Superintendent's Blog: Looking Ahead, Part 2
A New Partnership
Our goal is for 100% of our students to be college or career ready when they graduate. However, if we don't recruit them back to Paducah after they finish college, we will have met the needs of our students, but not really served the needs of our community. We've got to hold on to that talent, and we've got to make sure that we are feeding it into the businesses that need employees in Paducah and McCracken County.
Keeping our graduates in Paducah means building community/business partnerships. We have to maximize the opportunities in this community to connect our students. We have been discussing future job trends with Paducah Economic Development because we want to change the curriculum at PTHS to be able to flow into those future workforce needs. We want to make sure that we are recruiting middle school students into those curriculum areas at PTHS so that we can meet those future workforce needs. We've got to be able to make those adjustments. Sometimes that's hard to do in public education, because we've got a few laws about what we have to do and how we have to do it. But I have good news: Paducah Public Schools can customize education. We are one of the few districts across the commonwealth that can do this. We have applied for and received a waiver that will allow us to customize education for the senior year for Tilghman students. This gives students the opportunity to do an independent study with partners in our community. If you are college ready going into your senior year (which means you've met the minimum benchmarks) we can waive graduation requirements and completely customize your high school senior year to meet the needs in this community and to get our students connected and engaged.
For this project we are looking for internships in our business community for our seniors.
Here’s an example. In February Stan Eckenberg approached me and said "Hey, we really are interested in this (Capstone Project)." And I said, "We've got the waiver. We can make this happen." We are still in the developmental stage, but I want to walk you through what CSI and not only Paducah Public Schools, but also other schools in the area, are working on right now.
CSI has evaluated the curriculum at WKCTC and created pathways to create employees that they need through a two year program. We have the Community Scholarship, so that would be free. Once these students have graduated from WKCTC, CSI wants to offer a CSI academy where for a year they would teach students exactly what they need to be able to work at CSI. CSI is going to guarantee them employment if they complete the academy. So what we have is an example of a customized pathway to employment from high school through college that's free that our students can take advantage of to start at a good paying job. But what we have to do is align our resources and our community needs.
I ask you as community leaders and business leaders to be thinking about those types of opportunities. There is a huge economic advantage for us aligning our resources and working together on this in the school system and our community.