their progress. It is the goal of our teachers that students be successful when taking an online course. In addition, students can always attend scheduled tutoring sessions with our teachers to get extra help when needed.
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