Student Well-Being

New Center Aims to Help Motivate Calif. High Schoolers

By Linda Jacobson — April 11, 2006 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Hoping to motivate more California students to finish high school and find future success, the James Irvine Foundation last week announced a new center aimed at expanding work-based learning programs that integrate high-level academics.

Called ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career, the new project will seek to provide solutions to the problems highlighted in a new poll, also sponsored by the foundation.

“Report Findings: Based on a Survey Among California Ninth and Tenth Graders” is posted by ConnectEd: The California Center for College and Career.

ConnectEd, based in Berkeley, will serve as a hub for creative practices, policies, and research on how to ensure that more of the state’s students complete high school and have the skills they need for a job or for college, organizers say.

The center will stress “real world” learning that blends high-quality technical and career education with rigorous academic content.

Concerned about global competition and widening income gaps in the U.S. economy, policymakers across the nation are turning with increasing urgency to the issue of college and workforce preparation. (“Economic Trends Fuel Push to Retool Schooling,” March 22, 2006.)

Examples of what the center’s organizers would like to see replicated across the state include Health Professions High School, which opened last fall in Sacramento. With 150 freshmen this year, the school uses a health-care theme to provide an academic curriculum, leadership experiences, and opportunities for students to apply what they’ve learned.

Board members for ConnectEd include Jeannie Oakes, an education professor at the University of California, Los Angeles; Ramon C. Cortines, a former district schools chief in New York City and San Francisco; and Ted Mitchell, the chairman of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Advisory Committee on Education Excellence.

Survey Findings

The poll released last week by the foundation found that fewer than 40 percent of California’s 9th and 10th graders say they really like going to school and feel high school does a good job of motivating them to do their best work.

Motivating Students

Ninth and 10th graders could be motivated to work harder and do better, according to a California survey.

*Click image to see the full chart.

BRIC ARCHIVE

SOURCE: James Irvine Foundation

The poll results also show that almost three-fourths of the students surveyed said they could be doing better if they felt motivated to work harder.

“It’s so clear that we have to do a better job of preparing students for both college and career,” Gavin Payne, California’s deputy superintendent of education, said during a teleconference on the poll. He added that many students “have interests and learning styles which don’t fit the pathways that are offered” in traditional high schools.

Roughly 75 percent of students polled agreed that the idea of a school that prepares them for college and employment is appealing. Seventy-six percent said they would like to attend school in “small learning communities” focused on a particular profession.

“California high schools’ current structure works well for many students, but there is clear room for improvement for the majority of students,” the report on the results says.

For the poll, Peter D. Hart Research Associates, based in Washington, surveyed 619 9th and 10th graders in California who are deemed at risk of falling behind academically. The margin of error is 4.1 percentage points.

Governor’s Plan

The Irvine Foundation, based in San Francisco, sponsored the poll as a follow-up to its funding of a study last year on California’s high school dropout problem. That study was conducted by the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University and showed that only 69 percent of the state’s students graduate from high school on time. The rates are even lower for African-American and Hispanic students.

The new poll results come as Gov. Schwarzenegger is drawing more attention to career and technical education as a way to keep students interested in school. He is recommending $50 million to expand such programs in middle school through community college and to help high schools link their vocational programs with those in community colleges.

A version of this article appeared in the April 12, 2006 edition of Education Week as New Center Aims to Help Motivate Calif. High Schoolers

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Teaching Live Online Discussion Seat at the Table: How Can We Help Students Feel Connected to School?
Get strategies for your struggles with student engagement. Bring questions for our expert panel. Help students recover the joy of learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being Opinion How Educators Can Respond to 'Dobbs v. Jackson'
As abortion rights are rolled back, students need comprehensive sex ed. and contraceptive access, write three experts on adolescent health.
Terrinieka W. Powell, Beth Marshall & McKane Sharff
5 min read
Illustration of various contraceptive methods.
F. Sheehan/Education Week and iStock/Getty
Student Well-Being Spotlight Spotlight on SEL for Students
This Spotlight will empower you with guidance on SEL skills for healthy digital lives, tips for responding to pushback over SEL, and more.
Student Well-Being A Later Start Time for Schools in California: The Pros and the Cons
This fall, secondary schools in the nation’s most populous state can’t begin before 8 a.m.
3 min read
Hansika Daggolu will be a junior at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, Calif., this fall when a new state law requires the school day to start later for middle and high school students. Hansika, 15, said she is happy she will no longer have to rise before 7 a.m. to get to school by 8 a.m.
Hansika Daggolu will be a junior at Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, Calif., this fall when a new state law requires the school day to start later for middle and high school students. Hansika, 15, said she is happy she will no longer have to rise before 7 a.m. to get to school by 8 a.m.
Eric Risberg/AP
Student Well-Being What Is the Right Age for a Kid to Get a Cellphone?
Children are acquiring them at younger and younger ages.
3 min read
Group of diverse 8-10-year-olds sitting in a window sill looking at their cellphones.
iStock/Getty Images Plus