April 1, 2024 | Harold Hare

Licking Regional ESC’s Strategic Strategy to Introduce Find Your Grind to its Districts

The Licking County Regional Educational Service Center (Licking Regional ESC) has partnered with Find Your Grind to launch a professional development day aimed at transforming the approach to career readiness. This collaboration originates from a deliberate vetting process by the Licking Regional ESC, which supports numerous districts. The objective is to enhance collaboration among these districts and secure their commitment to connect students with local careers and opportunities. This initiative reflects a strategic effort to share innovative teaching strategies and build a community of Future Ready Educators dedicated to preparing students for the future. 

The Licking Regional ESC mission is to, “To provide leadership and service to meet the individual and collective needs of Licking County Schools so that the quality of educational experiences for children is enhanced and improved.” They aim to never force solutions onto their district but to support them and get their input and authentic buy-in.

Charting a New Path: Lifestyle-First Learning

The partnership began when Dale Dickson, Director, Licking Regional ESC, met Tyler Harrington, Account Executive, Find Your Grind at the OESCA conference. Tyler gave a presentation that covered how Montgomery County ESC and Find Your Grind announced a strategic 3-year collaboration to bring Find Your Grind’s innovative Future Ready Curriculum and personalized exploration experience to thousands of students in the Dayton metropolitan area.

For far too long, we’ve asked students, “What do you want to be when you grow up”’ Lifestyles become the focus of Find Your Grind, with the students understanding who they are, and what kind of lifestyle they want to lead. I was intrigued by that.

– Dale Dickson, Director, Licking Regional ESC

Through interactions with the Find Your Grind curriculum, Dale realized that the longstanding educational question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ no longer served its intended purpose. Find Your Grind shifts the focus to lifestyles, helping students understand who they are and what kind of lifestyle they want.

A Day of Transformative Learning

Jessa Clark, a freshman English teacher, attended the Licking County Regional ESC’s professional development day with her team. Jessa and her colleagues were pleasantly surprised. The Find Your Grind program offered engaging ideas that resonated with Jessa’s educational values. She saw the program’s potential to be seamlessly integrated into her curriculum, empowering students to explore lifestyles, develop essential skills, and ultimately chart their futures. The day even sparked a collaborative brainstorming session among the teachers, Jessa reflects, “We were just doing some lessons, trying to explore how we can integrate those ideas into our classrooms to assist students in becoming more future-ready.”

“…focus on the lifestyle component before you focus on the career – that to me was kind of eye-opening because what I currently do is very much career first.”

– Brian Ledford, Math and Financial Literacy Teacher, Licking Valley High School

Brian Ledford, a Math and Financial Literacy Teacher at Licking Valley High School, shared his introduction to Find Your Grind. He expressed, “We didn’t really know much about Find Your Grind, and now, having gone through some training on it, to focus on the lifestyle component before you focus on the career – that to me was kind of eye-opening because what I currently do is very much career first.” Brian elaborated on how the curriculum empowers students to develop transferable skills, “What can I do to improve them? What skills am I not good at and, then as they get older, maybe they do change careers. Maybe they stay on the same path. Those skills are going to help them navigate that as they get older.”

Dale stressed the importance of preparing students for the evolving job market, especially with the burgeoning presence of manufacturing and various industries in their area. He emphasized, “With the growth of manufacturing and many other businesses coming to our area, it’s so vitally important to build on workforce development for our students.” Additionally, Dale discussed his insights gleaned from utilizing Find Your Grind. He highlighted the platform’s capability to collect valuable data on student learning within the curriculum. “One of the most intriguing pieces of Find Your Grind is being able to gather proper data about what our students are learning within the curriculum so that we can understand those subgroups of students to better match with the businesses in our area of the state,” he explained. 

To gain a deeper understanding of these transformative learning strategies, hear directly from the Future Ready Educators who attended this event.

Building Workforce Development
Dale Dickson, School Director

Dale Dickson emphasized the importance of the day’s initiative for workforce development within the region. Dale articulated the critical need for equipping educators and businesses with the right tools to forge meaningful connections that benefit students’ career trajectories. This collaborative effort addresses the local demand for skilled professionals by enhancing career pathway development, illustrating a community-wide commitment to future readiness.

Reimagining Career Readiness
Brian Ledford, Math and Financial Literacy Teacher

Brian Ledford reflected on the shift experienced during the training. Brian highlighted the importance of considering lifestyle choices before career paths, a concept that resonated with many educators. This approach prepares students for immediate opportunities and equips them with adaptable skills for lifelong learning and flexibility, embodying the essence of being future-ready.

Integrating New Perspectives
Jessa Clark, Freshman English Teacher

Jessa Clark shares what she values about the program and how it provides actionable strategies for integrating future readiness into the classroom. By exploring lifestyle considerations and skill development, educators like Jessa are better equipped to guide students in navigating their paths, fostering a more personalized and effective approach to career planning.

Empowering Educators
Tyler Harrington, Account Executive
Tyler Harrington united educators across different fields and educational levels by cultivating a collaborative community focused on pioneering instructional approaches. Tyler envisions this alliance as a means to construct a strong network of teachers, empowered to steer their students adeptly through today’s multifaceted landscape, thereby guaranteeing every learner the ability to confidently shape their future.

Envisioning the Future Together

This spring, the Licking Regional ESC and Find Your Grind are launching a collaborative pilot program to explore innovative approaches to career readiness. The program will involve several districts and aims to assess a district-wide partnership’s effectiveness for the upcoming school year. The initiative brings together educators from diverse districts with a common goal: to ensure students are prepared for success in the job market. By working together, districts can share best practices, optimize resources, and develop a more cohesive approach to career planning and development for their students.

Are you a Service Agency, District, or School Champion of Change and are passionate about wanting to support your educators and students? Book an appointment to share your unique needs, and we can support you in cultivating a transformative educational experience for your educators and students. Let’s embark on this journey together, Schedule your appointment now!

Are you an educator or administrator & want to learn more?

Ready to book a meeting? Help us direct you to the right Find Your Grind representative by telling us your State.

We’d love to get to know you and share more about Find Your Grind! Complete the form below and we’ll be in touch.