College and career readiness

College and Career Ready: Preparing Students With the Skills They Need to Succeed

Guest post by Renee Trotier

One of our recent Rockwood Summit High School (RSHS) graduates came back for a visit after a few months of college. His observation was that the course content was not a problem, but the most important aspect for success in college was actually time management.

The conversation stuck with me because I learned this same lesson the hard way (more…)

Student Voice: The Most Important Sound in the School

Guest post by Bobby Bennett

In 2012, I became principal of my alma mater—only the second alumnus since the 1890s to have such an opportunity. No pressure! Eager to begin the work of serving my community and school improvement, I held a series of meetings with staff and the school community over the course of the first three months. These meetings would shape our work for the next five years. In fact, what we learned and put into practice not only yielded academic success, it transformed the culture of our school. (more…)

Empowering Students to Aspire Higher

Guest post by Kasey L. Teske

All students have dreams of success after high school, but for some students, their dreams are merely wishes that never come to fruition. How can schools empower more students to aspire higher and reach for their dreams? At Canyon Ridge High School (CRHS) in Idaho, we have made it our mission to help students dream and find success both during and after high school. Our three-part approach focuses on (more…)

Transforming Business Engagement at School, Part Two

Guest post by Tommy T. Welch

In last week’s post, I described how Meadowcreek High School (MHS) has partnered with local and national businesses to develop a robust program of paid internships that are enhancing student learning and long-term curriculum development. Of course, this did not happen overnight. It took years of effort from hundreds of people all working toward a common goal. But I am absolutely confident that other communities can replicate our success. (more…)

Transforming Business Engagement at School, Part One

Guest post by Tommy T. Welch

One of the main functions we perform in education is preparing our students for entering the workforce. But how do we know if we are succeeding? Traditional assessments tend to focus on achievement up to high school graduation but not after. There are numerous articles and studies out there that explore how curricula need to change to equip students with the skills necessary for 21st-century jobs. At Meadowcreek High School, we have taken a slightly different approach by partnering directly with local and national businesses to give students hands-on experience through paid internships. By approaching businesses as authentic knowledge partners rather than just taxpayers, donors, or sponsors, we have enlisted their expertise and experience in the process of preparing our students for productive careers and lifelong learning. (more…)

Career Gears: Preparing Students Today for Tomorrow’s Opportunities

Guest post by Ryan Rismiller

With so much going on in education policy these days, it’s easy sometimes to lose focus of what matters most—students. At Graham High School, we are using a program we call Career Gears to provide relevant opportunities for our students district-wide. Working with stakeholders throughout the community, we create relevant experiences that can help students identify their career interests and build professional skills and relationships for the future.  (more…)

Promoting Ownership of Learning Through Student-Led Conferences

Guest post by Mike King

Located on the rolling plains of Southwest Kansas, Dodge City is a town with Wild West roots where Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and Doc Holliday used to rule the land. Today, Dodge City is less lawman and gunfighters and more meatpackers and manufacturers with Cargill Meat Solutions and National Beef as the community’s top employers. As principal of Dodge City Middle School (DCMS), I am on a constant mission to cultivate opportunities for our students to develop college and career readiness skills and help them take ownership of their learning.  (more…)

Focus on the “BE” before the “DO”

Guest post by Jay R. Dostal

Last year, my leadership team held a two-day retreat to focus on moving from our current school building into the new one we were building at the time. As you might imagine, moving a 230,000 square foot building, in addition to implementing a new educational model centered on college, career, and life readiness, can be quite stressful and taxing. Many details needed to be coordinated, including developing a communication plan, updating multiple forms with the new address, purchasing new furniture, and much more. My team and I worked diligently to put together a list of things that we needed to get done during our two-day hiatus away from the building, and we had every intention of getting them completed before the second semester started. Then the retreat happened. (more…)

Advocacy Update: Tracking ESSA

ESSA Toolkit

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires your engagement as an education stakeholder as states develop legislation to meet the law’s requirements. Since many legislators have limited background in education, it is important that you as a school leader ensure your voice is heard. The ESSA Toolkit for Principals empowers you to advocate on behalf of your school and students and provides you with the necessary tools. (more…)

Career Academies: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships

Guest post by Darrin M. Peppard

Steve, a veteran math teacher, asked, “Why do we do our learning walks in classrooms that don’t match with our own content area?” With a confused look, I responded, “Because you don’t really teach content, Steve, you teach kids, and kids need transferable skills more than they need content.” (more…)