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Open Minds And Doors For K-12

by Deborah Yaffe

District Administration

Article excerpt

After-school acceleration

Sipe attributes the change to the district’s four-year-old STEM Academy, a homemade K12 after-school program that enrolls hundreds of students for 12 hours a week of enrichment courses, field trips and career exploration. “They can’t dream what they’ve never seen,” she says.

Our take

Changing What They Want to Be When They Grow Up

After-school programs can provide opportunities to engage students in learning about topics that they don’t dive deep into during regular class sessions—like many STEM-related topics. This type of instruction can introduce students to occupations and opportunities that they didn’t even know existed. What do your students want to be when they grow up?

While we will still need children to explore nursing, teaching, firefighting, and other traditional career options, technology is opening up new and varied sorts of job opportunities. These new opportunities require different ways of thinking in many cases, and a more personalized and flexible approach to learning. Offering opportunities outside of the traditional school schedule, perhaps in partnership with other business and community organizations, can help expand students’ horizons and spur interest in new areas of academic mastery.