Spring 2011

Student Preparedness

CEO Message: Preparing Students for Their Success

CEO Message

One of the greatest challenges – and opportunities – that teachers, principals, administrators and superintendents face each and every day is preparing students for the future. How do we define student preparedness? For some, it’s being prepared to not only attend, but to graduate from a college or university and perhaps earn a graduate degree. For others, student preparedness is achieving success in a chosen trade or vocation. Still for others, it’s gaining life skills to adapt to change, solve problems, face challenges with resilience, and contribute to their community in a positive way.

One of the greatest challenges – and opportunities – that teachers, principals, administrators and superintendents face each and every day is preparing students for the future. How do we define student preparedness? For some, it’s being prepared to not only attend, but to graduate from a college or university and perhaps earn a graduate degree. For others, student preparedness is achieving success in a chosen trade or vocation. Still for others, it’s gaining life skills to adapt to change, solve problems, face challenges with resilience, and contribute to their community in a positive way.                    

We are at a critical crossroad in education today. Although the general public wants schools to improve they do not want them to change. Yet change is essential if we are to prepare students for success in a future that is vastly different than the past and will undoubtedly resemble very little of the present. We also know that success for every child does not look the same. At a time when the emphasis is ensuring that every child is college and career ready, we must not fool ourselves into thinking that there is a single pathway to success for all children. One size does not fit all. In fact, all sizes fit and we must provide multiple pathways to success so that every child can tap their potential based on their unique set of skills and dispositions. We are indeed at a crossroad, and we must look to the future rather than the past as we craft strategies and leverage resources to ensure that every child is prepared.

Regardless of a student’s vision of their own success, educational institutions must be ready to help them achieve it. At AdvancED, we believe that every student must be prepared for success in an ever-changing and diverse world. In this issue of AdvancED Source, we invited authors to explore what Student Preparedness looks like from various angles.

This issue opens with perspectives from Jenifer Fox, author and national teacher trainer. In her article, "Wellness as Preparation for College Success," she explores wellness indicators, rather than a test, that prepare students for future success. Jo Kirchner, President and CEO of Primrose Schools, shows how a balanced approach to physical, social-emotional, creative, and academic skills is a key for young learners to be successful in the future in her article, "The Need for a Balanced Approach to Prepare Students Pre-K and Up."

AdvancED’s Vice President of Development, Heather Kinsey, shares some alarming data from student surveys in which students rate their high school education as less than adequate. She shares the results in her research brief, "Student Perceptions in Preparedness," Dr. Sally Downey, head of the East Valley Institute of Technology, shares her thoughts on the importance of every student having a marketable skill in "Student Perceptions on Preparedness. In Every Scholar Needs a Skill."

This issue concludes with a Perspectives piece, "Preparing Students for the Success in the Work Place." AdvancED Source asked several business leaders about what key elements of K-12 education contribute to students’ future potential success.

We are grateful to our authors and interviewees for their contributions to expanding our thinking on preparing students for the future and reaching their goals.

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