Academic Innovations, Publisher of Career Choices

Building a Bridge to Your Future

Developing the Skills and Motivation Necessary to Succeed in High School, College, and the Workforce


Building a Bridge to Your Future was designed to bridge the transition from middle school to high school with: Research has shown that the career readiness process needs to start as early as middle school so students do not close the door on academic and career options while they are actively developing their identities and learning how different career areas might work for them.

  • 6 chapters introducing the importance of career exploration and planning, and familiarizing students with the steps

  • 6 chapters building social-emotional strengths––growth mindset, motivation, resiliency, etc.––to help students increase their beliefs they can be successful in school and career planning

  • A series of student-centered videos that enhance the course content and assist teachers in delivering key concepts (see sample videos)

Researchers note that career development efforts across elementary and middle schools also address social inequity issues: an embedded career guidance program for all students aimed at increasing student success and college aspirations before high school can counteract institutional inequities later in the educational pipeline.

And now this important workbook is also available in Spanish so more of your students can participate fully in early career exploration and social-emotional skill-building.

Dr. Karen Miles introduces the course.
Learn more about the 24 videos available to enhance the student experience.

“The workbook covers the kinds of things that we know help with academic success and career planning. If the student has a positive outlook and a higher self-efficacy, then they're more likely to be successful in thinking about and planning for their future.”

Dr. Karen Miles, Executive Director
Get Focused Stay Focused National Resource Center

“I think this class is so beneficial to the junior high students because they are not taught these life skills and future decision-making skills anywhere else. Exposing them to these concepts early helps prepare them for high school and college before they are lost in high school life.”

Cindy Hill Teacher at Lincoln Elementary

“The workbook has the students thinking about their future in a way they haven't thought about yet.”

Kelsey Cappellano, Teacher
Hoopeston Area Middle School, Hoopeston, IL

Bridge the Transition from Middle School to High School

When you adopt this curriculum, you will do three important things:

  1. Prepare students to engage in a rigorous career exploration, decision-making, and planning process in high school.
  2. Raise the self-efficacy of students so they believe that they can be successful in high school and beyond.
  3. Introduce students to the 10-year Plan process and get them enthused about becoming long-range planners as they enter high school. This course will be of particular interest to high schools and districts that have adopted the award-winning Get Focused...Stay Focused!® program.

As the early adolescent begins to understand the importance of having a long-range plan, they will come to appreciate that a meaningful and carefully-researched career and education path puts them in control of their future lives.

The variety of early career exploration activities introduce students to sophisticated concepts such as:

  • Research techniques using the free, open-source U.S. Department of Labor websites so, no matter where they are in their career trajectory, help is always readily available.
  • Employability skills and traits so once they get a job, they keep it; these skills are applicable not only to success in the workforce but also throughout their educational journey.

24 video mini-lectures, available on The Teachers’ Lounge, help the teacher explain the concepts and build enthusiasm for the topics throughout the course. Take a look.

One of the 24 videos available to enhance instruction

The list of video options:

  1. What Will Your Life Look Like in 10 Years' Time?
  2. My Lifestyle Choices
  3. Making a Career Choice
  4. Why Do I Need a 10 Year Plan?
  5. Challenges and Emotional Rewards
  6. Our Brains: How They Change and Our Abilities Grow
  7. Brainpower vs Growth Mindset
  8. The Real You
  9. Vision + Energy = Success
  10. Positive Self-Talk
  11. Turning Negative Thoughts into Positive Ones
  12. Turning Your Behaviors in a Positive Direction
  13. Career Research: Your Most Important Research Project
  14. A Positive or Negative Outlook?
  15. Staying Motivated for a Long-Term Cherished Goal
  16. What Are You Passionate About?
  17. Your Attitude: A Key Factor to Overcoming Obstacles
  18. Using Higher-Order Thinking Skills to Get What You Want
  19. Career Research: Matching Skills and Traits
  20. Employability Skills You Have
  21. Self-Directed Learners: A Highly Prized Skill in Today's Workplace
  22. The Virtual Job Shadow
  23. Getting Ready for High School
  24. Checkpoint: What Are My Next Steps?

Too many middle school students believe that they will not be successful in high school. This curriculum was designed to address those fears by helping students understand more about their attitudes, self-concept, self-motivation, and self-management. Woven throughout this career exploration course are important activities for social and emotional development. Because they are learned in the context of planning for their future, these concepts have more meaning, and students are more likely to embrace and practice what is learned.

For instance, the course material helps students:

  • Develop the skills of a self-directed learner
  • Understand the traits and skills of a resilient personality
  • Practice strategies for creating a growth mindset
  • Discover what motivates them so they stay focused on their education over the long term
  • Study 21st century learning mediums that will help them take advantage of the new ways of mastering topics of their choosing

A Spanish translation of the Building a Bridge to Your Future workbook is crucial to ensuring equitable access and fostering early career readiness.

This curriculum serves as a vital bridge for students transitioning from middle school to high school, providing them with essential tools for academic and career exploration during a formative period of identity development. By implementing this curriculum, you can address social inequity issues and actively work to counteract institutional disparities later in the educational pipeline. And the Spanish translation further extends the reach of this impactful curriculum, making it accessible to a broader and more diverse student population, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive and equitable educational experience.

A comprehensive instructor’s guide provides detailed activity-by-activity presentation ideas, sample lesson and pacing guides, and planning and implementation strategies.

And, with online professional development available 24/7/365, instructors can quickly and easily prepare to deliver this life-changing course confidently.

Two more student-centered videos to support teacher presentations:

This coursework provide students time to reflect and grow — increasing their self-efficacy as successful students — and gives the teacher an opportunity to validate their improved readiness to engage in career exploration and decision-making.

Understanding how they think about learning and life gives young people important insights into their next steps as they transition to high school. They’ll see how what they learn in this course can help them be successful in their future academic life and work life.


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