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The Senior Slump: Strategies to Keep Students Motivated

Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 2 to 3 p.m. ET
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 The Senior Slump: Strategies to Keep Students Motivated(06/26/2012) 
9:51
EdWeek Bryan: 
Good morning, and welcome to today's chat, "The Senior Slump: Strategies to Keep Students Motivated." Underwriting for today's chat was made possible by a grant from the Lumina Foundation.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 9:51 EdWeek Bryan
9:52
EdWeek Bryan: 
I've just opened the chat for questions, so please start submitting any you have down below. We'll be back at 2 p.m. ET today with Michael Kirst and Jim Riordan -- we hope to see you then!
Tuesday June 26, 2012 9:52 EdWeek Bryan
1:54
EdWeek Bryan: 
Thanks again for joining us today, folks. We'll get underway with our live chat on the senior slump in just a few minutes.

In the meantime, please keep submitting your questions below!
Tuesday June 26, 2012 1:54 EdWeek Bryan
1:55
EdWeek Bryan: 
For some background reading, check out this recent story from today's moderator, Caralee Adams: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/06/13/35slump_ep.h31.html
Tuesday June 26, 2012 1:55 EdWeek Bryan
2:00
EdWeek Bryan: 
We're about ready to get underway with today's chat, "The Senior Slump: Strategies to Keep Students Motivated," with underwriting made possible by a grant from the Lumina Foundation.

Keep sending in your questions throughout the hour, and we'll try to get through as many as possible.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:00 EdWeek Bryan
2:01
EdWeek Bryan: 
I'm now turning the chat over to our moderator for the day, Caralee Adams. Take it away, Caralee!
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:01 EdWeek Bryan
2:01
Caralee Adams: 
Hi everyone! Welcome to today’s discussion of the senior year of high school.

Many of us remember the feeling of senioritis. Burnt out on studying and ready for the next step, seniors often check out academically.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:01 Caralee Adams
2:01
Caralee Adams: 
The problem is when students don't take challenging classes their last year of high school, they can struggle their first year in college – or lose momentum altogether.

Attempts to reinvent the senior year have not taken hold as a major education reform.

Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:01 Caralee Adams
2:02
Caralee Adams: 
Today we have two experts joining us to answer your questions – Mr. Michael Kirst and Jim Riordan. I’ll let me them introduce themselves and tell us their titles….
Michael….
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:02 Caralee Adams
2:03
Kirst: 
I am a professor Emeritus at Stanford, and president Of Ca Board Of Education. I did a major report in on the Senior year.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:03 Kirst
2:03
Caralee Adams: 
Thanks...and Jim..
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:03 Caralee Adams
2:03
James Riordan: 
Terri, Thank you for your question. My experience has been that community college courses are no substitute for AP courses. I am at rue believer in community colleges and what they have to offer. Our stduernts can earn credit outside traditional seat time in the classroom by attending community college. We allow stduents to have early dismissal or partial day schedules for them to attend classes even if classes are in the evening or on the weekend.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:03 James Riordan
2:04
Caralee Adams: 
Let's start with a big picture question...Briefly, Michael: Why haven’t efforts to reform the senior year taken hold?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:04 Caralee Adams
2:05
Kirst: 
Neither the colleges or high schools create clear goals for the senior year. It is not included in k-12 or postscondary accountability systems.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:05 Kirst
2:05
Caralee Adams: 
How do you think the Common Core might impact this, Michael?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:05 Caralee Adams
2:06
Michael Kirst: 
It could have profound consequences if there is more development of senior year concepts. Right now common core is vague on senior year and only includes math and ELA.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:06 Michael Kirst
2:07
Caralee Adams: 
And, Jim, a big picture question for you: What do you hear from seniors about why they lose momentum that last year?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:07 Caralee Adams
2:11
James Riordan: 
Hector, thank you for the question. Students are in fact maturing academiclly during the high school years and beyond. It's balancing their social and emotional developement which some will not master (maybe never) until later years. Providning opportunities for them to remain engaged (earn credit) outside of traditional classroom seat time is important. Many of our stduents earn credit on-line thus reducing the amount of seat time they have with us. This opportunity keeps studnets focused academiclly, socially and emotionally.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:11 James Riordan
2:13
Caralee Adams: 
Thanks, Jim.
So everyone knows what questions are being answered, I will post them here first.
Here's one from Adams for Michael..
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:13 Caralee Adams
2:13
[Comment From Adam LoweAdam Lowe : ]
Dr. Kirst's Bridge Project work highlighted the importance of expanding concurrent enrollment to create effective pathways to and through college. CA Schools Superintendent Torlakson's Blueprint for Great Schools committed to removing the r
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:13 
2:14
Michael Kirst: 
Not much. Jim thinks dual enrollment works, but in Ca we cannot pay for it. It means you pay both high school and college for same student..Ca is broke!
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:14 Michael Kirst
2:14
James Riordan: 
Jim, the onset of seniorities has been known to appear in juniors, sophomores and even freshman.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:14 James Riordan
2:14
Caralee Adams: 
Here's a question from Earl. Can you answer Jim:
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:14 Caralee Adams
2:15
[Comment From EarlEarl: ] 
Why is it important to have seniors working until the last second? In my day, students were rewarded for working so hard and getting into college with a little chance to relax.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:15 Earl
2:18
James Riordan: 
L B James, not sure if any one curriculum strategy works. We offer options. On-line, community college, internships..etc. We look to whatever will work best. We are always open to new strategies that will aid us. Thanks.,
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:18 James Riordan
2:18
Caralee Adams: 
Michael, here is a questions for you from Jackie...
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:18 Caralee Adams
2:19
[Comment From JackieJackie: ] 
What about the idea of internships? My high school had the last six weeks of senior year by devoted to an approved internship of your choice. There were journal entries and a presentation involved along with an hours long signed off by your adviser at the company your chose. Does this sound like something more schools can implement?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:19 Jackie
2:20
Michael Kirst: 
Yes, but it might be expensive to design and supervise an intern. Many of the internships in the past have been essentially work with little academic connection.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:20 Michael Kirst
2:20
Caralee Adams: 
Michael...how can high schools better work with employers so those internships are meaningful?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:20 Caralee Adams
2:22
Michael Kirst: 
It should be linked to some career or academic interest the student has. The work part needs to be reinforced with some class discussion, and implications for postsecondary ed.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:22 Michael Kirst
2:23
Caralee Adams: 
Jim....How do you feel your students have benefited their senior year when they have career-focused jobs or even minimum wage jobs?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:23 Caralee Adams
2:25
James Riordan: 
If the student is blending their work related experience with thier instruction I believe it works well. As a stand alone it may also serve to keep the student engaged.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:25 James Riordan
2:25
Caralee Adams: 
Thanks.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:25 Caralee Adams
2:25
[Comment From JimJim: ] 
I also think that assigning (willing) seniors to elementary classrooms might help
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:25 Jim
2:25
[Comment From ShaneShane: ] 
I've heard of a lot of different strategies for keeping students engaged, internships, independent studies, projects, the list goes on. Is there one that tends to work the best?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:25 Shane
2:26
Caralee Adams: 
Michael want to take Shane's question?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:26 Caralee Adams
2:27
Michael Kirst: 
There has been scant evaluation of these approaches, and a lack of research on what works, and low costs. I cannot answer this question.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:27 Michael Kirst
2:28
Caralee Adams: 
With your Option Two in N.J....what alternative experiences have worked best for students? Jim....
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:28 Caralee Adams
2:29
James Riordan: 
On-line learning has works best for us. It is outside the traditional seat time, the student works at their own pace and the credits can be fullfilled on their schedule not ours.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:29 James Riordan
2:29
Caralee Adams: 
Ok - thanks.

