Good ideas are worth sharing, so it’s no surprise that school districts across the country are launching programs similar to the Blue Valley Center for Advanced Professional Studies.
The program exposes teenagers in the Blue Valley School District to profession-based learning. Students work on real-world projects for local companies, complete internships and acquire skills that will help them succeed in the workplace—or even create their own companies.
Now several CAPS-inspired programs have come together to form an alliance, the CAPS Network.
It includes 14 similar programs in nine states, encompassing 30-plus school districts. In addition to Blue Valley CAPS in Johnson County, the metro area is also home to the Northland CAPS program north of the Missouri River.
Leaders from the various programs traveled to Kansas City for a conference last month.
While the CAPS Network programs will collaborate and share best practices, there won’t be a formal curriculum that each community will have to adopt. Organizers don’t want each CAPS-style program to look alike, “because we learn from diversity,” said Corey Mohn, the executive director of Blue Valley CAPS.
The network should make it easier for students in one city to access resources and expertise in another part of the country. A student in Kansas City, for example, might be able to connect with a company or university in Utah or Minnesota thanks to the CAPS-style program there.
The goal, Mohn said, is “to get students aligned with their passions.”
“How amazing would it be if everyone were that fired up by what they’re doing?”