Copperas Cove Junior High students are already pushing themselves to get ahead by taking high school classes and earning credits while still at the middle school level. With more responsibility placed on school districts to teach skills that were previously taught in the home, students are enrolling in Human Services classes, preparing them for both the world of work and skills to take care of a family.

CCJHS teacher Karen Dixon teaches two new classes this year including Hospitality and Tourism and Principles of Human Services. Both classes fall under the Career and Technical Education umbrella.

Dixon said the Human Services class prepares students for the workforce.

“They are learning skills such as resume writing, customer service, time management, decision making, and team-building,” Dixon said. “Parents are very happy that their children are learning real-world skills. Students come in and tell me about ways they have applied skills learned in class in their lives.”

Students have also learned how to care for a family including small children and infants.

“It’s very rewarding when a student comes in and tells me about how they applied skills they learned in my class with the babies,” Dixon said. “Students have learned the proper way to buckle a child into a car seat, dress a baby, change a diaper, and swaddle a baby. Students learned how to identify basic needs of children and to analyze the responsibilities of caregivers for promoting the safety and development of children.”

In the Principles of Hospitality and Tourism class, students demonstrate leadership, citizenship, and teamwork skills. Problem-solving and decision-making skills and time management are also learned through the class.

“Students get to use technology every day in class,” Dixon said. “We do lots of team activities where students must work as a member of a collaborative group. This allows students to use communication skills and work as part of a team with diverse members.”

Each class begins with an engaging activity, video, or game. Students have opportunities to discuss their work with classmates and get out of their seats.

“Students are rarely sitting and doing ‘pencil-paper’ work. Skill mastery is demonstrated through hands-on activities,” Dixon said.

Sixth grader Julian Wyatt really enjoys the classes and their non-traditional structure.

“At first, I wasn’t sure about it because we are doing some crazy things,” Wyatt said. “But, it’s really fun and I get to get out of my seat and talk and make things. It doesn’t feel like I’m doing work, but I am. The time goes by really fast.”

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