Alabama ASCD

Guided Pathways to Success (GPS)

Sheffield City Schools Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) Program is a unique approach to career development for elementary and high school students.  Research supports that an early connection to a career interest provides a connection to school achievement.  However, for many children attending Title I schools there is not only an “achievement gap,” but there is also a connection and exposure gap between career interest and school achievement, especially in lower elementary schools.  Correlating educational and career goals is a critical component of preparation for today’s students.   In an effort to close the connection/exposure gap, Sheffield City Schools, designed and implemented a plan to expose all K-12 students to career pathways using a variety of strategies and initiatives.  The GPS program is a new district initiative to ensure students are prepared for future success.  The goal of the GPS Program is to prepare students for college and careers by introducing and implementing career and college research activities in every classroom K-12.

The GPS program exposes all Sheffield students to the 16 national career clusters beginning as early as kindergarten.  The district is utilizing the elementary/secondary Kuder system and other career interest resources/programs K-12 to increase students’ career awareness and academic performance.  Under this program, all K-12 students complete interest assessments, attend career exploration classes, and have the opportunity to participate in college and career fairs.  Career technical assistant, Sherri Baker believes that “career exposure can make a difference for many children.  It is important that educators understand that students do not know what they don’t know, and they can’t become what they don’t know.”

As part of GPS, four new career academies at Sheffield High School will offer students hands-on experiences in business, health science, hospitality/tourism, and R.IS.E. (Responsible Intelligent Students Excel) through Dual Enrollment and AP Classes.  Our goal is to provide students with as many academic and career related opportunities as possible as well as extending learning in to the community through partnerships and internships for our students. Most importantly, these programs will equip our students with the knowledge and skills to understand the connection between education and careers and make them employable in the job market.

Jobs today require more education and more skills than ever before.  Through Sheffield City Schools GPS program, all students will be provided career activities that are linked to their courses.  This program will allow all SCS students the opportunity to understand the correlation between  jobs and success in their math, English, science or social studies classes. We believe the earlier we help our students understand the importance of school and careers, the more likely our children will have successful and rewarding careers.  

Carlos Nelson

Sheffield City Schools

Author: Alabama ASCD

Alabama affiliate of ASCD and CLAS

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