School District 197 Superintendent Blog
Welcome to my blog! The purpose of the blog is to provide an avenue for communication with parents and community members. I will be sharing our progress in implementing the District Strategic Framework. Periodically I will also post photos and share news of special events that I attend in our schools.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Career and College Readiness -

Career and college readiness is a hot topic these days, including here in District 197.  Our Strategic Framework has an emphasis on career and college readiness.  We define it as students possessing the knowledge and skills needed to successfully complete credit-bearing coursework at a two- or four-year college, technical school, or university or to secure employment in a career-track position, which is defined as one that pays a living wage, provides benefits, and offers opportunities for advancement through education and training. 

By 2020, three quarters of all jobs in Minnesota will require some form of post-secondary training beyond high school.  But are students ready, and are they prepared?  Not very, according to a survey conducted by the Youth Truth, a nonprofit organization.  There were three key findings in this survey: students want to go to college but feel unprepared; they feel even less prepared for a career, and they admit they are not taking advantage of support services to prepare them for their future.

I am also concerned that earning a degree or a certification is becoming more difficult due to finances alone.  The cost of a post-secondary education is rising, and as tuition and expenses go up, the number of students from moderate to low-income households who are able to afford to pay goes down.  This results in one of two things: they either don't go to college or they assume significant debt.  

The case is clear: what we do in schools to prepare students for their future matters.  In addition to ensuring strong academic preparation, we need to provide students with ongoing career exploration and planning opportunities.  And it needs to start early.  It's not just about what kids imagine they want to be when they grow up; it is also about developing a set of skills and abilities that we think of as soft skills.

We believe our future in this area lies in collaborating with other institutions to create depth and breadth in regard to what is available to our students.  Over the course of the coming year, you will hear us talk about ways we plan to partner with neighboring school districts, our business community, and several key post-secondary partners.  This process is just beginning to unfold, and I couldn't be more excited about the prospects.

There are many resources for educators, students, and parents that can help you explore this idea of career and college readiness.  Below are a few that I would recommend for those of you who'd like to read on.  I am sure your own online searches will take you even further.

 For now, enjoy this beautiful spring weather!


Nancy Allen-Mastro

Follow me on Twitter @Supt197