RE-THINKING HIGH SCHOOL Should a Catholic high school look like a high school?
Start thinking: • Do we need a complete overhaul of high school? • Do we need four years? • Does it have to be in school? • What does the curriculum lack? • What about those who need more time? • What do teachers need? • What about those not attending college? • What about a product?
WHAT’S WRONG WITH HIGH SCHOOLS? • Same ol’ same ol’ • Industrial model/agrarian calendar pigeonhole schedule • Too much emphasis on tests • 14year-olds taught the same as 18 year-olds • Requirements completed by grade 11 • Dependence culture
What’s Wrong with Seniors? • BORED • Outside jobs, interests • Predisposed to expectations of the year • Arrested adolescence • Separation anxiety • Tired of school
1. H.S. diploma, w/o college education, leads to low-paying jobs; 2. The tyranny of low expectations leads to lost chances; 3. Each part of the ed. system seems to operate independently of others; 4. Senior year is a lost opportunityto link students with college or work; 5. Students receive little guidance about opportunities and requirements for work/college; 6. Assessments are ill-timed; 7. Teachers are ill-prepared to do these tasks. The Lost Opportunity of Senior Year:Finding a Better Way (Jan. 2001)
WORKPLACE READINESSPartnership for 21st Century Schools and Society for Human Resource Management 2006 • How adequate are work skills? • What basic skills are important? • How will this change over the next 5 years? • What are the “most critical” content areas? • What are the “most critical” applied areas?
Current Basic Knowledge(according to teachers) • Reading comprehension 62.5% • Spoken English 61.8% • English writing 49.4% • Math 30.4% • Foreign language 11% • Knowledge of science 9%
Current applied skills(according to CEO’s) • Professionalism/work ethic 80.3% • Teamwork/collaboration 74.7% • Oral communication 70.3% • Ethics/social responsibility 63.4% • Critical thinking/problem solving 57.5%
Current deficiencies(according to teachers) • Basic English • Reading comprehension • Written communication • Critical thinking/problem solving • Work ethic
Emerging skills/content areas(according to CEO’s) • Foreign language 91% • Critical thinking & integration across disciplines 77.8% • Information technology application 77.4% • Creativity/innovation 73.6% • Diversity 67.1%
Emerging Importance of Personal Choices(CEO’s) • Health/wellness • Financial responsibility • Entrepreneurial skills • Understanding of economic issues • Understanding of global markets • Participation in government • Use of non-Eng.languages to understand global markets & cultures
Consider: • Is the content of our curriculum still relevant, or will we have prepared students for a world that will never again exist? • Employers and colleges do not look for proficiency in a traditional curriculum(e.g.The Apprentice)
Consider: • Should all students attend college? • What is the history of business leaders in this country? • How much do our students know about the economy, globalism, the impact of emerging economies, tribalism, etc.? • How has the content of our curriculum changed? • How will we engage our students in the Church?
Some Solutions... • Use what we know about adolescent development, paying particular attention to their development tasks
Solutions... • Start early on; develop goals and objectives well before the senior year • Have them talk about their plans • Help them with short-term goals
Solutions…. • Use what we know about motivational techniques • Make the work meaningful • Make the work practical and relevant
Solutions... • Prepare them for the senior year • Let them know what is expected senior year • Help them to practice making decisions • Involve key persons in their lives
Solutions... • Mentor them • Make many connections with them • Let them try things out • Let them have a taste of “what’s out there”.
Solutions… • Provide time for teachers to conference on student needs; • Provide training for teachers to mentor students; • Look at the physical layout of the school • Look at the schedule
Solutions... • Think outside the four walls: • What does the community have to offer? • What about the global economy? • How can we teach personal responsibility?
Solutions... • Re-connect the K-12 with college life • Teach students to make choices earlier. • Consider alternate systems of assessment
Solutions • Re-think the curriculum: • Do they all need to attend college? • Should they get Entrepreneurial training? • Should we link the curriculum to their experience?
Employers now want: Work ethic Collaboration Good communication Social responsibility Critical thinking Problem-solving They WILL want: Critical thinking Information technology Health & wellness Collaboration Innovation Global awareness Is there life after high school?
Some practical concerns: • They need to know about economics/personal finance; • They need a second language other than Spanish; • They need to know about the world beyond their neighborhood; • They need to know the consequences of their decisions. • They need to learn life sports
Think again: • Do we need a complete overhaul of high school? • How will we structure the school day? • Do we need four years? • Does it have to be in school? • What about bright kids? • What does the curriculum lack? • What about those who need more time? • What do teachers need? • What about those not attending college? • What about our product?
Have we contributed to the prolongation of adolescence? Have we prepared them well to confront life situations? Have we helped them to consider all their options? Have we maximized the senior year as our last “crack” at them? Do we have any idea what we are producing? Some Final Thoughts..
FINALLY (really) • What are you producing? • In the area of knowledge • In the area of beliefs • In the area of behaviors • In the area of attitudes • In the area of ethics
Want to dazzle your colleagues? Here’s my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Self-development Tasks ofAdolescents 1. Achieving mature relations with age-mates of both sexes; 2. Achieving a masculine or feminine identity; 3. Accepting one’s body; 4. Achieving emotional independence 5. Selecting & preparing for career; 6. Achieving financial independence; 7. Preparing for marriage & family life 8. Socially responsible behavior 9. Ethics & set of values.