Reimagining High School

This spring, 525 students from high schools in St. Louis and Indianapolis completed their second year of the Next Prep program. During a vibrant community night, more than 90 parents, employers, school administrators, and peers gathered to witness students presenting their capstone projects, showcasing their career exploration findings and future plans.


Throughout the year, the Next Prep program partnered with over 25 employers from various industries. Students met weekly with more than 60 business leaders who volunteered over 80 hours. These interactions included career workshops where employers discussed their own careers and helped students practice essential skills such as constructive feedback and nonverbal communication.

Professionals from diverse fields, including business administration, culinary arts, hospitality, creative arts, education, healthcare, STEM, and skilled trades, participated in the program, providing students with a broad perspective on potential career paths.

“The students and this program are so impressive. I wish every school had access to this. I cannot get over their questions and their sense of themselves. I’d love to be part of whatever is next!” – Aminah Williams, Owner, Root to Crown Counseling and Wellness

Next Prep has gained national media attention for its innovative approach. Originally starting with one teacher and an elective class at Kairos High School in St. Louis, the program quickly demonstrated its relevance to students’ futures. Indica, a Kairos HS student from the class of 2027, shared, “It helps us be better at speaking to adults, how to be professional in a professional setting, what to do and not to do whenever you’re speaking to someone and trying to get a job.”

A Transformed Student Experience

The positive feedback from students and employers led Kairos High School to integrate the Next Prep class into the schedule for all students year-round.

 “Preparing students for a broader range of careers and investing in the personal and life skills needed to accomplish their goals is vital to what it means to be a prepared graduate,” said Nilesh Patel, Senior Director of Strategy and former principal at Kairos High School.

Shaniya, a Kairos HS student from the class of 2026, reflected on her experience: “Once freshman year came along, and we took Next Prep and studied different careers, I knew that being a pediatrician was something I wanted to learn more about. Now that I am a sophomore and still taking Next Prep classes focusing on our careers, I am more serious about this.”


Expanding Impact

Next Prep is set to expand next year, serving more than 700 students across two high schools in St. Louis and one in Indianapolis.

The program’s core belief, “seeing is believing,” drives its mission to expose students to various career paths and industries through direct community engagement. If you’re an employer or school leader interested in becoming a partner, reach out to