Life Beyond High School: The Innovative Frontier

Life Beyond High School:  The Innovative Frontier

 

Crafting a Plan Beyond High School

As high school students prepare for life beyond their public or private schools, it is critical that they have a plan in place for their future.  While many students are encouraged to pursue more of an academic route following their graduation, there are other more suitable options available to help them select a more suitable path.  Around the country, more programs are offered to provide students choices about their career paths which include but are not limited to apprenticeships, internships, vocational trade schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges.

Having a plan for life after high school is crucial for students prior to reaching their senior year.  Helping students hone in on their unique interests and skillsets are all components they need when recognizing and defining future goals. Most importantly, they need to be able to articulate their goals.  Many school systems look at several factors as they attempt to direct students towards being ready to pursue either the workforce or further their education. 

  • What are the student’s grades like?
  • Do they have strong community or family support? 
  • What are their academic strengths or weaknesses? 
  • Are they able to communicate their decisions and thoughts to others effectively?
  • What are their genuine interests?

Vocational Schools

Vocational schools specialize in offering very specific skillset options for students while also ensuring completion towards certification and a high school diploma.  There is no need for students to spend part of their day in their zoned school and the

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Parents Refuse Common Core Testing 

In communities all over the country, parents are choosing to opt their children out of Common Core testing. In schools from coast to coast, April has become “testing season,” the time of the year when students in grades K-12 sit for standardized tests in math and English language arts. Because of initiatives like No Child Let Behind and Race to the Top, which are intended to measure and improve student performance, some students sit for up to nine to twelve hours of testing over the course of a few weeks.  

 

Race to the Top

The Race to the Top program, which began in 2009, offers grants totaling billions of dollars to states that follow guidelines for education innovation. In order to qualify for the competitive grants, states must build “data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction.” To gather the data necessary to meet this requirement, states have implemented standardized testing for all public school children.

 

Why Opt-Out?

In 2014, some parents decided they’d had enough of high-stakes, long-duration testing. Around the country handfuls of students showed up on testing days clutching formally-worded notes from their parents explaining that they were “opting out” or refusing to take the standardized tests.

There are several reasons why parents are rejecting Common Core Testing:

  • Parents believe students suffer unnecessary stress due to hours of testing.
  • Teachers are forced to “teach to the test” which limits what
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There has been a substantial decline in the number of children who read for pleasure in the last few years. In fact, according to the annual Kids and Family Report published by Scholastic, in just the last four years, the number of kids that read for fun has dropped by nearly 10%. Today, barely more than half of children in the United States report liking to read for enjoyment. A full 37% of children like to read “a little,” while 12% report not liking reading at all.

When it comes to reading, kids can come up with a million excuses as to why they don’t like it.  It’s boring. There isn’t enough time. It isn’t fun. There’s already too much reading in school. 

Thankfully, there is an art to promoting reading. Some methods, like nagging, definitely do not work. Yet other methods, such as modeling reading behaviors to your child, will pay dividends in the short and long term.

 

What NOT To Do

It can be frustrating trying to get your child to read, and in those moments, it is easy to rely on unsuccessful methods for encouraging reading. Sometimes the first inclination is to nag your child into submission, or perhaps bribe them to read by offering them a reward for doing so. Unfortunately, these methods often do more harm than good. Nagging can easily wear on your child’s nerves and lead him or her to resent the fact that they are being forced to read. And while rewarding your

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It is a story that is all too often in the news: A child is subjected to torturous cyberbullying by his or her peers via social media. Threatening messages sent on Facebook, humiliating comments about their appearance on Twitter, and other such nonsense drives the student to lash out, possibly hurting themselves, their peers, or both.
 
Schools no doubt serve a protective function and are charged with ensuring students have access to a free, appropriate education in an environment that is safe, secure, and nurturing. To help achieve that end, some states are taking strong measures to bolster the authority and power of school districts with regard to investigating instances of bullying, even if such negative behaviors do not occur on school property or within the bounds of the school day.
 
The Illinois Law
 
In an attempt to curb cyberbullying behaviors, the Illinois General Assembly passed a law, enacted January 1st of this year, that allows public school districts to demand access to students’ personal social media accounts if the student is suspected of violating school rules.
 
A letter sent home to parents in Triad Community Schools in Illinois, obtained by Motherboard, outlines the new policy:
 
 
“School authorities may require a student or his or her parent/guardian to provide a password or other related account information in order to gain access to his/her account profile on a social networking website if school authorities have reasonable cause to believe that a student’s account
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Just three months after the first measles outbreak from Disneyland, researchers have confirmed that the low rates of vaccination are the culprit for measles spreading from California throughout the country, as just published in the JAMA Pediatric Journal
 
"Disneyland is an international attraction and sometimes people are coming from places where measles vaccination rates are low or they don't get the recommended two doses, and that, combined with the fact that there are a lot of pockets of non-vaccination in California and people coming from all over the U.S. created the perfect storm for a big outbreak," lead author Maimuna Majumder of Boston Children's Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told Reuters Health.
 
In late December 2014, the first signs that a measles outbreak was about to occur began to present themselves. People were coming into emergency rooms and doctor’s offices with high fevers, runny noses, coughing, and red, watery eyes.  In addition to the ones originating in Disneyland, there were other unrelated outbreaks in Nevada, Illinois, and Washington.  California has by far the most cases, numbering 142 in early March, but there are measles reports in 17 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  
 
 
What makes this measles outbreak particularly disturbing – aside from the fact that the disease was declared eliminated in 2000 – is that it began at Disneyland, a place full of children who have since returned to school.
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