Setting up certifications and SHSM programming can be onerous and time-consuming. There's a lot to think about!
The good news is that there are also lots of ways to make it easier!
Teachers are always tight for time, and so are students, so if you can pack more value into a single day with your SHSM programming, everyone wins!
With so many certifications, Career “Reach Aheads”, “Experiential Learning”, and the new SPCE (Sector Partner Contextualized Experiences) to fit in, it’s worth thinking about how you can create events that will do double (or triple) duty!
As you think ahead for next year, here are 3 ideas to help you plan smarter!
Option 1: In-School Workshop Day
2 Certifications, Plus an Optional Lunchtime Social or Career Panel.
Benefits: Cheap, simple, no permission forms, students still have lunchtime to do other “school things”
Drawbacks: “Same old school” feel
The In-School Workshop Day is a great way to get up to 50 students two certifications with ease. The convenience of having a Beanstalk facilitator come to your school and work around your schedule makes this model the most common type of SHSM programming. This can also be shortened to a half-day morning or afternoon session if you only require one workshop, and fits within your bell schedule.
Option 2: On-Site SHSM Conference
2 Certifications, Partner Site Tour, Lunch, Career Panel Reach-Ahead, Experiential Learning Opportunity
Benefits: Exciting new venue, extra-engaging for students, and more boxes checked in a day!
Drawbacks: More organizational effort - permission forms, transportation, can be more costly
On-site conferences are a fun and engaging way for students to be part of a full-day event that combines a reach-ahead tour and career panel, two SHSM certifications, and potentially even an experiential education piece (though this usually requires the teacher do a bit of follow up). The number of students may be limited based on what the partner/venue can accommodate, but it's usually possible to find a partner that can accomodate 30-80 students. It requires more planning and transportation, but we think it's worth it; students get so much more out of the experience than just certifications! In the past, The Beanstalk Project has partnered with CoMoption - Hamilton's premier co-working space, as well as the Toronto Marlies. We co-hosted a SHSM Day at the Ricoh Coliseum while the team practised a few feet away!
Option 3: Multi-School SHSM Conference
2 Certifications, Career Panel Reach-Ahead, Motivational Keynote
Benefits: No limit on numbers, multiple schools and/or sectors in a single day, choice of certifications, bigger event is inspiring, opportunity to meet students from other schools, shared & memorable experience across the board, cost savings by combing resources.
Drawbacks: Need the right venue, transportation, logistical planning.
If you're looking to collaborate with other schools, this is a great model. You get the impact of a large event with the convenience of an in-school workshop. You provide greater choice in certifications by having two or more facilitators run concurrent workshops, and a big keynote finale (or opening) is a great way to get students feeling inspired and motivated by their experience. Plus, students love meeting new people and seeing that they're part of something bigger! Planning considerations include deciding which school (or other venue) is the best equipped to be the host, as well as allowing time within the school day for busses and transportation. But, schools can benefit by pooling their resources and giving students the most choice in achieving those SHSM seals!
You’ve probably heard the great news that the Ministry of Education has announced increased funding for experiential learning: Career/life planning, technical skills development, and expansion of SHSM!
But, the question remains - how do we get more students involved in SHSM? It’s the teachers, counsellors, and students in the schools - on the ground level - who will actually do the “selling” of SHSM.
We teachers don’t often think of ourselves as “salespeople,” but we are! It doesn’t have to be slimy or icky. For us, “sales” is about “helping people with their buying decisions,” and the “buying decision” students need to make is this: “What should I do with my time?”
We think SHSM is a worthy product to be sold. So let’s steal a few tips from sales professionals to help boost the SHSM enrolment numbers!
#1. Focus on the benefits, not the logistics. People buy shoes because they believe they’ll jump like Michael Jordan, not because they’re made with fancy rubber. We need to advertise SHSM not by telling people where to sign up or how long the workshops last, but by sharing the benefits as students experience them. Consider a few potential marketing slogans that are made to speak to the things that matter to students.:
#2. Give away free samples! There’s a reason Costco gives away free stuff at lunch time: It makes people buy more stuff! (It also makes us go to Costco at lunch time…). How might your SHSM program give away samples to give people a taste of all that you’re offering? Consider these ideas:
#3. Promote like a pro. Great marketers know that people buy on emotion justified by logic - not the other way around. So we need to make it emotional! A few specific tips:
Speaking of referrals... do you know someone who could use this information? Please forward this along! And invite them to sign up for our article series so they never miss another tip!
