School Counts!

NEW PROJECT–A collaboration between local Chambers of Commerce and the School District!

I recently presented this project to the general membership of our local Chambers. The two Chambers executive boards, school administrators and I modeled this project from a similar program that was presented at the Integrated Learning Conference in 2011 at Penn State University.

Preparing students for success after graduation is a high priority for  Hatboro-Horsham School District. Whether  they attend a two- or four-year college, a technical, apprenticeship, military program or immediately enter the workforce, HH is committed to ensuring all students have the necessary skills and career maturity required to succeed. 

The Greater Horsham Chamber of Commerce and The Greater Hatboro Chamber of Commerce together with the high school have collaborated to develop an employability certificate called the “School Counts Employability Certificate.”

The certificate connects learning in school to success in our community.

*Thanks to my friend Betty Holmboe for the inspiration and to Mary Dare, Jo-Anne Zapata and Becky Felton of the Horsham Chamber for helping me get this off the ground.

 

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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