One of the greatest challenges we face in K-12 education is preparing all of our students to be truly ready for college or a career. This mandate, which has been brought into sharp focus through the lens of the Common Core State Standards, will take an enormous effort and a decided change in our approach. According to Jason LaTurner and Dale Lewis from SEDL, new programs require a specific implementation process. Their article, Managing the Implementation of School Improvement Efforts, is a roadmap for success that will help you meet this crucial goal.
Perhaps the first step in preparing our students for college and career readiness is to examine our terms. What do we really mean by college and career ready? Dr. Michelle Conrad and Dr. Larae Watkins, Directors at the Missouri Center for Career Education at the University of Central Missouri, question whether we all have the same understanding of these terms. The common consensus is that the skills needed for college readiness and career readiness are the same. In reality, most teachers are only taught to prepare students for college readiness. What is needed to embrace the full spirit of the CCSS, according to Drs. Conrad and Watkins, is a paradigm shift. In their article Why Do I Need to Know This?, they urge you to consider how the conversation might differ if it were “Career and College Readiness.”
We are all in the education biz. In order to succeed, we need to invest in our business and continually educate ourselves. One of the most short-sighted things we do is to eliminate training, professional development and conference funding from our budgets. As a good friend of mine once told me, “Education is so expensive. In fact, the only thing more expensive than education is a lack of education.” In this issue, we begin our new Conference Planner. This section, which will continue in future issues, features the best regional and national education conferences. You now have a convenient listing of these conferences, all in one place, so you can decide which ones you and your staff will attend. I urge you to take advantage of these conferences. It’s the best way to ensure that you have the tools to prepare our nation’s children to succeed in a competitive global economy.
Be sure to peruse our Experiential Learning section. Field trips and class excursions make learning come alive, and the experience often stays with students for a lifetime. In this issue, we highlight some amazing travel opportunities, including a visit to The Big Apple that is not to be missed.
Coming in our Spring edition, we’re going to take stock of the Common Core. Our Common Core Assessment issue will examine where we are, where we’re going and what lessons we have learned. We’ll also include tips for choosing a Masters in Education program, a school technology buyers guide, and include an extensive resource section designed to help you train your teachers. It promises to be a great issue. If you would like to contribute, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at [email protected] or 866-761-1247.