New Education Policy Roadmap Aims to Ensure High School Graduates in Every State are ‘Future-Ready’

CHICAGO – Parents and educators agree that a key goal of K-12 education is to ensure that students are “future-ready”—with the knowledge, skills, and drive to navigate their careers and lives. Americans look to the education system to equip young people to succeed in this environment, but traditional approaches have often fallen short with the rapidly changing future of work. Employers and the evidence point to a need for social and emotional skills within career and workforce education. So, how can policymakers, educators, business leaders, and community leaders come together to nourish students’ real-world competencies and help them succeed after graduation on their own terms?

To address this need, Civic, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and the Coalition for Career Development (CCD) Center have released a new report featuring a state policy roadmap for K-12 education that prepares students to succeed in a rapidly changing world. This groundbreaking report reframes what it means for students to be “future-ready” by integrating essential social and emotional learning (SEL) with career and workforce development (CWD). 

Access the full report: Educating Future-Ready Students: Bridging Social and Emotional Learning and Career and Workforce Development …Read More

4 tips to start meaningful conversations with students

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” It’s a question we ask students as young as kindergarten. I personally had the pleasure of watching my own kids answer this question at their kindergarten graduation (“dog breeder” and “ninja” – so proud!).

Of course, this shouldn’t just be a question we ask in kindergarten and again in senior year. All students—regardless of their backgrounds and future aspirations—benefit when they have the opportunity to explore and reflect on their future plans throughout their entire K-12 journey.

So how do we make this happen?…Read More

4 ways to enrich CTE programs

Right now, there’s a labor shortage. The U.S. has more jobs available than there are people to work them. This means individuals who are just starting their careers can more easily snag positions in trade occupations, such as construction, cosmetology, HVAC, and more. But in order to take advantage of these opportunities, students first need to know that they are available.

StrataTech Education Group’s survey found that while 70 percent of students attend high schools that offer career and technical education programs, only 32 percent promote the trades as a potential post-graduation path. Despite this, 51 percent of students consider pursuing trade school. What holds them back? A lack of support, confidence, or knowledge–challenges that high schools can solve with enriched CTE programs.

If more schools enhanced their CTE programs, more students would feel comfortable pursuing the trades. The good news is that boosting program participation is not a huge investment. In fact, bringing in passionate professionals could be enough to get students excited about their career options. Here are four ways to get started:…Read More

VHS Learning Elects Dr. Yolanda D. Johnson to its Board of Directors

Boston – Dec. 6, 2021 – VHS Learning, an accredited non-profit organization empowering schools with the industry’s best online learning programs, has appointed Dr. Yolanda D. Johnson to its board of directors.

Dr. Johnson currently serves as the Executive Officer for Student Services at Springfield Public Schools, where she oversees school counseling and social work services, dropout prevention and graduation improvement strategies, and college access and success initiatives. In her position, Dr. Johnson implements a variety of programs that enhance excellence, scholarship, achievement, and equity for all students.

A passionate educator, Dr. Johnson supports educational leadership development, scholarship, service, and helping students envision and attain their postsecondary goals. She is a champion for educational equity and works to create greater college and career opportunities for under-represented students.…Read More

vFairs Offers Immersive Virtual Graduations to Schools and Colleges

Graduation season is rapidly approaching, and continued restrictions against social gatherings to combat the coronavirus are still in effect in much of the country. vFairs, the leading platform for hybrid and virtual events, is offering immersive, customizable virtual graduation ceremonies to schools, colleges and universities, including features such as creating a virtual campus setting and 3D modeling to make the experience truly memorable.

According to a March 2020 poll by Educause Review, 49% of colleges and universities elected to postpone their 2020 commencement ceremonies, 14% opted to cancel commencement altogether and 14% planned a virtual ceremony. Rather than hosting a live webinar or virtual conference call, vFairs makes it possible for schools to create a virtual graduation ceremony in a virtual world.

vFairs can create customized three-dimensional models of a campus, stadium or auditorium modeled after the school. For example, the vFairs platform can create virtual environments replicating your community college campus to hosting a ceremony on the National Mall in Washington D.C. The platform also can create virtual avatars of graduating students dressed in caps and gowns. The result is an immersive virtual experience that students, parents and faculty will remember.…Read More

TEL Education Makes Learning Visible with Student Learning Dashboard

Students often struggle to make connections between what they learn in their college courses and the skills they need to be successful after graduation. TEL Education is launching the Student Learning Dashboard to help students clearly see and verbalize the 21st-century skills and competencies they learn across their general education courses and encourage students to take a more active role in their educational journey.

Students Lack Context and Ownership

According to TEL Education’s Executive Director, Dr. Rob Reynolds, “One of the biggest challenges in today’s education environments is that, for many students, learning has become a ‘black box’ of sorts. The purposes and processes of learning, the “why” and “what for,” are largely invisible and inaccessible to students.”

As a result, Reynolds says, students in secondary and postsecondary programs often lack a sense of context or connectedness in their learning. They are unable to answer critical, formative questions such as: What’s the big picture? Where am I on my learning journey? Why do I need to know this? How does what I’m learning today align with my interests and goals? How is what I’m learning in this course connected to what I am learning in other courses?…Read More

Groups urge IES to release months-late report on student internet access

A federal report on students’ home access to digital learning resources is months late, and ed-tech groups say the delay is impeding efforts to close the homework gap.

In a letter to the Institute of Education Sciences, a number of ed-tech and advocacy organizations point out that many students lack home access to the internet connectivity they need to complete homework and use online learning resources.

The groups also point out that the study, which the Every Student Succeeds Act mandated be sent to Congress by June 2017, “will help policy makers identify the best ways to ensure all students can connect with broadband services and be on a path for success after graduation.”…Read More

3 keys to student success with early college programs

Like a growing number of school districts, North Carolina’s Guilford County Schools (GCS) has early college programs that allow students to earn college credit while they’re still in high school. But what’s unique about GCS is the number of choices the district offers: 14 altogether, including nine high schools that operate on college campuses.

GCS has offered early college options since 2001 and has seen remarkable success, despite serving a largely urban and low-income population. All but two of its early college high schools have a 100-percent graduation rate—and the lowest rate among the other two is 97 percent.

What’s more, these programs aren’t just serving the top students in the district, who would already be on a college track. Some of them target students considered at risk of dropping out, making college both attainable and affordable for students who otherwise would not attend.…Read More

Arizona district turns to tech to improve equity and access in college and career readiness

Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, all students in grades 9-12 in Dysart Unified School District in Maricopa County, Arizona, will be able to more effectively collaborate with school counselors to identify their strengths, plan academic coursework, determine career aspirations, find best-fit colleges, and discover scholarships using Naviance by Hobsons, a digital college and a career planning platform.

Having tripled in size since 2000, Dysart USD is recognized as one of the fastest-growing school systems in the state, serving a high population of Latinos and English Language Learners (ELLs), as well as first-generation college-bound students. Despite its unprecedented growth, the district has maintained an 85 percent graduation rate among its four comprehensive high schools. The district’s goal is to graduate all students ready for college, career, and a productive life in the 21st century.

“We take our responsibility to prepare students for the opportunities and challenges beyond high school graduation very seriously. We work as a community—of teachers, parents, students, and community leaders—to provide a supportive learning environment that empowers students to achieve life-long success,” said Dysart Superintendent Dr. Gail Pletnick, who was named Arizona Superintendent of the Year in 2015. “As we continue to grow and serve a more diverse student population, we consider Hobsons a strategic partner to help us scale our college and career readiness initiatives and inform our district-wide strategy, ensuring that all students are set up for success.”…Read More