Spark Career Exploration Program: Early Exposure to Careers Fosters Identity and Ambition in Students

January 23, 2024


Career exploration is becoming increasingly vital in today’s fast-evolving job landscape, marked by technological advancements and innovation. At the forefront of this educational revolution is the Spark Career Exploration Program, which integrates state-of-the-art technologies like 3D printers and robotics into its curriculum. With the responsibility of shaping the futures of nearly 90,000 students in Denver Public Schools, the program plays a pivotal role in preparing the next generation for sustainable careers.

How is the Spark Early Career Exploration Program transforming the way young students view and prepare for their future careers? What impact does this early exposure have on their career identity and future decisions?

Unbox Innovation features Olivia Barraza Kee, the Senior Manager and Laura Eley, the Elementary Specialist of the Spark Early Career Exploration Program as well as Joseph Ortega, Regional Coordinator of the Spark Middle School Career Exploration Program . They discuss how Spark is reshaping career education for young learners, from elementary to middle school, through innovative technologies and experiential learning. The conversation covers:

  • The role of technologies like 3D printers and lab discs in the curriculum, and their effectiveness in engaging students in career exploration.
  • Practical classroom applications of these technologies, including third graders designing sailboats to learn engineering principles.
  • The significance of embracing failure and experimentation in the learning process, and how Spark’s methodology assists students in connecting with diverse career paths from an early age.

Olivia Barraza Kee, Laura Eley, and Joseph Ortega are integral to the Spark Early Career Exploration Program. Olivia, as the Senior Manager, has extensive experience in educational program management. Laura, an Elementary Specialist, excels in incorporating innovative teaching techniques for young learners. Joseph, the Regional Coordinator, ensures that career exploration is both engaging and relevant for middle school students. Their collective expertise and commitment are instrumental in shaping the future of career education in Denver Public Schools.

Recent Episodes

View episode

Mission and Impact: Vogel Alcove, a nonprofit in Dallas, helps homeless children and families through various programs and services. Pyramid Model Framework: Vogel uses the Pyramid Model, an evidence-based framework for promoting young children’s social-emotional development with universal supports, targeted supports, and intensive interventions. Nurturing Relationships and Supportive Environments: Vogel focuses on building nurturing…

View episode

In a recent episode of “Secured” with hosts Mike Matranga and Mike Monsive, the conversation revolved around the evolution of safety systems in schools and wearable devices. The discussion highlighted the simplicity of understanding effective systems, using Buc-ee’s gas stations’ success, known for their clean restrooms, as an analogy for consistency and excellence. Matranga…

Jaime Mendez talks Advanced Technologies and School Building Projects
View episode

Nationally, school building projects have a budget that has a multi-billion dollar price tag, with additional billions dedicated to communications and audiovisual technologies. This significant investment, coupled with more money allocated for educational technology updates by school districts, marks a transformative period in educational infrastructure. With the stakes high, it’s interesting test to see…