Students Exemplify Strengths of CPS Initiatives
It’s been said, “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) is taking that sentiment to heart with its My Tomorrow*ed program, focusing on building a bright tomorrow today.
The district, home to more than 33,000 students, is doing everything it can to prepare students for success. The My Tomorrow initiatives work to prepare students not only to graduate, but to do so ready to actively pursue their chosen career paths.
“Our rally cry is ‘ready for the real world,’” says Cincinnati Public Schools Superintendent Mary Ronan. “Whether our students go on to college or step into the workforce right away, we want to do everything we can to help them succeed.”
She describes eight guiding principles that are at the core of My Tomorrow: higher expectations, engagement, collaboration, real-world connections, technology, social skills, critical thinking and creativity.
First and foremost are higher expectations. “Jobs and careers are increasingly demanding,” says Ronan. “It’s important for us to help students meet tougher learning standards so they can compete for and succeed in jobs that call for people to work smarter and harder than ever before. We’re exposing students to more rigorous content and performance expectations so they are competitive in the workforce and in college applications.”
CPS is also working to engage its students. Administrators and teachers recognize that students must be engaged socially, emotionally and intellectually to be invested in their education and learning at their best ability.
But in addition to higher academic standards and engaged students, the My Tomorrow program also incorporates many real-world tactics and applications to help students be ready to work in professional environments during school and after graduation.
Collaboration is emphasized because the real-world workplace is increasingly collaborative. This helps students be comfortable working in teams, sharing responsibility and making decisions with others.
Real-world connections, forged through workplace shadowing and other experiences, will help students find their passions, be inspired by professionals, find mentors and learn about solving real-world issues.
“Our students are already getting connected through mentorships, job shadowing, intersession coursework and more,” says Ronan. “Real-world connections can make the difference between a student believing he can integrate into a certain working environment or being afraid or unsure of how to take the next steps. We are confident that facilitating more real-world connections will benefit not only our students but also Tri-State businesses who will be able to find and nurture great talent.”
When students are ready to step into these professional roles, they’ll be ready on the tech front, too. CPS is making sure students are able to use the latest information and communication technology not only to expand their knowledge, but also apply that experience to a digital and data-driven future.
Finally, My Tomorrow is focusing on helping students develop both their critical-thinking skills and their creativity.
“Our students must be able to collect, analyze and critically evaluate information,” says Ronan, “and in order to innovate, we also are encouraging them to develop their creative skills. Creative thinkers generate new ideas, are able to creatively problem solve and help teams view things from different perspectives.”
While some initiatives that are part of the larger My Tomorrow program have already been in place, the full program is in effect beginning with this school year for students in seventh grade through senior year.
“Our students thrive when they’re encouraged to apply their classroom learning in real-world situations,” says Ronan. “We are thrilled to emphasize these skills even more this year and in the years ahead with My Tomorrow*ed.”
To learn more about the kind of opportunities CPS students have inside and outside the classroom, read about the following six outstanding students who are career-minded and focused on taking steps toward success.
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For more information, visit www.mytomorrowed.org.