Avon Park Middle CEO Program

From left: Avon Park Middle School AVID Coordinator Katlyn Vazquez and Assistant Principal Danielle Lillpop present information Thursday on the development of the school’s CEO Program at the Avon Park Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon.

AVON PARK — Avon Park Middle School is preparing to start a new program in the fall to provide career-readiness and employability skills to eighth-graders.

At the Avon Park Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon on Thursday, Assistant Principal Danielle Lillpop and AVID Coordinator Katlyn Vazquez explained how Avon Park Middle’s AVID program has grown and also described a new initiative for 2021-22 school year — the CEO Program (Career Exploration & Opportunities).

In 2018-19 the school’s AVID program was restructured to be schoolwide with a focus on college and career readiness.

In a little over two years the program moved up from the lowest level of implementation to the highest level with the school recognized as an AVID Site of Distinction in 2020.

The AVID elective class is focusing on college and career readiness and getting students thinking about where they are going and how they are going to get there, they said. There is a lot of goal setting, GPA tracking, note taking, study groups and how to give a firm handshake and how to look someone in the eye and introduce yourself and public speaking coaching.

Lillpop noted that Bill Jarrett inquired about the school’s focus on college and career readiness and they worked together on a new initiative.

“We are trying to figure out how we can have a partnership with the schools and the community to really benefit our students and the community as well,” she said.

Next year the school plans to offer a leadership course for students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades, with the eighth-graders having something special called the CEO program.

The CEO Program would include various aspects to help students for when they enter the workforce:

• Social skills: greetings, eye contact, etc.

• Job seeking skills: applications, resumes, references

• Personal presentation: proper attire, ironing

• Career exploration and community service integrated year long.

The community partnership aspect of the CEO program will have students apply and interview for “jobs” with business partners.

Students would work up to 20 hours with a business partner (outside of their school hours) and are compensated for their time.

The school and business will partner to monitor student success in the workplace.

The program’s next steps are to identify community partners, meet with partners to build a mutually beneficial program, select students for the course and change lives.

Any business interested in partnering to provide workplace experiences to students can contact Avon Park Middle School at 863-452-4333.

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