MNPS Voices: Dannie Dapremont-Fletcher

MNPS Voices: Dannie Dapremont-Fletcher, Career and Technical Education Teacher, Maplewood High School
Posted on 03/27/2024
Dannie Dapremont-Fletcher

Dannie Fletcher in front of school mural

Dannie Dapremont-Fletcher’s own lived experience serves as a cautionary tale for her students.

Dapremont-Fletcher, a career and technical education instructor in the Freshman Academy at Maplewood High School, chose teaching as a second career following 11 years as an air traffic controller for the U.S. Army. The experience of entering the military directly after high school, because she didn’t have career planning as an option in her school, is the reason she is a staunch advocate of MNPS career-based learning.

“I did not have a plan following high school graduation. At 17, I ended up in the military hoping to be a helicopter pilot,” Dapremont-Fletcher says. “But what really happened is, I ended up in a job that I really did not want – because the job I did want was not available. So I ended up in a job that only sounded cool for 11 years.” Ms. Fletcher in class with students

Dapremont-Fletcher, a native of New Orleans, is now in her 17th year as a high school teacher and believes students need to find career direction before they have a diploma in their hand, or they could find themselves “floundering.”

The district’s answer is YouScience, a career-based platform, which has everything to do with helping a student transition from high school graduation to an actual sustainable job that will benefit them in the future.

MNPS students’ first encounter on their career-based learning journey is with YouScience. Students engage in a series of brain games to discover their aptitudes, interests and matching best-fit careers. This is affectionately called the “WHONESS” test. Once students have identified their career interest, they get an opportunity to explore those careers during a career fair as they begin to move into the career-based Academies of Nashville at Maplewood and 11 other high schools.

“The idea is not to box the students in but to give them options. The expectation is to prepare students with academic and career choices,” Dapremont-Fletcher explained. “Along the way, there is exposure to professional development that helps students make a solid choice that is life-sustainable that they can grow in.

“By 10th grade, students are encouraged to job shadow, 11th grade they are serving as interns, and 12th grade is career-based learning opportunities.”

A “Mom” and Collaborator

Dapremont-Fletcher, a self-described “mom” to every student she encounters, whether they’re in her classroom or the hallway, decided to check things out for herself and took the YouScience test during a professional development opportunity. She felt the test got her just right. In fact, she was so thrilled that she purchased the test for her blended family of six, which resulted in some career changes for her adult children.

Dapremont-Fletcher enjoys being a collaborator in the “meeting of the minds” with her high school students. She views them as young adults becoming adults. Her goal is helping them see and forecast what the future holds regarding their career opportunities.

This is why she enjoyed the personal finance class she used to teach in conjunction with a business curriculum. The class was fun because she could see students connecting the dots with financial matters that they generally do not comprehend until they experience the trial and error of happenstance as they move toward adulthood and begin to take on financial responsibility. The pendulum swing was high from what students labeled obsolete at the beginning of the course to what they deemed a necessity at the end.

Dapremont-Fletcher also takes her love of youth engagement outside her classroom to her church, Schrader Lane Church of Christ, where she serves the youth department as a volunteer tutor.

Career-Based Learning: Jobs for Students

MNPS’s Career-Based Learning program gives students opportunities to learn and earn at the same time.

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