Pennsylvania adopted Career Education and Work academic standards (CEW) several years ago. A great idea but getting school districts and classroom teachers to integrate Career Development activities in the general curriculum remains a challenge. There is always so much to do, common core, new teacher evaluations to worry about, curriculum to cover…you get the idea.
Over the school year, I worked with colleagues with the goal of developing CEW scaffolding for teachers. The scaffolds work across the curriculum. I will share our work below.
Please use the activities if you want to integrate Career Development activities in your classroom. (It’s easier than you think!) And if you try them, let me know what you think.
This video highlights Hatboro-Horsham High School’s internship program.
The diversity of our students’ interests and internship experiences is amazing! Hatboro-Horsham students have worked on engineering projects (installing and monitoring a solar collecting parking lot; the reconstruction of Rt. 309), in healthcare (hospitals, physical therapy, fitness, nutritional science, pharmaceutical science, dementia research), art and design (fashion design, architecture, photography). They have interned with the township parks system, at a long term projection weather agency, local television stations-we could go on and on. Our students are always teaching us about the world of work and of the possibilities for their futures.
The high school internship keeps seniors engaged in school during the senior year and benefits the student and their families beyond the internship experience:
High school interns do better in their post-secondary studies.
High school interns graduate from post-secondary colleges and trade schools at a higher rate than their non-interning peers.
High school interns graduate college in a more timely manner (with less post-secondary debt) than students who do not take advantage of this opportunity.
Senior internship puts you on the path to the 4.0 that really matters: (1) Personal capital, (2) Intellectual capital, (3) Social capital and (4) Financial capital
Important recognition: This program has evolved. Starting with 14 students in our first year and growing to well over 100 students a year, we, a team of teachers have worked, developed and tweaked the internship experience again and again. Without my colleagues interest and shared passion for authentic learning this student experience would not be as great as it is!
Thank you Terrie, Donna, Ted, Carol, Terri, Lauren, Jen and Lance!
We also depend heavily on our community mentors for leadership, career guidance (for students) and support. Thanks to all!
Thanks to Bob Anderson for the beautiful documentary at the top of this post.
Last week I recieved a direct Twitter message from a member of my PLN. In it was this simple message, “Keep the conversation going.” Patricia Hudak, thank you for the push.
Patricia is correct, the positive impact that career development academic interventions have on students is great and the conversation must not slip away. With so much attention devoted to teacher accountability, high stakes testing, etc. our focus seems to be getting lost. We must focus on students and learning.
My role has changed this school year. The career development/personal discovery course that was once required of all students in my school district is no more. It is my assignment to recreate the experience as an elective. To see where we have been and are now in Pathways class visit my teacher website.
I’ve discovered three TEDx videos that have been particularly meaningful in my work this fall.
Do you know your students “sparks”? Do you encourage them to pursue them? Do you connect your classroom content to them? I sent this talk to a retired administrator and former mentor. She responded with this: “I need to change my conversations with my grandchildren. I need to honor their sparks.” Practicing educators must change their conversations too.
Peter Benson: Sparks-How Youth Thrive
In the “new” Pathways class, I am piloting Road Trip Nation. It’s an exciting, interactive curriculum that will eventually lead us to a road trip that my students will plan based on their sparks and passions. It requires that my students discover and investigate their interests. The following TED talk is directed at high school students and fits in nicely with the RTN curriculum. I’m going to show this to my class on Wednesday and look forward to the discussion that follows.
Jullien Gordon: Driving School for Life
And finally, one for the older/college aged student in your life.
Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career
The ASCD conference was in Philadelphia this year making it very convenient for my HHSD colleagues and me to attend the three day event. My friend, Joyce Valenza, and I traveled to and from the conference every day and this is how I came to have the most unexpected and delightful conference experience.
As a blogger (and friend of Joyce), I was invited to participate in the press room activities. The perks of this experience were:
(1) Saturday I shared lunch and spoke with Matt McClure, superintendent of Cross County Schools in Cherry Valley, Ark., andLiliana Aguas, a teacher at Leconte Elementary School in Berkeley, Calif., winners of the association’s prestigious 2012 Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA). Both are amazing.
“As superintendent of Cross County Schools, Matt McClure has tackled the challenges of a rural school district and instituted an effective school turnaround program focused on the whole child. During his time as superintendent, McClure led a school revitalization process that effectively improved student achievement by turning around all the schools in his district from School Improvement Status to successful schools that focus on teaching standards that are relevant to students and have a real-world connection. In addition to improving district academics, McClure has instituted daily physical fitness classes, homework help, student tutoring, and enrichment activities that keep learning fun and students engaged.
During his time as superintendent, McClure also opened Arkansas’s first New Tech school and oversaw the opening of a medical facility on a school campus built to serve both students and community members. The Arkansas Department of Education has recognized McClure’s district as a Coordinated School Health district, and each weekend schools send home backpacks full of healthy foods to families in need. The district also offers an after-school program with cooking classes so the students can prepare and serve healthy snacks.” ASCD
“Liliana Aguas, is a 2nd grade dual-language immersion teacher at Leconte Elementary School in Berkeley, Calif. Aguas is committed to educating the whole child by promoting a genuine sense of community where students learn cooperatively, are intellectually challenged, and have their learning needs met through differentiated instruction. Aguas’s students participate in activities that promote self-discovery, such as creative writing, reader’s theater, and multicultural literature exploration. Aguas also creates a classroom environment that promotes student discovery of surrounding culture, bilingualism, and social justice.
