College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

Tags Posts tagged with "college readiness"

college readiness

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From Ethiopia to Architecture: My Journey - Selamawit Balcha's Journey

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

One Student’s Brave Journey

As a Blended Learning Specialist with JFYNetWorks, I have met many students. It’s the best part of my job– meeting people and helping them succeed. I enjoy working with all students, but some naturally stand out. Selamawit Balcha is one of those stand-outs. She was in one of my classes at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in 2014 and I was immediately impressed by her determination and focus. I knew she would be successful. She is now working towards her architecture degree at Wentworth Institute of Technology. I asked her to share her story and she responded with the following account.

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Solving the state’s math problem: do the math

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

Math has been in the news lately. The Globe ran a story on college remediation December 28 (“State colleges trying to solve math problem”) that said only 60% of community college students who have to take remedial math (also called “review” and “developmental”) complete the courses and only one-third of those completers go on to finish a regular degree-credit math course. The article did not say how many of these students ever graduate. Nor did it say that the remedial math population amounts to 47% of recent high school graduates enrolling in community college—more than 4000 students every year.

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Road less traveled...leads to college success

One Student’s Journey

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

Today’s high school students are told constantly that they are on a long journey from school to college to career. They are urged to build their skills in order to succeed in a demanding job market. But for many, the transition to college is not mapped clearly enough. They enroll, but then find that their road to graduation is longer and more winding than expected. They discover that college acceptance does not guarantee enrollment in credit-bearing courses that lead to a degree. The road can detour through remedial courses that cost money and take time but do not count toward a degree. This is the story of one student who straightened out her college journey by taking a road less traveled by.

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Labor shortage continues. 99% of jobs go to college graduates

Labor Shortage Continues

99% of Jobs Go to College Graduates

by Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks Executive Director

“There are no jobs for high school diplomas.”

The May jobs report reiterates a theme we have been hearing with increasing urgency: the shortage of skilled labor. The current 4.3% unemployment rate is a 16-year low. That means there are very few unattached workers available at a time when job openings are near all-time highs. For employers who can’t find qualified workers it means foregoing opportunities for expansion. For the economy at large it means slower growth. But it’s not just a quantitative problem, it’s also qualitative: there aren’t enough workers with the specific skills employers need. The wide range and varied dimensions of the skills shortage are indicated by a survey of Saturday’s newspaper reports.

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Video needs context

Testing for college readiness is here to stay, so let’s keep it in context.

by Greg Cunningham, JFYNetWorks Blended Learning Specialist

Video violence floods our feeds. Angry people raging, flight attendants mauling passengers, sports fans bellowing and berating, demonstrators denigrating and damning. Even the once-staid networks lead with the day’s most explosive visuals. The tsunami of video has not only engulfed reality, it has become our primary reality. We don’t see events– we see the video of events. Without the video, we wouldn’t know an event had occurred. Seeing may still be believing, but what we’re seeing is the virtual reality of cell phones, drones and real-time streaming.

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Early College initiative

‘Equitable Access’ a Priority

Earlier this month a Boston Globe editorial gave a good overview of the state’s new early college initiative.

As the editorial points out, the great challenge will be to include low-income students, whose rates of college completion lag far behind more affluent students. The resolution that created the program prioritizes “students underrepresented in higher education enrollment and completion.” This language includes the overlapping categories of minority and special needs students as well as low-income. It will be necessary to include all these groups if the goal of 16,000 early college students per year is to be met. To put that goal into perspective, the total number of public high school graduates entering the state public higher education system each year is about 20,000.

The “design principle” that spells out these priorities is headed “Equitable Access.” It recommends “student supports to prepare students for entry into the program” and “student supports to promote success.” These student supports will be necessary to broaden and deepen the early college pool; and they are exactly what JFYNet College and Career Readiness provides. Early College will require that students meet the goal of “college readiness” one, two or more years earlier than at present– a significant boost in high school performance standards. Raising the skills of “underrepresented” students to college level is not a trivial task. Remediation rates at community colleges, the best available gauge of the skills of this group, have hovered over 60% since the 1990s.

