Almost 800 Leander ISD students traveled all over Central Texas and beyond to explore different career opportunities during COOL Week.

COOL stands for Career Opportunities On Location. Students got a peek at almost 200 businesses, some as far as Houston, Dallas and Galveston, for the work-based learning experience. Destinations included a wide variety of places like newsrooms, government offices, veterinary clinics and hi-tech companies.  

Students who sign up for COOL Week start out as a “job candidate,” writing a resume, applying and interviewing for a job. Once assigned to a hosting business, the intern sees the ins and outs of the career they want to explore. 

In the school district’s School/Community Relations department, we shared about how much written communication we post. We assigned our COOL Week interns for a day the task of writing about what they learned. Here’s what one of them had to say:

“Usually when anyone thinks about school, our minds think of teachers, principals or the superintendent. However, what we sometimes fail to see is all the behind the scenes action that makes every opportunity we have possible. There’s the daily communication with parents and staff through emails and social networking, creating platforms for which community members can state their concerns, to implementing ideas that are best suited for the diverse area we live in. There’s a constant cycle of improvement and it causes our schools to thrive. This has reassured me that in my future, I want to keep improving things with ideas that enrich people’s lives.”

Kim Ngo, Vista Ridge High School senior

COOL Week started 24 years ago; as the district has grown, so has the size and scope of the program.

“Our COOL Week seniors solidified, changed, or adjusted post-secondary goals as they were given the opportunity to see first-hand what a career looks like from the inside,” COOL Week coordinator Pat Lopez said. “In Leander ISD, we do a really good job of ‘book learning’, but only [businesses] can give them the glimpse inside their chosen career.”