OVERCOMING OBSTACLES: HELPING EDUCATORS KEEP STUDENTS ENGAGED

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1 OVERCOMING OBSTACLES: HELPING EDUCATORS KEEP STUDENTS ENGAGED 1

2 Workshop Objectives: Participants will discuss the issue of student disengagement and share best practices for keeping students engaged. Participants will define life skills, identify how life skills instruction engages students, and explore the benefits of life skills instruction. Participants will be introduced to the Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Program and learn about its results across the nation. 2

3 About Community for Education Foundation Community for Education Foundation was founded in 1992 to help make life skills instruction a standard part of public education. We created the Overcoming Obstacles Life Skills Program with guidance from educators, community figures, and business leaders to make this goal possible. To date, Overcoming Obstacles has impacted the lives of over three million students. 3

4 Our Mission To ensure that all students learn the communication, decision making, and goal setting skills they need to be successful in life. 4

5 Defining the Problem: What Causes Students to Disengage from School? Passive learning makes it difficult for students to retain information. Students don t recognize the value and role of education in their lives and goal attainment. What factors hinder student motivation? 5

6 Keeping Students Engaged Engaging students means ensuring that they are actively processing information. Students value education when they see the real-life application of what is expected of them academically. Students are motivated when they can easily connect their successes to their efforts. 6

7 What Are Life Skills? Relevant life skills instruction teaches students to integrate their thoughts, feelings, and behavior to meet academic, personal, and social needs. It allows them to become contributing members of society. 7

8 What Are Life Skills? Relevant life skills include the following: Communication Decision making Goal setting Critical thinking Time management Collaboration Relevant life skills are major focuses of the 21 st century skills movement, the Common Core State Standards, and school climate initiatives. 8

9 How Does Life Skills Instruction Engage Students in Education? Creates opportunities for students to connect with their teachers Helps students develop life skills critical to academic success, such as note taking, teamwork, and time management Helps students apply the skills they learn to their daily lives, demonstrating the relevance of school Shows students how to identify and maximize their own strengths 9

10 Benefits of Life Skills Instruction Schools implementing life skills instruction have experienced the following benefits: improved student attendance and graduation rates greater academic achievement through students mastery of relevant life skills decreased student conflicts and incidents of bullying improved student readiness for college and careers stronger relationships between students and educators 10

11 How Are Schools Implementing Life Skills Instruction? Advisory periods Bullying prevention programs Infusion into core content classes Service learning projects Peer mentoring initiatives College and career planning Guidance and counseling services 11

12 Components of Effective Life Skills Programs Rigorous curricula and instruction Sets high expectations Purposeful and structured Teaches in an explicit way Training Reviewing the curriculum content Identifying implementation options Setting goals & benchmarks Educator Support Curriculum mapping and alignment of learning objectives Assistance with implementation planning Sharing ideas and experiences 12

13 Key Components & Best Practices: Goal Setting & Confidence Building Students need to feel confident as learners. Students build self-confidence by setting and achieving academic and personal learning goals. Students should identify learning goals for short-term periods (such as a week or a curriculum unit). Goals should be specific, measureable, and directly connected to academic content. Program Models: Advisory periods Bullying prevention programs Peer mentoring initiatives 13

14 Key Components & Best Practices: Creating Positive First-Year Experience Courses These courses help students acclimate to their new learning environments. Students learn what it means to contribute to their community. Skills for success (e.g., time management, study skills, organization) are identified. Students identify long- and short-term goals for their high school and college careers. Program Models: Freshmen seminar College and career planning Guidance and counseling services 14

15 Key Components & Best Practices: Concrete Experiences Create Relevance Concrete experiences make learning active. Students understand the relevance of education in their lives. Concrete experiences create connections between the classroom and postsecondary education, the workforce, and 21 st century skills. Program Models: Infusion into core content classes Service learning College and career planning 15

16 The Gifting Initiative Launched in 2012, the Gifting Initiative provides the complete Overcoming Obstacles program free of charge to school districts nationwide. It began with our flagship partners: the New York City Department of Education and the Charleston County School District. The Gifting Initiative enables school districts to bring life skills instruction to their students without the need for grants or additional funding. 16

17 Give students the tools they need to succeed in the 21 st century. Erin Capone Executive Director (212) , ext. 122 Jason Urbanski Director of Education Partnerships (212) , ext

18 Keep Up with Us linkedin.com/company/community-for-educationfoundation

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