Wise Up! Get the Word Out on this New Scholarship.

Students want to be recognized.  They NEED to be recognized.  Often, of course, they’re recognized for the wrong sort of things.  Of course, there’s a lot of GREAT things kids get recognized for too.  But, not too often are teachers, counselors, and fellow students able to recognize kids in a way that provides tangible opportunities too.  Not too often are the talented – but not THAT talented” – recognized.  Until now.

Local businessman Al Hight, who spent a long and productive career in the military shared with me that he wasn’t on the “straight and narrow” growing up.  But someone invested in him and helped him when he really needed it.  After he graduated he enlisted into the military … and flourished.  What he promised himself was that some day, when he had the means and opportunity, he would give back to the community that gave back to him.  Now he’s putting his money where his mouth (and mind) is.  Al is the singular driving force behind Wise Up, a student life recognition scholarship aimed at noticing student achievement in a broad range of categories including: Academics, Athletics, Leadership, Visual Arts, Performing Arts/Theater, Music, and Community Service.

Hight spoke at Calvin College during the West Michigan Counseling Association Fall Conference.  As he shared about this inaugural award, the goal is for students to look for and nominate their fellow classmates who they think stand out in one (or more) of the categories above.  This isn’t necessarily a scholarship for the “usual suspects”: the coolest, smartest, or most gifted.  Of course, they’re eligible just like everyone else.  But this award is meant to celebrate the hard-working, well-rounded students.

Counselors need to sign up their schools to participate and will meet with Wise Up representatives on how to enlist and pare down student nominations.  Students from around the county will be selected to attend the awards gala held at Frederick Meijer Gardens on March 21, where 7 students will be selected (one for each category) to receive a $5,000 scholarship for furthering their education and talents.

Registration for the scholarships are now open and nominations run through January.  For more information, visit wiseupawards.org.

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Girls Rock IT!

Girls Rock IT!

With the goals of breaking stereotypes and exciting girls about interesting opportunities in Information Technology, the Michigan Council of Women in Technology will be offering a FREE day of interactive fun and learning!

Girls in grades 4-8 will be given opportunities for hands-on experiments led by some of the area’s leading computer and information technology experts. Please join us for breakfast and information session about the expanding world of technology careers as students learn a variety of technology skills as they rotate through different sessions.

Visit this site for more information and registration! 

WGVU KidsFare — A Healthy Recipe Challenge

Need a fun activity to encourage your students to make healthy choices? Encourage them to participate in WGVU’s Healthy Recipe Challenge! The goal is to create an original recipe for an appetizer, main course or dessert. This is a great way to encourage informational writing and the winners get to participate in a cook off downtown at the Secchia Culinary Institute – how fun!

Please check out this link for lots more information and also the submission form.

Let’s get cookin’!

Summer learning is important!

There are many wonderful opportunities for students in Kent County to extend their understandings and learn more about their own capabilities. Below you will find a listing of camps (BIG list linked at the very bottom) that ALL students can engage with. Please feel free to share this post with the parents and students in your circles, let’s keep those brains moving in the warm summer months ahead.

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DC2 (Design. Discover. Collaborate. Create)
June 27-28 9:00 AM-3:30 PM

Grand Valley University (Seidman Building – Downtown Campus)

DESIGNED FOR BOYS AND GIRLS ENTERING GRADES 5-6 in Fall 2017

COST: $25 per student

Led by at team of local K -12 educators, students will work in small groups to collaboratively tackle problems that connect to both their lives and the world around them, answering questions like:

  • How might we redesign our recess experience?
  • How might we re-purpose scrap material from a local manufacturer?
  • How might we re-engineer a classroom to better meet our needs as students?

The camp will also include local mentors from industry and high school student coaches. There will be opportunities for students to engineer solutions in a ‘maker’s space’ as they prototype and test their ideas. This is a great way for kids to stretch their thinking muscles this summer in a fun, collaborative, creative way as they harness the innovator within them. Visit this page to see a flyer and  this page to learn more/register!

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CAMP INFINITY
July 10-13, 8:30 AM-3:30 PM

Kent Innovation High School (1655 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525)

DESIGNED FOR GIRLS ENTERING GRADES 5-8 in Fall 2017

COST: $100 per student – scholarships available.

