For 21 years, Kitty Belsly has been working to help her students be successful in all aspects of life. A National Board Certified teacher with her master’s in Education and Leadership, and an administrators certifications from Bradley University, Kitty has worked in districts around the country, but it’s at Limestone Community High School where she’s now helping students succeed beyond the classroom.
“My most recent success”, Kitty beams, “is the revitalized Inter-Related Cooperative Program here at Limestone Community High School; I have re-structured the curriculum to focus on the importance of soft skills on both a personal and career level.” That’s right, Kitty Belsly has found a way to integrate soft skills instruction, career planning, and career exploration into the time-old Work Co-op structure. In the classroom, students learn skills pertaining to the 12 soft skills areas, from ethics, to conflict resolution: “My approach is to relate everything back to the real world: at their job sites, students are learning the technical skills, but I want them to feel the connection and understand the importance behind the material I am presenting to them on a daily basis in my classroom.”
Recently, Kitty has honed her program even further, connecting students to job shadows at local employers. They started by using Career Cruising, a career exploration software made available through the Tazewell Area Education for Employment office, to identify their top five career interests. With these insights, Kitty tasked her students to identify five local employers related to their careers, and after a few phone calls, Kitty had set up job shadows for each of her students. From Pharmacy Technician to Auto Mechanic, these students had a blast getting close to a career that interested them, and for Kitty the real success is giving students the power to define their career journey. “Success means providing as much hands-on experience to my students. Whether students succeed or fail, it’s about the experience they gain and the journey along the way. The actual experience is the real tool behind teaching.”
But Kitty isn’t stopping at job shadows, during the remainder of the semester, she’ll be bringing employers into the classroom to perform mock interviews and hosting employer networking sessions for her students, focused on best preparing her students and teaching them through the power of experience. If you’re interested in finding out more about Kitty’s work, or are interested in supporting Kitty and Limestone Community students, she can be reached email@example.com or (309) 697-6271 ext. 304.