FLVS Flex Elementary Hosts First Career Day

One might ask if hosting a virtual Career Day for online learners is even possible. On Wednesday, April 25, 2018, FLVS Flex Elementary learned that it is not only possible but also transcends the barriers that brick-and-mortar Career Days sometimes involve.

Our teachers, staff, and special guests blazed the trail with “can-do” attitudes, providing an opportunity for virtual elementary students to connect current academics with future career paths.

With the use of Blackboard Collaborate and partnerships between the room attendants (teachers and staff) and professional guests, a very successful virtual Career Day took place! More than 350 elementary-aged students participated and could choose three professions of their choice to learn about.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) has been a recurring theme for FLVS Flex Elementary. We regularly offer STEAM Club events and hold STEAM Expos, so our virtual Career Day connected nicely with what our students have been learning. Each professional carefully explained to the students how their jobs used STEAM and reading skills in each of their careers. Astronomers Molly Wasser and Dr. Louisa Rebull displayed how they use STEAM daily, which was amazing for the students to see!

My husband, Patrick Voltaire is a Brevard County Fire Rescue District Chief. I assisted him on a virtual tour around Fire Station 87 and the fire trucks. He shared how the Lieutenant does not use their built-in tablet to play Roblox, but uses the technology to get to emergencies and know important information about the calls to which they are responding. While Patrick has hosted many face-to-face field trips for students, he has never presented in a virtual Career Day. In some ways, it was more easily executed, because the computer allowed the students to virtually explore the firehouse and trucks in ways that would not have been possible had he visited Career Day at a brick-and-mortar school.

Geologist Erica Doerr inspired many students and staff members to learn more about Geology with her real-world connections. She made STEAM come to life and connected well with students. Tiffany Griffin, FLVS Flex Elementary Instructional Leader, said she was inspired to consider studying Geology as a hobby! She shared, “One student who wanted to be an author or a football player asked a great question. He wanted to know if you have to be a good writer to be a geologist and she said yes. She wrote a thesis to get her master’s degree and writes reports!” A few of our professional guests kept the students laughing with their presentations. Jeff Nelson, our very own 2nd Grade FLVS Flex Elementary teacher, hysterically explained what it is like to be a fabulous FLVS teacher.

Virtual Career Day was more accessible for career professionals to be present without too much disruption to their weekly schedules. For example, career paths like Dr. Eric Chow, Optometrist, and Heather Crawford, News Anchor at First Coast News in Jacksonville, Florida, could show students a behind-the-scenes view of their daily experiences from their worksite. Anchorwoman Crawford was able to take us on a virtual tour of the green screen and news desk. We learned that anything done in a face-to-face setting can be done on an even deeper level in a virtual setting.

Rob Sinkler, Wildlife Entertainer, rehabilitates wildlife. The animals that cannot be released back into the wild join him on an entertaining road show. Mr. Sinkler and his sidekick Falcon named Ronan proved that even unique career paths can help change the world. He motivated students by explaining that with drive, a passion can turn into a career. This was also evident when Matt Tevlin (Elementary Spanish teacher Caroline Tevlin’s husband) took us on an up-close-and-personal tour of his commercial fishing boat. Students were able to see that his days are a combination of hard work and fun.

Judge Sprinkel, Retired Circuit Court Judge and husband to FLVS Elementary Director, Sarah Sprinkel, used a kid-friendly approach to a very serious topic to keep students interested and learning about the law. Patrick Murtha, husband to FLVS Flex Elementary 1st grade teacher Jennifer Murtha, also intrigued students with his ability to connect with students and help them understand the role of an accountant.

Nicola Homy and Kelly Anne Rohr, FLVS Flex Elementary Guidance Counselors, along with Instructional Leader Lisa Berry took the idea of a virtual Career Day and made it into a reality for our students. Their vision, determination, and growth mindset allowed for partnerships and teamwork to truly put our students at the center! We are all so thankful for their perseverance and determination, leading the way by providing such an incredible learning experience for our students.

In closing, I quote the words of FLVS Flex Elementary Guidance Counselor, KellyAnne Rohr, “In all my years as a school counselor I always wanted a fabulous career day. One that allowed students to pick and choose the presentations that were most meaningful to them.”

I’d have to agree – mission accomplished!

Post by Allison Voltaire, Former FLVS Elementary Teacher

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