Arizona GEAR UP aims to help students prepare and succeed in college and beyond. Thanks to Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA), teachers and students across the state now have access to a brand new, robust, and interactive program that helps students explore all kinds of careers and how to get there. Possible Futures is free for all to use and offers students an opportunity to learn first-hand about careers that interest them.
Arizona Pathways to Prosperity, a program of CFA, had a successful career exploration curriculum for students, but when COVID hit, CFA knew it needed to develop an online version of the curriculum. With funding from Arizona GEAR UP, CFA collaborated with community partners and the Arizona Department of Education to revamp the curriculum.
“Teachers told us that the original curriculum contained too many steps, so we knew we needed to respond and create a grab-and-go curriculum,” said Maya Watts, project manager for Possible Futures. “In the redesign, we streamlined the process and created 12 core lessons in each of 6 units, resulting in 72 lessons that are super easy for teachers and students. We really wanted everyone to get a big bang out of the curriculum.”
Now, teachers and students can log into the Possible Futures Curriculum to take a deep dive into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) occupations, discover the necessary postsecondary path, and learn how to make a positive impact in their communities. The curriculum materials are accessible to teachers through the Arizona Pathways to Prosperity Hub in the Arizona CTE Curriculum Consortium site.
“We provided everything necessary for students to build a career identity, which includes employability skills,” said Cindy Erwin, Director of College and Career Pathways at CFA. “We also included facilitator guides, but the lessons are designed in a way that can also be self-guided by students. It was very important to create a curriculum that didn’t require any subject-area expertise.”
Once students develop their career identity on Possible Futures, they can use this information to help complete their Education and Career Action Plan (ECAP), which is a requirement for all Arizona high school students before graduating. CFA also worked with the Arizona Department of Education to create a seamless process for the ECAP on My Future AZ, assisting with design and funding for the middle school portion of the platform.
“We offer a lot of professional development for teachers because we want to make the process easy. Ideally, engagement would begin with school administration, so that it’s built into a strategy for the entire school,” said Erwin. “We can help schools build a strategy; at the same time, we also work directly with teachers and school counselors to develop what works for them.”
For more information about Possible Futures, contact CFA Project Manager Maya Watts.