Fac­ing hur­dles

The Morning Call (Sunday) - - LOCAL NEWS - [email protected] Twit­ter @Jpalochko 610-820-6613

Al­len­town’s three high schools scored well below the state’s av­er­age in ca­reer readi­ness, but not be­cause the dis­trict doesn’t teach stu­dents about ca­reers. At the dis­trict’s in­no­va­tive, col­lege­and ca­reer-fo­cused high school Build­ing 21, for ex­am­ple, most stu­dents spend their af­ter­noons at in­tern­ships at Le­high Val­ley Health Net­work or The Baum School of Art in Al­len­town.

The scores might in part re­flect the dis­trict’s dif­fi­culty in doc­u­ment­ing re­quired in­for­ma­tion for nearly 17,000 stu­dents, Dieruff High School col­lege and ca­reer coun­selor Jeanne Grieger said. Dieruff, scor­ing a 78 per­cent on ca­reer readi­ness, has al­most 2,000 stu­dents.

“It’s a huge chal­lenge be­cause of our large pop­u­la­tion,” Grieger said. “It’s a mon­ster.”

A lot of the work, such as port­fo­lios or es­says on ca­reers, is paper-based, Grieger said. Now teach­ers need to log it as ev­i­dence for each stu­dent.

So far, not all qual­i­fy­ing ac­tiv­i­ties are be­ing logged, Grieger said. Art teach­ers, for ex­am­ple, have port­fo­lios for stu­dents that in­clude peer eval­u­a­tion and pre­sen­ta­tions.

“We knew the work was be­ing done,” she said. “In­di­vid­ual teach­ers are now aware that we have to keep that piece of ev­i­dence and be more de­lib­er­ate and overt.”

An­other chal­lenge for schools is bal­anc­ing the time for these ac­tiv­i­ties against the rest of the school day.

East Penn As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent Doug Povi­laitis said it’s a mat­ter of find­ing ways to in­te­grate ca­reer readi­ness into the reg­u­lar cur­ricu­lum.

“We feel get­ting ready for after school is crit­i­cal,” he said.

De­spite the ex­tra pa­per­work for dis­tricts, state of­fi­cials hope the new bench­marks will bet­ter pre­pare a gen­er­a­tion of stu­dents as they en­ter the work­force.

“Stu­dents have been grad­u­at­ing high school and find them­selves strug­gling to iden­tify the right ca­reer to pur­sue,” Stem said. “Col­lect­ing this ev­i­dence is so im­por­tant.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.