Academic Innovations

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Optional Enhancement Opportunities

It is understandable that in a 6-8 week summer program, there may not be time for additional enhancements. However, many summer youth coordinators (as well as year-round coordinators) have utilized the ideas and concrete strategies provided in the Instructor's Guide for enhancing the success and interest of their programs.

Involve the Community with Guest Speakers

Teachers and coordinators have found a wealth of expertise from a variety of community leaders--local business owners, insurance brokers, and bank managers. These individuals give young people a chance to ask questions and obtain a perspective regarding life skills and career opportunities. A complete strategy for recruiting guest speakers and mentors is found on pages 4/98-99, 6/36-6/40, and 10/2-10/6 of the Instructor's Guide.

Field Trips

At-risk young people need exposure to their community. This increases their awareness and experience of belonging to the place where they live and will eventually work. A visit to the library, with the goal of having all participants acquire library cards, can enhance the reading component of a program. Visiting a local hospital may inspire some to consider the growing healthcare field as a viable career opportunity.


If the learning site has access to a computer lab, students have an opportunity to integrate technology into the program. If they are using Possibilities, the literature anthology, many of the journal assignments can be done on a computer using standard word processing software. If students do the budget sections of the text, or if Lifestyle Math is part of the program, provides an online correction tool that allows for self-scoring of the personalized Lifestyle Math calculations.

Providing Academic Credit

A Career Choices summer class may qualify for academic credit. Most school districts require a minimum amount of hours to qualify for a unit of credit. If the program qualifies, the instructor or coordinator can petition for review and provide a list of competencies and assessments. The process may involve time, but the payoff for the young person, particularly those with insufficient units, is highly rewarding.
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