On Thursday, November 10, 2016, approximately 100 members of the Roane County community came together for three hours of structured conversation about their hopes and vision for Roane County Schools and its students. The discussions, which were held at Roane State Community College, were structured with the use of intentional seating and design across eleven tables. At each table, educators, elected officials, community members, parents, business leaders, and students were represented and came together to share their ideas for the future in a conversation guided by three questions:
1. How can Roane County Schools help its students gain mastery of the skills needed to succeed in tomorrow’s world?
2. How can Roane County Schools ensure programs with partners such as TCAT and Roane State are available and accessible to all interested students?
3. Dream Big: How would you imagine high school in Roane County?
The discussion at each table was guided by a professionally-trained facilitator, and another member of the table served as the recorder to take notes on the group’s key talking points. At the end of the event, all data was given to a neutral third party – an educational researcher employed by the University of Tennessee who organized the data and extracted major themes and ideas generated in these conversations.
Please click here for an executive summary from the meeting.
The Roane County Schools High School Visioning Panel met on September 22, 2016, from 6:00 - 8:00 PM at Roane County High School Auditorium. Below are updates from that meeting.
Why are we here and what does the future of Roane County Schools look like?
- Future developments and opportunities
- Identify ways of meeting future needs in the county
- Deliberate planning for the economic future
- Expanding on current practices to advance and compete
- Align goals and resources throughout the county
What should high schools do to prepare students for their futures? What skills do students need entering the workforce?
- Skills students need include: reading, writing, critical thinking, verbal comprehension, communication skills, ability to offer solutions to problems, attention to detail, pride/value in work, soft skills (e.g., time management), budgeting skills, computer/technical skills, workplace skills, and interpersonal skills
- It is important that students are able to transfer knowledge from the classroom to the work environment
- Schools should prepare students for the job market and the “real world”
- Students need to be prepared to go to the next level
- Students also need a solid baseline of knowledge to prepare for the path of their choice
- Preparing students for success needs to begin as early as possible
- Roane County students should be competitive for area jobs
- Schools should provide opportunities for students to explore options and visit different types of jobs/possible career paths
- Students need to feel invested or connected to their institution
- Ideally, Roane County students would have “other” opportunities that extend beyond academics
- Students need to develop endurance and commitment to their work
- Schools should assist students in career exploration
Business and Industry: students need communication skills, confidence, and problem solving abilities, greater understanding of reports, math skills (all levels)… @ ORNL, there is a need for mechanical skills
TCATS & Education: Tennessee Promise, dual enrollment have been instrumental in increasing student quality. Delivering the technical education to where the student is has been increasingly important. @ Roane State, students need familiarity in the online learning environment (e.g. uploading and moving documents online, understanding plagiarism, awareness of social media impact, familiarity with electronic learning devices and educational technology). Students need critical thinking skills and problem solving ability. Roane State’s most successful students arrive with academic preparedness, communicate well, feel invested and connected, are motivated to show up to class, and persevere.
-Possible partnerships with Roane County Schools: dual enrollment, middle colleges are just the beginning. There are many additional opportunities to explore
-Education is the pipeline to filling competitive jobs in the area. Employers want competency and the ability to do the particular skills of the available jobs in the area.
-In rural areas, potential employers want to know about the local population and, specifically, about the numbers of certificates and college degrees. They also ask about the health of the community, and Tennessee is ranked 46th and 47th nationally for overall health and obesity, respectively.
-From a state perspective, it is necessary to identify “proof points” of what employers are looking for. These can be measured by work learning experiences, dual enrollment, workplace learning, and capstone experiences
· 90% of schools in Tennessee offer some dual enrollment credit
· 40% of students take advantage of these opportunities
· 20% of students actually complete the course with college credit
-Most students are unable to fund dual enrollment opportunities on their own, but legislation will be introduced again during the next legislative session to address this issue.
-What does it take to prepare students to be knowledgeable citizens who participate in their communities? This is a topic in need of further discussion, but the state of TN is already thinking about this. In fact, the state definition of academic preparedness will include civic engagement.
-Across industries, there is a need for responsible and prepared employees, and this must begin as early as possible in the school system.
-There is also a need for career counseling in the state, and students need to experience this prior to entry into a career or post-secondary educational program
-www.careeronestop.org --> Explore Careers at a Glance --> Occupation profile (then select career category, then selection, then state)
-The Roane Alliance and Knoxville Chamber are the only economic development organizations who have incorporated education components. It is likely that, due to the fact that many school guidance counselors are unable to assist with career counseling, economic development organizations will incorporate this kind of service
-Roane County Schools has a considerable number of students with learning disabilities, and there is an interest in exploring opportunities for them as well. Additionally, there are students who perform above average. There is a clear need and priority for serving students at all levels
-Another important consideration will be finding the balance of preparing students as needed, but also providing them with future options as they grow and develop.
In addition to the excellent things currently going on in Roane County High Schools, what would you like our high schools to be able to do for our students? Are there additional offerings you would like to see? Please visit the following link to provide your feedback. https://goo.gl/UFMVM1