• Education & Talent Development

    K-12 EDUCATION

     

    DESTINATION

    All of the region's children graduate from high school college- and work-ready.

     

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

 

K-12 education lays the foundation for a well-trained workforce. To be competitive, regions must produce high school graduates with 21st century skills prepared to move on to further education or immediate work opportunities. Ensuring that students graduate is only part of the equation. This means positioning students on a track to arrive at college with the skills and knowledge needed to be successful, and preparing those not immediately going on to higher education to secure family sustaining jobs connected to long-term career paths.

HOW DO WE CURRENTLY FARE?

Early Learning
School Readiness
Pre-K Access
Early Literacy
K-12 Education
On-time Graduation
Disconnected Youth
College & Career Readiness
Postsecondary Credentials
Degrees & Certificates Awarded
Educational Attainment
Workforce Readiness
Poverty Rate
Labor Force Participation
Median Income
School Readiness
With New Jersey's adoption of an implementation plan in 2016, all three states in our region are on the path to using standardized kindergarten readiness assessments to improve early learning and help close achievement gaps.
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PROGRESS TOWARD IMPLEMENTING STANDARDIZED KINDERGARTEN READINESS ASSESSMENTS (2016)

WORLD CLASS STRATEGIES

 

improve k-12 teacher effectiveness and school leadership

 

A broad consensus has emerged among researchers in recent years that the effectiveness of teaching has a greater influence on student success than any other variable within the walls of primary and secondary schools. Practitioners have long recognized teaching excellence as the single most important factor for student academic and career success down the line, and significant innovation and energy has gone into efforts to effectively measure and reward high-quality instruction both within and across school systems and to improve teacher training efforts.

 

At the same time, skilled and empowered leadership is needed to create the right kinds of conditions and climate to support top-quality instruction at K-12 schools. School principals and administrators play a key role in improving student outcomes by influencing the motivation and capacity of teachers through meaningful performance evaluation and training opportunities. Principals also increasingly must think and act creatively to manage resources and establish effective collaborations with other schools, programs, and community leaders.

 

Promising Pathways

 

INVESTING IN QUALITY OF INSTRUCTION AND EFFECTIVENESS

 

With quality of teaching being the single most important driver for student success within the classroom, investing in and rewarding top-level instruction is an absolute necessity to improve outcomes for K-12 students. Given that the majority of teachers are union members, union leadership must be deeply engaged as these efforts take shape and progress. As what are considered the most effective ways to train teachers evolves, close collaboration with the region’s schools of education that certify teachers is crucial to ensure that innovations in instruction reach the classroom and benefit students.

 

MEASURING AND REWARDING TEACHER PERFORMANCE BASED ON STUDENT PERFORMANCE AND OTHER VARIABLES

 

While there are many excellent teachers working in the region, there is no established system to assess teaching effectiveness, which is necessary to gauge and reward improvements in classroom teaching. All stakeholders involved with K-12 education - teachers, unions, parents, school administrators, elected officials, business leaders, higher education institutions that train teachers– in our region need to come together to develop such a shared system that can inform ongoing training and teacher investments.

 

INVESTING IN EFFECTIVE TRAINING AND MENTORING PROGRAMS FOR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS AND BOARD LEADERSHIP

 

There are a number of school leadership training and mentoring programs operating at the state and district level, as well as accredited schools of education and private organizations providing services in Greater Philadelphia. We need a better understanding of which of these programs are effective and why and to figure out ways to expand their reach.


STRENGTHEN CONNECTIONS BETWEEN EDUCATION AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

 

In particular for youth whose families and networks do not already provide clear expectations and information about college and career opportunities, exposure to and guidance about pathways following high school graduation are critical. Direct exposure to different types of work-based experiences increase clarity and motivation around continued academic success while laying the groundwork for important workplace skills and expectations and expanding networks. There are some highly effective programs operating in K-12 public schools across the region as well as specialized schools providing career-connected education and training; however, quality is not uniformly high and too few students have the opportunity to participate in good programs. 

 

Promising Pathways

 

EXPANDING EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS

 

An opportunity exists to expand upon existing strong collaborations, in particular within the City of Philadelphia, to provide quality work-based experiences to more high school students – whether in the form of after-school or summer internship programs, career academies, or other career and technical education (CTE) models within schools. Efforts will need to focus on scaling infrastructure to support employers in providing internships, engaging and educating teachers around work-based experiences and career paths, and expanding effective programming to serve high-need suburban districts.

 

INCREASING EMPLOYER ENGAGEMENT WITH K-12 SCHOOLS

 

Involvement in work-based experiences and career-connected education can engage area employers in K-12 education and provide an important avenue to connect secondary schools to the region’s key industry sectors and ongoing economic and workforce development efforts. Building on current employer-education partnerships in the region, Greater Philadelphia has the potential to become a national model for business engagement in schools.

 

MAKING WORK-BASED EXPERIENCES CREDIT-BEARING OR REQUIRED FOR GRADUATION

 

One way to ensure that students are getting exposed to work-based experiences and opportunities in middle and high school is for districts to make them credit-bearing or mandatory.

INCREASE PARENTAL/CAREGIVER INVOLVEMENT IN THEIR CHILDREN’S EDUCATION

 

Outside of the school walls, levels of parental and caregiver engagement correlate very strongly with college- and career-readiness. Efforts to actively engage parents and caregivers in their children’s education – whether by providing information about educational options or by encouraging direct and frequent contact with teachers or other types of school involvement – can contribute to better student performance and better feelings about going to school. Encouraging and rewarding parental or caregiver support for academic achievement and learning at home can yield a lasting impact. While some of these out-of-school interventions or investments may be harder to control or track than within-school investments, the ultimate return can be significant.

 

Promising Pathways

 

EDUCATING PARENTS/CAREGIVERS ABOUT THEIR SCHOOL SYSTMES, WHAT THEIR KIDS ARE LEARNING, AND HOW TO HELP THEM SUCCEED

 

Through district-level programs and parent associations, districts and nonprofit organizations around Greater Philadelphia are helping parents/caregivers become more empowered to help their children be successful in school and prepared for the workforce. We need to ensure that these programs are effective and touch more parents.

 

HELPING PARENTS/CAREGIVERS UNDERSTAND COLLEGE AND CAREER OPTIONS FOR KIDS

 

In particular for parents who do not have a postsecondary degree or extensive job networks, it is all the more important to engage caregivers to help them understand career opportunities and resources – and do so early.