DEARBORN - School districts across the country are working to increase the numbers of students excelling in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as a way to maintain and boost U.S. economic leadership.
Educational institutions are struggling to prepare students for the high-skilled positions in these fields, so high schools are seeking out partnerships to help better prepare students for success, either in college or careers.
“Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies - Next Generation Learning is a network of Ford-affiliated communities who empower and believe in all students’ ability to succeed in college, career and life,” said Cheryl Carrier, manager, 21st Century Education Programs, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Ford NGL helps create a system of ongoing community collaboration to transform teaching and learning as well as providing meaningful coaching and mentoring to teachers, community partners and students.”
The Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL) network of communities benefits from increased academic achievement led by students who are passionate, innovative thinkers and doers, prepared with globally relevant skills to succeed in college, career and life.
“The academy really changed me around,” said Jaren, a Ford Partnership for Advanced Studies (PAS) student from Florida who was impacted by the program’s curriculum. “Halfway through my first year I noticed a personality change.”
Geared toward implementing a positive change on students and their partners, Ford NGL is improving teaching and learning, promoting the redesign of schools to better serve students and their families and supporting the emergence of powerful community engagement – all to improve the education system.
According to Carrier, the program tackles these obstacles by engaging a larger community so it understands what its role is in supporting education.
“We very quickly learned that if you really believed that the teaching and learning had to change in the classroom, then you have to create systems that support that change,” Carrier said.
But transforming teaching and learning begins with creating meaningful learning experiences that enable students to apply academic knowledge to real-world challenges.
By redesigning high schools and maintaining the career- and interest-based programs and the collaborative culture, structures and practices necessary to transform teaching and learning and facilitate community engagement.
Henry, another high school student involved in the Ford PAS program, said that the curriculum is different from any former education that he’s received.
“It’s more hands on. It’s not like my other classes, they just lecture me,” he said. “It’s interacting with your teachers. I actually pay attention. I feel like I learn something instead of just memorizing it.”
Sustaining change through business and civic leadership works to encourage employers, educators and community leaders to collaborate in building and sustaining educational programs that promote community growth and prosperity by preparing students for future work and citizenship.
“Students are at the center of everything we do,” said Carrier. “The changes we support in schools and their communities will help achieve the larger goal that all young adults will graduate from high school equipped with the essential knowledge and skills needed for success in post-secondary learning and future careers, and for active citizenship.
“Our commitment is to prepare the future scientists, inventors, public servants and entrepreneurs who will apply their passions and expertise to improving the world for their generation and those to come.”