David Vinson, Ph.D.'s Multimedia Blog
Our “#Ihaveaplan” 8th grade parent meetings went very well last week. In fact, of the nearly 1,000 eighth grade students, 732 attended. Parents were full of questions and some were dizzy from the offerings. Parent Marco Hernandez teased by saying that he and his wife Stacie were still looking for the appropriate table for their son. Jokingly, he said Stacie was looking for the "I'm lazy and don't want to do any hard work, but I want to make a lot of money" table. Marco is joking, of course, and their son, Christian, is a great kid. However, Marco points one issue that many parents have - what should my student pursue as a career and do they have the desire and tenacity to get there?
Christian has a leg up on many kids. He has parents who care and want more for their child. He will attend a high school like Wylie East or High that offers plans to help him accomplish his goals, and he will be supported by a caring staff and high achieving friends. It’s my impression that most kids want to succeed if they can find something that fits their strengths and passion. It’s the goal of Wylie ISD to provide pathways for students to find their perfect “fit.”
So, what’s Christian’s fit and what should he do to get there? If he desires a certification in welding, he pretty much starts the welding certification process day one in a freshman level “Principles of Welding” class and goes from there. During his high school experience, he will gain several of the 20 industry certifications that will help him prepare for the world of work or prepare him for welding school he may attend at a junior college or trade school.
But what if Christian wants to be an engineer? His pathway is longer and has a few more steps. He’s preparing in high school to enter into a 4 year degree program, but prepping will start his freshman year. He’ll continue on through high school to a point where he is taking dual credit engineering, as well as other dual credit courses – and Christian can potentially graduate with more than 33 hours of college credit (just think, that’s a lot of saved tuition for Marco and Stacie!)
Here are a few things that every student needs to know to get ahead of the game:
Take Hard Classes
College readiness expert David Conley says that kids can be college ready not only by making good grades, but taking hard classes that will make them college prepared. If you take easier classes in high school, he says that you WON’T be ready in college. (You can read more about this in his book College Knowledge)
My daughter took a career inventory the other day and it suggested that she aspire to be a house cleaner. With difficulty in keeping her own room clean, this might not be very accurate. We are in the process of finding a more effective and accurate tool…but for now, take those with a grain of salt.
Find What You Love (and What Will Pay) + Strengths
Does your kid have a passion for something? One of mine loves helping people. In fact, every student at WISD takes the Gallup strengths inventory. It said that my son is caring, a discoverer, and an explorer. With his love for science, we are encouraging him to pursue something in the medical field that may help others…perhaps cure balding?!
Say your kiddo loves dancing, but they may not be able to dance forever – but they can own a dance studio. The key here is matching what your kids love to do and finding jobs that will pay. If you child is great at math, PLEASE look into the field of math and engineering. Our country needs them. Do they play Minecraft? It takes programmers to make that stuff. You can buy a book on Scratch programming and begin their career now.
Note: Your child is likely to change their mind from one career to the next. This is a great thing; it brings them one step closer to what they want and can do for a career!!!!
Take College Entrance Tests Early
Some of our kids work their fingers to the bone scrapping their way to the top 10 percent. This is important; but just as important is taking the PSAT and PLAN tests as early as possible. The more they take them, the better their score. The better their score, the more money saved through scholarships and entrance to better universities.
Find a Mentor
My daughter expressed an interest in being an engineer. I was explaining this to Kent Novak, Vice President at Texas Instruments. He offered a tour of his facility in Plano. It was amazing! Kent’s division makes the components in projectors, and it changed my daughter’s world. When she got home, she asked for computer parts to make her own computer. There is not a prouder 5th grade owner of a computer than her. I imagine we will be bothering Mr. Novak for more advice someday, but what an incredible mentor!
When your child gets to high school in WISD, they will be hearing a lot about careers and the pathways to get there. If parents can join in, our chance for matching your child with success is incredible! A goal of the WISD board of trustees is to prepare students for a successful life beyond high school. Working together, this is definitely possible…it’s the Wylie Way!
|Posted by David Vinson, Ph.D. at 6:23 AM|
What does success beyond high school look like? It’s something we as parents don’t often think about as we rush our kids from gymnastics to basketball practice, finish homework and get them off to bed. This is a REALLY important question for our school and your children. What our kids decide can have a big impact on their future. Not so long ago, a college degree was the golden ticket to a prosperous life. According to Forbes Magazine, 60% percent of current college graduates cannot find work in their field of study. According to Kids Health Magazine, 75% of children change their major after their first year of college.
