Students Explore Careers in Extended Third Hour

Lisa Jorgensen, Reporter

Arrowhead has six Academic and Career Exploration (ACE) lessons during the year to help students explore career choices and guide them through high school. 


Arrowhead students and staff did the first ACE lesson on Wednesday, September 22nd, at the beginning of third hour at both campuses. 


In past years, students would go to their homerooms for the lesson to be with other students in their grade, but this changed to the students having an extended third hour period and shortened classes for the day to fit in the ACE lesson. The third hour teachers are also able to get through the lesson easier with knowing their students in class well and being able to have conversations that wouldn’t be awkward. 


Maralynn Markano, an English, Speech, and Theater teacher at Arrowhead, said, “Regardless of it being a little challenging, I much prefer working with students that I know and have a relationship with than a room of 30 students whom I do not know well at all.”


Teachers have gotten to know the students in their third hour classes since the beginning of the school year and the students are more comfortable with peers they know instead of peers in their grade with last names in alphabetical order that they might not know. 


In an email sent out to staff by Sue Casetta, Director of Learning, was an attachment titled “SEPT 22 ACE LESSON” created by the Arrowhead ACE Team. The ACE Team is a group of staff members that work together over the summer to create the six ACE lessons for the school year.


In the attachment, The ACE Team said, “Please remember that in many cases you have multiple grade levels in your classroom. The 9th and 10th grade lesson is teacher directed. The 11th and 12th lesson google slides with direction, links and recording for students to watch [or] read.” 


This format made it easier for teachers that have three grade levels in the classroom with the teacher being able to go through the lesson with the sophomores while having the juniors and seniors working independently. 


Markano said, “What helped in having three grade levels is that the 11th and 12th grade lesson was self-directed. However, I have no way of clearly knowing if they used their time well. I believe some did, based on their comments afterwards; I am sure that some probably did not. But that is also true of the old format.”


With teachers directing their attention to the sophomores in their class to help guide them along the way, it puts trust into the juniors and seniors to stay focused and follow along in their lesson without getting sidetracked and messing around on their computer. 


Isabella Hall, a freshman at Arrowhead, said, “It went well, mostly because I liked my third hour teacher.” 


Molly Sroka, a South Campus School Counselor at Arrowhead, said, “Students handled this lesson very well. I taught sophomores, who were experts…to go if they needed help this year. They participated, helped their friends, and did a great job.”


Sophomores have a year of doing the ACE lessons under their wing and know what to do if there is a dangerous situation where they have to think of a plan to get out of it safely. 


Teresina Salerno, a sophomore at Arrowhead, said, “It wasn’t very memorable.” Salerno said she found the ACE lesson boring and not very useful. 


Students are able to help one another with brainstorming ideas and with doing the ACE lessons. 


Cheryl Bonlender, a math teacher at Arrowhead, said, “As we moved through the lesson [students] did have good conversations on the given scenarios on what to do for different struggles they may face throughout the school year.”


The lessons helped students know how to handle a scenario at school using the Arrowhead Way.  


According to Bonlender, the freshmen in her class found the “my mom” option for what to do if there is a problem at school kahoot funny. The “my mom” option was put on the kahoot as a joke to see if students would pick it out or not. 


Teachers adding some creativity to the lessons helped students be more engaged and wanting to participate in the lessons instead of just listening.


The ACE Team also said, “We know, from senior surveys and other data, that YOU are the SPARK that makes a difference for students planning success—your enthusiasm and sometimes ‘spin’ on the lessons can make a big difference!”