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Freshman Transition Initiative The 10-Step Plan The George Washington University

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1 Freshman Transition Initiative The 10-Step Plan The George Washington University

2 How do we help ALL students recognize the value of education? The key to impacting students: How do we help ALL students view their futures?

3 Studies show… The first year of high school (8 th or 9 th grade) is critical. Students make choices that impact the rest of their lives. It is our responsibility to help them make informed choices.

4 Studies show… 8 th - 9 th graders: Become more self aware/self conscious Thinking becomes more critical, complex Look for acceptance more from peers, less from adults Need independence, yet still rely on adults for support Take more foolish risks to align with peers and avoid embarrassment

5 Freshmen report feeling ExcitedAfraid ConfusedSad ProudCurious BraveLonely HelplessOverwhelmed Worried Jarman-Dunn, N. & M. Kiggins. Building the Bridge of Success. 2005 ASCA Conference presentation

6 Reasons Students Drop Out Early Males Females 55% 49%Didn’t like school 52% 17% Couldn’t get along with teachers 31% 14%Felt they didn’t belong 18% 22% Couldn’t get along with peers 19% 33% Suspended too often 38% 25% Couldn’t keep up with work 46% 33% Failing grades NELS. TwoYears Later: Cognitive Gains and School Transition

7 What can we do? Freshman Transition course for ALL students that culminates in a 10-year plan

8 Benefits of a Freshman Transition course: Creates buy-in to the educational process Offers relevant themes for academic skill development Helps students become identity achieved and builds self-esteem Supports counseling and guidance goals by helping students develop education and career plans

9 Step 1: Gather your resources Course Standards for Freshman Transition Classes The George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative

10 Standards-driven Freshman Transition courses: Reduce dropout rates (high school and college) Increase matriculation into post-secondary programs Increase recruitment and retention into technical programs Provide skills to successfully navigate life and work transitions

11 Step 2: Create a vision Why is a 10-year plan important for all freshmen? The George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative

12 Huge Gaps Exist Between Student Aspirations and Reality High school dropout rates remain high. College graduation rates remain low. Beyond 4- or 5-year plans

13 “We are seeing an epidemic of work-life unreadiness, kids in their early twenties who can’t figure out who they are or what they need to be doing with their lives...” -Dr. Mel Levine on the Today Show, January 25, 2005 Author, Ready or Not, Here Life Comes

14 A 10-year Plan provides the vision that helps students: Stay in high school, graduate, then… Enter and COMPLETE post-secondary education and/or training, then… Make timely and successful transitions into an economically self-sufficient adulthood

15 Step 3: Form a Planning Team Generate community buy-in Identify a curriculum that meets the Course Standards for Freshman Transition Classes Recruit experienced teachers Promote the School-wide Initiative Set up a system to share student 10-year plans with all teachers The George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative

16 The Course Standards for Freshman Transition Classes can be used to develop: Freshman Orientation classes Smaller Learning Communities Critical “first course” for Tech Prep or Career Academies Career Orientation courses Life Skills mandates Dropout Prevention interventions

17 Step 4: Generate community buy-in for a Freshman Transition course & the 10-year plan The George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative

18 COMMUNITY that takes RESPONSIBILITY and KNOWS: “…individual workers will be more and more responsible for managing his/her own career, risks, and economic security…” (p.264) “…everyone must tend to his/her own economic destiny…” (p. 21) “…leadership, relationships, and creativity…” (p. 14) “…create value…” (p. 239) Thomas Freidman, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21 st Century

19 COLLEGE PREP? 50% of students who enter college never finish, BUT…. Studies show entering college freshmen who have a career plan/goal are more likely to graduate.

20 Important for ALL students Studies show that students who can project themselves into the future and understand the consequences of their actions today are far less likely to drop out of school (high school or college), become a teen parent, or abuse drugs.

21 Step 5: Identify curriculum Aligned/Validated with the Course Standards for Freshman Transition Classes Career Choices by Academic Innovations meets 95% of the Standards Validated supplements Real Game ACRNA Career Solutions COIN COIN Educational Products Parent’s Planner Career Cruising

22 Choose a curriculum that helps students: 1.Recognize the value of education and the lifelong rewards of achieving in school 2.Become identity achieved, which builds self-esteem, confidence, and character 3.Create an educational plan for the next 10 years—along with the skills to change

23 Choose a curriculum that… Is personalized Gets students actively involved and motivated Demonstrates the importance of education Encourages critical thinking and problem solving Integrates academics and career exploration Reinforces reading, writing, and computation skills

24 Interests, Passions, Callings Choose curriculum that motivates students to Explore Experiment Create/Innovate Find their passion “ Uncover their recurring themes…” “Having a cause fuels momentum during the startup years…when combined with self- discipline and well-honed work habits…” (Levine, 87)

25 Motivational Cycle When a student sees personal benefit in the task – such as developing their 10-year plan for their ideal future… Skill Level Increases Self-esteem Increases Motivation Increases Student Experiences Success Comprehension Increases

26 Step 6: Teacher recruitment WANTED Experienced, enthusiastic innovators for a project-based, contextual classroom. The George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative

27 Recruit a Lead Teacher who: Is the team leader and supports the course instructors for the Freshman Transition course Has release time to develop and support the School-wide Initiative Provides professional development to all staff so they utilize the 10-year plans Pledges at least four years to the project to provide the consistency needed for institutional change

28 Step 7: Professional Development Developing new classroom strategies, skills, and techniques for the active-learning classroom The George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative

29 “The more the high schools personalize their work with students, the more effective they will be.” Theodore Sizer, author Horace’s Compromise: The Dilemma of the American High School

30 Advantages of integrated, thematic-driven curriculum… Learners: See connections and relationships between disciplines–more like the real world Are more motivated and engaged by thematic/relevant topics Learn to synthesize information rather than memorize facts Gain an increased perception of the real world that makes the transition to work faster and easier

31 Used in interdisciplinary teams… Integrates academics with career exploration Offers a thematic approach for an interdisciplinary team setting Saves many hours of team planning time Gives classroom teachers the vehicle for becoming part of the guidance team Provides counselors with in-depth data so the counseling process is more effective KEY: Common prep period at least 1x/week

32 Step 8: Make your Freshman Transition Initiative a school-wide effort Update the 10-year plans no less than once each year Each academic department commits to an active role in the update process. The George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative

33 For Example: At ABC High School, the following departments will facilitate the annual update of their students’ 10-year plan. 10 th grade social studies department after students study globalization 11 th grade English, after reading a novel or work of nonfiction aligned with the student’s career aspirations 12 th grade senior project–prepping for college or workplace interviews

34 Step 9: Share all student’s 10-year plans each year with their instructors Use your students’ future goals and dreams to keep them on-task academically. S tudents who complete a Freshman Transition course understand the consequences of their efforts. The George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative

35 Using each student’s 10-year plan as a motivator, classroom teachers can provide effective one-on-one guidance in an advisory role.


37 Step 10: Recognize and Celebrate As our dropout rates plummet and our academic scores rise, we want to remember to take time to celebrate the hard work and dedication of all involved. The George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative

38 Visit for a copy of the Course Standards for Freshman Transition Classes and a variety of other resources. A presentation by The George Washington University’s Freshman Transition Initiative

39 For more information, contact Rebecca Dedmond, Ph.D. The George Washington University

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