Please know that we are not going to intentionally track anyone into a narrow pathway. Instead, our intent is to get them thinking about what kind of career they need to provide a successful life after high school. We hope this topic becomes a big discussion for you at the dinner table and in our classrooms.
We want to inform our kids about the jobs that pay and those that are simply not in demand. We want to match a student’s interest and strengths with a career they will love and pursue in college.
Just as important, we want our kiddos to determine what they DON’T want to do.
We want the last two years of high school to be the first two years of college. (We define college as an advanced educational experience that includes trades, certifications, or a university.)
Stumble While They Are Close
A lot of high school graduates go to college only to find it overwhelming. If we can get our kids a taste of college and a career while they are still at home, it will be much easier to help them work through the struggle.
Dr. Shane Lopez is the world’s leading researcher on HOPE. Reading his book, Making Hope Happen, you understand just how important hope is to all of our success. In a recent study, Dr. Lopez showed that kids with a career focus in school get better grades and are more successful than those without. In other words, if they know what they are working towards they are more likely to find the work at school more important.
We are using some measurements with incoming freshman to help them select a career focus. In my next blog, I will tell you more about those measurements and provide some questions you can ask your own children about college and career that will start your family down this pathway.
Preparing our kids for a prosperous life; it’s the Wylie Way!
|Posted by David Vinson, Ph.D. at 9:02 AM|
I was talking to a Wylie parent this weekend who recently returned from a trip to Europe on business. He is a former teacher and we were discussing the differences between U.S. and European education systems. He explained that in many countries, parents are required to choose an educational track for their students at age 11. Their choice is between a “collegiate” or “trades” track which helps determine their destiny and future employment. In the Pacific Rim, test scores make the choice for many of the kids with our without their parents input. Our kids are competing for jobs in a global economy. How we prepare them for this economy is critically important.
Wylie ISD is meeting this task head on. After all, a big part of our Wylie Way is to prepare our students for a prosperous life. This means that they have a career they love AND will pay the bills. To get there, we have been asking students “What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?”
Most of our students tend to reply that they want to be professional athletes, musicians, firefighters, famous actors, doctors, or teachers (especially in the early grade levels) since these are the careers they come in contact with the most. As students begin to age, their preferences may begin to change with the influences of their parents’ careers, enjoyable experiences in their lives, or someone who has impacted them in a positive way. No matter their career preference, Wylie ISD wants our students to begin to think about the careers they are interested in pursuing, develop a purposeful plan to achieve their goals, and have the opportunity to experience the career before they graduate high school.
I had yet another discussion with a Wylie parent who is a high ranking executive at a global technology corporation. He explained that his company is forced to go outside the U.S. to find qualified candidates to fill high paying jobs in his company here in DFW. I thought to myself; Wow, the Wylie Way has never been more important!!!!
To prepare our kids for the global economy, Wylie ISD has worked directly with the Metroplex Technology Business Council, Texas Workforce Commission, Collin College and the University of Texas at Dallas to create a list of high wage, high need jobs and a plan to equip our students to fill them. We combined this list with other jobs that are in high demand…or kids just really love… and plan to offer these as “career experiences” in the fall of 2014.
We have attached a diverse list of career experiences below that will be offered at both high schools next school year. In fact, we are meeting with 8th grade parents tonight and tomorrow (February 3 and 4) to discuss how we can help them guide students to declare a major now and begin their pathway to a prosperous life. During this week, I plan to blog a lot about this very unique opportunity for our Wylie ISD kids and some of the mechanics of how it will work. If you have questions, let me know. I may put them in the blog. Also, check out our website that may answer many of your questions. Click on the HB5 logo to access the page. Preparing our children for a prosperous life; it’s the Wylie Way!
Wylie ISD Career Experiences
|Animal Science||Health Science (Sports Medicine)|
|Architecture||Hospitality and Tourism|
|Business & Finance (Dual Credit)||Information Technology|
|Business and Finance||Journalism|
|CISCO Computer Networking (Dual Credit)||Law Enforcement/Fire Protection|
|Cyber Security (Dual Credit)||Political Science and Pre-Law|
|Drafting (Dual Credit)||ROTC|
|Engineering/Robotics (Dual Credit)||Social Sciences|
|Graphic Design & Printing||Teaching|
|Health Science (Biomedical Sciences)||Theatre|
|Health Science (EMT)||Video Production|
|Health Science (PCT-Dual Credit)||Visual Art|
|Health Science (Pharmacy Technician)||World Languages|
|Posted by David Vinson, Ph.D. at 4:05 PM|
Whenever I am talking to a kiddo, I usually ask them what they plan to do when they graduate. I meet so many kids with awesome grades, a fantastic personality and sometimes even a high achiever in sport or fine arts. However, when you ask many of them what they want to do beyond college, they simply don’t know. My big question here is: What are we preparing our kids for if not life beyond school?
