It's never too early to plan for life after high school, according to Pickerington Local School District officials who will host a K-12 "College & Career Family Night," Tuesday, Oct. 1.
The district has for many years hosted forums for high school students and their parents to learn more about preparing for post-graduate pursuits like college, a job or the military.
Tuesday, those discussions will be opened to the rest of the community when the district hosts College & Career Family Night for parents and students of all grades at 6:30 p.m. in Pickerington High School Central.
The forum, which will be followed by a second event Jan. 9 at PHS North, will offer parents and students presentations about college savings plans and college and military admissions requirements.
They also can learn about social media's impact on higher education and the 21st century job market, scholarship opportunities, NCAA athletic regulations and hear from an Eastland Career Center representative and Pickerington administrators.
"We decided we could put together something that would be helpful for all grade levels," said Kris Owen, a Ridgeview Junior High School counselor.
"We want everybody to get there.
"PLSD school counselors recognize that college and career readiness is a 21st Century K-12 initiative," Owen said.
"As a result, we want to provide an opportunity to get important information out to students and parents so they will be better able to make their dreams a reality," she said
School counselors from throughout the district developed the K-12 College and Career Night.
It's the product of new curriculum requirements and Ohio Department of Education evaluations, which grade students and school districts on college and career readiness after graduation.
Owen also said many parents and students don't wait until high school to prepare for live after it.
"Now, in the seventh grade they can start taking college prep courses," Owen said.
"Middle school parents, they're already thinking scholarships and the NCAA," she said
At College & Career Night, district officials want more students to think beyond graduation.
There will be career lessons and activities for K-8 students, and 5-8 students can choose to attend sessions with high school students on curriculum and college readiness, Owen said.
"Some kids are already thinking about college and some are still trying to figure out what's going on," she said.
"We're trying to prepare them to look ahead."
In conjunction with the forum, students Oct. 1 will be encouraged to wear college "gear" during school.
District counselors also have asked everyone in the community to support their efforts to promote forward thinking and future planning by wearing college or career/workplace insignia gear.
Owen said Pickerington City Manager Bill Vance last week informed her city employees would be among those gearing up for what school counselors have dubbed "Future Day."