These days, data seems to be the answer for everything.
And in SPPS, administrators track an immense amount of data.
“One reason for doing this is to ensure all students have opportunities for career exploration,” said Chan.
They found that outgoing students, as opposed to quiet students, were securing most of the internships.
Other things that were tracked included wages, number of hours, and which pathway internship is most followed to determine where more partners are needed.
Career visits (meaningful or not) were tracked as well as who is earning college credits, where students go after high school and if they continue to pursue academics beyond high school.
“Employers desperately want students to have soft skills,” said Smith.
The state uses a rubric for student self-assessment, business and industry mentor assessment, and teacher evaluations so a student gets three different perspectives of feedback on their employability skills that align with the state’s SEL growth measures.
“We’ve shifted to one-on-one Zoom based events and have had an outpouring of positive response,” she said.
In Barbazon’s district, certain state metrics were dropped both this school year and last. Yet, they don’t want to send the message to students that these should not be considered.
“We want to instill a sense of normalcy and continue on with programming,” she said.
However, they have been very intentional about SEL. That includes looking at the classroom culture of each individual class.
“We want to cultivate a classroom culture where students feel valued, heard and respected, are more engaged, and able to move on to core content work and future planning activities,” said Barbazon.
Jackson agreed about the need to find normalcy. In her district, educators were challenged by leadership to think creatively and use their strengths as they adjusted to this unusual year. That led to greater use of technology to put on annual events that the community has come to expect.
Each quarter, the district focused on an SEL topic which helps guide their Xello lessons and career and academic lessons and SEL lessons. They got student input on this and greater buy in.