Expanding Opportunities in Montrose
The Montrose school district partnered with Launch in May 2018 with a goal of expanding its current course catalog. This is a common scenario in many small, rural Missouri school districts—they cannot always hire full-time educators to teach desired class offerings, so they use Launch to supplement their schedules and offer students as many opportunities as possible.
Today Montrose Schools has a new Principal and Superintendent—Carey Drehle took on the role in the district three years ago—but she kept the same mindset when it came to offering students Launch classes. And she’s taking it a step further with the addition of Launch Missouri’s Workforce (LMW) offerings. “A decent percentage of our juniors and seniors go to Clinton for their career-tech program,” Carey says. “These are students who are looking into hands-on industries like welding and auto mechanics. But we have a good amount of students who don’t go, and I’m excited to offer them something extra.”
Expanding Student Opportunities
Launch Missouri’s Workforce—which is Launch’s newest initiative that offers high-school students free career-focused education classes and the opportunity to earn industry-recognized certifications and credentials—was first offered to students in the fall 2022 semester. “I had read a bit about Launch Missouri’s Workforce when Launch made its announcement over the summer,” Carey says. “But it wasn’t until later—when I called Janna asking her a question about it—that she really explained the new program to me. That’s when I really understood what a great thing this could be for our school. I was immediately excited about having this new opportunity to share with my students.”
While more than 25 percent of Montrose’s juniors and seniors currently attend Clinton Technical School for career-focused education courses, Carey is excited to offer additional education pathways to students who may be interested in other industries. “I think that Launch Missouri’s Workforce will complement our current offerings with Clinton Tech very well,” Carey says. “We need to be able to tap into multiple different interests.”
Launch Missouri’s Workforce Offerings
Launch Missouri’s Workforce will offer courses in 11 career industries: Education; Financial & Professional Services; Hospitality & Food Service; Information Technology; Agribusiness; Health Science; Manufacturing; Transportation & Logistics; Bio-Sciences; Construction and Energy. There are currently courses available in four of these 11 pathways, and the remaining will be developed and offered within a three-year window from fall 2022.
“While there are many students who choose not to attend Clinton Tech, it’s not because they don’t have the skills or desire to learn,” Carey says. “It’s just that they aren’t interested in the things that are offered.” This is why Carey is so excited about the various additional career pathways offered with Launch Missouri’s Workforce. “When I heard about this, and how our students can graduate with an IRC certificate in all these areas, I was beyond excited,” Carey says. “This is just what our kids need here.”
A Student’s Perspective
Soon after she learned about Launch Missouri's Workforce, Carey reached out to a current junior to talk about her new opportunities. “I remembered having a conversation with Jaelynn, and her mentioning that she might want to go into the world of education and become a teacher,” Carey says. “She was very interested, and we got her enrolled in Teaching as a Profession for next semester.”
“I want to go into early childhood development when I graduate from high school,” says 17-year-old Jaelynn Crowder. “I’ve always liked working with children. When Mrs. Drehle told me about this, and how I would graduate with a para certification, I was really interested.”
While Jaelynn won’t start her Teaching as a Profession Launch course until January 2023, she’s no stranger to Launch. “I took a Spanish class with Launch and really liked it,” she says. “I like the layout of Launch, and how my teacher was always there any time I had questions.”
And while the future is still somewhat unknown for Jaelynn, she is excited for the upcoming opportunities. “I am still looking into what colleges I want to go to,” Jaelynn says. “But I also plan on working when I go to college, and now I’ll be able to start a job with a para license. I’ll be able to start a little bit ahead.”
Montrose at a Glance
K-12 Enrollment: 86
High School Population: 47
MASA District: West Central
School Colors: Blue and White
Fun Fact: Montrose was founded in 1871, spurred by the building of the railroad through the territory. It was named after Joseph Patton's horse—Joseph owned the land that is now Montrose.