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.
Have you heard of the newest movement in Professional Development? It’s called Ed Camp and it all started here in Philly.
What is Ed Camp? The following two video shorts explain it very well. Scroll below the videos to see pictures and my reflections about my first Ed Camp experience as well as additional Ed Camp resources.
If you have the chance to participate in an Ed Camp, do!
You will not be disappointed.
My Ed Camp Philly 2012 Experience!
This was my first Ed Camp. It was so much fun listening to and talking with other educators. No matter what the field or grade band, we all shared one thing: a passion for learning. Here’s how the day went:
1. Arrival. Ed Camp is not open to walk-ins. All attendees had pre-registered. This year’s camp was held in the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
2. Once checked in we immediately walked into the planning room where educators suggested topics of discussion and planned their day. There was plenty of chatter and excitement about the day and it’s possibilities.
In addition to the break out sessions, there was the opportunity to spend time in deep discussion on a particular topic. This is called the Inquiry Room. The topic of discussion for the Inquiry Room was determined by suggestion and then vote. Teachers wrote their ideas on flip chart and voted by placing dots next to the topic they would like to explore in depth. The Inquiry Room topic of choice: Blended Learning. All of this activity, sharing and snacks took about an hour.
3. The next activity was a quick opening assembly where the expections of the day were explained.
Ed Camp “housekeeping”:
What to expect
“Rule of two feet”
The Inquiry Room
“Leave no trace”
Security sign-in (required)
Lunch & after-party details
4. The schedule revealed (let the Twitter chat begin! #edcampphilly):
5. Two morning session time blocks. I’ll post some pictures of what it looked like.
Students participated in a presentation about physics, gaming and social networking.
There was time for networking and professional sharing.
6. Lunch: An hour of meeting, eating and sharing
7. The afternoon sessions-two more sessions of learning and sharing. What’s great about Ed Camp is that everyone participates and shares in every session.
8. The Smackdown. The end of the day was a celebration and sharing. A smackdown is where people wanting to share have two minutes to do so. It’s fast and furious and fun! I’ll post some pictures from the experience.
The sharing (more sharing of important Ed Camp resources below pictures):
The incredible Ed Camp Philly organizers:
Ed Camp resources: Ed Camp Philly Ed Camp started in Philly. It is a result of gifted educators–and they met online!
Ed Camp Foundation Ed Camp has gone global in just two short years. I know why-it’s an amazing Professional Development experience.
Ed Camp Wiki Thinking you might like to host an Ed Camp? See this wiki for the how-to’s!
We teachers need a wake-up call. Do we really understand the world our students are entering? To answer that question, think about this question first: When was the last time you applied for a job?
If it hasn’t been in a few years, then you likely have no idea what it’s like “out there.” (Do you know what a two column cover letter is?) And if you don’t know what the latest trends in job acquisition are, how can you equip your students? I know what you are thinking, “What do I care? My students are going to college.”
College and career readiness is getting a lot of press. Our future college students will soon be looking for meaningful internships. Do they know how to find one? Students going to community college will likely be working and going to school. They needed a job yesterday. Students going directly into the workforce want to find work that is more fulfilling than flipping burgers.
NPR’s Morning Edition, May 11, 2012: only 50% of young adults in their 20s who are college grads are employed full-time and only 1 in 5 working twenty somethings say they are in a career track job. I frequently tell my students that they are all career prep. Everyone one of them will have a career; it’s just a matter of when they begin their work life.
All students need strong job acquisition skills.
The new reality: a portfolio career. It’s different from a career portfolio. A portfolio career is about achieving balance in life and having meaningful and fulfilling work. People with a portfolio career have no jobs, they have projects. They enjoy autonomy and use the skills they enjoy using as they support themselves and their families. They are their own CEO; they are their own means of production.
In today’s difficult job market our students will need the skills necessary to create a portfolio career for themselves. Some workforce experts believe a portfolio career will become the norm.
Intrigued? Me too. It’s time to help our students prepare.
Katie Ledger TEDx: Your New Job (explains the portfolio 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.)