People in the Methow have exceptionally diverse jobs, from working in the national forest to writing computer code to counseling people about their mental health. Some were laser-focused on their career goal, but others landed in a field they didn’t even know existed.
The CLIMBS (Community Learning: Inquiry, Motivation and Building Skills) program at Liberty Bell High School is an elective that exposes students from seventh through 12th grade to the wide range of post-secondary school options — and gives them insights into how to get there.
The idea behind CLIMBS is to introduce students to different experiences and to help them create a vision of a future that works for them, LBHS principal Elyse Darwood said.
CLIMBS helps students picture what they want their life to look like as adults — for example, when they’re 50, Darwood said. That look into the future encompasses not only their work, but also where they live (for example, whether they own a home or travel much of the year), what they do for recreation, and their family and social situation — in essence, how to have a well-balanced, healthy and satisfying life. Teachers and students explore together what students need to do to reach those goals.
In addition to hearing from community members, students tutor one another and share ideas and experiences. “It’s a like-minded community of students — they know they want to do something but haven’t all defined it yet. But they all say, ‘I have plans for my life,’” Darwood said.
Success looks different for every student, and CLIMBS helps them define that success. The program is really dynamic — it incorporates research and study skills, guest speakers, and various tools for success, Darwood said.
While students with a well-defined education and career goal may not need CLIMBS, the program can be very beneficial for those with lots of interests but no clear goal, or for those looking for a less traditional path. Some end up pursuing a field that never occurred to them or that was never even presented, Darwood said.
CLIMBS teachers are seeking community members interested in sharing their experiences — whatever they do, and whether or not they had formal education to get there. They could be small-business owners, have jobs in the corporate world or in health care, or be artists or carpenters.
Speakers talk about a range of topics, including what challenges they faced in high school and after graduation, how they knew their career path was right for them, and what surprised them most about their work.
“Everyone’s story contributes to kids’ awareness, since lots of kids only hear teachers’ point of view about what their future could look like,” Darwood said.
CLIMBS also helps students apply to college or trade school and to fill out scholarship applications. The program arranges college and career field trips and explores options for community service.
Have career and life experiences to share?
CLIMBS classes host guest speakers every Tuesday. For more information or to sign up to speak to a class, contact these CLIMBS teachers:
• 7-8th grade: Amy Fitkin, email@example.com
• 9-10th grade: Matt Hinckley, firstname.lastname@example.org
• 11-12th grade: Grant Storey, email@example.com