Ready Schools Initiative
The Monroe County Community Schools Corporation values the importance of preparing ALL students for college, careers, and life. In the summer of 2018, our corporation received the Ready Schools Planning Grant from Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI). The process of the grant involved using a design thinking process to develop a plan with systemic alignment of our preK-12 curricular and programmatic offerings to meet the needs of students and provide more access to explore post-secondary education or careers. At the end of the design-thinking process, MCCSC was able to apply for an additional implementation grant through ROI.
During the entire planning process, staff from each MCCSC school serving on design teams, as well as an advisory team of community and industry members, provided input and feedback. The members were selected based on feedback from principals and/or roles in the community or local workforce. Representatives from Ivy Tech and Indiana University were also part of the advisory team. After reviewing all the data from the design thinking process, we've identified five main focus areas; project/problem/inquiry-based learning, STEAM and hands-on learning, career awareness, entrepreneurship, and community and industry partnerships.
The Ready Schools Implementation Plan includes a bold, systemic PK-12 plan that engages students in all five focus areas. Outlined in the plan, students will have the opportunity to engage in:
- Real-world learning and collaboration through project-based learning (PBL);
- STEAM and hands-on learning opportunities at all schools throughout the corporation and through the STEM to Them Mobile Lab;
- Career exploration, exposing students to a plethora of careers so that students make informed decisions about their postsecondary pathways;
- Entrepreneurship opportunities to cultivate students’ mindset and skills of in generating innovative ideas and solutions to real world problems;
- Community and industry partnerships through learning experiences and real world opportunities such as problem solving, internships, mock interviews, job shadows, guest speakers, field trips, and more.
Overall, the Ready Schools Implementation Plan will prepare MCCSC students to be college, career, AND life ready.
These focus areas directly align with many of the initiatives being passed down from IDOE. For example, as part of the State STEM Strategic Plan, 100% of teachers are expected to be trained in PBL by 2025 and 100% of schools will be implementing a STEM curriculum within 6 years. The STEM plan also requires us to foster early STEM career exposure and business and industry partnerships. Beginning this school year, schools are expected to incorporate instruction on the new Employability Skills Standards. The work of Ready Schools also aligns with the new Graduation Pathway mandates and Governor’s Workforce Cabinet initiatives.
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