From The Desk of Ann Steenwyk
Preparing our Students for the Future
Dear Parents and Friends of SCCS,
This past Tuesday I had the privilege of participating in the Sheboygan County Workforce Development Summit. The summit included a few hundred Sheboygan area businesses and educators, meeting together to discuss how to partner in preparing students for contributing to our county’s workforce. We heard from Dennis Winters, Chief Economist and Director of the Bureau of Workforce for Wisconsin. We also heard from State Superintendent Tony Evers. Both of these speakers shared the looming concern about the shortage of skilled laborers. Employer demand for laborers is greater than the supply, especially due to the number of baby boomers hitting retirement age. (For more information on this, check out www.wisConomy.com)
We had excellent discussion about what businesses are needing from our graduating students. We discussed the need for strong work ethic, patience, resiliency, creative problem solving, and high quality standards. We discussed how schools need to help students discover their “personal brand” to help them determine what activities to participate in and explore as early as possible. We discussed how to give students more opportunities to try on careers. We discussed the importance of combatting the stigma that all students should attend a four year college. Most importantly, we discussed how this academic and career planning work takes a whole community working together to provide students direction for the future.
The summit got me to thinking about how our school, starting in kindergarten, can contribute to this work. How are we helping our students explore their God-given gifts and talents? How are we teaching appropriate soft skills (i.e. work ethic, grit, perseverance, problem solving) that will help them to be good employees some day? How are we partnering with parents to raise our community’s children to be strong Christians in the workforce? SCCS is intentional about all of these things and will continue to assess what areas we need to develop for our students. We teach soft skills through teaching our children how to develop a growth mindset. Our Academic and Career Planning time and activities are also a part of this intentional focus.
We want to prepare our children to honor God in their work and to enjoy their work. “Then I realized that it is good and proper for a man to eat and drink, and to find satisfaction in his toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given him - for this is his lot. Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work - this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.” Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
If you or your business would be interested in helping us intentionally prepare our students for their calling in life, please let me know. There are possibilities for apprenticeships, co-ops, job shadow days, Junior Achievement volunteering (as early as 1st grade), mentoring, and more. Consider how you can make your mark in the future of our students.
Preparing Our Students for God’s Work,