Preparing Students for Real-World Challenges

 

     Every child deserves an opportunity to succeed.

     That’s a challenge in San Bernardino County, when you consider how many of our children live in poverty, are learning English as a second language or are otherwise disadvantaged.

 

     Compounding that is an increasingly complex and competitive world they’re about to confront as young adults. Children entering the workforce of this century will encounter unique and complicated challenges.  In addition, they will be asked to innovate and collaborate with others to do so. Many will have jobs that have not yet been invented.

 

     As educators, we have a responsibility to help our students better prepare for these real-world challenges – to provide them with the education and training they will need to see, and seize, the opportunities that await them.  Now, students need academic, technical, and job skills. They need to express clear and meaningful thoughts concisely when speaking and writing. They need to integrate technology into science labs and math homework. Most of all, they need us to guide them to find purposeful work that honors their talents. 

 

     In San Bernardino County – the largest, geographically, in California – we’re challenged every day to meet the needs of our community that also ranks among the poorest in the state. According to the Southern California Association of Governments, 20.4 percent of the county’s population and 28.3 percent of all children live below the poverty line. Within our public schools, nearly two-thirds of all students are eligible for free and reduced-price meals – one of the highest rates in the state.

 

     Of the 25,000 students in the Chaffey Joint Union High School District alone, 51 percent live below the poverty line and 12 percent are English learners. And yet, the district’s graduation rate has increased to 86 percent, student attendance rates are rising at all eight comprehensive high schools, and the Academic Performance Index (API) scores are the highest among high school districts in the state.

 

       All are stakeholders in this – schools, parents, businesses and the community at large – and we’re fortunate in this district to have forged valuable partnerships that create opportunities for our students.  Listening to local employers, we have a better understanding of the most sought-after skills and abilities.  They want to hire educated, articulate employees who interact well with coworkers and the public to get the job done.

 

         What we’ve learned, too, is that schools need to think and act differently to meet the individual needs of an increasingly diverse community – such as creating online schools for those students who, for whatever reason, are unable to work in a traditional school environment.

 

          Technology – accessible technology – will play an even bigger role moving forward, allowing students in even the most socioeconomically challenged communities the opportunity to succeed

 

          Every child deserves that.

 

 

-- Mathew Holton, Superintendent, Chaffey Joint Union High School District

 

 

 

Additional Articles on "The Need"

Mathew Holton

Superintendent 

Chaffey Joint Union High School District

 

Mathew Holton serves as the Superintendent of the Chaffey Joint Union High School District. In this role, he directs all learning, teaching and operational activities for more than 25,000 students and approximately 2000 staff members. Additionally, Mr. Holton oversees an operating budget of more than $200 million.

 

Born and raised in Upland, California, Mr. Holton is a graduate of the Chaffey Joint Union High School District. He received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. Mathew Holton continues to live in Upland with his wife and three children. 

 

"Of the 25,000 students in the Chaffey Joint Union High School District alone, 51 percent live below the poverty line and 12 percent are English learners."

"All are stakeholders in this – schools, parents, businesses and the community at large – and we’re fortunate in this district to have forged valuable partnerships that create opportunities for our students."

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