The news is full of stories about how schools are performing under North Carolina’s READY Accountability Model, and the focus on data in schools is more prevalent than ever. Schools are required to publicize their letter grade which is derived from measures of student achievement – primarily based on standardized test scores, but students are more than numbers. While test scores and grades certainly provide some indication of how prepared students are for post-secondary pursuits, the staff and students at South Stokes know that preparation is about more than numbers.
Preparing students for life beyond high school means teaching students to read, write, solve math problems, and think critically, but that is only part of the picture. Educating students today requires teachers to help students learn to work together to solve problems. To succeed, students must envision what their future might look like and set goals to make their dreams a reality. Thanks to some special guests and hardworking students, South Stokes recently held a successful two-part event designed to help prepare students for the future.
Oct. 21 was College and Career Readiness Day at South Stokes. Students spent the morning engaged in activities that will positively impact their future. Ninth graders completed interest inventories, explored colleges and careers, and learned to use the internet responsibly. Sophomores took the ACT Plan, a free pre-ACT assessment to determine college readiness in English, reading, math, and science. Juniors took a mock ACT in preparation for the school-wide ACT in March, and seniors took a mock WorkKeys assessment to prepare for taking the actual career readiness test. The school’s aim is to better prepare students to be eligible for a variety of college and career opportunities. To do this, staff will use the information gained from these assessments to focus thier instruction and help all students become READY.
The morning tests helped plan instruction, but the afternoon focused more on dreaming about what is possible. The school was very fortunate to have two South Stokes alumni come and share their talents and experiences. First, Chad Tucker from Fox 8 News who graduated in 1995, shared how he followed his passion to become a news broadcaster. Later, Jonathan Montgomery, Class of 2010, and his band Norlina took the stage and performed a full concert for students and staff. Montgomery fondly recounted his days strumming a guitar while sitting on the benches outside the entrance of South Stokes, reminding students that hard work pays off and no dream is ever too big.
At South Stokes, staff want students to do well on standardized tests because success on these assessments can open doors, but they want much more than that. Staff want students to know that the number of potential paths is unlimited, and want them to be confident in the commitment to helping them achieve what they desire. The road to success is not necessarily easy, but with hard work and focused intervention, students will graduate READY for whatever is to come.