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Superintendent’s Message: Building a College & Career-Ready Workforce

Theresa Davidson, Superintendent of Schools

Theresa Davidson, Superintendent of  Schools

This month, parents all  across the district are invited to take part in parent-teacher conferences.    It’s just one  of many opportunities for parents and teachers to collaborate in the important work of  building futures!  But something’s new this year at EHS!  There will be no waiting in  line for a brief update on grades and classroom participation; no public forums for  confidential conversations; no more rushing from one teacher to the next to find  another line!

 Instead, parents will get a first glimpse at a new structure developed by the Building  Leadership Team and school administration to enrich parent involvement in their  child’s academic progress.

 Our data shows that many parents find regular access to PowerSchool to check grades,  monitor homework assignments and confirm attendance coupled with email  communication with teachers already provides them with timely information to support  their children at home.

Instead, EHS will introduce the Career and Academic Planning (CAP) Conference where students, their parents and the Intervention & Enrichment teacher assigned to them will begin the long-term working relationship that will support students throughout the four years of high school.

Prior to the conference meeting, each student will complete a CAP summary that will serve as the basis for discussion about the student’s interests, aptitudes and career planning.  Over the course of the year, counselors will take advantage of ACT and the Kansas Career Pipeline tools to assist students in learning more about their individual skills.

Through the process, parents and students can explore a multitude of enrollment options to include an incredible menu of challenging coursework and hand-on experiences, 11 pathways, and concurrent credit-bearing opportunities to earn college credit and technical training while in high school.

High school administrators hope the new conference structure will be more meaningful for students and parents. Teacher advisors are already scheduling individual appointments that will span the three-day conference period.

Many programs of study in place at EHS align with degree programs at technical college, two-year community colleges and four-year universities, giving students a “leg up” on the college experience.

Even though EHS provides a wealth of opportunities for students, our partnerships with Flint Hills Technical College and Emporia State University have significantly increased what we can offer to high school juniors and seniors. EHS Principal Britton Hart reports that 183 current students are taking college-level courses at ESU and FHTC this year alone. This includes 140 enrolled in a total of 252 classes at FHTC and 43 enrolled in classes through ESU.

But that strong foundation and early post-secondary experience is just the beginning! Current enrollment at FHTC includes 180 EHS alumni or 31 percent of the post-secondary population.  Another 545 EHS alumni are currently enrolled at ESU, and 86 of those students are a part of this year’s freshman class.

Our goals are clear! Starting as early as preschool, teachers begin to plant the seed of “what do I want to be when I grow up?” The seeds become more sophisticated as students progress through school. By the time a student reaches middle and high school, strengths and career interests begin to give shape to a plan. Each course, each activity, each experience in a student’s plan sets into motion the building blocks for his or her personal path.

All students should have meaningful options upon graduation from high school. Every student should graduate ready to pursue those options and ready to successfully follow a college or career path individually suited to these goals and ambitions.

“College and career ready” is the new catchphrase in education but it is not a new expectation.  Parents have always wanted the best for their children. Educators have always understood the privilege and the critical role they play in turning dreams into reality. There is truly joy in sharing the journey!  To that end, I am proud of the personal and professional learning that reflects the Emporia Public School experience!

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