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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

College Readiness
College Readiness

Ketanji Brown Jackson

by Greg Cunningham

The influence of high school speech competition on Ketanji Brown Jackson

High school speech and debate is one of the best kept secrets in American education. Most people have no idea that from late September until April or May, on just about every Saturday morning, thousands of students around the country make their way to a high school to compete in speech or debate events. Tournaments take over the school, utilizing every classroom, conference room, and even storage closets for 10 hours or more, sometimes lasting both Saturday and Sunday. To excel at these activities, students have to have the energy and stamina of a cross-country runner.

Brother Bechner, The impact of a teacher on a student’s life

The impact of a teacher on a student’s life

by Greg Cunningham

For most of my days in middle and high school, English was my worst subject. It wasn’t the reading; I can never remember a time when I wasn’t reading a book. From the Hardy Boys series to the Three Investigators series, I loved having a new book to read. But grammar, diagramming sentences, direct or indirect objects—none of that made any sense to me. Entering Catholic high school, I had no idea that grammar would be such a huge part of the curriculum.

Cynthia Laroche

Cynthia Laroche, Part II

by Joan Reissman

When you’ve been working with students for a long time, you meet many different personalities. Once in a while, a student stands out. Cynthia Laroche is one of those students.

I first met Cynthia in 2013 when she was a student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Cynthia had only been in America since 2011. When she came here, she spoke English, but it wasn’t her first language. Her father was already in America, but she had to wait a while until her mother could join the family in the United States.

JFY supporters sweeten student futures

Ice cream sundaes seal the deal

by Gary Kaplan

The end of the year is a time for reflection and assessment. Looking back over these past two years, we have much to be grateful for. We have survived the greatest disruption in memory and students are now enrolling in JFYNet college and career readiness at a pre-pandemic pace. We are in this positive position thanks to the unwavering loyalty of our supporters.

“It takes a village,” the adage says, but a village needs villagers to sustain it. In our village, the most important citizens are the students. I think of a young man named Andre with whom I indulged in ice cream sundaes a few weeks ago. We were celebrating the end of the first semester of our early college program. He had passed his college course and was looking ahead to the next semester and beyond.

Inland Steel Revisited. Is education keeping pace with automation?

Is education keeping pace with automation?

by Gary Kaplan
photo by Matthew Kaplan

Skills and the Workplace: The Lesson of Inland Steel was our Labor Day post in 2016. Its two main themes are even more relevant five years later: technology is transforming the skill content of work; and post-secondary education or training is necessary to be competitive in the labor market.

Rising to the Challenge - How JFY’s dedicated staff helped teachers and students beat the shutdown

by Gary Kaplan

How JFY’s dedicated staff helped teachers and students beat the shutdown

When schools closed in March of last year, it was unclear whether or how classes could continue. No one had anticipated the need for a transition to full-time online instruction. (Why would they?) But teachers in our partner schools were able to continue their classes remotely using the same JFYNet resources they had been using all year in the classroom. Students were able to access their software curricula without interruption during the spring and summer. The transition from in-person to remote was not without its rough spots, but teachers and students were able to continue their classes. Our staff maintained their practice of working closely with teachers via email, text and video conference to track and support students’ learning throughout the shutdown. Working together, we kept school in session.

Kevin McCaskill of Madison ParkTech Voc

Pandemic exposed a lack of access to technology for some Boston families.

DECEMBER 2020 PODCAST – This month’s podcast is the second part of the conversation between Executive Director Gary Kaplan and Kevin McCaskill, the Executive Director of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, the only Vocational High School in the Boston Public School system. Mr. McCaskill has been working in education for over 30 years and between them, Gary and Mr. McCaskill have close to 75 years of experience advocating for public education. In this episode, they discuss how the current pandemic exposed a lack of access to technology for some Boston families, how progress and change continues to work its way across the country, and the most important types of leadership needed in our schools to ensure they provide the best possible education to our students.

Skills for the post-pandemic economy. Is college still necessary?

by Eileen Wedegartner, JFYNet Learning Specialist

Is college still necessary?

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many people to decide to take a year off from higher education. The ballooning price of college tuition combined with the uncertain job outlook for recent college graduates make this decision understandable. But a longer view of the value of a college degree, beyond the immediate crisis, might lead to a different calculation.