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Meeting the neighbors

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High school teachers often serve as guides to students trying to make sense of their post-graduation options, and at Rosemount High School teachers are getting a clearer idea of what life after high school might look like for students who are not headed for a four-year college.

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On Aug. 30, RHS teachers traveled as a group to Dakota County Technical College to explore the programs available at their post-secondary neighbor to the east. The idea, assistant principal Kim Budde said, was to give teachers a better idea what is available at DCTC so teachers are better able to advise their students.

"We are really good as educators at coaching our kids through a four-year experience because we did that," said Budde, who arranged the tour. "Some people were surprised to see what programs are at DCTC."

Erin Edlund, DCTC's director of institutional advancement, is used to that kind of surprise. She talks to people regularly who still think of DCTC as a vocational school even though it has been part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system for more than a decade. DCTC has several sports programs and some students have gone on to compete in NCAA programs. It has a nanotechnology program and some two-year degrees that can lead to jobs that pay $75,000 or more right out of school.

"For some people, specific training and right into the world of work is a better option for them," Budde said. "I just really want to identify post-secondary options for our kids and have a good sense of what is there."

RHS teachers split up by subject area and took campus tours that focused on their particular areas of expertise, but each of the groups got to see the entire campus.

Edlund was happy to have the visitors see what DCTC has available, and the teachers were excited to get acquainted with a new resource just down the road.

Budde said the visit might have spawned some partnerships that go beyond advising students.

"It was a great day," Budde said. "People are still stopping me in the hall today talking about how exciting it was to go get out and learn more about their campus."

This is not the end of Rosemount teachers' exploration of post-secondary options. Budde has already scheduled a visit to Inver Hills Community College in February, and she is considering at least one more.

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