For students at Woodridge High School, forward thinking guides futures
According to Principal Joel Morgan, Woodridge High School focuses on Summit Education Initiative (SEI)’s “Three Es” concept from students’ freshmen classes through senior year.
“As a district, we’ve embraced the concept,” he says. “We are making sure students have what they need to succeed.”
Forward thinking has saturated Woodridge Local Schools, as the “Three Es” represent a common theme among all buildings.
“Why not focus on all Es in all schools, with all grades, kindergarten through 12th?” Morgan says. “Our world is very different than it was 10 years ago; we must take a harder look at our students to discover how they will best succeed once they leave our district.”
Woodridge has trained teachers to help freshmen students identify the pathway – enrollment, employment or enlistment – they prefer to follow post-graduation. Teachers may then help guide students through each process, depending on the pathway they choose.
“Instructing students to identify their pathway during freshman year has made them more aware of how to prepare,” Morgan says. “SEI’s Youth View™ Survey has provided us with valuable data about students’ interests at the freshman level. We also began administering the Youth View at the middle school level during the 2015-16 school year. The more data we collect from our students, the easier it is to discover which of the Es they prefer.”
High school students notice the “Three Es” all over the building, from their classrooms to bulletin boards. Building administrators have dedicated two display cases to materials and language supporting each pathway.
“Students talk about the ‘Three Es,’ and they realize the importance of selecting and preparing for a pathway,” Morgan explains. “Juniors and seniors, in particular, have a lot of information to manage, but feeling supported within all areas of the building helps reduce some of their resulting stress.”
While many students attend fairs, college visits, school counselor sessions and other events, depending on their pathway, some teachers have also incorporated “Three Es” projects and lessons into their classes.
“Incorporating the ‘Six Soft Skills of Success’ into everyday teaching and learning activities is part of our district’s 2016 strategic plan,” Morgan says. “Through this plan, we also hope to develop appropriate measurements to determine how successful we are at preparing our students for enrollment in a post-secondary program, enlistment in the armed services or employment in a career field of their choosing.”
In addition, Woodridge High School staff has determined the following goals:
- All students graduate from high school with a plan to be enrolled, employed or enlisted.
- All students who plan to attend college after high school will complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Increase the proportion of students who earn a “college ready” score on college placement tests.
- Analyze ACT® and college readiness data. (Woodridge High School sophomores will take the ACT Practice Test on March 21.)
College visits, including overnight trips, college readiness tests, applications and the FAFSA take up a lot of time for students interested in attending college. Woodridge teachers encourage these students to apply to at least one college, and they welcome colleges to visit the high school and speak to juniors and seniors as well.
Woodridge Local Schools’ partnerships with Americhem and the military support students who wish to begin working or enlist right after high school.
“Americhem offers tours for our students, who also have the opportunity to participate in mock interviews with Americhem’s human resources staff,” Morgan says. “Sometimes this leads to part-time employment, if not a more long-term job.”
Overall, goal setting is an important part of all three pathways.
“Thanks to the data we have, students find out about and have access to more opportunities – available fields, careers and ways to build knowledge,” Morgan says, adding, “and our staff’s future focus helps students make those successful outcomes happen.”