College and Career Ready

At a graduation I attended in Kentucky on Saturday morning when the principal asked all the kids “who are college and career ready” to please stand, a large majority of the graduates stood up. This small school (total number of graduating seniors was 104) highlights the college and career ready track among its seniors, not only in the guidance counselor’s files, but on a bulletin board near the school’s entryway.

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Yesterday, I read The Hechinger Report article, “Can we really prepare kids for both college and career?” The report’s subtitle says, “California’s answer is a resounding ‘Yes.'” One of the first student’s highlighted in the report, now in an engineering job, said “she owes her success to the training she received at Kearny High School… The school trains students in one of four career fields: engineering, business, science and technology, and digital media.”

The graduation day experience as well as the article reminded me of my days teaching mathematics to middle, high school, and community college students. As I think about it, the majority of my students across all of these levels were kids and adults that were focused on being career ready. It was the farm kid who struggled with algebra and geometry until we connected it to his work on the farm… what if we’re putting up fence in the low field… And, it was the seasoned court reporter who had just lost her husband to cancer and who now wanted to be a nurse. For me as a teacher, it meant engaging this student in mathematics by making it relevant to the nursing field. The article describes this at a state-level as offering “linked learning” – “career-centered” programs.

Whether we’re teaching in the classroom, leading a school, or focused on state-level policy, our goal is to connect the dots of learning for kids. College and careers are their future (and ours!). Share your thoughts on creating college and career ready graduates with us on Facebook!

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