AVID has huge benefits for high school students

New UCLA-led research finds that a college preparatory program for youth experiencing educational inequities that operates in about 13 percent of U.S public high schools has a positive effect on students’ social networks, psycho-social outcomes, and health behaviors. 

The findings, published Dec. 16 in the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics, suggest that the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program, aimed at increasing educational opportunities for under-represented and economically disadvantaged students, also significantly reduces substance use.

“Academic tracking” is a common practice in high schools through which lower-performing students are clustered with others of similar academic achievement. Although intended to tailor academic rigor to students’ level of preparation, the study findings suggest that this practice may be counterproductive by reinforcing risky behaviors that students pick up from their peers.…Read More

Gen Z students want STEM careers

Many high school and college students chose STEM as their No. 1 preferred career path, according to a survey of 11,495 Gen Z students conducted by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS).

The 2022 Career Interest Survey gives insights into what motivates an adventurous, civic-minded, concerned, vocal, tech-savvy, emerging workforce.

NSHSS is an academic honor society that recognizes and serves high-achieving student scholars in more than 26,000 high schools across 170 countries.…Read More

How our district engages students in a CTE program

Over the past decade, industries across the world have voiced their concern over the lack of tech skills among high school and college graduates. At the end of 2020, there were an estimated 1.4 million unfilled computer science jobs; this figure continues to rise.

However, the education sector’s response is that currently less than half of high schools teach, and only 5 percent of students go on to further computer science study.

It’s not just about educating our students to take a computer science career path. Today, computer science skills are used and applied across all areas of the curriculum and a broad range of careers.…Read More

VHS Learning Reveals New Commitment to CSforALL Movement

Boston – At the 2022 CSforALL Summit, VHS Learning announced its plans to further expand student access to computer science education. The nonprofit revealed that it will offer free online computer science courses to fifty high school students in rural or underserved high schools. The nonprofit has also created a new beginner’s course on Python, one of the fastest growing computer programming languages.

A total of 180 organizations, up from 136 last year, disclosed commitments during the CSforALL summit, which took place October 19-21, 2022, in Memphis, Tennessee. CSforALL commitments are new, specific, and measurable actions aimed at advancing the goal of rigorous and inclusive computer science education for all U.S. youth. The commitments grow support and momentum for a sustainable K-12 computer science education system in and out of school. VHS Learning has been making annual commitments since the inception of the national CSforALL movement.

In addition to free enrollment in VHS Learning online computer science courses, sponsored students will receive all necessary course materials, and a student orientation. All VHS Learning’s computer science courses are led by teachers certified in their subject area.

Computer science courses in VHS Learning’s high school course catalog include:…Read More

One district’s push to help students feel like they belong

Bullying is prevalent in high schools and can lead to a lack of a sense of belonging. According to a new study, 51 percent of high school students say they have witnessed bullying at their school. When it comes to reporting, just under half (49 percent) say they would be comfortable talking to a teacher about bullying they witnessed, while just 34 percent would be comfortable if they were the ones being bullied.  

Iowa City Community School District, which serves over 14,000 students in grades K-12, uses Qualtrics to make it easier for students to communicate their concerns about bullying, sexual assault or harassment, discrimination and school safety to administrators. Students can scan QR codes on posters prominently displayed in bathrooms, cafeterias and hallways to report what they have witnessed or experienced, anonymously or not. Students can even upload videos, pictures or screenshots to help identify the problem.  

The “Say Something” campaign has resulted in more than 300 reports, triggering automatic emails to principals and select administrators, who have then taken quick action to protect students in cases of bullying, sexual harassment, hazing and more.  …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

Computer science claims slight victory in high schools

For the first time, a slim majority of all U.S. high schools–51 percent–offer foundational computer science, up from 35 percent in 2018.

The new statistics come from the 2021 State of Computer Science Education: Accelerating Action Through Advocacy, released by Code.org, the Computer Science Teachers Association, and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance.

The latest data reveals that disparities exist regarding who has access to and who participates in computer science education. Students who attend rural schools, urban schools, or schools with higher percentages of economically disadvantaged students are less likely to have access to computer science.…Read More

Illinois’ Decatur Public Schools Selects 7 Mindsets for District-wide Implementation

ROSWELL, Ga. – Sept. 1, 2021 – Decatur Public Schools in Decatur, Ill., has selected 7 Mindsets, the leader in online social emotional learning (SEL) solutions, to support the emotional wellbeing of its students and teachers. Starting with the 2021-22 academic year, the 7 Mindsets curriculum will be used throughout the district’s 11 elementary schools, middle school, and two high schools.

The district made its decision after a two-year pilot of three programs. 7 Mindsets was initially implemented in a select number of Decatur’s elementary schools for that pilot project. Users provided feedback on their experience to a student services panel, and administrators conducted a districtwide survey. “From those two, it was decided overwhelmingly that 7 Mindsets would be the program for the district,” said Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, Jeff Dase.

According to Dase, even teachers who had not used 7 Mindsets in their schools voted for the program. “I guess they were hearing about it from their colleagues,” he said. “So, the majority selected to either stay with 7 Mindsets or move to 7 Mindsets.”…Read More

New initiative targets 10,000 underserved students for in-demand cloud computing careers

The National Education Equity Lab (Ed Equity Lab) has launched a new initiative with Amazon Web Services (AWS) designed to prepare more than 10,000 students in underserved high schools across the nation for careers in cloud computing by 2025.

As part of Amazon’s ongoing commitment to help 29 million people worldwide increase their technical skills by 2025, the new collaboration, launching this fall, will enable students in low-income school districts to access AWS cloud computing educational content and resources offered by Arizona State University (ASU) at no cost to students.

“Students from underserved school districts and communities face challenges that prevent them from pursuing and succeeding in some of the country’s fastest-growing technical careers,” said Wil Zemp, Director of Education to Workforce at AWS. “It will take intentional, proactive effort by employers, education leaders, and the tech industry to remove those barriers and build more equitable pathways to economic mobility.”…Read More

Why districts need to think creatively–inside the box

Scott Bailey, Superintendent for Desert Sands Unified School District (CA), didn’t let the pandemic get in the way of his team’s plans. Instead, he used the disruptions as an opportunity to accelerate.

In this episode of Getting There: Innovations in Education, Scott breaks down his work to innovate within the confines of a public institution. The district primarily serves five communities in the central Coachella Valley: Bermuda Dunes, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, and Palm Desert. Students from other areas of the desert also take advantage of the quality education provided by our schools.

More than 27,000 students attend 34 schools in the district including traditional high schools, alternative high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and 16 preschools, including a federally funded Head Start program. Two elementary schools currently offer full dual immersion in English/Spanish to kindergarteners and first graders.…Read More