National Career Development Month

November is National Career Development Month (also, November is sneaking up on me – didn’t school just start?!), and today I’m talking about simple ways to celebrate in your school counseling program!

1. Community Helper of the Day

Highlight a different community helper each day. This can be a general community helper (Police Officer) or an actual member of your community! Reach out to parents, school partners, and stakeholders and ask them to submit a picture and brief bio with a summary of their daily tasks, what they enjoy about their jobs, and possibly their education. You can beautify it and display a new community helper each day.

Having dedicated wall-space for this is integral for school-wide reach! Choose a spot where all of your students will be exposed, such as the front of the building or near the lunchroom. If you don’t have the wall space, or if your school does daily video announcements, create a eye-catching slide for the announcements and briefly read the information submitted!

It may seem daunting to find a new community helper for each day, but with Election Day, Veterans Day, and the Thanksgiving holiday, chances are you probably only have about 18 school days this month anyway. If it’s still too much, try to highlight at least one community helper from each career cluster during the month, or print simple {community helper posters} to display throughout the building.

2. Simple Career Interest Assessments

During classroom guidance lessons, administer brief career interest surveys. There are tons of these online that you can print, or you may prefer a more interactive activity, such as a {card sort}, {career interest centers}, or {board game}. Doing these assessments helps students make the connections between their own interests and career possibilities. Here are a few links to assessments that can be taken online (and are best suited for upper elementary/middle school aged students):

{Career One Stop}
{Career Zone}

Be sure to remind students that just because an assessment says their interests are aligned with certain careers doesn’t mean that have to go into that career field. It’s just a starting point to get them thinking about careers they might enjoy 🙂

3. Weekly Community Helper Presentations

Invite parents and community members to come in to the classrooms or come in for classroom guidance lessons to give brief presentations on their careers. This is a much smaller set-up than an entire career day! Parents love coming into their students’ classrooms, and inviting one parent/community member per week makes it more manageable (this means just 4 volunteers per classroom, though many parents/community members are typically willing to visit more than one classroom if there are not enough volunteers to go around!). If your classroom teachers are open to the community members coming during typical instruction time, set up is even easier because you can work with the community helpers’ schedules. If not, classroom guidance time is a perfect time to give students exposure to real community helpers.

If this seems unfeasible in your school, consider inviting a few community helpers to come in after school in October and record an interview with them to show over the morning announcements, during classroom guidance, or when teachers have time during the instructional day. This is a great way to get your student-led morning announcement team, A/V club (does your school still have one of these?!) or student council involved as well!

4. Classroom Connections: Community Helper Research Projects

Who doesn’t love a good research project? Work with classroom teachers to develop a student research project on community helpers! Lots of classroom teachers are probably already doing something like this (one of my first grade teacher friends has her students do a research project and then present their findings to the class dressed as the community helper – fun for everyone!!).  If this takes place at different times of the year for your classroom teachers, think smaller scale and lead students through a mini-research project during classroom guidance using O*Net or your favorite career website.

5. Library Connections: Community Helper Books

Work with your librarian to feature and display books about career development! There are so many great options out there, and chances are, your library already has them. Here are a few of my favorites, and please tell me your favorites in the comments section because I’m always looking for more (these are affiliate links):


How are you celebrating National Career Development Month this year? I’d love to hear about the projects, bulletin boards, and presentations you have on the docket for November!

If you’re looking for ready-made career development resources, I’m highlighting a few of my resources below. Click them images to check them out!

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