SPS program encourages students to plan past high school

Do you know what T-2-4 is? It stands for "technical, 2-year, or 4-year colleges" and for the past three years, Spokane Public Schools has been encouraging students to complete one of those three.

The young students like Sehelee at Ridgeview Elementary are already planning past high school.

“I really want to go to Gonzaga,” 5th grader Sehelee says. “I really either want to be an engineer or a teacher.”

Why? “I really love helping kids around school and I am really smart with computers and I help my grandma when she needs help,” she says.

Thinking about college is a part of the school's culture. T-2-4 is the district's goal to prepare all students and show them higher education is possible for everyone.

“We know that kids are already making decisions about what they can and can't do at an early age,” says Melissa Pettey, director of college and career readiness with Spokane Public Schools.

Educators say it's increasingly important to have some form of certificate for your career.

“Early on they have those dreams,” says principal Matt Beal. “Whatever I want to do it's an attainable goal and we work towards that goal.”

Sixth graders also get planners that show different career options based on personality traits. You can scan the cover using the app Layar, choose a trait, take a short quiz, and find out what kind of career would suit you.

Counselors not only teach about the different paths, but also how to fund higher education.

“It's about dreaming big,” Pettey says. “It’s about having a passion. It’s about feeling a purpose and something special and we want our kids no matter where they live or what their parents do to dream about the things that are special to them.”

They have an upcoming college fair on September 28 at the high schools as a part of the T-2-4 circuit.

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