Helping Kids Choose School Electives in Macomb County

Macomb County kids have tons of options when it comes to school electives. How can they choose the right one for them? A local expert offers tips.

Math, science, reading, social studies and other core school subjects are incredibly important for kids to study, but electives give them a chance to expand their horizons and embrace activities that they truly enjoy. This is why it’s so important for students to pick electives that really resonate with them.

“Electives provide students a chance to learn and be inspired by a wide variety of topics beyond traditional academic coursework,” says Joyce Arbaugh, Administrator at Macomb Intermediate School District. “Students can choose from a variety of classes. Course offerings include career and technical education courses, physical education and health, visual, performing and applied arts and world languages.”

In addition to these options, students in Macomb County may also take core academic courses as electives once their graduation requirements are fulfilled.

“Students should keep in mind that electives are designed to give them a safe place to learn about something that interests them as well as a chance to consider career options,” Arbaugh adds.

How to pick school electives

In Michigan, students have 18 of their credit requirements defined by the State of Michigan. The total number and type of credits for graduation vary by district, the average is 24, though in some districts students may need up to 29 credits.

By seventh grade they will start developing an educational development plan (EDP), which is updated annually through 12th grade and gives them a suggested path to high school success based on their areas of interest and course selections.

“Students should refer to their EDP results as a guide to selecting meaningful electives that align with future plans,” Arbaugh explains. “Middle and high school is a great time for students to engage in exploration based upon their areas of interest, and potential careers they are considering.”

Each spring, students will start scheduling electives for the next school year. Secondary schools provide students with course descriptions to help them make their choices, and school counselors also visit classrooms to give presentations and provide guidance, too.

If they can’t pick an elective based on the information they are given, they can talk with their teachers and may also explore the labor market to help them make decisions on electives that will get them to their career goals.

Students who are struggling to pick electives also have the option to meet one-on-one with their school counselor for help.

The parent’s role

While parents should give their kids guidance around the electives that they choose, parents shouldn’t pick the student’s electives for them.

Instead, Arbaugh suggests parents play an active role in the scheduling process by using their child’s EDP, having periodic career-focused conversations with them and building relationships to help them succeed.

“Parents should review their student’s EDP results and interest inventories each year and help create connections to the results and future course selection,” she says.

For more information on living in Macomb County, visit


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