Career Exploration to Inspire Life Application
Life is About the Journey, Not the Destination!
The Navigator Program uses a proven process that includes Educators, Mentors and Freshmen students.
The Navigator Program
Intrinsically motivating students to make the most of their education while equipping them to determine and fulfill their purpose and career path.
The Navigator program was developed in 2017 as a direct result of the Oklahoma State Department of Education introducing the ICAP or Individual Career Academic Plan to the school systems.
The program is focused on providing incoming High School freshmen with a guided path to achieve, not only the requirements of the ICAP, but a long term satisfaction with their life through the early introduction of various career paths and options.
The actual training portion of the Navigator System is the freshman course: Journey to the Summit.
The course is designed for freshmen, with upperclassmen serving as mentors. The course meets Oklahoma ICAP and 21st Century Skills requirements.
The mentors are taught to invest, empathize and care for the students in small groups.
It is a guided journey to help them discover their passions, strengths and skills. Students come from different and varied backgrounds with all kinds of passions, hopes, wants and needs. And every student has a different goal – a summit – they want to acheive. For some it is just to finish high school – for others it is college, graduate degrees and a specialized career field. All goals and summits are great – as long as it is their summit!
To assist in the process, we train and certify upperclassmen (the senior mentors) to partner with and assist the freshmen in the guided trip through the through various stages, trails and camps, enabling their high school career to be the best experience of their life so far! No matter where the incoming freshman is when they start, or where they hope to go, the mentors will guide and encourage them.
For many students, this may be the first time that a peer has shown interest in them, their dreams, and their goals. The result is relationship building and the creation of a support system.
To lead the program, highly trained and qualified teachers direct the climb to the summit, using proven curriculum and methods. A variety of interactive events, discussions and reflection periods are built into the course that build on the student’ natural curiosity, skills, emotional intelligence and personalities.
The course further incorporates some special helpers (community leaders that are willing to share ideas and concepts)!
The program is designed to work in various size groups – or even as an individual study session – using a mixture of live, hybrid or virtual teachers. Lesson plans and activities have been prepared and optimized for ease of use with various size groups. While the teacher always has the option to customize the activities for their group, the majority of those that have participated in the past used them “as is” and reported success and excellent student involvement.
The mentors are chosen and receive initial training in a weekend event. A letter of certification is given at the successful completion of the event.
The teacher/leaders are provided with material that will allow them to become certified by Education ALIVE. However, certification is not required under our hybrid or virtual teacher option.
The Journey to the Summit is designed as an eleven week or session event. While the ideal environment involves in-person leader with mentor assistance, the program has incorporated virtual teaching as an optional tool.
The curriculum is focused on people that the students will find interesting. These adult mentors, or Sherpas, provide additional support for the teachers, mentors and participants. The majority of their material is pre-recorded and available through video and digital downloads. Education ALIVE has “gone behind the scene” to explore and understand what information is required in the various fields of study pointing to relevancy of the educational process and course work (a requirement of ICAP).
Just as each student’s story is unique, each Sherpa’s story brings different understandings needed in life. Skills and knowledge are acquired and checked for awareness regarding each industry throughout the process of competing each unit or module.
The students are given inspiration, guidance and support to take the next step as they expand their interests and opportunities.
Why This Course is Needed Now
Recent surveys indicate that there are a number of problems that need to be addressed in our educational system. Among those issues that were highlighted are:
- Over 50% of students are disengaged or actively disengaged leading to classroom disruptions. Gallup
- Less than 50% of secondary students feel what they learn in class helps them outside of school. YouthTruth
- Skills Gap – Teens are not getting the experience they need, and as a result, are becoming unmarketable in today’s workforce. Middle Earth Partnering with Youth for Responsible Adulthood.
The result of these shortcomings in the system result in the following results:
- 40% of millennial workers feel that they are unfulfilled and unengaged in their current jobs. Clutch Report
- National surveys have consistently found that businesses have difficulty finding employees with the right skills. Even among college graduates. Students lack basic skills, interpersonal skills, communication skills, technology use, and thinking skills. The James C Martin Center for Academic Renewal.
We believe that the Navigator Program and Journey to the Summit can provide the solution to these problems as all of these elements are embedded in the heart and core of the Education ALIVE curriculum:
- To prepare students for the future workforce, schools need to teach them skills like flexibility, creativity, tenacity, being self-driven, and collaboration. Kaufman Foundation
- “If schools could show students how their learning applies in the real world, this would be a big boost to engagement numbers.” Jen Wilka, Executive Director, YouthTruth
- One way to help students relate their academic work to daily life is to connect students with projects in their local community. “If you want students to do work connected to the world outside of school, you need to create places and spaces for those intersections,” (Practitioner Story) says Tim McNamara, Director of High Tech High Chula Vista (HTHCV) in San Diego, CA YouthTruth
Our Online Portal
Teacher/Leaders can access their course material through our online portal at https://alivecurriculum.com.
