Page Middle School’s ECAP incentive trips a big hit

Courtesy of Steven Law Karcyn Mangum experiments with an interactive weather generation map at Page Library’s “We Are Water” exhibit.

Page Middle School’s Education Career Action Plan incentive trips are very popular with students and teachers alike.

The Education Career Action Plan (ECAP) is a statewide program designed to help students create a plan of coursework, explore career aspirations, and extend learning opportunities that will help them expand their individual academic goals, career goals and postsecondary plans.

Page Middle School’s ECAP program is headed by Jeremiah Stewart, the school’s counselor. Erinn Benally and Stephanie Olander also help with ECAP.

One of the big things Stewart brings to the ECAP program is introducing the students to new career opportunities, some of which don’t exist in Page.

“If you ask some of our students what they want to do as a career, a lot of them will tell you hotel housekeeping or welding, because for a lot of them, those are the only careers they’ve been exposed to,” Stewart said. “My goal is to show them other career opportunities.”

The majority of the student-to-professional discussions happen over Google Meets. It’s a great way to bring professionals to Page classrooms who wouldn’t be able to do such a trip in real life. Recent professionals who have talked to PMS students have included archaeologists, voice actors, stunt actors, composers and electrical engineers, to name a few.

Under the ECAP umbrella, the middle school established a correlating incentive program as a way to reward and encourage middle school students who have completed, or on track to complete, the ECAP.

Most of the incentives are field trips. In early January, the ECAP incentive took middle school students to the Page Public Library, where they visited the interactive “We Are Water” exhibit. In late January, the ECAP incentives trip took students to Flagstaff, where they visited the Lowell Observatory, NAU’s Native American Heritage Center and the mall. Forty students took part in the trip to Flagstaff, and 58 took part in Page Library’s water exhibit.

Stewart hopes that the fun trips will encourage the students to finish their ECAP goals, or at least get back on track.

“If we present them with cool, fun opportunities, the more likely they will be to participate in the next one we do,” he said.

The middle school students enjoyed the field trips because it was a fun way to broaden their horizons and experience new things.   

One of those students was 8th grader Peyton Miller.

“I thought it was a lot of fun, and a nice break from school,” she said. “It’s a great way to reach the students. I know it interested me.”

For 8th grader Kylie Roberson, the trip to the Lowell Observatory was one of the highlights of her school year.

“It was so cool, and I learned a lot,” she said.

One of the Lowell Observatory tour guides told the students about the facility’s history, and ways it has evolved its technology to stay modern. The visit also included a demonstration on how scientists can use light wavelengths – visible through telescopes such as the one at Lowell Observatory – to determine what elements a distant star possesses.

“One of the things we learned is that the planet Pluto was discovered using the telescope at Lowell Observatory,” Robertson said. “These trips are a great way to learn things we don’t learn in the classroom.”

Stephanie Olander, who helps facilitate the middle school’s ECAP program, said, “The places we visit have resources and expertise that we don’t have here. It’s such a great way to take advantage of that.”

Eighth grade students took part in the ECAP incentive trips in the first semester, the 7th grade students will get to do it in the second semester.


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