Work Keys: Tests will be given to all high school seniors in Shawnee County to determine the student’s fitness for employment, identifying strengths and weaknesses.
Alliances involved in this strategy are all Shawnee County school districts and GO Topeka.
Strategic Plan Priority
#1. Expect every student to graduate from high school with the skills required to immediately go to work, go to technical school, or a university. Increase proficiency expectations for all students.
- Administer the ACT WorkKeys Assessment to all seniors in Shawnee County high schools to determine work readiness. WorkKeys is a job skills assessment system measuring “real world” skills that employers believe are critical to job success. Students can use their WorkKeys scores to determine how their skills measure up to those required for the workforce.
- In April, 2009, we invited Superintendents and high school principals to a meeting to discuss the viability of administering a common work ready assessment to high school students in Shawnee County.
- Meeting held on Monday, May 4, 2009 with Shawnee County School District Superintendents, High School Principals (including Hayden), Dean of Washburn Tech, and representatives from Go Topeka, KS Dept. of Commerce, ACT Workforce Development Division, and Heartland Visioning.
- Second meeting held on Thursday, May 28th with same group to determine the logistics of administering the WorkKeys Assessment to all seniors in Shawnee County in all three components: Math, Reading for Information, and Locating Information.
- A third meeting was held on June 16, 2009 with principals and counselors to finalize the grade level to be tested and the time of the year. It was agreed we would administer the exam between Labor Day and Thanksgiving in the fall of school year 2009-2010.
- GoTopeka funded the cost of the assessments for all seniors.
- A WorkReady certificate was to be given to all students who completed the testing. Certificates verify the level of proficiency: Gold/Silver/Bronze level.
- Scores were to be sent to KS Dept. of Commerce/Workforce Center.
- WorkKeys Assessments were administered in all high schools in the fall of 2009.
Due to issues with ACT’s testing module and difficulty with registering students and their scores, the WorkReady certificates were not made available to all students and the scores did not get fully reported to KS Dept. of Commerce.
- Debriefing meeting held on April 16, 2010 to discuss the 2009 WorkKeys testing process in order to improve efficiencies in administering the WorkKeys test in 2010.
- Issues to be resolved included the glitches with ACT and forwarding results to the WorkForce Center.
- Second meeting held with same group on June 1, 2010 to give ACT the opportunity to find some solutions to the issues school districts had administering the WorkKeys assessment in the fall.
- It was agreed to administer the WorkKeys a second time in the fall of 2010 to all seniors in Shawnee County.
Strategic Plan Priority
#8. Improve the collaboration between Washburn University and Shawnee County high schools including opportunities for high school students to receive college credit for course work.
#1. Encourage Shawnee County schools to create partnerships with businesses and other organizations to help student learning.
- In 2010, all Board of Education members and administrators from Shawnee County school districts were invited to attend a seminar on Friday, April 30th presented by Topeka native, Dr. Doug Reeves. Dr. Reeves is the founder of the Leadership and Learning Center and is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on educational research. His topics focused on research that positively impacts teaching and learning and the governance aspect of being a Board Member. He discussed his latest book, High Impact Learning, and challenged us to reflect on current practices in our schools as compared to best practices as identified by research.
- Washburn University generously agreed to host the Leadership Breakfast and the morning seminar which was attended by BOE members, Superintendents, Central Office staff, Curriculum Coordinators, and building administrators from all Shawnee County schools. Veteran administrators in Shawnee County cannot remember the last time all building administrators from the 5 school districts were in a seminar together on the same day in the same location.
- 150 administrators attended the program.
- Evaluation sheets were collected from participants.