Schools listed for excelling in preparing low income students for college
Three Southwest Florida high schools were recently listed in Newsweek’s “Beating the Odds” list identifying those that do an excellent job of preparing their students for college while also overcoming the obstacles posed by students at an economic disadvantage.
Lorenzo Walker Technical School in Naples ranked 97th, Edison Collegiate High School in Punta Gorda ranked 154th and Fort Myers High School ranked 368th in the top 500 high schools across the country who are “beating the odds” with high graduation and college bound rates despite high levels of poverty.
Fort Myers High has a college readiness of 78.8 percent with a 98.1 percent graduation rate and 35.8 percent poverty. Edison Collegiate has a college readiness of 83.9 percent with a 97.7 percent graduation rate and 35.7 percent poverty. Lorenzo Walker has a college readiness of 86.8 percent with a 100 percent graduation rate and 69.6 percent poverty.
In an effort to address the effect of socioeconomic disadvantage on education, Newsweek published two lists: “America’s Top High Schools 2015,” which ranks schools solely based on performance and “Beating the Odds 2015,” which ranks schools based on performance while also controlling for student poverty rates.
In Southwest Florida, only 27 percent of the population has earned a college degree; the number of residents with technical school or specialized training certifications is still being determined.
The FutureMakers Coalition is working to increase post-secondary certification completion in Southwest Florida and promote the knowledge and skills needed for success in the workplace and in life. Formed in 2015 around existing regional collaborations, the coalition’s goal is to transform the workforce by increasing the number of college degrees and post-secondary certifications from 27 percent to 40 percent by 2025 throughout Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.
Two of FutureMakers six regional action teams include Aspirtation/Preparation and Access/Entry. The first team includes experts and advocates focused on infant mental health, early childhood-learning, parenting, and elementary, middle and high school. This includes the alignment of K-12 curriculum and preparation of students for post-secondary exploration and entrance. The second includes experts and advocates focused on post-secondary access, which includes student interest and skill identification, mentoring for post-secondary access and entrance, as well as support to access needed financial assistance.
As one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment, the FutureMakers Coalition is a regional partnership involving education, government, business, nonprofit and citizen stakeholders and advocates committed to creating a cradle-to-career pathway to ensure success for traditional students and adult learners.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation serves as the anchor organization for the coalition. The FutureMakers Coalition encourages residents to join and support this community-changing initiative. For more information, visit www.FutureMakersCoalition.com, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa Lesage at [email protected].
For more information, visit http://www.newsweek.com/high-schools/beating-odds-2015.
TIMES HAVE NEVER been better for computer science workers. Jobs in computing are growing at twice the national rate of other types of jobs. By 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 1 million more computer science-related jobs than graduating students qualified to fill them.
If any company has a vested interest in cultivating a strong talent pool of computer scientists, it’s Google. So the search giant set out to learn why students in the US aren’t being prepared to bridge the talent deficit. In a big surveyconducted with Gallup and released today, Google found a range of dysfunctional reasons more K-12 students aren’t learning computer science skills. Perhaps the most surprising: schools don’t think the demand from parents and students is there.
Name change supports value of a post-secondary technical college education.
By adding college to the name of their schools, four Southwest Florida technical centers have taken an important step in increasing awareness of their post-secondary certification programs and the opportunity for residents to advance to a well-paying career in as little as a year. Now known as technical colleges, the name changes at the Lee and Collier County schools are expected to reframe student and public perception and entice more students to consider certification programs to meet the regional workforce’s demand for skilled labor.
When you look at our national high school graduation rate map, it’s impossible to miss how low graduation rates are in the Deep South. These states don’t have the worst graduation rates in the country. That dubious distinction belongs to Oregon, New Mexico and Nevada.
But still, taken together, Southern states are a long stretch of low-performing districts, with very few bright spots. Alabama is the only state with any districts whose graduation rates are above 95 percent, and it’s only got six of them. (Most of those are small and hard to see. More on that in a moment.)
A report from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has sparked new discussion about simplifying the process of applying for federal student aid — a move that could eliminate redundancies in college financial-aid offices and encourage as many as 2 million more students per year to attend college.
“Today’s process is complex, redundant and does not allow much time for students and their families to complete their applications and make important decisions,” the report argues. “This leads many students … to avoid or abandon their aid applications,” while countless others never even begin the process.
The foundation calls for federal officials to make the 108-question Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) “simpler, more transparent and better timed for students and their families” by removing seldom-answered questions, using existing tax data and matching the required information to the complexity of students’ financial situations.
As a business leader, you’re faced with challenges every day such as navigating economic insecurity, keeping and developing a customer base, sustaining strong financials, strategizing tour next steps, and more. In the midst of all this, you know the value of a great team. You know how important it is to have skilled and engaged employees helping your company thrive. And, you also know that you’re not alone. Every business leader and owner is looking for great employees. The newly formed FutureMakers Coalition understand this too.
FutureMakers is a coalition working to increase the education and preparedness of Southwest Florida’s workforce, and that’s good news for Naples business and the regional economy.
Editor’s Note: State-by-state data follows in table below.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today laid out his vision for America’s higher education system of the future. Duncan noted that while more students are graduating college than ever before at our nation’s world-class colleges and universities, for far too many students, the nation’s higher education system isn’t delivering what they need and deserve. America’s students and families need, and the nation’s economic strength will depend on, a higher education system that helps all students succeed. That starts with making college more affordable but goes much further – to focus on whether students are actually graduating in a timely way with a meaningful degree that sets them up for future success.
Today, nearly half of all students who begin college do not graduate within six years, and the consequences of taking on debt but never receiving a meaningful degree can be severe. Students who borrow for college but never graduate are three times more likely to default. A stronger focus on outcomes for students means change for everyone – schools, students, states, accreditors, and the federal government.
College Is More Important – but More Expensive – Than Ever Before
A postsecondary credential has never been more important