Aguas’ classroom is a living environment designed for project-based learning, featuring a native plant garden and a tadpole and caterpillar habitat. Recently, Aguas held an international fair for her students and parents with poster presentations and a potluck, featuring dishes and music from the different countries the students researched. Aguas establishes strong partnerships with her students’ families and hosts “cafecitos,” or coffee time, with her Spanish-speaking parents.” ASCD
(2) Sunday I participated in a round-tablewith several ASCD authors including Heidi Hayes Jacobs. Joyce has permitted me to post her recording of the discussion we shared with Ms. Hayes Jacobs.
(3) What I found most interesting and fun about serving in the press room were the other bloggers. Many of these people I follow-they are part of my PLN and I met them in person. I felt like a Justin Beiber groupie must feel! I heard myself say several times, “Oh my gosh-I read your blog/twitter feed all the time. I can’t believe I’m actually meeting you!”
Here are the educators that I enjoyed talking to in the press room:
When I was not in the press room, I attended several great presentations. I’ve been studying eportfolios this year and found a great learning centered portfolio in Williston, VT. I also learned a lot about social networking and it’s impact on learning. More on what I learned on these topics to come…
The Suburban Schools Study Council membership includes current and retired school superintendents from Bucks and Montgomery (Pennsylvania) counties. My school district superintendent asked me to speak about community based learning at a recent council meeting. I was humbled and proud to have this invitation. My presentation and slide notes:
Having a mentor in my life and serving as a mentor to others has always been important to me. My first mentor in education was a man many of you may know. His name is Bill Leary. Dr. Leary was my first superintendent. He believed in me and encouraged me always. Knowing his high expectations set the bar for my work. If you know anything about Dr. Leary (and most in the room did know him) you know that Bill bleeds blue and white. He is a proud Penn Stater. Like Bill Leary, Joe Paterno was also a great mentor.
At the recent Memorial for Joe Jimmy Cefalo spoke about the impact of Joe Paterno’s mentorship on his life. In Jimmy’s last term of his college career, he was finished playing football and his major requirements were complete. He planned to have some fun in that last semester in the “Happy Valley.” Paterno called Jimmy to his office. Waving Jimmy’s less-than-challenging schedule in his hand Joe told Jimmy that he was better than that schedule. You see, Joe’s challenge was always-“Today you are going to get better or you are going to get worse, but you are never going to stay the same.” Jimmy had no additional value to provide the PSU football team. But he did have value to Joe Paterno. Joe cared and Jimmy knew it. Jimmy walked out of that office with a different schedule. Now that is mentorship.
As educators, we are challenged with the same issue: keeping our students plugged in to learning until graduation day and making them believe they matter–that someone cares what they do and what they become. I believe that Hatboro-Horsham’s Community-Based Learning opportunities challenge our students to make a clear choice: to get better. “Today you are going to get better or you are going to get worse, but you are never going to stay the same.”
We have found that some of our students confirm their future plans through the internship experience while others find their chosen internship career possibility is not for them. We consider it a win-win either way.
A friend of mine was recently asked to give a TED talk. When I asked her what they told her concerning how to prepare she shared this directive: Be interested, be generous, be interesting, connect. That’s when I realized that our Community-Based Learning program made the same demand of our students.
We began our Internship opportunity for students 7 years ago. We started with 14 students and since that time hundreds of students have participated in the program.
The Internship experience did a great job attracting our college-prep students. The students who elected this course were gaining many important transferable skills and developing career maturity* at a faster rate than our very capable Honors/AP students and our Academic students. The question then became: How do we attract all students to Community-Based learning experiences?
In an effort to involve more students in Community-Based learning we expanded our offerings. Our honors and AP students can intern over the summer in a program we call Bridges. Academic students elect a new work-study program, Working Initiatives. Our Life Skills students are also involved in work-based training opportunities. Additional supporting experiences such as Lunch & Learn and our Futures Fair are well received by our student body.
I would be remiss if I did not tell you how important our community partners are to our program. Hatboro and Horsham are vital communities.
Our champions include the Greater Horsham Chamber of Commerce, the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation, Impact Thrift Stores, Horsham Township to name a few. Local post-secondary programs and the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board also offer resources and support.
Each Community-Based learning opportunity I’ve mentioned and most you have seen during this presentation offer students two mentors-a community member committed to mentoring a young person and a teacher who has dedicated their professional life to mentoring students with the goals of developing a life-long love of learning and future success.
The outcome? Students who elect Community-Based learning experiences do better in all academic classes during the CBL experience. They seek post secondary options, stay in post secondary programs and graduate from post secondary programs at a higher rate than their peers as well as graduate from these programs in a more timely manner.
