NEW YORK, Nov. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- We are teaching today's students to be tomorrow's leaders, but do we really know what tomorrow will bring? By some estimates, 65% of today's students will work in careers that do not exist. Yet instead of responding to this challenge, the system writ large has maintained the status quo, resulting in disengaged students, disheartening high school and college graduation rates, and distressing youth unemployment.
In a recent survey, 4 of 5 high school dropouts said they might have stayed in school if there were "more opportunity for real-world learning and… experiential learning." Schools That Can (STC) is tackling this challenge by working with a diverse cohort of schools across five cities to integrate real-world learning practices in order to motivate and engage students now and better prepare them to fulfill their future potential.
During the 2016-2017 school year, STC is facilitating concurrent Professional Learning Groups (PLGs) focused on real-world learning in Chicago, New York City, Newark, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis. Forty-three (43) schools - including 20 district schools, 14 charter schools, and 9 faith-based schools (click here for the full list) are participating in these networked improvement communities. In a time when it is rare to see educators cross sector divides (district/charter, public/private), these schools are uniting to improve opportunities for their students. As one Pittsburgh school leader said, "A cross-sector network is a great idea – and what a diverse, dedicated cross-sector group we are!"
In the coming months, PLGs will visit schools to see real-world learning in action, reflect on practices, analyze challenges, implement new change ideas that advance real-world learning, and monitor the success of their changes. Amanda Gewirtz, from KIPP NJ's KIPP through College program, said "Real world learning is something the education sector is still grappling with – it encompasses so much and is not easy to teach. I'm excited to be part of this PLG where I can explore this further with others who are thinking about it at their schools!"
All five PLGs launched in the past two weeks. Schools gathered to articulate their particular areas for growth, surfacing needs related to teachers' expertise in real-world, non-school workplace experiences; the development of critical non-academic skills like collaboration and critical thinking; lack of engagement in classes; and effective use of community partners and experts. Schools will reconvene in November to begin building solutions to these challenges.
STC is a 501(c)(3) organization that connects educators and leaders within its cross-sector network of urban schools to share innovative practices that support a cohesive education to employment pathway. The network includes 170+ charter, district, independent and faith-based schools in 15 cities — all of which serve predominantly low-income students of color. Learn more at www.schoolsthatcan.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Contact: Casey Lamb
Chief Operations & Development Officer, Schools That Can
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SOURCE Schools That Can