Suburban Schools Study Council Meeting

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:

Slide 1:

  • Self introduction.
  • 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.”

Slide 2:

Slide 3:

  • Our first offering: Internship. We encouraged our seniors to use our community as their classroom. Why? For the student: To try on a profession before going to college to prepare for that profession.
  • 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.

Slide 4:

  • 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.

Slide 5:

  • 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.

Slide 6:

  • 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.

Slide 7:

  • 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.

Slide 8:

  • 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:

  1. Understand the importance of narrowing career interests as a basis for postsecondary planning;
  2. 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;
  3. Have, by the end of the twelfth grade, engaged in activities to verify these choices; and
  4. Used these choices to make post-high school decisions.

Ken Gray-Getting Real: Helping Teens Find their Future

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Great Conference @ PSU!

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. Pennsylvania Career Zone (new and very improved!) Includes:

(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.

The jobs:

  1. Helping students learn to make good decisions, set and achieve goals and become independent learners
  2. Encouraging students to work harder
  3. Giving employers what they expect from the graduates they hire

The six habits:

  1. Build and maintain productive relationships with peers and adults
  2. Organize, manage time and develop study skills
  3. Develop strong reading and writing skills
  4. Develop strong mathematics skills
  5. Set goals and make plans to reach them
  6. 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.

What’s It Worth? has been cited by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Time Magazine, Associated Press, NBC, U.S. News and World Report, Huffington Post, Washington Times, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Read the Press Release (PDF)

Download the Selected Findings (PDF)

Read the Full Report (PDF)*

Check out the presentation from the release webinar (PDF) 

Interactive summary tables

Thanks to my CDLN friend Kate Lomax (Educational Services Director, Community Education Council of Elk and Cameron Counties) for this resource!

Presentations I gave at the ILC can be seen here. Topics: e-portfolios & Futures Fair (hybrid career & post-secondary fair connecting students to high priority professions in our region)

Conference on Integrated Learning: The School-To-Career Connection

The Integrated Learning Conference  (ILC) is the best conference the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) puts on all year. It is my favorite event because all the best teachers bring their best practices (from around the Commonwealth) and share their work. I always return to school with renewed energy and thinking.

I will be presenting on two topics this year: (1) E-Portfolios and (2) Hatboro-Horsham’s Futures Fair. I’m going to post my presentations and handouts so attendees can easily refer to the links and resources provided.

1. Portfolios

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

A Career Portfolio is the tool your students need—whether they are looking for a job or seeking admission to college. This session will guide you through a step-by-step process of building a targeted collection of documents that provides employers and admissions offices with concrete evidence of what a student has done and presents their potential for the future. Learn how a carefully considered and well-presented portfolio can best validate a student’s skills and accomplishments and be the most effective self-marketing device for a great job and/or college admission. Includes electronic portfolios.

Student E-Portfolio example: Meet Hannah Hatboro *

*Hannah Hatboro is a fictional character. Her portfolio was designed to model similar portfolios created by students in our school.

Hannah Hatboro Resource Handout

2. Futures Fair

BRIEF DESCRIPTION “Making It Here” was the theme of Hatboro-Horsham’s 2011 Futures Fair and reflects the hope of the community that if students are made aware of local educational and career opportunities they’ll stay in the area or return after college to pursue their life paths. A Futures Fair is a hybrid event that connects high priority professions, post-secondary programs and 21st Century Skills to employment opportunity in our region. Learn how our community, school, business stakeholders, education foundation and post-secondary institutions partnered to teach students that they really can “make it here” (prepare for interesting professions that offer opportunity and family sustaining wages in our region).         

Download my PPT presentation to view slide notes.

Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century

Next month I will be attending and presenting at the Pennsylvania Integrated Learning Conference. I just learned that Bill Symonds author of the Harvard University study Pathways to Prosperity will be the keynote speaker. I have included Harvard’s press release concerning the study and links to the report on this post. This is a must read for anyone interested in education, their children’s future or our national economic security.

Report Calls for National Effort to Get Millions Of Young Americans onto a Realistic Path to Employability

Career Awareness and Decision Making

The Center for Professional Development in Career and Technical Education @ Temple University hosted a workshop for school administrators on the topic of Career Awareness and Decision Making. It was great!

First on the agenda was Nancy Dischinat, Executive Director of the Leigh Valley Workforce Investment Board. She brought with her an enthusatic and committed team. A few of the topics addressed:

1. The 3 D’s (Economic Development = Workforce Development + Career Development). I was first introduced to this idea by my friend Betty Holmboe of the Capital Region.

The formula reminds us that if our state is to attract industry and business partners (Economic Development) it must have a skilled workforce prepared to take the jobs demanded by industry. Workforce Development is regional. Do you know what the high priority professions are in your region? In the Delaware Valley, where I live, high priority professions include all health sciences, engineering and everything “Green.” As educators, we need to know what the high priority professions are in our region. We need to make aware, connect and prepare kids for opportunities to work where they can earn family sustaining wages! That’s Career Development.

2. New flash! Sixty-nine PA Superintendents have signed and committed to Career Pathways in their school districts!

3. On social networking: You need to be there b/c that’s where your students are! Students feel you are disrespecting them if you are not there (news to me).

4. In 2011 it’s not “You can be anything you want to be…”, it’s “You can be anything you want to be in (high priority field).”

5. Career Gates videos now on YouTube.


Query “Career Gates” on YouTube for the full series.

6. PA RCEP Virtual Career Fair

Next on the agenda was Tom Speicher and Glenn Spoerke from Penn College. They introduced an exceptional documentary series. It is not Penn College specific–the series is career specific.

The career-exploration documentary series degrees that work.tv is produced by Pennsylvania College of Technology in conjunction with WVIA Public Media. The award-winning series airs on public television. Complete episodes also can be accessed online through this website and YouTube .

Take a look at this one to see how great these documentaries really are:

Go to http://www.pct.edu/degreesthatwork/welding.htm for teacher lesson planning guides to this documentary.

The afternoon presentations featured David Garnes, PDE/BCTE, Career & Technical Education Advisor. David updated our group on SOAR Programs in PA. And to wrap up, Jerilynn Millvan, PDE/BCTE, addressed nontraditional programs of study for adults and postsecondary CTE.

Great way to spend the day. Thanks to Temple’s Chet Wichowski for organizing the event.

What Would Motivate Our Kids?

What Would Motivate Our Kids?.

I am reading Drive by Daniel Pink. Here is a post by another blogger about the book and the science of motivation.