This is Logan Engstrom, a senior from Wylie High School. Logan is a respectful and kind person with nothing but high praise from campus leadership and teachers that know him. For any parent, this is what you really like to hear about your kid. Logan has something extra. He has a PLAN! If I could rank a list of top priorities for my own children, a plan beyond high school would rank among the top 5.
Logan wants to pursue a career as a Master Electrician or Lighting Designer for a Repertory Theater and plans to major in Theater Design & Production with an emphasis in Lighting Design. In fact, if you attend the WHS Musical Hairspray in a few weeks, you can see his work. It doesn’t end there; Logan found a way to practice his craft with an internship at summer musicals in the area. How about your student?
The Texas legislature passed HB 5 this past summer, and will have a profound impact on Texas High Schools. This bill (the specifics which become final on January 31, 2014) proposes to do away with former mandatory courses like a 4th year of Social Studies, Speech and Health to make room for students to graduate with endorsements that will provide a more focused direction towards a plan after high school.
Students can take additional or specific courses to work toward earning “endorsements” in Arts and Humanities, Business and Industry, Public Services, Multidisciplinary, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics.) One more thing, students must declare their intent to pursue an endorsement upon entering ninth grade and complete a personal graduation plan.
Logan has been working on his personal graduation plan and is ready for college and a career. What is your student’s plan? How will our high schools help them? Don’t worry; we have a plan. Each Wylie ISD 8th grade student will declare a college career experience from a list of 38 careers, most of which are listed as high-wage, high-need regional careers. Others are simply popular careers, requested by our students. Students will use this list to complete their personal graduation plan.
Want to know more? Follow us on Twitter by searching #ihaveaplanwisd. To help ensure all our parents understand this process, we are hosting 8th grade parent meetings on February 3rd and 4th. You can learn about House Bill 5, the endorsements, personal graduation plans, and even explore the careers our kids will experience. For details, please visit our website: www.wylieisd.net
In the coming years, we hope there will be a lot more Logans walking around our high schools with a plan and a purpose. In fact, we hope a student’s last two years of high school are the first two years of college. After all, having a plan will prepare our kids for prosperity the Wylie Way
|Posted by David Vinson, Ph.D. at 8:48 AM|
Mr. Eric Maxey is our athletics trainer at WHS and one of the nicest folks you will ever meet. His precious wife is fighting and winning a battle against cancer. Wylie High School student athletic trainer led a drive that has raised nearly $2,000 to be given to defray the incredible costs associated with this disease.
If you haven’t experienced a Wylie ISD school hallway…you have missed something. Here is a picture of Burnett’s huge hall, prepped and ready for delivery to Fostering Hope. Way to go Buccaneers!!!!
Same song, second verse from our friends at Draper…with the exception of these wonderful faces of the Draper staff. Thanks so much guys!
Last year, two incredible Wylie High School students passed away and left behind an incredible legacy. Such a legacy that students created “VANDIE” day with the mix of their names Van and Andie. T-shirts were created and sold as a form of alternative dress to celebrate the day. With the help of a great donation from Texas Instruments, $5,960.58 was raised to start of a college scholarship fund with more to come. Wow!
Last week, I explained to our students and staff that we don’t let stuff “happen on our watch.” The Wylie East took this to heart and created four buttons on sale for $1.00 to help raise funds for the Fostering Hope Project. What a great world we live in where our high school students show our little ones what it means to give and hope for a better tomorrow for kids and community!!!!
Drum roll please….Fostering Hope has had such overwhelming support that they not only filled the original 300 orders but have enough for 150 extra children!!!!!! Wow, wow, wow!!!!!!! There is nothing our community cannot do when kids are involved and as they say at Wylie East, on our watch…no one gets left behind. It’s the Wylie Way!
|Posted by David Vinson, Ph.D. at 4:53 PM|
Blogging enables a teacher to post topics that students discuss after class.
A Tip for Students
Gain merit points by participating in the discussion forum after you have read the blog post.