` In order to graduate high school, there are many requirements to receive a diploma. The classes and skills are taught to prepare students for higher education, and the work field. One component high school classes do not acknowledge is; soft skills. These skills are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.
With the absence of this teaching, Go Caps has made its way to the Ozarks to fix the issue.
Greater Ozark Centers for Advanced Professional Studies (GO CAPS), is a year long education program that specializes in career paths for juniors and seniors. With a morning (8-10:30 a.m.) or afternoon (Noon-2:30 p.m.) session, Students will spend half of their day at their home school, and the other half in the subject area of their choice. In the 2018-19 school year, Kickapoo had six students in the morning session and 11 students in the afternoon session.
“It has been available to all 5 high schools here since it began. GO CAPS is in the middle of recruiting for 2019-2020 school year, which will be its fifth year,” A+ Coordinator Kim Harris said.
The program offers five different strands including Medicine and Health Care, Business and Entrepreneurship, IT and Software Solutions, Engineering and Manufacturing, and teacher education.
Depending on what field is chosen, the location of the Go Caps setting can range from area hospitals, the Efactory, Elementary schools, to Springfields Remanufacturing Corporation.
A drawback to the program is transportation. Although some of the classrooms may be far from home, or homesite school, Go Caps provides options for juniors and Seniors without means of transportation.
“ If an SPS student does not have a car, the Go Caps team will arrange with our transportation department to bus the student from home site to the Go Caps classroom and back,” Education Director Dana Hubbard said.
Along with bussing, students can apply for transportation scholarships if they qualify for free or reduced lunch rates. The scholarship could include a gas card to help out with the costs.
The learning experience is hands on. With a class size ranging from 11-25, Go Caps is able to put students in real life situations.
“At the beginning of the year, you have to learn a lot of procedures, and terms, but once you are past that you get to do job shadows, and watch surgeries. We were able to visit acute care unit, the ER, laproscopic surgeries,” junior Alyson Thomas said.
Classes such as the Project Lead the Way are just a gateway to some of the experiences in the medical strand.
The program drives students to polish their professionalism skills by; learning project management, collaborating with businesses, making connections with future employers, and most of all explore individual interests.
A frequent misunderstanding is the ability to receive credits. The program is a full year, and taking up half of the school day, it may seem difficult to fit it in your schedule.
“Go Caps counts as three elective credits. There are also dual credit opportunities (with MSU) in each of our five strands,” Hubbard said.
If the credits hinder the decision to enroll, there are more benefits to consider. The program’s goal is to pair students with local businesses, and better a resume.
“ Students interact directly with high level industry professionals, and have many opportunities to network and seek out industry mentors. Recommendations from industry professionals have the power to add depth and breadth to a college application and/or to a resume,” Hubbard said
Many upcoming juniors and seniors are uniformed or have overlooked the program.
“Each year, we always have vacant seats in nearly every strand and each year we know there are students out there that are missing out on what can potentially be a life changing experience. We want to fill every seat available” Hubbard said.
The experience can show students a closer look at different career paths, along with narrowing down college majors.
“What a better way to explore than in HS when you are not having to pay for college courses?,” Harris said.
In the next five years, Go Caps hopes to expand the Teacher Education program, as they currently only offer a morning session. Along with a possible addition to the five current strands.