Westridge Elementary

Southland Center for Advanced Professional Studies Program on Schedule to Begin Fall 2017
Southland Center for Advanced Professional Studies Program on Schedule to Begin Fall 2017
Posted on 06/08/2017

The Southland Center for Advanced Professional Studies or Southland CAPS program is scheduled to launch in fall 2017. Southland CAPS will feature two different strands of learning opportunities for students during the 2017-2018 school-year, Animal Health Sciences and Technology Solutions. Each strand will better prepare students to meet the demands of the workforce. The CAPS model represents a collaboration between education, business, and community providing students with a unique and immersive experience.

Students in the Animal Health Sciences strand will travel to the Kansas City Zoo to learn from professionals about caring for and the health of large animals, marine animals, small animals, and service animals.  Students will also dive into the broad scope of medical animal research and the ethics of animal testing. Students will meet each day in a room with viewing windows into the chimpanzee habitat.

The instructor for the Animal Health Sciences strand, Sara Sivils, has a wide-range of experience in working the areas of captive wild animal management, animal science, biology, fisheries, and wildlife. Sivils is an experienced educator and earned her Master of Arts in Teaching from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri.

Students in the Technology Solutions strand will have the opportunity to learn from professionals about computer networking, CIS and software development, website and app creation, and more.  The Technology Solution strand will be located in the same building as the Raytown Schools Technology Department in the Raytown Schools Education and Conference Center.

The instructor for the Technology Solutions strand, Brenda Schaefer, has been teaching courses in Computer Science, hardware and software application, and other business related topics for the past 30 years. She is also experienced in teaching multiple programming languages. In addition to teaching, she has also worked for businesses in the private sector. Schaefer earned her master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas.

More than 30 students have been accepted to Southland CAPS.

School districts participating in CAPS program include Belton School District, Hickman Mills School District, Raymore-Peculiar School District, and Raytown School District.

Different from the vocational-technical education model, the CAPS model creates a unique opportunity for districts to reach students and to help them discover and prepare for their passions in life without duplicating or competing with pre-existing programs. Partnerships with other CAPS programs will provide students with networking opportunities and the chance to collaborate on projects with other students across the metro.

“The CAPS experience is such an innovative way for students to learn,” Katie Zeiger, Coordinator of the Southland CAPS program, said. “Students will work with industry partners hands-on, learning more about problem-solving and meeting deadlines.  They will essentially be test-driving their future careers to see if it is a good fit for them.”

Companies and organizations from around the Kansas City metro have committed to being business partners with Southland CAPS or who support the program and are interested in becoming mentors, guest speakers, hosting internship / job shadowing experiences, or simply cheering on our development partners include American Royal, Bayer, Connections to Success, Economic Development for Jackson County, Fishtech, FitBark, H&H Color Lab, Kansas City Animal Life Science Institute, Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Startup Foundation, Kansas City Zoo, KC Animal Health Corridor, KC Digital Drive, KC Smartport, KC SourceLink, Lakeside Nature Center, Maple Woods Veterinary Technology, Missouri Conservation Department, Mozilla, Raymore Chamber of Commerce, Raytown Chamber of Commerce, Raytown School District Technology Department, Raytown-Gregory Animal Health Center, SEALIFE Aquarium, South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Stone Amp SEO, The Business Journals, University of Missouri – College of Veterinary Medicine, Wayside Waifs, and William Jewell College.

“For some time, we felt that students south of the river were missing a valuable resource for career education planning and were at a disadvantage in comparison with their peers who had the opportunity to participate in CAPS programs,” Raytown Superintendent Dr. Allan Markley said. “We decided to lead the charge to give our students a similar experience and knew that our colleagues in surrounding districts would support our effort to bring CAPS to the Southland. We are very excited to say that this is finally happening.”

Southland CAPS will operate as an extension of the Raytown School District’s Herndon Career Center. 

For more information about Southland CAPS, please visit or follow Southland CAPS on Twitter: @SouthlandCAPS.

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