For too many American students, high school is a time of disengagement that fails to put them on a path to success later on in life. In fact, a 2012 Gallup Student Poll indicated that student engagement during high school is at a critically low level. The survey, which asks students how involved and enthusiastic they feel about school, reported that while nearly 80% of elementary school students feel engaged, only 44% of high school students feel that way. So, how can we keep students engaged throughout high school? The answer is a curriculum that connects the classroom to careers.
Many high school graduates lack exposure to learning that links their work in school to college and careers—especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). When students understand that rewarding careers exist beyond the classroom, they are more likely to feel motivated to engage in their studies.
Using a variety of activity-based learning models, schools can provide students with opportunities to develop their critical thinking skills and creativity. An integrated STEM curriculum provides equity among students from all backgrounds, empowering them to find their passion and look beyond high school and into the future.
Career and Technical Education
Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses help develop students’ noncognitive skills such as problem-solving, communication, time management, and critical thinking skills. By providing students with CTE courses, schools help prevent dropouts because the curriculum offers practical applications of knowledge through authentic tasks that allow students to see the relevancy of their instruction. Because the lessons are more practical and hands-on, students feel more engaged. Ultimately, CTE curriculum connects the knowledge that students are gaining in the classroom to the future by helping them understand how that knowledge helps them obtain a career they’ll find interesting and rewarding.
Preparing students for success later on in life requires a different approach to the educational experience than it did in the past. Too many of America’s students are not meaningfully engaged or motivated in their academic experience while in high school. By providing kids with opportunities to connect what they’re learning in the classroom to the future, schools can inspire students to take control of their education and find success as adults.
Programs like U can B are working to re-engage students in the classroom by providing classes that give students a chance to see what life is like after high school and college. The U can B Curriculum is tailored to meet any school’s needs, and includes classes on topics such as entrepreneurship, careers in the trades, careers in IT, careers in healthcare, career preparation, leadership, and more. Contact us at Info@BuildingBridgesforBusiness.org or click here to learn more about the U can B Program.