In order for the RWL program to be effective, we need to have buy-in from across the district. While we already have a strong CTE culture, we need to incorporate RWL experiences into the core curriculum. Northview High School’s Principal, Dr. Bruciaga, explained that it “involves educating all stakeholders including administrators at the district office and site level, teachers, students, as well as parents on the importance of giving students [RWL] opportunities enlightens their learning experiences at school.” When CTE teachers, core curriculum teachers, and Brokers alike can cooperate on RWL activities, students will be ultimately better equipped for their careers. Coordinating the relevant stakeholders can be facilitated by holding monthly or quarterly cohort meetings.
If your community does not have a portfolio of Brokers, create a steering committee to help engage local businesses. They can reach out to community members and industry professionals who would be able to facilitate guest speaker events and potentially coordinate internships for students. Likewise, this will help inform your RWL program to respond to local industries and trends.
1. Train administrators on the value of increasing RWL opportunities at school
2. Hold monthly or quarterly cohort meetings
3. Have a steering committee (especially if your district doesn't have a specified Broker)
While implementing RWL activities seems straightforward, it can be incredibly daunting for teachers to implement initially. We provided ours with clear examples by training them on RWL tools such as the Nepris Platform or Community Share. This roadmap can show them how to take an idea or a subject and turn it into an opportunity for a RWL activity.
However, not every activity needs to necessarily be a RWL activity. Stress to your teachers to start with simple activities or “the low-hanging fruit.” Kenda Huff, a Teacher at Northview High School, remarked that, “The roadmap made introducing my students to Real World Learning very easy. I was apprehensive at first because I didn't have experience doing it, but by using the roadmap, I was able to identify practices that matched my comfort level.” Beginning with at least one RWL activity shows them how student outcomes can be impacted. Afterwards, our administrators gather ongoing feedback to find out what is working and what can be improved.
1. Train teachers on RWL tools such as Nepris, Community Share, etc.
2. Use the Roadmap (star with the "low-hanging fruit")
3. Gather ongoing feedback
RWL activities leverage brokers to demonstrate how classroom concepts are used to solve challenges in the professional world. If your district already has existing partnerships with local Brokers, engage them in supporting RWL activities. For example, community partners can do much more than facilitate internships. They can mentor students, visit classrooms, participate in campus and district events. Their activity can be both face-to-face and virtual. Community partners put Real World Learning into context for students. Meeting with them to plan and coordinate the activity will assure success. Train the Broker using the roadmap so that they know the best ways to reach your students.
Before one of our teachers invited community partners into their classroom, they made sure that their goals and the community partner goals were aligned. Their main priority was making sure that their students understood that even if going to college was not apart of their plan, some jobs require additional training after graduation. Inviting community partners into your school allows them to be creative on how they can be involved in future projects or opportunities.
1. Use existing relationships
2. Plan events to set the stage
3. Train the community partners (use the Roadmap)
Every outside community member we invite is a potential future employers for our students. By engaging them in the education process, we were able to set everyone up for success by ensuring that students were adequately prepared for industry standards. In the process, your students will likewise find the material more inspiring and engaging.
We recommend making sure that the sponsors and grantees are committed to your project. Their contribution will support its success and they will be able to hold you to your goals. Remember that they are investing resources into the project so a great way to demonstrate your appreciation is through student success. The more excited you are by the outcomes, the more excited they’ll be to help you make better connections.
1. Make sure all stakeholders and collaborators are aware that real world learning is a priority
2. Find sponsors and grantees that are committed to your project
3. Involve stakeholders in your district who will keep you honest to your goals and outcomes
Project success depends on tracking successes and failures through research and development (R&D). This allows you to know what will work better in the future. Start by setting goals. Track your outputs and outcomes over time. see if any narrative or qualitative elements persist from the students and evaluate them for trends. Ask yourself if RWL is increasing efficacy, engagement, outcomes, and then review that data.
“Gathering quantitative data”, Northview’s Assistant Principal, Roy Umana shares, “is important for monitoring how many opportunities our students are getting that are considered Real World Learning experiences.” He believes that it is important to capture the student narrative of their experience and share it with teachers. Doing so encourages teachers to find opportunities to introduce Real World Learning into their core subjects.
1. Set goals
2. Run the numbers to make sure that the frequency of the activities is increasing over time
3. Capture qualitative data like reflections from students. Is Real World Learning increasing efficacy, engagement and outcomes?