JAG continues to thrive at Hastings High | Messages
The Hastings High School Jobs for America’s Graduates program is a sophomore that helps students work on job skills, life skills, and college preparation.
JAG Instructor Kate Tomaszkiewicz provided an update on the program during the Hastings Board of Education working session on Thursday.
Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Schneider reminded board members that Tomaszkiewicz is not a county employee, but a JAG employee.
“But she’s absolutely a part of senior staff,” Schneider said. “This is an exciting program.”
Tomaszkiewicz works with sophomore through senior students on professional skills, life skills and creating an individual career path for each student within the program.
JAG is project based. Students do lots of group work and hands-on activities.
The professional association is part of the JAG. The students formed campaign teams to elect the students they saw as good leaders.
Elected leaders create an agenda, called a work plan, which is implemented throughout the school year.
“It’s a great thing that the JAG program offers students,” said Tomaszkiewicz. “It’s completely student-run.”
Tomaszkiewicz makes it easier.
Mayor Corey Stutte taught the students how to run a campaign.
New to JAG this year is the College of the Month program.
Students told Tomaszkiewicz which colleges would interest them.
Admissions officials speak with students about the specifics of the program, why students should go there, and scholarship opportunities.
In addition, during this school year the students have worked on gaining confidence in themselves and in their professional readiness.
Through Get that job!, students write resumes and cover letters, and learn how to interview and act professionally.
At the beginning of the year, 14 students had part-time jobs.
A few weeks ago there were 26 who are currently employed.
That number is now close to 30.
Tomaszkiewicz has seven 15-year-olds with jobs.
“I think what’s great is that they feel safe and they know what to do,” she said. “If they come back and say, ‘I got an interview,’ or ‘You hired me,’ that’s a really big win.”
JAG is a multi-year program.
“Once they come in, we really want them to stay with us,” Tomaszkiewicz said.
About 20 students are returning next year.
So far 35 students are enrolled.
“That means they bring their friends and family and they’re like, ‘Hey, join JAG,'” she said.
It has room for 50 students.
In order to be accepted into the JAG, students must speak to their advisor or Tomaszkiewicz. She interviews the students and talks to them about goals.
“Is there anything you want to get out of the program?” she said. “I am looking for needs, wants and benefits. If they can tell me all three things, I’ll say, “Welcome to the program.” ”
From June, JAG will be offering a follow-up year for graduates. Tomaszkiewicz is in monthly contact to discuss plans.
“I offer support, guidance, all kinds of things,” she said. “It can be a text message, a phone call, an email, whatever they need.”
Students have their phone number and email address.
She has been a reference for many jobs and grants.