This post originally appeared at Getting Smart on July 25, 2016.
A major task for high schools today is to guide students toward postsecondary opportunities. In the best schools, a strong college and career office develops relationships with students and families, presenting them with possible postsecondary pathways and helping them secure opportunities that are a good fit.
But when should a school start this work? At Springpoint, we believe that strong school design includes a plan for college and career support even before freshmen step into the building. And students should be exposed to this in their very first year.
Equipping students to forge their own path is crucial given today’s rapidly shifting economy—according to one study, 40% of America’s workforce will be self-employed by 2020. So young people will increasingly need to independently seek out and take advantage of opportunities. We must enable them to connect their interests to possible career paths, and to develop relationships with leaders in their chosen field.
We spoke with a small group of enterprising, resourceful high school students about how they are leveraging in-school supports to forge a path toward their college and career goals. All of these students are enrolled in new, innovative high schools designed as part of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Opportunity by Design initiative. The initiative focuses on creating small, competency-based and student-centered school models. In addition to sharing their own stories, these students also had some advice for their peers.
At The Urban Assembly Maker Academy, Amanda, a rising junior, began to consider a career in communications after realizing she enjoys public speaking and mentoring others. Amanda told us, “I’m an extrovert,” and in response, her teachers and principal gave her opportunities to present at national conferences and act as an ambassador for the school. Last fall, Amanda presented on a panel about new school start-up at iNACOL’s annual symposium, and she has spoken about her school with leaders of Parsons School of Design. Amanda’s teachers have helped her collect these outreach experiences into a portfolio she can take to colleges. (more…)