I believe the district is heading in the right direction in terms of preparation, however we can never be complacent about the work we accomplish.
Physicist and Episcopal priest, William Pollard once said, “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”
We must always be forward looking, encourage innovation in our classrooms while expanding student programs and strengthening activities that challenge students.
It’s important that we prepare students not only in terms of a collegiate perspective, but we consider job placement, apprenticeships and trade-school opportunities as we usher students forward. That means we need to be aware of the economics of our community.
The two job markets on the rise in our own backyard are in computer tech and construction. Apple, for example recently invested heavily in moving into the East Valley along with Uber to expand their reach into the fast-rising Arizona market.
The top three construction companies in our area generated a combined $900M in building development with an 80 percent workforce in 2014.
Every year, construction tech companies like Ryan and McCarthy are hard pressed to fill starting positions which earn over $35,000 a year without a college degree and quickly earn six-figures by year 10.
Shouldn’t we be filling that market void by training and supporting students that want to fill those positions? We can do this by working with local companies big and small to work with our district just as we do with our colleges.
Various research studies pertaining to education show that the most vital years in a child’s social and learning development occurs in the 7th and 8th grades. Meaning, they solidify good and bad social behaviors around that time.
It is essential we work with the Kyrene and Tempe Elementary school districts to ensure a positive transition into high school and that we as a high school district build on the efforts of those districts by coordinating efforts for programs that allow students to continue to participate as they move on to high school.
Many times, great programs in the Kyrene and Tempe Elementary districts end as students enter high school, usually because grants and budgets do not sync. We can do better.
While the district is on the right road for preparing our students for adult-life, we need to expand post-graduate opportunities from college placement to job placement to strengthen the ability for our children to succeed.
We also need to ensure a positive transition into the high school district by working closely with our elementary school districts and encouraging collaboration.
If innovation in the classroom, strengthening student programs and supporting the efforts of our teachers is important to you, then I need your vote, so we can get started on day one.