In yesterday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer article entitled “Ohio’s education leaders want to overhaul 12th grade so students are ready for college, training”, Ohio’s Superintendent of Public Instruction and Board of Regents Chancellor challenged school leaders to reinvent the senior year in high school. Superintendent Heffner states “A high school senior year is in many ways a wasteland” and in 20 years of experience working with high schools that is very often the case. Students who are on-track to graduate have typically completed all or most of their required courses by the end of junior year and with the huge budget cuts most schools have implemented, there really aren’t many electives available.
So what can be done differently senior year to better prepare them for life after high school? EDWorks, a non-profit subsidiary of the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, collaborates with school leaders to completely re-think the high school experience. Our New Start interest-based academies offer smaller, more personalized academic experiences that culminate with Senior Capstone experiences, which are conducted in partnership with local businesses and non-profits. Next year, graduating seniors attending Reynoldsburg High School’s eSTEM Academy will have a three hour block every day focused on preparing students to succeed in one of four capstone areas. The remainder of the day will be available for internships, mentoring/service learning, college courses, blended learning and other electives.
EDWorks also works with high need communities to implement Fast Track early college high schools where underserved students are able to earn 45-60 college credits before the end of senior year. In fact, this year over 55% of the students graduating from Akron Early College High School will also earn an associate’s degree upon graduation.
What kinds of innovations are your schools doing which also help re-invent the senior experience?
To learn more about our models visit: www.edworkspartners.org.