Here's a good question from Mary that gets to the importance of choice and flexibility...want to answer Michael and Jim....
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:29 Caralee Adams
2:30
[Comment From MaryMary: ] 
Has anyone tried a strategy that the students were involved in selecting? I would suspect student buy-in could be very useful.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:30 Mary
2:32
James Riordan: 
Our students put together their own interships. A good deal of self motivation and focus. We approve but as long as it fits our parameters it is approved.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:32 James Riordan
2:32
Michael Kirst: 
There are a lot of options now for students because not a lot of senior year requirements. I found that student going to broad access college do not know they are unprepared, so favor informing them of their deficiencies and designing approaches for college success is a way to go for many.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:32 Michael Kirst
2:32
[Comment From Mr. StevensMr. Stevens: ] 
I struggle to help my students understand why they need to keep working when their exams are over. Do you have any tips?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:32 Mr. Stevens
2:32
Caralee Adams: 
Jim, perhaps, any thoughts for Mr. Stevens?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:32 Caralee Adams
2:35
James Riordan: 
Mr. Stevens Our exams are the final class. We do not have end of course assessments in NJ, except Biology but that score is not used for grading. Our AP teachers face that issue since they have run out of material. The exam is one month earlier that the end of the course.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:35 James Riordan
2:35
Caralee Adams: 
Looking for innovative solutions, Jackie asks about what else we should be doing...ideas, Michael?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:35 Caralee Adams
2:35
[Comment From JackieJackie: ] 
Is there any approach that you feel would work better that schools haven't tried yet?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:35 Jackie
2:37
Michael Kirst: 
One approach is called a college reference course designed by EPIC at U of Oregon. It simulates the fast pace of college teaching, and the many hours of homework needed for a college course. it alk uses synthesis, analysis , and other complex learning.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:37 Michael Kirst
2:38
Caralee Adams: 
Where is this being used, Michael? Is there hope that it will catch on?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:38 Caralee Adams
2:40
Michael Kirst: 
EPIC has several schools around USA. Colleges teach in 45 sessions what high school takes twice as long. There are no make ups or do overs in college. Seniors do not know the enviornment that they will face in college
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:40 Michael Kirst
2:40
Caralee Adams: 
That's really interesting
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:40 Caralee Adams
2:40
[Comment From SamSam: ] 
I teach non-college bound seniors who just want to scrape by so they can get their diplomas and leave. Would is be best to end with a project? If so, how do I have time to grade it when our grades are due the day after the last student day? How can I keep them involved until the very end!
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:40 Sam
2:40
Caralee Adams: 
Thoughts for Sam...for you Jim?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:40 Caralee Adams
2:43
James Riordan: 
Sam, Projects can be chuncked out and each part dependant upon the other. You do not have to wait until the las day to have all of the project truned in.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:43 James Riordan
2:43
Caralee Adams: 
interesting comment here:
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:43 Caralee Adams
2:43
[Comment From Avery NewtonAvery Newton: ] 
Something that helped me and my peers was work interspersed with "life lessons" on things like dorm life, financial literacy, independent living, taking pride in your own academic performance, etc. It made us take pride in ourselves and in our maturity, and at least for me it kept me engaged. So I guess I'd commend my teachers for their "balanced" approach between academics and real-life teachings
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:43 Avery Newton
2:44
Caralee Adams: 
Policy question directed to you, Dr. Kirst...
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:44 Caralee Adams
2:44
[Comment From CliveClive: ] 
What kind of policy do you think could be put in place to shape the senior year curriculum?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:44 Clive
2:44
Michael Kirst: 
I agree, there is no reason these things cannot be part of the senior year.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:44 Michael Kirst
2:45
James Riordan: 
In NJ, Financial Literacy is now a required course.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:45 James Riordan
2:46
Michael Kirst: 
There needs to be a clear purpose and some outcome expectations for senior year that is based on college career. Right now it is a grab bag of courses. Colleges need to be clear on what they expect of the senior year. High schools cannot do this on their own. Common Core needs a high school strategy. NCLB did not have one.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:46 Michael Kirst
2:46
Caralee Adams: 
Thanks.