Camp Infinity is a four day summer technology camp for girls entering 5th to 8th grade that introduces technology as fun and fulfilling and inspires the pursuit of technology education. MCWT Foundation created it to address the primary reasons girls lose interest in technology: confidence, social relevance, and social (peer) acceptance. Visit this page for more information!

SUMMER LEARNING FOR ALL! 

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Finally, for a listing of MANY other summer learning opportunities in our area, visit this link.

Final Call for 2016-17: Circle Your Calendars!

TEACHERS IN INDUSTRY (Thursday, May 18, 8:00-3:00 pm)
Teachers, counselors and administrators this is an equal-opportunity event. Our last regular Teachers IN Industry of the school year will be held next Thursday, the 18th. Haven’t been in a while? Come check us out. Been there, done that? Let a colleague know what a cool experience it is and encourage them to come. Better yet, come and bring your friend! SCECHs are available, lunch is provided, and as usual, teachers, we’ll pay for substitute reimbursement, up to $100! For our swansong event of 2016-17, we’ll get a chance to meet with Swoboda (mechatronics & manufacturing), Erhardt Construction, and start-up company Fathom (underwater drones). Hurry and sign up; there’s still room. To register, go to the event page on the PD Hub, or visit us on our website. If you still need some convincing, check out our promo video!

Shifting the (K-12) Focus from Completion to Preparation

Last month, during a Career Readiness Network meeting, one item of discussion that came up revolved around whether post-secondary institutions are truly helping students to be successful. Or, for many, are they just a waste of time and money? What good is it if a student takes classes – whether at a university or their local community college – if they are taking 3, 4 and 5 remedial courses … before they even earn a single credit? What is the value of a student getting halfway down the road to some sort of credentialing (whether it be a certificate, an associate’s degree or more), only for them to drop out of a program they will never complete …. with a debt level that becomes an albatross around their neck?

And then, there are the exceptions to the rule. This March 2017 Detroit Free Press article highlights one Higher Ed institution, Sinclair Community College out of Dayton, Ohio, that apparently is. Rather than trying to get students IN the door only to see them fail, they’ve shifted their focus to completion rather than simply access. As a result, the percentage of students who have graduated, are still enrolled, or have transferred to another college/university has skyrocketed from around 33% to 79%.

This led me to think, what might this change in focus look like for K-12 Education?

Where did the change occur? Why in career exploration, of course. Students “do career services first thing.” School officials now have conversations with students about what they want to do as a career and help develop a customized plan for EVERY student to help them get there. For those who aren’t sure what they want to do, they join one of six big career communities until they figure it out.

This led me to think, what might this change in focus look like for K-12 Education? Instead of just trying to get students OUT the door (graduation), could a shift in focus from simply completion to preparation (intentional exploration) be the key? What if students were not only given time to investigate their interests, but were provided opportunities to see if there was a potential fit? What if, by the time students graduated, they better understood themselves and what they wanted to do for a living? And, what if they knew all the options available to them – and, as a result – the best pathway to get there?  How many hours of worry and thousands of dollars in debt might be spared for our young people?

Kent ISD’s Career Readiness Dept. firmly believes there are MULTIPLE pathways to a successful career (and we have the lesson to prove it). We don’t believe every student needs to get a four-year degree (or more).  Neither do we think every student is created for the skilled trades. What we DO believe is that every student SHOULD be able to figure out who they are, and where and how they fit into the world of work. And we also believe that it is our collective job – parents, educators, and business and community members alike – to help students in this journey to success.

Life holds a variety of options and pathways; students should explore as many of them as they can while they can to see what works for them. But, how will they know unless we tell them; and how will they see unless we SHOW them? With your help, we have begun the work toward making that the norm, rather than the exception.

Questions or comments? Share them in the section at the beginning of this article.

WMCAT announces summer camps!

West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology (WMCAT) is offering 4-day arts and tech camps this summer to middle and high school students. Small class sizes allow you to get the most of your time in our studios with experienced teaching artists. With over 20 different camps being offered in areas such as photography, sewing, illustration, and video game design, there’s something for everyone. Camps are occurring July 10-August 17, 2017 with AM & PM Sessions available. These events are open to teens entering grades 7-12 in 2017-18. For a complete listing and to register, go to www.wmcat.coursestorm.com or email teenprograms@wmcat.org for an electronic enrollment form.

View the flyer here:
WMCAT 2017 Summer Camps