College and career readiness has grown to be a hot topic that is on the mind of every educational leader in the nation. But being college and career ready takes more than just career counseling or use of software in the classroom—it takes personalized, differentiated instruction that starts at an early age. Students must understand their unique strengths and interests, and teachers must see themselves as part of the global working world. Innovators in education shared their expertise on preparing students to be ready for the working world in a recent edWebinar.
As students are getting ready to graduate high school, they are usually faced with two questions: “Where are you going to go to school?” and “What do you want to major in?” They often face these questions without having exposure to career pathways and therefore may choose a career pathway they think they or their parents may like. How do we start this conversation earlier so that students are prepared by the time they graduate? Devin Vodicka, Ed.D., chief impact officer at AltSchool, says that if we want students to be successful, we need to find a way to make the learning relevant for every child by building on what’s unique for them and embracing personalized learning.
Both Vodicka and Ed Hidalgo, chief of innovation & engagement officer at Cajon Valley Union School District (USD) in California, agree that individual goals are important for students and for personalized learning. More specifically, Hidalgo says, students should understand their “mission of me” which starts with students understanding their own strengths, interests, and values. Next, they should have exposure to the world of work so they understand the different paths possible for them. Last, they should be able to share their story and respond to the statement: Tell me about yourself. This foundational framework should start in kindergarten so every child can graduate with a mission of me.