student cooking

Every Friday for 45 minutes, students at Alliance High School (AHS) take part in Aviator Connections (AC). This once a week period helps to foster connections between students and staff and prepares them for life. 

Each week, there is a different focus for Aviator Connections with four focuses in total.

  1. Prepare students by building life and social skills

  2. Showcase community involvement by bringing in speakers to talk about careers and the community

  3. Academic coaching with a focus on building skills that will help the students succeed in life and careers

  4. Team building activities and exercises to assist building connections among students and staff

“We know our role has changed as educators,” said Allison Morrison, a school counselor at AHS. “It’s now our role to prepare students for not just an academic setting, but for life overall. I feel we’re on the cutting edge of what we’re doing. It’s up to us to prepare the next generation. From a social emotions standpoint, we’re doing this. From a career aspect, we’re doing this.”

Every student and teacher at AHS takes part in Aviator Connections. The students were randomly split into groups at the beginning of the year and assigned to a teacher. They stay with that teacher and group all year which helps to build meaningful connections. 

students sewing during Aviator Connections“We want kids to get to know teachers they might not ever have here along with kids they wouldn’t usually see,” she said. “It’s a little uncomfortable to have someone you don’t know and to not be there with your friends, but we’re trying to get them to understand new experiences are good. Awkward at first. Uncomfortable? Yes. But it's good for them.”

Each Friday the teacher plans an activity for the students to take part in that’s related to the focus of the week. Some of the activities have included games, surveys, discussions, career and college prep and life skills like cursive, cooking and sewing. 

“One of the best parts of Aviator Connections is that it’s a huge collaboration amongst the staff,” Morrison said. “I love the collaboration. If an activity works, the teacher will send it out and encourage other AC teachers to do it as well.”

There are also times when guest speakers come into classrooms and students have the ability to leave their group for that week to hear from a speaker that interests them. Speakers have included Alliance City Schools administrators, leaders of community organizations, military recruiters and representatives from various career paths.

“Aviator Connections has given us the opportunity to expose students to many different career opportunities that are right here in our community. Students have also had the opportunity to make connections to people in those fields and ask questions,” said Kristy Woodford, principal of AHS. “Students and staff are having conversations that really get to the heart of preparing all Aviators for life college and careers. They are thinking and talking about those next steps and beyond walking across the stage and receiving their diploma.”

AHS is always looking for more people to come in to present at Aviator Connections or to share ideas on skills the students should know before they graduate. If you are interested in presenting, contact Maria McDermitt, the AHS College and Career Connector