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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

College and Career Readiness for K-8

When Bob Bardwell called me last spring to ask if I'd talk to K-8 educators about college and career readiness, I was surprised. College and Career readiness for K-8, I thought, why? Bob is working with colleagues to lead this effort in multiple ways including partnering with local colleges and universities.

As I read more about college and career readiness standards and attributes, I realized why Bob wanted a teacher like me to make the connection between what we do and can do as teachers of young children with regard to college and career readiness. This connection begins with the reasons why teachers matter:
  • We treat children with kindness and care.
  • We teach with depth, skill, and commitment.
  • We mentor, model, and coach.
  • We inspire and awaken dreams in young children.
Our role as teachers of young children is to launch these young students with confidence, vision, skill, and care. We help children to realize that yes, it's true, they have what it takes to work towards and achieve their dreams. 

But how can we do this in the early years? There are many, many ways that we can instill this confidence and direction. Some of these efforts are small tweaks and changes to our already strong curriculums, and other ways are more thoughtful, deeper avenues of program design, change, and development. I included many links and ideas in the presentation at the bottom of the page, a presentation I'll share with educators in the same district as Bob today.

As the educators work with me, I'm sure they'll come up with a number of terrific short-term and long-term ways to empower their students with college and career ready vision and goals--ways that match the context and interests of their teaching/learning community. Bob created a great end-of-presentation template that asks educators to note what changes they'll make today, tomorrow, in the next month, and in the next year. I like that way of identifying and committing to change and development both with regard to small changes and greater development. I look forward to seeing where they take this powerful vision. 

I'd also like to hear any ideas that people in my PLN have with regard to instilling college and career readiness attributes, vision, and skill in young children. What ideas would you add to the presentation below? I thank you in advance for your ideas and thought. 
Afterward: I was really impressed with the investment, creativity, and care that the Monson teachers brought to a full day of training. I could tell that their students really matter to them, and that they'll do everything they can to positively inspire and lead those students to worthy college and career choices. Thanks to Bob Bardwell for leading the way