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Unpacking Each Feature of Student-Centered Schools

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Connection to College and Career

In many student-centered schools, educators prepare students for college and career by focusing on supporting students’ leadership capacities and autonomy within the classroom, emphasizing the importance of students connecting with and applying what they are learning. Educators also support students’ development of analytical and communication skills needed to navigate and excel in a dynamic, information-rich environment. 

Student-centered schools prepare students for college by providing constant monitoring and support for students to ensure that they complete the coursework they need to apply to 4-year colleges, assist with the college and financial aid application process, and expose students to college life through college tours and conversations with college-going alumni. Student-centered schools prepare students for careers by integrating career themes across the curriculum and engaging students in projects, internships, and job-shadows to a) illustrate that what students are learning in school applies to the world of work and b) help students envision themselves as professionals and develop the skills to pursue professional careers. 



Questions for reflection:

Relevance and Application of Knowledge

1)     How do you help students make real-world connections between what they learn in class and their lives outside of school?

2)     How do students engage in inquiry-based tasks and projects such that they can use 21st century skills to integrate and apply knowledge?


Connection to College

3)     How does college preparation factor into the culture of the school? Of your classroom?

4)     Since college success is largely dependent on intrinsic drive, how well does the school climate empower students to develop their own learning objectives and learning process?

5)     Do all students graduate having completed college entrance requirements?

6)     How does the college counselor (or advisor) work with students to develop a post-high school plan? How is this plan communicated with teachers and other support providers?

7)     What supports do students have in applying to college, for financial aid, and scholarships?

8)     What opportunities do students have to explore college options during the school year?

9)     How do you know how your students do once they are in college? Do you adjust how your school prepares students for college based on feedback from alumni?


Connection to Career

10)  What opportunities do students have to explore career options during the school year?

11)  Do all students engage in internships and community service?

12)  How does your school link career experiences and skills with traditional academic courses?

13)  What kinds of skills best prepare students for careers? How are those skills integrated in your instruction?

14)  What kinds of out-of-school work-based experiences do students have? How are these structured to maximize student learning? How do you assess the effectiveness of these experiences? Do all students have access to these experiences?

15)  If you have a career theme, how is it integrated across the curriculum in all courses?


PDF of all Reflection Questions

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