Getting students to graduation is important, but making them employable and ready for the workforce is another task in and of itself. Friday's at panel Cardinal School District offered experience and advice for how teachers can pass along those 21st century skills.
"We try to prepare our students for real-life, but maybe we haven't been in other settings other than education and so we wanted to pull some community members and some state leaders from all walks of life to just help us better prepare our students, give us tips on what we can do to help make students either more college-ready or work ready after secondary school," said Heather Buckley, Curriculum Director at Cardinal.
The panel included a representative of the Department of Education, State Senator Mark Chelgren and a computer program engineer. Each came from a different background but their experience offered advice as to how to get students motivated to succeed.
Frank Broz is a product of Southeast Iowa, a former Apple engineer and current entrepreneur, who sees potential for these students to excel in engineering, technology and science.
"Students here are capable of it and interested in it and it may just take a little bit of sharing and communicating with the school system to figure out how that can really happen," Broz said. "If I can be a part of that, that would be fantastic."
The two-hour long panel took questions from Cardinal teachers and staff and collaborated thoughts on how to motivate and inspire.
"I hope that walking away from this today, teachers can take the foundational, content skills that they're already teaching and be able to teach students to be able to apply them to real-life learning," Buckley said. "Be able to apply their content to belong a good problem solver, being creative, so I hope that when they walk away, they can infuse some of that into their real learning so that students can apply it."
Broz said in his experience, connecting with people and working with mentors made all the difference in getting him to where he is today, and encouraged the teachers to pass that knowledge onto their students; for both in-classroom and out-of-classroom situations.
"I think Iowa has an amazing education system, I think Iowa is always striving to move in the right direction," he said. "There's a lot of potential and there's a lot of results that are coming out of Iowa."