CDOS Offers New Path Toward Graduation

JHS junior, Amber Harrington, shadows groomers, Emily Haskins and Dakota Thompson, at Puppy Love Pet Grooming on E. 2nd Street while grooming Reagan, the dog through the CDOS Program at JHS. She is interested in working with animals after graduation and the staff at Puppy Love is showing her how an animal business is run including learning about customer service.

Jamestown High School is putting students to work — in a unique way. Through the three-year New State Education CDOS (Career Development and Occupational Studies) grant the district received last year JHS students have been offered an alternative pathway to graduation. The grant helps provide funding to enhance JHS’ instructional programs to increase student participation in career and technical education (CTE) coursework in the business and technology departments, instruction in the CDOS learning standards, and work-based learning opportunities to fulfill requirements for the award of the NYS CDOS Commencement Credential. The credential will recognize each individual student’s preparation and skills for post-school employment. It indicates that the student has the knowledge and skills necessary for entry-level employment.

“In the past, all students including our special needs students, had to pass five Regents exams in order to graduate,” said Dave Munella, CDOS Coordinator and JHS business teacher. “Now, all students have the option to choose this pathway to graduation. They still have to pass four Regents exams, one in each of the core subjects, but they can use their CDOS credential to replace the fifth exam. Students can also use the CDOS Credential as an ‘add-on.’ They can still graduate with Regents diplomas but also have the CDOS Credential, which with the work-based experiences, is very enticing to both colleges and potential employers.”

JHS senior Autumn Haight is on track to graduate with a Regents diploma but she wants to be a teacher. To gain real-world experience, she will work through the CDOS program at Love Elementary School in kindergarten classrooms two times a week in addition to her regular school classes.

“It is a great opportunity to add onto my diploma and let me experience what it will be like to be an elementary school teacher,” said Autumn. “As I plan to go to SUNY Fredonia next year, it will also look really good to any school or potential employer that I have not only my diploma but also the CDOS Credential.”

There are multiple steps for students to earn the CDOS Credential including: developing a career plan with strengths and weaknesses, stating career goals, completing at least 216 hours of CTE coursework with 54 of those hours in work-based learning experiences, and completing an employability profile that documents the student’s skills, experiences and academic achievements. Through the career plan and figuring out their interests, strengths and weaknesses, students are paired with an internship at a local business or non-profit organization. JHS students are, or will be working at, Dave Warren Auto Group, Puppy Love Dog Grooming, Hector’s Powersports, St. Susan’s Center, Northwest Arena, St. Luke’s Thrift Shop, YMCA After School Program, Heritage Park, UPMC Chautauqua WCA, Jamestown Schools and Shults Auto Group.

The JHS student working at Shults Auto Group performed work in the service department ranging from refilling washer fluid containers for technicians to cleaning the garage and checking and restocking shop supplies to shadowing a technician doing oil changes, tire rotations or brake repairs.

“There is a huge demand for automotive technicians in this market, so anytime we have a chance to intern a student, we do,” said Jeff Gustafson, Shults Auto Group Service Manager. “It’s a way for us to see students that are still in school and show interest in the automotive field. We can help and guide these kids and they get experience in a real work environment. This was our first student in the program and I would like to see more kids. It worked out great for us and the student gained knowledge and experience.”

Jamestown High School, along with the help of the CDOS Advisory Board made up of parents, local employers, non-profits and Jamestown Community College staff, is working hard to find local employers who would be willing to invest in the CDOS Program by hosting a JHS student for an internship. If you are interested in participating, please contact Mr. Munella at 483-3470 ext. 2316.