MARQUETTE - A local teacher is heading to Los Angeles, Calif., this weekend to share her success story with teachers from across the country.
"We were chosen as one of less than a dozen schools in the country," said Becky Simmons, a Freshman Transitions and science teacher at Marquette Senior High School. "It's really an honor."
Simmons, along with a small group of MSHS teachers, will be presenting their tale of MSHS' Transitions course, which takes freshmen through the Career Choices Curriculum, in which students make a 10-year plan in a three-part series. They think about who they are as individuals, decide what material things they would like to attain and choose a career path that fits those desires.
Simmons said Marquette's implementation of the program has garnered attention from Career Choices.
"A lot of schools take on the program to improve their drop-out rate, or to improve their failure rates. Our school isn't a failing school," Simmons said. "We wanted to focus on what kids wanted to do when they left our school. That's the gap that we saw."
Simmons said the program has had a lot of success as it guides freshmen through the complicated maze of credit card statements, home loans and the cost of daily life, adding that it has really opened up the eyes of the teenagers in her classes.
"(One student said) 'I used to think my dad was a cheap jerk, but now I just think he's a smart jerk.' It's comical, because kids really start to understand where their parents are at and what they're going through to make ends meet," Simmons said.
Simmons will present daily during the event about the unique use of the curriculum at MSHS as will as the integration of the school's Reality Store, which offers students a chance to see the financial world of post-high school life. She will also serve on a panel of experts concerning the text used in the curriculum.
Simmons said the combination of the Transitions class and the Reality Store can hit home in a time when many families are experiencing the set backs of the Great Recession.
"I think if I would have had something like this when I was a student, it would have helped me out a lot," Simmons said. "It's really important, economically, in this era that we're in. So many of us are struggling and this gives kids tools to understand what they need to do to not have the same struggles."
The conference takes place from Sunday until Tuesday.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.