The success of this initiative will depend on a strong program of skill-focused academic supports to bring these students to college readiness. JFYNet is extending its instructional sequence, currently MCAS Prep and College Readiness (Accuplacer), to encompass early college supports. This move links our mission, expertise and experience in raising the skills of “underrepresented” students to the next stage of education reform. As a tested and proven method of achieving college readiness in high school, JFYNet can provide the academic support component that early college needs. College readiness is still the necessary pre-condition of college success—especially when college starts early.

Gary Kaplan
Executive Director

JFYNetWorks
44 School Street, Suite 1010
Boston MA 02108
Phone 617-338-0815 x 224
GKaplan@jfynet.org

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Madison Park Technical Vocational High School Student

It’s Time for Madison Park To Get Some Respect

by Gary Kaplan

The Boston Globe Magazine’s recent article on vocational education (School of Work, 10/2/16) came down like a ton of raw concrete on Boston’s Madison Park Technical Vocational High School.  One commentator blamed Madison Park for “vocational education’s tarnished reputation in Massachusetts” while another recommended scrapping the school altogether and “start[ing] over again.”  There are legitimate reasons to be frustrated with Madison Park; but there are better options than the dumpster.

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Workplace skills then and now: The Lesson of Inland Steel

Workplace Skills Then and Now: The Lesson of Inland Steel

by Gary Kaplan

“Sorry, son, we can’t hire you. You’re overqualified.”

Thus ended my career as a steelworker. The place was Inland Steel in East Chicago, Indiana. The time was the 1970s. I was looking for an interim job while I plotted my next career move. I thought that working in a steel mill would be educational, in addition to bringing in some serious, and seriously needed, cash.

I had grown up in the Calumet Region of Northwest Indiana, one of the world’s largest concentrations of heavy industry. Steel mills and oil refineries were the landscape of my childhood. Many of my high school classmates had gone directly to work at Inland, Youngstown, US Steel or Standard Oil and were well on their way to owning a house, a car, a cabin in Michigan, a boat, and eventually a union pension. Though I had been around the mills my whole life, I had never been inside them. I thought it was time I found out how America’s industrial might was created.

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You Never Know What the Future Holds!

Be It Chance or By Design, You Sometimes Never Know What the Future Holds For You!

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning SPECIALIST

I was in a school library recently when a student came in to take a make up test. His teacher said to me that this student had just received a scholarship to play football at a nearby college. This student never expected to go to college. He did just enough to get by during his junior year and was thinking about going into the military. Now, with the scholarship in hand, he is getting serious about school and doing his work, not to just get by, but to succeed!

This student’s story got me thinking. In my travels as a blended learning specialist at JFYNetWorks, I see so many students who just want to do the minimum or less in school and never think about what the future holds for them. The choices these students make now could affect the opportunities that await them as they get on with life. They never think that an opportunity for them might be right around the corner and they may miss it because of their lack of motivation.

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Education, Training and Career Plan

2/29/16 – Boston Globe published a letter to its editor by Gary Kaplan, Executive Director of JFYNetWorks and David Driscoll, former Massachusetts Commissioner of Education in response to the 2/17/16 piece ‘As boomers retire, growth may slow’ by Deirdre Fernandes.

Mr. Kaplan and Mr. Driscoll’s published response found here.

Your article “As boomers retire, growth may slow” (2/17/16) warns that a shrinking labor force depleted by massive retirements will cut our economic growth rate in half. The key sentence, “A dwindling labor force can mean flagging growth…fewer jobs, lower incomes, and less tax revenue…” threatens that even those who are still working will feel the bite of economic contraction. What is the solution for “a state and region whose main competitive advantage is a skilled and educated workforce?”