See the following from an Ed Week article.
“When students discover their career interests, they often get more excited about school and can see the relevance of what they are learning. Middle and high schools are increasingly requiring that counselors and teachers work with students to map out their college and career paths. To engage today’s tech-savvy student, many districts offer individual learning plan programs online. Students are given online accounts with passwords to track classes; create an electronic portfolio of grades, test scores, and work; research careers; and organize their college search.”
These are good thoughts, however, this work of getting kids focused on possible careers and probable college should start earlier than high school and even earlier than middle school. Also, we know that simply helping a student make connections between school work and career and college, is important but not sufficient for truly engaging kids. Our teachers must make real work connections to all the work, tie learning activities to each child’s real life, and help paint a return on investment for each child through his classroom work.
We know a lot about student engagement, and if we increase our frequency of uses of these best practices, we could greatly accelerate academic achievement with all kids.