The sessions will allow the teacher to have access to all of the material that is needed to effectively lead the sessions, including lesson plans, downloads, videos, discussion guides, activity guides and required material lists. Each lesson includes a parent newsletter and at least two “Reflection Tickets” that will involve and empower parents to take an active part in their child’s education, as well as providing a means to monitor and assist their development. The system is designed to increase communication between parent, student and school (another requirement of ICAP).
A separate course, at the same link, will provide training and resource material for mentors.
An Unexpected Benefit
Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard, Dr. Robert B. Brooks published a new book in 2023 (Handbook of Resilience in Children) that explores the principles that he believes will help students and schools thrive. His ideas are rooted in psychological and educational research and resonate deeply with contemporary trends in child and adolescent development. So let’s dive right into each one:
1. The Need to Belong and Feel Connected: This principle emphasizes the importance of social relationships and connections in a student’s life. Just like adults, students yearn to feel that they are part of a community and that they belong. This sense of belonging boosts their confidence, promotes emotional well-being, and significantly enhances their motivation to learn. Imagine a school environment where every student feels included and valued for their unique contributions – wouldn’t that be just amazing?
2. The Need for Self-Determination and Autonomy: This principle is about fostering a sense of autonomy in students. Autonomy is a key driving force that motivates students to engage and take ownership of their learning journey. It’s not about complete independence, but rather about nurturing students’ capability to make decisions, solve problems, and manage tasks on their own. If we can instill this sense of self-determination, we’ll be equipping our kids to confidently navigate life both inside and outside the school walls.
3. The Need to Feel Competent: Dr. Brooks is emphasizing the vital role of competence in students’ academic and personal lives. When students believe they can succeed and improve at tasks, their self-esteem soars, and they’re motivated to tackle challenges head-on. It’s our job as educators to consistently remind students of their strengths and provide constructive feedback to support their growth. It’s like being their personal cheerleader, giving them the confidence to strive for their best.
4. The Need to Experience a Sense of Purpose: Finally, the principle of purpose is about helping students understand the ‘why’ behind their learning. It’s about aligning their academic pursuits with their personal goals and values. When students see their education as a means to contribute to something larger than themselves or to achieve their dreams, they become deeply engaged and motivated. It’s like lighting a fire inside them that drives them to pursue their education with passion and enthusiasm.
Let’s explore how Dr. Brooks’ principles can act as proactive solutions to some of the most pressing issues our students face today: Drugs ~ Suicide ~ Violence ~ Anxiety ~ Social Isolation
Drugs: When students feel a sense of belonging and connection in their school and home environments, they’re less likely to seek these in negative places or substances. A community that values each student and where everyone has a role can help students resist the lure of drugs. Moreover, promoting a sense of purpose can steer students toward healthier, more constructive life choices.
Suicide: The principle of promoting self-determination and autonomy helps to instill a sense of self-worth and control over one’s life. This can significantly help students struggling with thoughts of suicide. Coupled with feeling competent, they’re more likely to believe in their ability to overcome obstacles and to seek help when needed.
Violence: By nurturing a sense of belonging, we cultivate empathy and understanding among students. This reduces the likelihood of violent behavior. Also, when students have a sense of purpose and feel competent, they’re less likely to engage in destructive actions. They see a future worth investing in and respect others who are on their own unique paths.
Anxiety: Fostering self-determination can help students manage their anxiety by giving them the skills and confidence to face challenges head-on. Feeling competent, in particular, can significantly reduce academic anxiety, as students will feel more capable and less threatened by challenging tasks.
Social Isolation: The need for connection and belonging hits the nail on the head here. By creating inclusive environments where everyone feels valued and included, we can help combat the feelings of isolation. Equally, when students understand their personal purpose, they can form deeper connections with like-minded peers, reducing feelings of being ‘alone.’
So, in a nutshell, Dr. Brooks believes that when we create learning environments that meet these four fundamental needs, we pave the way for students to thrive with a roadmap to address these significant challenges. And with a strategic approach – maybe through inclusive practices, student-centered learning, individualized feedback, and real-world application of lessons – and by placing students’ psychological needs at the center of our educational practices, we can proactively support their well-being and resilience.
It’s like building a protective bubble that helps them navigate these issues while also equipping them with the skills to handle life’s adversities. So, not only are we preparing them academically, but we’re also giving them the tools they need to flourish personally.
Now, that’s what we call a win-win!
Education ALIVE, after all, is about nurturing our young people to reach their full potential, and these principles definitely set us on the right path.