Editor’s Note: At The Core was founded by Beth Probst to help students focus on their strongest personal traits and how to use them to their advantage when choosing a major and targeted career through guided self-assessment. Beth is working in a career field completely outside of what she went to college for (Purdue University for computer technology), and that is something that sticks with her as she works with teenagers (and their parents) to help them discover what they are passionate about. Beth has become a vital resource and influencer for my school district, as we continue to bust myths about career-technical education. After a successful career in sales and management for companies like Oracle and Astute Solutions, Beth founded At The Core, and the growth of her Powell, Ohio-based business has been astronomical. She is a featured expert in the True Pursuit documentary. This interview originally appeared in the February issue of the 1635 newsletter. Subscribe here.
My experience in public schools was…
…overall, very good. There were many opportunities in my suburban Indianapolis district (electives, clubs, etc.), and I felt that teachers were working to challenge and support us. Because of my and my husband’s public school experiences, we felt confident to make that same decision for our kids. I continued my path in public school at Purdue University, and I feel grateful to look back and know that I received a great education from great people.
If I were telling the story of public education, I…
..would have to research the facts because I didn’t pay too much attention in history! :) Joking aside, I consider our public education system a hallmark of America — the promise for every student to have access to education. There are parts of the implementation of the promise that need work, but I’m proud to be part of a country that makes education a priority.
What is the disconnect you see those working in education have from where the students are when it comes to preparing for the next step?
The next step…. Well, at some point, all students stop being official students and enter the working world. In our work with students, we do see a huge “career knowledge” gap in most kids. The only career they have much exposure to is that of a teacher, and if the teacher has no other career experience — well, that makes this gap wider. Additionally, kids sense there is little to no connection in what they are learning to what they will do next.
As a public school parent, what inspires you about your school?
The number of educational options available to my kids is astonishing. Some parents dislike this, and yes, it requires extra work to evaluate them. But, wow, there is something for everyone. I am also inspired by certain teachers whose commitment to their students goes above and beyond the call of duty.
What is a fresh idea you think public schools need to try?
I’m not sure it’s a fresh idea, but I’d think weaving hands-on, tangible, meaningful work that applies what they are learning into a student’s school day makes sense. Kids want to feel a part of something and they need movement and purpose. I think the community would benefit and students would benefit, too!