Preparing students for success in college, career and civic life isn’t just our mission on a piece of paper, we put it into practice every day! Our College and Career Readiness (CCR) program creates opportunities for our students to apply their learning in authentic and relevant ways. Starting with our youngest students all the way through high school, this program shows our commitment to providing quality instruction to build the foundation for future success. 

CCR Coordinator

Darell Butcher started as the Southeast Polk CCR Coordinator in 2019 after serving for 13 years as one of our SEP Jr. High counselors. He completed his undergraduate degree at NWMSU in psychology/sociology and got his master’s degree from Buena Vista University. He shared that it’s a misconception that College and Career Readiness is just at the high school. Our CCR program starts in elementary school, continues through junior high and concludes in high school. The CCR Career Development curriculum has 3 phases:

  1. Awareness – Introduced in elementary school, focuses on students interests and their aptitude
  2. Exploration – Continuing in junior high, all SEP 8th graders take CCR class
  3. Preparation – Culminates in high school with apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeships opportunities

Work Based Learning Program

The Department of Education (DoE) visited SEP earlier this fall to learn more about our Work Based Learning (WBL) program. These classes provide an authentic learning experience.

“People are starting to take notice,” Butcher shared.

Just recently, he has presented at several local events, including Lead Des Moines, Good Government for Pleasant Hill, and the Master Builders of Iowa podcast. He’ll be a part of a DMACC roundtable in February.

The SEP WBL Program includes: 

  • Pre-Apprenticeship Courses
  • Registered Apprenticeships 
  • Health Occupations Academy
  • Iowa State Fair Animal Learning Center
  • Rise
  • Teacher Academy
  • School-to-Work Transition Program/Experience-Based Career Education (EBCE)
  • Construction & Technology

To read more about the DoE visit to SEP, click here:

Butcher shared that there are several exciting things on the horizon for the WBL program including more registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs, more school-to-work opportunities, and more educational opportunities for families regarding how to afford college. 

Skilled Trades Extension Center

One extremely exciting thing that’s happening right now is the new, totally donation-funded Skilled Trades Extension Center!  This building, which is completely funded by generous donations from local organizations, will give our students the space they need to get the hands-on experience required for several of the new registered apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship courses. Imagine, our students will be able to build a complete tiny home in the dead of winter, learning about electrical, plumbing, roofing, etc.!  See more here: [link to that story still being drafted]

Upcoming Events

There are several exciting and informational CCR events coming soon! 

November 28, 2023 

  • College Fair
  • 20 colleges/universities
  • 2 Financial Aid sessions

College Fair Poster 2023

December 2023

  • FASFA Informational Session
  • Once the new FASFA form is released, we will host an informational session on filling it out.

February 27, 2024

  • Career and Apprenticeship Fair
  • Look for more information on this special event where we bring in dozens of local businesses, unions and organizations, including the military, to provide our students with opportunities to network and learn about apprenticeships and job openings.

SEP Job Fair (2)

April 2024

  • Spring Creek Build Day
  • In coordination with Turner Construction, our 6th graders get a special, “real life” experience to build a business from the ground up!

Butcher shared, “My favorite part of my job as CCR Coordinator is seeing students finding their spark, their niche and getting excited about coming to school. Chronic absenteeism is a nationwide concern. Our WBL gives students purpose and a reason to come to school.” 

Check out our latest All Things SEP Podcast! Dr. Dirk Halupnik gets the scoop from Darell on All Things SEP CCR! All Things SEP – College and Career Readiness Program

Stay tuned to learn more about SEP’s unique educational opportunities, which ensure our students’ success in college, careers, and civic life!