By Stephanie Bunker
Moapa Valley Progress
Doesn’t indoor skydiving sound like an exciting after school activity? A few kids at Perkins Elementary recently got to witness two of their teachers go skydiving!
Over the past few months Perkins has had a new after school program to help non-proficient kids at the school. It is called Career Tutoring and it aims to teach kids that reading, writing, and math are required in their future careers. If they don’t have these skills, their career of choice may no longer be in reach.
“Instead of giving the kids more math, we are trying to open their vision to what is possible, and what it takes to achieve it,” said Perkins principal Ken Paul.
There are 31 kids eligible for the special tutoring program that consist of 3-5 grades. Because it is after school, the kids aren’t required to participate.
Before the tutoring began, faculty asked the kids what careers they were interested in. From those answers, they put together 4 different career categories. They spend 3 weeks on each category, and for each category there is a field trip.
The first career category was Veterinarian. The school brought in Veterinarians to tell the kids about their job. The kids went to the Moapa Valley High School Ag Farm to see the different farm animals. They visited the Roos and More zoo in Moapa to get a feel for what other kinds of animals are out there. For their field trip they went to a Veterinarian Hospital in Las Vegas. The vet there told the kids about what he does and showed them how he takes x-rays.
The second category was the military, and police security. The school had Metro Police Officers, Metro Helicopter Pilots, and an officer from a Viper Unit come teach about their jobs.
The school also brought in four people from the Air Force. The first two that came in were pilots and they talked to the whole school about their Air Force career. The other two were in the tactical division. They told the kids how they use data to make important decisions.
The field trip for this category included several activities. First was a visit to the Clark County Detention Center. Next, the kids also got to watch two of their teachers go indoor skydiving! Finally, they kids went to the MGM where a CSI lab exhibit was set up. With three different crime scenes, the kids tried to solve the crime scenes using scientific tests.
In the third career category, the students learned about careers in the Performing Arts. They toured the new Smith Center in Las Vegas and learned that people can buy sections of the theatre for $1 million and sit in that section for every performance throughout the year. The kids also got to tour the Las Vegas Academy of Fine Arts. They went to three different theaters in the school and even got to see, by chance, a class of dancers practicing.
The students haven’t started learning yet about the fourth career category. But that will be the medical field. The school has planned to have dentists, surgeons, eye doctors and chiropractors come in to teach what they do.
All of the people that have come talked to the young struggling students have made a connection to reading, writing, and math, Paul said.
“We wanted the kids to make the connection that what they are learning now, will affect what they choose to do later in life,” he said.
Funding for the Career Tutoring Program came from The Program for Academic Skills and Success (PASS.)
“They almost didn’t fund it,” Paul said. “They thought the field trips were an incentive, but it has everything to do with what they are learning.”
“Career Tutoring is hard to measure,” Paul said. “Because it is so out of the box, there are no rules or guidelines set in place. We will do post interviews with the kids to see what they learned. It will hopefully raise their motivation. It may be something where we won’t see the results until years down the road.”