Ebon Brown

Ebon Brown, chief innovation officer for the Beaumont Unified School District.

Beaumont students are being introduced this year to a program that measures their strengths, interests and values that connect them to available and growing career opportunities.

Ebon Brown, chief innovation officer for the Beaumont Unified School District, gave the school board insight into the “Be Ready Beaumont” program at a Sept. 10 study session.

The school district is focused on its College and Career Readiness program.

Brown said that a year-and-a-half ago, his office got input from teachers and staff about benchmarks for grades K-12.

Brown talked about statistics regarding college students. One-third of those over age 25 have a bachelor’s degree.

The country is $22 trillion in debt; $1.58 trillion is student loan debt, which has tripled since 2007.

Brown said that college students graduating with a four-year degree are $37,000 in debt with a loan; add 6.8 percent interest and that’s a $426 a month payment over 10 years.

The Pass Economic Development Agency reports that 20.7 percent of college graduates in this area have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 32.3 percent in the nation.

High school students also do not take full advantage of what counselors have to offer. Brown said that one-third of high school students have never visited their counselors.

Brown said that college is not for everyone.

Many kids choose their careers based on what their family members do for a living.

“It’s based on their own experience,” Brown said.

He spoke with the board about RIASEC, which stands for Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional.

After students take the 70 question test that measures students strengths, interests and values, their teacher will schedule a webinar on Nepris so the student can learn what a certain profession is like and what a day’s work might involve, Brown said.

The Super Strong assessment gives students and adults ideas on which of the six categories they rank highest on.

A conventional assessment means a vocational interest in accounting and similar careers.

The school district wants to build a school culture so that students and staff can talk about their interests and find similar things to talk about, Brown said.

School board member Janelle Poulter said these assessments can save students time and money. She said that historically, people who go to college, if they choose to go to college, end up changing their major 75 per cent of the time.

Poulter said that if they can choose a major ahead of time, they will not lose out on credits or money.

School board member Susie Lara asked if colleges are offering vocational tests. Brown said that it depends on whether it is a state university, community college or four-year university.

Superintendent Terrence Davis said that Beaumont is on the cusp of offering something unique to its students.

“There are very few districts that are doing this work,” he said.

Staff writer Julie Farren may be reached at jfarren@recordgazette.net.

Staff Writer Julie Farren may be reached at jfarren@recordgazette.net.

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