Study Tour Material(s)
The goal of this study tour was to learn how schools are integrating more robust academic content, higher-order skills, and academic mindsets practices with career education as they prepare students for postsecondary success. State education leaders are increasingly looking to career pathways as a way to bolster young people’s developmental needs for college-ready success as well as ensure that students leave school ready to apply knowledge, enter the workforce, and contribute to economic development. As an ever-expanding global market demands a more skilled workforce, educators, employers and policymakers are realizing the important role career-readiness plays in preparing students for a range of postsecondary options while still in school. They are also increasingly convinced that this preparation needs to include not only knowledge, skills, and dispositions but also hands-on workplace experience. Students need an accumulation of knowledge and skills known as ‘deeper learning’ – the mastery of rigorous core academic content; critical thinking and problem solving; teamwork and collaboration; effective communication; learning how to learn; and cultivation of an academic mindset. All of these can be accomplished in settings that provide real-world work experience, where students engage with adults who provide mentoring and instruction.
On this tour, participants visited two schools in Los Angeles, CA that provide students with rich academic learning and workplace preparation. Through conversations with students, teachers, and administrators, as well as explorations of work-based learning sites, participants witnessed first-hand how a culture is created that supports students as they acquire deeper learning competencies in real-world settings that lead to career- and college-readiness.
High-level education policy leaders also joined the study group to share an understanding of the policy conditions in California that support the promotion of workforce readiness. The policy discussions focused on effective and scalable models, capacity building, professional development, funding, Common Core-aligned curriculum, instruction, innovative assessments, and data and reporting systems. State leaders enjoyed time to reflect on necessary policy conditions as it relates to their own states, as well as learn from colleagues in other states.