August 2017

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ACT Workforce Summit

Please join ACT, along with dedicated workforce professionals, economic developers, educators, industry associations, employers, and ACT Work Ready Community leaders at the ACT Workforce Summit November 8-10, 2017 in Austin, TX.

The World Economic Forum reports the next four years will see societies replace five million jobs with artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation. Join our featured speaker, Zach Pousman, as he describes what’s going to change, and what will stay the same as we enter this new world together.

Register before August 22nd and save $50!

The Higher Education Research Digest

This new ACT publication is an annual report offering meaningful research insights for some of the most pressing questions impacting admission and enrollment practice. In the first release of this report, ACT research sheds light on the practice of super-scoring, STEM major choice, factors impacting retention & transfer, test optional admission policy, and an overview of the benefits for students who opt in to ACT’s Education Opportunity Service (EOS). Readers of the digest will also find a high level overview of an interactive database of ACT-tested students that enrollment managers, admissions personnel, and other college administrators can use to examine students’ characteristics, preferences, college search behaviors, and enrollment and retention patterns.

The Demand is Clear: Next-generation Social and Emotional Learning Assessment is Needed Now

Perhaps the greatest consensus in K-12 learning today centers upon the critical importance of student Noncognitive or Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills for success in school and life. This is not news to teachers. Ask a preschool assistant teacher or an AP Physics teacher and you’ll find resounding, even impassioned agreement: dependability, persistence, ambition, curiosity, and getting along with others matter as much, or very often much more, than cognitive ability. Education leaders have similarly embraced this understanding, with ASCD making the “whole child” its signature slogan and state and district leaders shifting the emphasis of schooling to skills and life success.

As the educational field works to strengthen its effectiveness in developing and implementing social and emotional curricula, in planning and guiding ongoing improvement in this arena and holding themselves accountable therein, and in providing meaningful feedback to students in their growth and proficiency, an enormous gap is being increasingly perceived by nearly all involved. We lack effective assessment and measurement of social and emotional learning and noncognitive character strengths: the skills of success.

Many educational leaders are seeking new and more evidence-based SEL and character education frameworks.  They want more than a piecemeal solution, but they are wary of an off-the-shelf, “canned curriculum” which de-professionalizes their local initiatives.  Instead, they desire a sound and robust framework inclusive of an assessment system and evidence-based curricular and pedagogical resources that they can then deploy locally by their own lights.

First ACT Work Ready Communities Regional Academy

ACT Work Ready Communities held their first Regional Academy in June at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi. There were 29 attendees from 7 counties along with several guests including employers, high school principals, and neighboring Certified ACT Work Ready Communities leaders. Mr. Alvin Hoover, CEO, King’s Daughters Medical Center addressed the group about the employer benefits provided by the National Career Readiness Certificate as shown in the picture below.

First Regional Academy at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Tennessee

ACT Work Ready Communities Group 7 Academy II

Ten Alabama counties were represented at the second ACT Work Ready Communities academy for Group 7 in Birmingham. Information was provided about their individual county goals and how to achieve those goals. They began work on their Best Practice Model and reviewed their service delivery availability. Tropical storm Cindy did interrupt the academy briefly with two tornado warnings but this determined group completed the session and are looking forward to implementing this phase of the training.

Group 7 Work Ready Communities Academy in Birmingham

From the Field
Financial Literacy: Next Generation’s Financial Future
by Tennessee Council Member, Ron Gambill, Chairman/CEO of Edsouth Funding.

In support of college and career planning services for Tennessee students, Edsouth began sponsoring financial literacy programs for high school students in 2013. The curriculum offered provides ten learning modules, pre-testing and post-testing along with real life simulations allowing students to apply their learning in virtual environments to understand the consequences of their decisions. The State of Tennessee requires a semester of financial literacy for all high school students.

In the 2015-16 school year, Edsouth sponsored a financial literacy program for the Tennessee Board of Regents schools for their state universities, community colleges and colleges of applied technology. There are separate trainings offered for college students and returning adult students. Over 17,400 students participated in the 2016-17 year.

Understanding the important role personal finance has in determining the financial impact of decisions individuals make through college and beyond, Edsouth partnered with Ramsey Solutions to offer a pilot program to middle schools in the Middle Tennessee area. The pilot program began with the 2016-17 school year with 21 schools and 1,020 students. Being deemed a success, the program will be extended for three years for continued evaluation. Parents are learning from the materials provided to the students.

Due to the many concerns about student debt and its impact on future life decisions, including employment, buying versus renting as it relates to housing, etc., Edsouth feels financial literacy education is critical for generations to come.

American College Application Campaign

ACT State Organizations attended the American College Application Campaign Convening in Washington DC on June 21-22. State coordinators from across the country joined together to share best practices from their respective states and to hear from national partners who support ACAC’s goal of helping more underserved students pursue postsecondary credentials. ACT State Organizations, along with ACT’s Center for Equity, presented to the group, which included several council members and State Org members, and fielded ideas for further collaboration between ACT and ACAC. For more information or to get involved in this partnership, please reach out to your district manager.

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