Post Secondary schools Definition

A New Vision of Secondary Education in New England

We believe that all students can achieve college and career readiness. Toward that end, Barr seeks to ensure that high school graduation, successful transitions to college, and strong career/workforce readiness is accessible to all youth in New England.

Barr’s overarching education goal of increasing the number of students who connect to secondary and post-secondary success is grounded in a new vision of secondary education. This vision is supported by the belief that all students can be held to high expectations and attain success in and beyond high school. The creation of new secondary school models and programs, as well as new definitions of student success that place students in charge of their educational decisions, is aligned with a growing national movement to rethink secondary education in the United States and to connect more students to success in high school, college, and career.

Connecting more students to success is a long-term vision that builds on existing strengths in our region, but also challenges us to think differently. New definitions of student success will require new and innovative school models and programs, and systems to support them. While new school models and programs can benefit all students, Barr will focus on supporting students who have fallen behind in connecting to success.

In order to achieve a new vision of secondary success in New England, Barr will pursue three strategies:

1. Promote a new definition of student success.

As the demands of growing global economies and workforces have evolved, so too have skills and competency requirements. While mastery of academic standards and subjects remain essential to student success, new competencies are required for students to succeed in secondary achievement, post-secondary enrollment and persistence, and career/workforce pathways.

Central to this is our fundamental belief that all students can achieve college and career readiness. Doing so requires the attainment of academic knowledge and skills as well as the development of additional competencies that enable students to persist in post-secondary and career environments. Strong academic skills and competencies also help empower students to make their own decisions about their college and career pathways.

Promoting a new definition of student success must build on research that identifies student success factors. For this reason, Barr continues to explore different competency domains that are inclusive of content knowledge plus career and technical skills: critical thinking and problem solving; communication and collaboration; self-direction and perseverance; learning strategies; and “way-finding” abilities that allow students to survey college/career/life landscapes, identify opportunities, and define and pursue goals.

Priorities:

  • Invest in schools and programs that embrace this new definition of student success.
  • Deepen the research base linking competencies to student secondary and career outcomes.
  • Promote greater understanding of the evidence and practices linking competencies and student success.
  • Increase awareness and adoption of practices that support student competency development.

2. Support new secondary schools and models.

Innovative school models and school elements are required to support student development of new competencies. School designs must be intentionally flexible and responsive to the needs of student populations, organized to leverage assets in the surrounding community, and networked to access critical resources for students. While there is no “one-size-fits all” model, essential elements that are grounded in research and emerging innovative practice are central to Barr’s vision for the future of secondary schools.


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