Taking High School Education into the Future

by Steve Wycoff (MACE Summer 2008)

Feb 13, 2008 — Kansas State Board of Education – Comprehensive Redesign (of Tech Ed)

Nine initiatives that all Kansas schools are required to meet.

  1. Create/approve gold standard assessments (industry recognized credentials/certifications) for ech of the Career Clusters that support high expectations.
  2. Integrate core content standards with technical program standards utilizing the 16 career clusters as the organzing principle
  3. Support implementation of Individual Career Plans of study for all students in grade 8 and above
  4. Improve access to Career and Technical Education by removing barriers and promoting partnerships.
  5. Recommend KBOR to Update Qualified Admissions
  6. Create 21st century school standards to help guide reform and/or redesign of public schools
  7. Support Professional Development for teachers (e.g. mentor-mentee model) to help gide studnets in planning for future careers.
  8. Revise Teacher Preparation Program Standards to reflect the integration of content standards.
  9. Support the creation of dynamic funding systems that resond to the changing workforce and economic development needs.

Kansas aerospace industry is short by about 1000 engineers immediately and has a need for up to 500 yearly.

We can no longer have kids who would be good engineers being pushed out because they can’t do three semesters of calculus. In our society today, 12% of the jobs are for the unskilled, yet we have about 32% of our students dropping out. Thus we have too many unskilled workers. Traditional high school curriculums focus on preparing students to go to a 4 year college while almost 80% of those students won’t finish college in 4 years.

In Kansas, we have a shortage of workers yet students indicate a high interest in those same areas. Why is that?

To meet these initiatives may require revamping of high school curriculums. The utilization of “course codes” assigned to projects may be one way to provide students with experience in the areas of their interest while granting them academic credit toward graduation. This moves more toward an integrated curriculum versus isolated curricular areas.

21st century behaviors

  • technology fluency
  • Communication – verbal proficiency
  • collaboration — leadership/coordination/teamwork/interpersonal skills/relationships/horizontal collaboration
  • solve complex problems
  • gumption — self-direction and reflection skills
  • creativity
  • analytical and thinking skills
  • initiative and ambition
  • adaptable — versatilist
  • inquisitiveness
  • Communication — ability to write a letter, write an email, know when to use IM shorthad and when not to

Utilizing the Kansas Career Pipeline to help meet these initiatives

1. Use the Kuder Interest Inventory

After taking interest inventory, the user gets a “person match” with similar profiles to the person taking the interest inventory. Anyone in state of Kansas can take this inventory.

  • Exposes students to careers they may not have considered
  • Causes students to think about educational requirements for the various careers
  • Leads into investigating post-secondary education and cost

2. Use Kansas Career Pipeline to build Individual Career Plans

3. Incorporates videos on different career areas and job opportunities in Kansas (Manufacturing video is excellent coverage of variety of jobs involved in producing airplanes.)

“A teacher’s job is not to teach kids. A teacher’s job is to create meaningful, engaging work whereby kids learn the things we want them to learn.” (Phyl Schlecty)

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