Return to Headlines

School District Five middle school offers inaugural Student Professional Development Day

For Immediate Release – April 12, 2019


School District Five middle school offers inaugural Student Professional Development Day


IRMO – Dutch Fork Middle School held the inaugural Student Professional Development Day.  The event titled: Got Skills provided students with a foundation of professional skills to help prepare students for the 21st century workforce.


A diverse group of speakers from the community spoke to all 7th and 8th grade students on four topics:  Impressions Last - 1st Impressions & Positive Customer Service, Ready, Set, Goal-Setting! Making SMART Goals and a Vision for your future, Netiquette - How Social Media Affects Your Future, and Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees - Financial Literacy for Middle School Students. 


“We feel that creating this foundation for our students early is important so they can transfer these skills throughout life,” said Dutch Fork Middle School career specialist Fiona Lofton.  “The more we can expose them to these important foundational skills the more successful they will be as they leave high school and enter either college or the workforce and beyond.”


Jeannie Sullivan was one of the presenters in the Goal Setting session.  Sullivan is a business coach and owner of Coaching and Learning Strategies. She said she was excited to present to the students because it’s a subject that she feels is missing in the lives of children.


“I have two teenage sons and I realized that I was teaching the same skills to them at home that I was teaching my clients about how to figure out your goals and how to work towards them,” Sullivan said.  “I transformed the process that I use with my adult clients into something the students could do in their session, so they set the goals during the session and learn a process that can serve them in their future.”


Each student attended a session in all four topics.  The goal of the sessions was to teach the students four employability skills to help unlock doors for students to become productive employees in the workforce.


Eighth grader Kenneth Johnson said he enjoyed the sessions and learned a lot. “I feel like students these days need inspiration from adults who are professionals and who can encourage and inspire students to do great things in life.”


Dutch Fork Middle School 8th grader Mimi Demasi added, “I thought it was really good for everyone to hear from the speakers because we learned about different careers and what you need to do to be professional and how to act during an interview.”


James Galluzzo, Corporate HR director for John Harris Body Shop, presented a session on making a good first impression.  He said having Dutch Fork Middle School offer an opportunity to promote awareness and engage students in the foundation of employability skills is something that not only helps the students but businesses as well.


“There is such a demand and need for workers out there and we have more jobs than we have people prepared for them,” Galluzzo said.  “I think it is very important for students in middle school to get this information because by the time they are in high school they have decided on a career path and how they are going to approach their career search.  Starting early in learning these skills helps them build the skills and practice them so that when they are starting their job search and enter the workforce they are prepared.”