DPIE Supports Fallon Middle School Career Day

May 25, 2018

A student participates in Career Day at Fallon Middle School. 

Ms. Liz Buckley, Fallon Middle School Counselor

We met with Ms. Liz Buckley to follow-up on the event. This spring, one of the traditions among the district middle schools continued. On March 28th, Fallon Middle School hosted their annual Career Day. On the surface, the goal of presenting such an event may appear to be somewhat modest. In truth, it is an immense challenge to capture the imagination of almost 500 - eighth graders – many of whom that had dressed as if they were on a job interview. However, with almost each obstacle, a great solution was revealed. In the case of Fallon, the answer resided in variety.

The counseling team were able to assemble professionals from almost every walk of life. They recruited a physician, chef, engineer, attorney, recruiter and social media manager – among many others. The next step was to deposit them into four distinct pods so that the students could elect the unit that was most attractive to them. Clearly organizing this alone would be a tall task. Fortunately, this was a team effort. We reached out to sixth grade counselor Ms. Liz Buckley, to share her insights.

DPIE: What would you say are the challenges of constructing a career event for an audience of eighth graders? Liz Buckley:

“Organizing the day so it would run smoothly, finding the careers and right personalities to fit our eighth-grade audience, having the teachers on board and having our community behind us. Our office staff helped as well. I believe all these challenges were solved because of our amazing teamwork. It takes a team to make this day a success. Leor Levin and Jennifer Lidster had a plan from the beginning. They decided to place each career into a pod and each student then would choose a pod. The pods included – math/engineering, arts/leisure, medicine/science, business/law. This was a much easier way of placing students. Kelly Zummo handled the scheduling (making sure every student had a place to be) and she also handled the luncheon. Leor had one leadership student assigned to each speaker. Each speaker really felt engaged and appreciated by the students.”

DPIE: Please explained how you advised (“trained”) your presenters to engage with the students for +45 minutes. Buckley:

“We sent out a letter welcoming our speakers. In this letter we explained the best presentations had to be interactive and engaging. Just talking to eighth graders will not work. Most presentators did about a 20-minute interactive piece and used a powerpoint presentation. We provided as much as possible for our presenters too. (Glue, scissors, technology, etc.) We planned way in advance, so we had opportunity to talk and help our presenters. On the other hand, we had a few cancellations at the last minute. But, we had community members and parents step-up and jump in.”

DPIE: What feedback have your received from the students? Buckley:

“My interactions with many students were positive and they believe we have to continue for next year. I loved to see, at the end of the day, some students approaching their speakers and thanking them on their own. They would be leaving school and see a speaker and yell out – “Thank you for coming to our school!”

DPIE: What enhancements/changes might your team make for next year’s Career Day? Buckley:

“I believe some changes would be, the amount of time for each session, shortened maybe to 30 minutes. And, maybe have only three sessions or we can have more speakers and only have them speak for two sessions. There are lots of options. It is hard to speak for four / 45-minute session if you have never taught before! I like the pod idea however, I also think it is good for kids to get a taste of different types of careers. After all, it is a career exploration day. We had our career day the Wednesday before spring break – it was hard to get speakers because they were also leaving town!” So, 485 Fallon eighth graders, had the opportunity to interact with various professionals during the school day. Some may have been exposed to a careers that they might not have ever considered. According to the counseling group, the event exceeded their expectation. The Dublin Partners in Education was pleased to support this effort by helping to defray some of their costs.