Seth Godin once said that “Caring is a competitive advantage…” Community-Based learning opportunities are the result of caring. At Hatboro-Horsham we care because “Today you are going to get better or you are going to get worse, but you are never going to stay the same.” Is there really a choice? Caring is our competitive advantage.
Thank you Dr. Leary.
Thank you Mr. Paterno-Hail to the Lion
*Career maturity is demonstrated by teenagers of high school age when they:
Understand the importance of narrowing career interests as a basis for postsecondary planning;
Have, by the 10th grade, identified one or more career interests after an objective evaluation of their likes and dislikes, their aptitudes, and labor market projections;
Have, by the end of the twelfth grade, engaged in activities to verify these choices; and
Used these choices to make post-high school decisions.
Ken Gray-Getting Real: Helping Teens Find their Future
In my very first blog post (What Does It Take to Create a Movement?) I shared a video about sharing because sharing and collaboration help us all get better at what we do for our students. In these days of limited school funding my school district is taking steps to save money. One of those steps is to no longer require our students take our Pathways class as a graduation requirement.
Pathways is a stand alone career discovery/exploration class. To compensate for this loss (in a state that requires career development education via the Pennsylvania Career Education and Work Academic Standards) we are working to find ways to embed these learning and self discovery opportunities in core academic classes that all students are required to take. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. This change is forcing us to deliver CEW in an integrated fashion-this change will create new learning opportunities for our students. It is a good thing.
This is the first of a series of posts that I will publish as we work toward this integration. I expect that this transition will take several years and that, if it is any good at all, will be an organically grown product that works for our students as a result of who we are and our community of stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, community and post-secondary programs) desires. I expect to see many layers to this integrated 9-12 curriculum as it develops.
We start by thinking about what freshman and sophomores need. Here you will see all of my materials and resources as we begin this important discussion with our core teachers and school counselors. (Scroll to the bottom of this page to see participant feedback.)
The Integrated Learning Conference is now history. There were 76 great outbreak sessions & presenters! Keynote speaker Bill Symonds (Pathways to Prosperity) had a great message. PtP Video .
I learned about some very cool things happening in classrooms around the Commonwealth. In fact, I have some new ideas for my students! I’m going to highlight a few great things I learned while at the conference.
Topics included on this post: (1) PA Career Zone, (2) School Counts (teaching & learning employability skills), (3) Habits of Success: Skills for a Lifetime and (4) What’s It Worth? Georgetown University report (interactive) on the economic value of college majors.
(1) Self-Assessments Self-Assessments can help students know themselves better. And students knowing themselves better can help students choose a satisfying job or occupational field to explore.
(2) Career Clusters Starting a search by looking at broad sectors can help students find related occupations within an area that they might enjoy.
(3) Budgeting After High School students need to work to pay for housing, transportation, and clothes… They can find out how much money will be needed to pay for all their needs and research careers that will help meet those needs.
2. Bridging Education and the Workforce Through Community Certificates: School Counts!
A collaborative “community certificate” links students to employers and to valuable preparation for their future. “Employability” certification provides recognition to students who demonstrate responsibility and hard work in school. The document credentials identify potential candidates for jobs or internships based on predetermined criteria. Employers benefit from this initial screening process orchestrated by the school and earned by the student. People resources, not funding, are required, providing a cost-effective way to connect schools and business. I’m going to introduce this idea to my community partners as well as my students-this is a GREAT IDEA! Thanks to CDLN friends Betty Holmboe (Program Coordinator/Consultant) and Liz Biddle (K-12 Project Manager, Pennsylvania College of Technology) for this one.
3. Skills for a Lifetime: Teaching Students the Habits of Success
I attended a couple sessions by the High Schools that Work folks (Teaching Students the Habits of Success & Teaching Students Organization, Time Management and Study Skills: A Habit of Success). I have their book titled “Skills for a Lifetime: Teaching Students the Habits of Success”. Great sessions and great book provided to attendees by PDE. They promote 6 habits. They also have 3 “jobs” for school districts.
Helping students learn to make good decisions, set and achieve goals and become independent learners
Encouraging students to work harder
Giving employers what they expect from the graduates they hire
The six habits:
Build and maintain productive relationships with peers and adults
Organize, manage time and develop study skills
Develop strong reading and writing skills
Develop strong mathematics skills
Set goals and make plans to reach them
Access the resources needed to achieve goals
These habits are consistent with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People(Covey). The first section of the book builds the case for teaching the habits. The second section provides approaches for teaching the habits (including What Freshman Need!). And the final section of the book provides model lessons and activities for teaching the habits. I’ll be happy to share more if you’d like.
My SD is already talking about expanding and deepening our students understanding of 7 Habits. This will be a great resource. Can’t wait to read this book more carefully.
4. What’s It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (interactive links below)
We’ve always been able to say how much a Bachelor’s degree is worth in general. Now, we show what each Bachelor’s degree major is worth.
The report finds that different undergraduate majors result in very different earnings. At the low end, median earnings for Counseling Psychology majors are $29,000, while Petroleum Engineering majors see median earnings of $120,000.