School districts in the United States have always aspired to prepare students to successfully transition into adulthood. Throughout our history as a nation, American public schools have attempted to define the meaning of future success, or readiness, as a function of the societal norms of the era. Evidence of this can be seen dating back to 1647 in Massachusetts with the Old Deluder Satan Law designed to prepare students for lives that are free of “satanic ills.” More modern views of “readiness” (in the past 50 years or so) have been centered on how schools have prepared students to be productive on assembly lines, in the “Space Race“, or in the global marketplace (e.g., A Nation at Risk). What has been historically lacking, in most of these policy responses to a “threat”, has been a definition of “student success” or “readiness.” The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) reinforced the idea that schools needed to be held accountable to minimally acceptable standards of performance as measured through standardized testing – the “threat” in this scenario being that certain students were being underserved or “left behind” due to negative societal influences (such as extreme poverty, racism, discrimination, social stratification and other similar injustices). Good intentions aside, NCLB did not address the issue of how schools can better prepare students for success, starting with an operational definition of “readiness.” As a result, we had a pretty good understanding of what we were “opting-out” of but not a very good understanding of what we should be “opting-in” to.
The most recent evolution in our nation’s public policy effort pertaining to K-12 schooling is the Every Student Succeeds Act 2015 (ESSA). An important feature of ESSA is the provision of schools being able to define “future readiness” for students and to give communities the means to hold themselves accountable on their own terms. The South Orangetown Central School District Board of Education recently conducted a workshop to start to identify those indicators that will enable us to better prepare our students for success in high school and beyond. If we can define “future readiness” we may be able to better prepare our students for post-secondary opportunities in college, in the workforce, and in life. This working definition of “future readiness” will also better enable us to hold ourselves accountable and continuously improve our efforts to this end. Over the past several weeks, in response to ESSA compliance requirements as well as our desire to better serve our students, we are considering research-based indicators to more appropriately assess the manner in which students are ready for college, careers and, most importantly, life. The National Career and College Readiness Indicators can help us build capacity and ensure that we are connecting students’ unique interests and talents with meaningful opportunities in high school and beyond.
The SOCSD Board of Education and staff will continue to develop our understanding of student readiness and align our strategic plan to best meet the needs of our students. We are looking forward to sharing this important work with the community in the days and weeks ahead. For now, please familiarize yourselves with the elements of readiness as presented below:
I. COLLEGE READY: Students are College Ready if they meet either the academic indicators OR standardized testing benchmarks listed below. Click here to download a summary of the indicators.
GPA 2.8 out of 4.0 and one or more of the following academic indicators:
- Advanced Placement Exam (3+)
- Advanced Placement Course (A, B or C)
- Dual Credit College English and/or Math (A, B or C)
- College Developmental/Remedial English and/or Math (A, B or C)
- Algebra II (A, B or C)
Standardized Testing Benchmarks (minimum score)
- SAT Exam: Math (530); Reading and Writing (480)
- ACT Exam: English (18); Reading (22); Science (23); Math (22)
- College Readiness Placement Assessment (determined by post-secondary institution)
Additional Factors that Contribute to College Success
Earning As, Bs, Cs; FAFSA Completion; Enrollment in career pathway course sequence; College Academic Advising; Participation in College Bound Bridge Programs; Senior year math class; Completion of a math class after Algebra II
II. CAREER READY: Students are Career Ready if they have identified a career interest and meet two of the behavioral and experiential benchmarks listed below. In addition, students entering the military upon graduation must meet the passing scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) for each branch of the military. Click here to download a summary of the indicators.
Career Cluster Identified and two or more of the following benchmarks:
- 90% Attendance
- 25 hours of Community Service
- Workplace Learning Experience
- Industry Credential
- Dual Credit Career Pathway Course
- Two or more organized Co-Curricular activities
III. LIFE READY: Being Life Ready means students leave high school with the grit and perseverance to tackle and achieve their goals by demonstrating personal actualization skills of self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, responsible decision making, and relationship skills. Students who are LIFE READY possess the growth mindset that empowers them to approach their future with confidence, to dream big and to achieve big. We encourage “whole-child development” at SOCSD through social-emotional learning (SEL) activities and character education activities.