Much Is Required To Make Our Students Successful Adults - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Much Is Required To Make Our Students Successful Adults

October 8th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Much Is Required To Make Our Students Successful Adults

By Jim Robinson

Guest Writer

Schools today are tasked with so much more than teaching students reading, writing and arithmetic. In addition to instructing on the basics, teachers are tasked with preparing students for the future, including high school, college and beyond. In CUSD, that responsibility is taken seriously and achieved unequivocally.

Based on results from the district’s Journey 2025 Plan, students meet or exceed most of the standard indicators for being career and college ready, including garnering a surplus of scholarship dollars for graduating seniors, amassing college credits and hours while still in high school and being placed in higher-level courses when beginning college than students from other schools and districts.

The percent of CTE placements increases from year to year, as well. Elementary and junior-high students are also prepared for high school as evidenced by early ACT Aspire test results and enrollment in honors, AP and STEM classes.

CUSD is doing its job to academically prepare our students, but in today’s world that’s not always adequate. Because of an increase in personal technology/smartphone usage in the last decade (particularly among our children), families and schools need to be diligent in helping CUSD students to develop interpersonal skills if they truly want to be successful, productive adults.

While there may be academic value to using smartphones during the school day for instructional purposes, their use outside of instructional time must be curtailed – especially in elementary school – if we want to teach students to communicate effectively and professionally. Our students need to spend more time looking people in the eye, not looking down at their screens.

While neither CUSD nor parents can ever reverse the hold that technology has taken on our lives, there are some wonderful initiatives and programs that have been implemented across CUSD that are helping to prepare our children for the future.

Payne Junior High, for instance, selects students to be peer mentors to kids at the feeder elementary schools to answer questions, tutor and prepare them for junior high and high school. This collaborative approach is invaluable, not only for providing insight but also for building substantive connections with others.

At Basha High School, where two of my children attend, one of its flagship programs is the Basha Gives Back senior project that students are assigned in 9th grade. Students select a topic of special interest to them and take the project from start to finish from freshman to senior year. The program culminates in a fair for the top projects, and prizes are awarded.

Through this initiative, students have built schools in Africa (yes, there is a Basha High in Africa!), established scholarships for student athletes and started a talent show for special needs students on campus to showcase their abilities.

Programs like this go a long way in teaching students how to brainstorm, work independently, as well as collaborate with the broader community and world and, most important, finish something they started.

The one-semester health-class requirement in high school is also a good start, but I would like to see the curriculum continue to evolve and be updated with units on life skills like managing finances, taking care of a car and home (instead of just learning to drive a car), grocery shopping, list making, prioritizing and beyond.

Merely giving kids a diploma and the skills to solve the quadratic formula are not necessarily enough to make them successful, productive adults in today’s world.