I have had the honor of working with Schools That Can for six years now, and I continue to be inspired and invigorated by our network and our staff each day.
Over the years, I have worked alongside principals and teachers who are whip smart, creative, and relentless in their efforts to ensure their students succeed in whatever endeavor they may choose.
This is especially exciting as we have narrowed our focus to emphasize Real-World Learning as our method for transforming education to prepare the next generation of leaders for a diverse and rapidly changing world. Now more than ever, this work is critically important. Seemingly every day there is a news story on how AI is taking over the world, including taking our jobs. The stakes have clearly changed, and schools grapple with how to respond. However, it’s been truly inspiring to see educators roll up their sleeves, eager to transform their classrooms and schools.
For instance, Educational Solutions, a charter management organization based in Columbus, OH, has been working with Schools That Can for five years now, annually attending our Forums and Leadership Academies to soak up as much Real-World Learning implementation basics as they can in order to provide a more relevant and engaging educational experience to their students, many of whom are Somalian refugees. Last year, they started a robotics club to help kids develop coding and engineering skills. They have set the ambitious goal of expanding real-world relevant, project-based learning across their three schools [Midnimo Cross-Cultural (STC partner school), Cesar Chavez and Educational Academy for Boys and Girls], and we are proud to be part of that process.
And then there’s Ivonne, a tech teacher at Pioneer Academy in Corona, Queens, who participated in the STC Maker Fellows program for two years, receiving training in Scratch, TinkerCAD, and the design process. Ivonne went beyond the curriculum through testing an advanced robotics kit with her students. Though no longer in the program, Ivonne continues to run multiple STEM clubs after school and supports teachers across her school (seven of whom have also participated in the STC Maker Fellows program) in integrating computer science into their lessons. And, if that’s not enough, Yvonne is committed to creating a technology-infused makerspace lab for Pioneer’s 600+ students.
Finally, there are amazing students, like Newark West Side student Jaevon, who not only benefits tremendously from our Career Skills Advanced Manufacturing Program, but also adds huge value to the program by helping to shape it. As a student in the program, Jaevon has strengthened his technical skills through online curricula and hands-on projects; he has expanded his social capital and work experience by connecting with a mentor and participating in multiple job shadows; and he has earned college credit. As a member of the program’s Advisory Committee and an elected leader of the school’s first career and technical education student organization, he has also built his leadership skills. Several times each year, Jaevon sits at the same table with leaders of local manufacturing companies, provides invaluable feedback, and helps to shape the program as it grows. Next year, he hopes to attend New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he plans to major in engineering.
This is just a small sample of the exciting ways in which students, teachers, and school leaders are engaging in real-world learning and reimagining what’s possible.
As the year comes to a close, I ask you to invest in our students, teachers, and schools by making a donation to Schools That Can.
No matter their zip code, we believe that all students deserve an education that will prepare them to succeed in their chosen path after high school. That’s just Schools That Can’s Real-World Learning programs are designed to do. Your donation can be a catalyst that propels students into a successful future this holiday season.
Warm wishes to you and yours for a joyful holiday season,
Schools That Can