Trying to find workshops that meet your students' SHSM Certificate requirements can be a daunting task. Some organizations run date-specific workshops at their locations, while others will cater to your schedule and come to you. Some SHSM providers advertise publicly, others advertise only through educator networks, while still others have great programs but don't advertise at all. So where do you start when looking to book?
It turns out there are LOTS of non-intuitive, unexpected types of organizations who offer workshops - you just have to try reaching out to them! SHSM teachers have told us they need some leads to start off - a bit of direction to focus the search.
To help you out, consider what types of workshops you're looking for, and read our recommendations for who to contact in your community!
Category: Soft Skills
Common in: All Majors
Elective Examples: Customer Service, Leadership Skills, Ethical Considerations, Conflict Management
Benefit: Students learn deep skills that will benefit them in all facets of their lives. Complex and vital, soft skills allow students to become better professionals, peers, and people, and give them an guide for how to interact in a complex world.
Where to look:
Common in: Agriculture, Aviation and Aerospace, Construction, Energy, Food Processing, Mining, Manufacturing, Transportation
Elective Examples: Working at Heights, Electrical Safety, Confined Space Training, Lockout/Tagging
Benefit: Hands-on trades training prepares students for the reality of this challenging work. Most importantly, it gets them excited to work with real objects/scenarios in a realistic environment.
Where to look:
Common in: Business, Information and Communication Technology
Elective Examples: Compass /map/global positioning system (GPS), Programming, Internet Security, Radio Operator
Benefit: Our work is becoming more automated, digital, and connected. Give students a head start on future developments through an experience working with contemporary technologies.
Where to look:
Common in: Arts and Culture, Business, Hospitality and Tourism, Non-Profit
Elective Examples: Event Coordination, Project Management, Ergonomics, Fundraising
Benefit: The core practices of most business and organizations lay here. Whether students are interested in charity work, starting their own business, or working for a large organization - strength with these skills will set them apart.
Where to look:
Common in: Energy, Environment, Forestry, Horticulture and Landscaping
Elective Examples: Habitat Restoration, Tree Planting, Ozone Depletion, Pleasure Craft Operator
Benefit: Many Majors involve work in our outdoor environments. Getting students out of the classroom and into the great outdoors is always a great thing! Hands-on work helps develop resiliency and a tangible connection to nature.
Where to look:
Category: Health, Counselling, and the Public
Common in: Hospitality and Tourism, Justice, Community Safety and Emergency Services, Non-Profit, Sports
Elective Examples: Self Defence, SafeTALK, Allergy Awareness, Fitness
Benefit: Our communities rely on the dedication of our first-responders, counsellors, and health care providers. Prepare students for work in these fields by teaching them how to deal with challenging issues now so they are prepared for the future.
Where to look:
Common in: All Majors
Elective Examples: Stage Combat, Surface and Underground Orientation, Spa Etiquette, Food Handler Certification
Benefit: SHSM Majors have their own unique electives that don't fit neatly into general categories. These electives often provide more specialized training for students who are clear on their career goals. However, they could also be used to expose students to new possibilities they hadn't considered before. A great opportunity to get creative!
Where to look:
Many SHSM teachers tell us that they have trouble tracking student achievement within the SHSM program. Once they get students enrolled, they need tools keep them on track to earn their red seal!
There are two kinds of tracking we recommend: Overall tracking and per-student tracking. Overall tracking systems should help you monitor broader objectives and measurables - enrolment numbers, attendance at events, placement schedules, etc. At a very basic level, a few simple attendance sheets would fit the bill.
The second tracking system is our focus here – the Per Student Tracking System. This system allows you to monitor the progress of each student individually – a sort of checklist for both you and the student to show the requirements they’ve completed and the ones that are still outstanding. Of course, there is the official SHSM Record – an online tracking tool, but it’s not the most convenient for regular check-ins and visualization of your progress.
We advise creating your own simplified tracking form for you and students. There are lots of ways you could create this, but the important thing is that it’s simple enough to be usable. Keep your students on track and accountable!
Here are some key things to consider when tracking individual students through their SHSM program:
If you want an example, we’ve drawn up a very rough draft template that might inspire yours. It’s simple, visual, and it leaves spaces for course names, workshop titles, and descriptions of relevant experiences.
Most importantly, remember that ANY system is better than no system. If tracking is a challenge right now, consider how you could make a very basic system to reduce your stress and help more students complete the program!
Do you have tips you can share? Got a great idea for how to track student success? Comment below!
The Beanstalk Project is a group of entertainers-turned-educators with unconventional ideas about how to make education better.