Friday, September 12, 2008

Career Pathways

Amaal, our Assistant Director of Curriculum, and I have been working on Career Pathways for nearly year..... researching and learning about what it is. At first, Career Pathways appeared to be a career exploration/career standards initiative. However it turns out that is only a small part of the Career Pathways model. Career Pathways is really about curriculum.

Here is a chart we created at our meeting back in July with the Steering Committee:

During this process, it became clear that if we wanted to provide career guidance and exploration and if we wanted students to continue on to secondary school, then we must ensure they have the knowledge and skills to succeed in a chosen career..... all of which relates to curriculum.

The steering committee analyzed regional math and reading data and determined that the IEP subgroup for math especially at the 11th grade was the greatest area of concern. In other words lack of skill in mathematics especially Algebra would significantly inhibit a student's career choices (not to mention a schools' AYP status).

Our next step is to create tools and resources for teachers to help students, especially historically low performing students such as those in the IEP subgroup, master Algebra. This area of concern is also consistent with research on the achievement gap which indicates successful completion of Algebra II correlates with success in post-secondary school.

"High school curriculum has the greatest impact on closing the achievement
gap while raising achievement for all students. Within a high school curriculum,
the higher the level of mathematics studied, the stronger the effect on college
degree completion. Finishing a course beyond Algebra 2 more than doubles college
completion of a bachelor's degree. For whatever reason, mathematics has become
a key 'gatekeeper' course."

Check out the Career Pathways wikispace for more information and updates.

Singham, M. (2003, April). The achievement gap: Myths and reality. Phi Delta Kappan, 84
(8), 586-59.

WestEd. Schools Moving Up. Retrieved September 12, 2008 from http://www.schoolsmovingup.net/cs/wested/view/rs/160?x-t=wested.record.view.

2 comments:

Melissa said...

Since I was in attendance at the Career Pathways meeting, I was quite enthusiastic about the participation from a number of school districts. Those in attendance were quite open to the possibility of exploring Algebra. I was equally impressed to see a guidance counselor in attendance. I'm hoping to see more counselors in attendance at future meetings. A number of students rely on their professional judgment when determining courses for their academic year. They will be a valuable asset with this project.I'm just hoping that all the districts which we serve will send a representative or two to upcoming meetings. This will provide us the necessary feedback to make informed decisions if all districts are represented.

Amaal said...

In working on this intiative over this past year I have learned a lot more about Career Pathways. As Kelly explains it is very clear that Career Pathways isn't just career counseling but also providing students with skills and a rigorous curriculum so that they can be successful in postsecondary education. Research has shown that students with higher math skills have a higher chance in completeing a college degree.

"A more demanding secondary school
curriculum will enable [some] students to enter the workforce immediately, if they choose to, confident that they have the skills and knowledge needed on the job and, increasingly,in their employer’s classrooms. They also will be better equipped to attend college later or enroll in specialized training as their careers develop. It perhaps also needs to be added that as more
students receive the preparation they need to continue education right out of high school, the
more likely they are to enroll immediately in college or other postsecondary courses."
—National Commission on the High School Senior Year, 2001