Good suggestions here about the early concern over time to grade senior projects...
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:46 Caralee Adams
2:47
[Comment From JackieJackie: ] 
What about some sort of peer assessment for an end of the year project? This way your students could work until the very end and grade each other and you also do not have to worry about getting back to them after the year has already ended.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:47 Jackie
2:47
Caralee Adams: 
Next question from Mike.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:47 Caralee Adams
2:47
[Comment From Mike JamesMike James: ] 
How well do schools explain the availability of such alternatives to their students? I remember us going around a tour of a technical school in our junior year, but they didn't really explain what it was for or why we were there. If there were internships available, I didn't know the first thing about finding them.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:47 Mike James
2:47
Caralee Adams: 
Jim -- how do you let your students know about Option Two alternatives?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:47 Caralee Adams
2:47
Michael Kirst: 
I wonder about the capacity of students to grade each other, Ca has some of this and it is the blind leading the blind.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:47 Michael Kirst
2:50
Caralee Adams: 
Thoughts on how well students know about the options as seniors?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:50 Caralee Adams
2:51
James Riordan: 
Course orientations begin in 8th grade. Every student has the option to particpate in one or more Option Two experiences. Many underclassman take on-line courses to fullfill credits. Parents and stduents must sign off each year that their child has been provided opportunities to exercise an Option Two. It is their choice, not a requirement.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:51 James Riordan
2:51
Michael Kirst: 
Part of this is the role of the counselor. The preparation of counselors in many schools is not deep on student life options and in depth knowledge of college and work options.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:51 Michael Kirst
2:51
Caralee Adams: 
Sounds good, thanks. On to more questions...here's a follow-up for you, Michael.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:51 Caralee Adams
2:51
[Comment From Jaimye PlattJaimye Platt: ] 
Michael, does this College Reference course have a set curriculum?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:51 Jaimye Platt
2:52
Michael Kirst: 
Yes, it does. Email David Conley at the University of oregon, Go to the EPIC website for ideas and specific products.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:52 Michael Kirst
2:52
[Comment From JimJim: ] 
Do any states do well with requirements in the senior year, that we can learn from?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:52 Jim
2:52
Caralee Adams: 
Michael - model states?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:52 Caralee Adams
2:53
Michael Kirst: 
Washington , Maine, and South Carolina work on this approach.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:53 Michael Kirst
2:53
Caralee Adams: 
What is it about these states that policymakers were able to "get it"?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:53 Caralee Adams
2:54
Caralee Adams: 
Or, another way to ask -- how can educators leverage their state policymakers to make changes to the senior year?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:54 Caralee Adams
2:56
Michael Kirst: 
Leadership and a recognition that incremental strategies do not work well. The key is to think through a close linkage between the senior year and the next step in a students life. What don't they know, what do they need to succeed after graduation. it is more than courses in a conventional sense,
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:56 Michael Kirst
2:57
Caralee Adams: 
Is the problem really linked to the way the system is set up, asks Mark...
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:57 Caralee Adams
2:57
[Comment From Mark SiegelMark Siegel: ] 
Isn't the heart of the problem the factory (time-based) system? Isn't the solution moving to a proficiency-based system (Inevitable: Mass Customized Learning)? wouldn't
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:57 Mark Siegel
2:58
Caralee Adams: 
Michael...will the solution require a proficiency-based approach?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:58 Caralee Adams
2:59
James Riordan: 
For next year, we have teamed up with Claremont Graduate University and the Drucker Institute. We will be teaching all of our freshman the Drucker for Future Leaders program. The linkage that we spoke about begins in freshamn year. The program is mainatin engagement and provide skills necessary to succed in college and life.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:59 James Riordan
2:59
Michael Kirst: 
There are some similarities between standards and proficiencies. The new assessments for Common Core are my big hope for a proficiency orientation. We will spend 3.5 million on new assessments in 4 years!
Tuesday June 26, 2012 2:59 Michael Kirst
3:00
Caralee Adams: 
Finally, Michael, are you hopeful for change in the senior year?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:00 Caralee Adams
3:01
Michael Kirst: 
It will depend on closer relationships between secondary schools and colleges/ employers. K-12 cannot change this alone.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:01 Michael Kirst
3:01
Caralee Adams: 
Jim, last thoughts on the feedback you get from students who are allowed to have flexibility for independent study their last year?
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:01 Caralee Adams
3:02
James Riordan: 
It is positive. Lets not focus only on seniors. Engagemnet, transitions, assessment all begin much earlier in the students life. Thanks.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:02 James Riordan
3:02
Caralee Adams: 
Thanks to both of our guest for sharing their insights. And, thanks to you our participants for the great questions.

I look forward to more discussion on this important topic.

Have a great afternoon and please join us again for another Ed Week chat.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:02 Caralee Adams
3:03
EdWeek Bryan: 
Thanks, Caralee! Let's end here.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:03 EdWeek Bryan
3:04
Caralee Adams: 
Thanks everyone!
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:04 Caralee Adams
3:04
EdWeek Bryan: 
Many thanks to our two guests, Michael and Jim, our great moderator, Caralee, and all of you for joining us today. Thanks to the Lumina Foundation, too, for providing the underwriting for today's chat.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:04 EdWeek Bryan
3:04
EdWeek Bryan: 
We'll have the transcript of today's chat available at the same link within the hour.
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:04 EdWeek Bryan
3:04
EdWeek Bryan: 
For some extra reading about the senior slump, check out Caralee's article from the most recent issue of EdWeek: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/06/13/35slump_ep.h31.html
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:04 EdWeek Bryan
3:05
EdWeek Bryan: 
And if you're free tomorrow afternoon, join us for another live chat, this time on the recent 40th anniversary of Title IX. Two other EdWeek writers and I will be fielding your questions: http://bit.ly/TitleIXchat
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:05 EdWeek Bryan
3:05
EdWeek Bryan: 
Have a great afternoon, folks. Thanks again for joining us today!
Tuesday June 26, 2012 3:05 EdWeek Bryan
3:05
 

 
 
 

The Senior Slump: Strategies to Keep Students Motivated

Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 2 to 3 p.m. ET
Underwriting for this chat is made possible by a grant from The Lumina Foundation

High school seniors often want to cruise to the finish line of spring graduation rather than push to the end. About 10 years ago, there was talk of revamping the senior year, but no national reform took hold. However, there have been pockets of innovation. Some states have passed laws in support of a more rigorous senior year. In some places, districts are encouraged to offer college-level courses in high school or on nearby community college campuses. Other alternatives include requiring senior research projects, promoting internships, and offering independent study. Tests under development to align with the Common Core State Standards and gauge college and career readiness in 11th grade may be just the wake-up call that seniors need to get serious about their studies before graduation.

Guests:
Michael W. Kirst, professor emeritus, School of Education, Stanford University; president, California School Board
Jim Riordan, director of guidance, Cherry Hill public schools, Cherry Hill, N.J.

Caralee Adams, contributing writer, Education Week, moderated this chat.

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