At Kankakee Public Schools in Illinois, we’ve introduced 16 different career paths to about 70 percent of our K–5 students using Defined STEM’s career wheel. Some of these topics include agriculture, communication and information studies, human services, and health science. Each grade has a designated topic, paving the way for every student to explore and become familiar with a wide variety of career possibilities.

For us, it starts by marrying the traditional, content-driven coursework with performance-based assessment. Rather than having teachers manage a whole group of 30+ students at once, PBL frees them to break classes into small groups and connect and talk in depth with each group. To accommodate this teaching style, our classrooms are being redesigned from larger, lecture-style spaces into smaller, collaborative rooms conducive to group work.

As we make our way toward a completely mastery-based model, we are slowly ridding ourselves of traditional grade levels. Instead, we aim to categorize students by year one, year two, and so on. If a child can demonstrate mastery of a certain content area, they can move on in their work even if they are technically a freshman.

We have also increased dual-enrollment options, providing our junior and senior students opportunities to take local community college classes. This ends up playing a significant role in giving our students a taste of real-world jobs once they have displayed mastery.

Read the full article on getting rid of grade levels by Felice Hybert at EdSurge