Monday, February 20, 2012

Success after OCS

Surely OCS has sent out many graduates who have done well in their adult years. We can be very proud of the many who have attended college and lead successful productive lives. However, being a substitute teacher who comes in contact with many Onion Creek grads as well as all the students passing through Colville High School, I have come to realize that there are many students (including some who have attended OCS) who enter young adulthood and are not very prepared for becoming productive citizens. 

It may be hard for some students to see beyond their teen years, but I think it is imperative that they do. Colville High School has a program starting in their freshman year, students meet in small groups with a teacher for the next four years and work on a plan to get them through graduation and beyond. However, that doesn't always seem to work for the students in the long run.

What, if anything, can OCS do better. I know that Alyson in the middle school, works with students in her class on thinking ahead. Her graduating 8th graders always share their dreams for their futures.

I think we need to do more. I want to see all OCS grads succeed in the big world. I would like to see our students see more of what is involved in the job world. Here are some ideas:

·      Start talking life goals in the Intermediate class. In Inchelium, they begin college prep talk in the third grade.
·      Have guest speakers (including OCS grads) come in and share work experiences.
·      Learn more about costs of higher education. Many students from low economic backgrounds don’t really dream about getting post-high school education or training. If they are to dream, they need to make realistic dreams.
·      Really encourage all 7th and 8th graders sign up for the College Bound Scholarship, which virtually guarantees college funding for eligible students. We really need to push this program.
·      Have students go out and visit more businesses and learn about the specific jobs that might be available.
·      Visit the community college in Colville, Spokane CC with its associated trade school, and one or more of the four-year schools in our area.
·      Follow our OCS grads in high school and give them whatever support and encouragement we can. Maybe current students at OCS can help with this. We talk about our school being like a family. Maybe we need to look at it being an even more extended family.

So, what do you think?

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