Career and college readiness at MPS

A recent study published by the Center on Education and the Workforce by Georgetown University revealed that by 2018, 70% of jobs in Minnesota will require postsecondary education. This alarming number is seven percentage points above the national average of 63%. In comparison to all other states, Minnesota ranks 3rd in postsecondary education need for 2018. The growing need for an educated and skilled workforce has challenged local school districts to consider options and alternatives to provide students with a head start on post- secondary coursework as well as a jumpstart on the necessary skills for success in the world.

In an effort to address the needs of our students and our region, Marshall Public Schools has embarked on several initiatives to ensure our students are career and college ready when they graduate from Marshall Public Schools. Three key initiatives include the development of the Marshall Area Technical and Educational Center known as MA-TEC, a pathway to postsecondary conversation with local higher education institutions, and a new program called Ramp-Up to Readiness.

The development of MA-TEC was a change from our traditional alternative school to an educational center that would help students receive their high school diploma and the job-related skills and training to ensure employability upon graduation. The district is working closely with educational institutions and businesses within the region to create job skills in the areas of health occupations, engineering, and metal fabrication. As the MA-TEC site, which was moved from the mall location, is developed, the district envisions expanding the programming to include other job skills such as construction trades and robotics. The new location and the new mission of the school will provide students from the Marshall area with an opportunity to experience and develop skills that employers and businesses need in Southwestern Minnesota.

The ongoing efforts to create a more seamless pathway to postsecondary is an ongoing effort in the District. Marshall Administration has met with leaders from several higher education institutions with the goal of providing students an opportunity to graduate from Marshall High School with a high school diploma while at the same time earning an Associate of Arts degree from a higher education institution. The streamlined pathway would ensure college access to many students and provide opportunities for college to be affordable for all students.

Just imagine the possibilities if a high school student could graduate with two full years of college completed by the time of high school graduation. The possibilities are very exciting!

Finally, beginning in the 2014-15 school year, the Marshall High School will start a new program and service called Ramp-Up to Readiness. Ramp-Up to Readiness is a school-wide guidance program that has been designed to increase the number of students and the diversity of students who graduate from high school prepared with the skills needed to succeed in higher education. Every year, we hear the need to ensure students are prepared to successfully graduate from higher education. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education shared that Minnesota ranked 15th nationally in four-year (44 percent) and 15th in six-year (63 percent) graduation rates. While these results are higher than peer states and national averages, there is still a need to do better in ensuring students can graduate college with a degree and the necessary knowledge, skills, and habits to succeed in a college program. Through participation in Ramp-Up to Readiness, Marshall Public School students will receive specific training and support in five areas of college readiness including Academic, Admissions, Career, Financial, and Personal and Social Readiness.

Overall, we are excited to offer these opportunities to our students. In order for our district to fulfill the mission of “developing the potential of each learner for success in a changing world” we know that we must do all we can to provide students with the skills and tools to succeed. Through these three programming efforts, the Marshall community and region can be assured that the Marshall Public Schools is creating opportunities for student success today and well into the future.

As always, thank-you for supporting your Marshall Public Schools. It is a great day to be a Tiger!