Is your student progressing toward “career readiness?”

Good morning, Parents.  

I hope everyone has had ample opportunity to enjoy what has been a strikingly good fall season in Wisconsin.  Similarly, our school year is off to a really good start.  We had a nice Homecoming week, our new teachers and new students are proving to be very nice additions to our school, and we continue to work toward our goals instructionally.  
I was focused in my message about a month ago on the exciting projections about the job market that will be waiting for our students as they graduate.  It is a job market that will stay pretty consistent in terms of its demands for professional jobs that require college degrees, but it is also a job market that is dramatically shifting in terms of huge growth for skilled jobs that require post-high school training.  We also need to recognize that due to technical advances, the pool of unskilled jobs is quickly dwindling.  It is hard to ignore the projections that suggest that about 90% of the job opportunities our children will have will require either technical training or a college education after high school.  The great news is that it appears their will be lots of opportunities for those with education and skills beyond high school, but it appears equally clear that non-skilled jobs will be scarce.
I think it is critical that teachers and parents work together to communicate to students that to be prepared for most technical training programs they must focus on building academic skills in high school that will allow them to score 18 on the ACT math, reading and English tests.  (Or 79 math, 74 reading, 86 sentence skills on the Accuplacer)  Those are the LTC and general tech. school requirements for most of their post high school training programs.  If a student does not score at those levels, they need to take remedial coursework before entering the program which adds time, cost and makes it statistically less likely they will complete those programs.  Scoring 18 on the ACT is a pretty solid minimal high school goal for any student who wants to be “career ready” so that they can enter a technical training program.  
In my next message, I will share what OHS has done recently to better prepare our students for the job market of the future.  These efforts include a strong focus on college and career readiness skills, the ability of students, parents and teachers to track that readiness with the Aspire and ACT results, the addition of Project Lead the Way classes that focus on engineering and preparing students for technical careers, and building individual Academic Career Plans in a meaningful way.  
Josh Cole also asked me to include the note below to the parents of juniors.
Have a great week,
Attention parents of a junior student(s)!

Good morning. 

I wanted to send out a quick follow up message regarding the letter you hopefully received form me last week.  The letter highlights a one-on-one individualized student/parent guidance conference that I am hoping you will be able to attend.  The letter also outlines the main topics that will be discussed.  If you are unable to make the meeting date and time that is displayed on your letter, please reach out to Mrs. Dekker and we will work hard to arrange a time that works for you.
Thank you for your time, and as always please do not hesitate to contact me with any of your questions or concerns.