The Edmond Sun

Features

January 23, 2013

Making students career ready

EDMOND — Ever asked a kindergartner what they want to be when they grow up?

I love that game. I hear responses such as firefighters, doctors, mommies, teachers; you name it. One little girl told me she wanted to be a doctor, the president and a jeweler; she just wasn’t sure she’d have time to be all three.

The goal of education is to produce young people who are fully prepared for the workforce that awaits them outside of high school or college and to help them become fully engaged, productive citizens.

We in common education sometimes lose sight of this ultimate goal and set our sites only on the next frame in the unfolding picture of a child’s life — college. The end goal, however, is to prepare a student so they can find a job that pays them an adequate salary, makes the best use of their talents and skills, and satisfies their passion.

Education Week’s 2013 Quality Counts report, which was released this week, gave Oklahoma an A+ in the category of Economy and Workforce. The grade is awarded on the criteria of the state having a definition of work readiness, offering a high school diploma with career specialization, having a path in K-12 for industry-recognized certificate or license, and offering portable credits for K-12 students to earn career tech credits toward postsecondary education.

I was pleased to see this grade, but I know there is more to be done in preparing our students for their future careers. Part of this is we must work to incorporate more career counseling and work skills training in our common education experience.

To this end, I was excited to see a report this week detailing a Career Pathways Pilot Project taking place in Duncan Public Schools.

The goal of the program is to help students in the district develop a post-high school action plan that will help them determine their career pathways. Through participation, students will gain an awareness of their personal strengths, challenges and opportunities that will set them on a path of intentional instruction and guidance prior to high school graduation to ready them for college or career. The plan contains actions for students at all educational levels from elementary to high school.

The program is a collaboration between the Southwest Oklahoma Impact Coalition, a regional economic development entity; the Oklahoma Department of Commerce; the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation; the Red River Technology Center; and GEAR Up/Oklahoma Higher Education Regents.

Duncan was considered perfect for the pilot because of the city’s robust manufacturing sector as well as a strong health care community. Duncan also has a technology center, a branch campus for higher education and a competent economic development organization.

The first meeting for the program drew more than 100 people, from employers, to teachers, counselors, cross agency partners, and members from the community – all working together toward the goal of preparing students for their futures of college or career.

I want to commend Duncan Superintendent Sherry Labyer and the Duncan Public School Board for implementing this program. I will be anxious to hear the outcome of the pilot. I hope other communities will consider emulating it. When we’ve prepared each student in Oklahoma for the rigors and challenges of the future work place, then we will truly have cause to celebrate.

JANET BARRESI is state superintendent of public instruction of Oklahoma. She may be reached via her website at http://ok.gov/sde/.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 17, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff seeks items for agency history project

    If you have historic pictures or artifacts related to the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, the agency is asking the public to share them.
    “The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office is working on a history project. If you, your family, friends or acquaintances have any old photos or artifacts related to the OCSO we would love to have them or a digital copy,” said Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel.

    April 16, 2014

  • oil infographic[1].png Easy on the coconut oil

    These days, it seems like coconut oil is soaking up credit for its positive affect on a wide range of health conditions. But, still developing science around the popular oil tells a little different story.
    “We know all saturated fats are not created equally, but there’s no evidence that coconut oil is better or healthier than other vegetable oils,” said Janice Hermann, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Easter 4e.JPG Moms Club finds Easter fun at Fountains at Canterbury

    The Fountains at Canterbury hosted members of the Moms Club of Edmond-West Tuesday morning for a Easter egg hunt and party complete with a special visit from the Easter Bunny. Residents at the Fountains at Canterbury hid several dozen eggs filled with prizes and candy for the children. The Moms Club of Edmond-West is a nonprofit, local chapter of stay-at-home moms who aim to support each other during the day.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos