What Our Students Need to Succeed
Manhattan Beach is known for its strong public schools that prepare students to go off to college or directly into a career with the skills they need to succeed. But with an ever-changing landscape in the workforce, technology and the economy, it can be difficult to know exactly what skills will be needed in the future. According to Oliver Schinkton’s article in LinkedIn entitled, Student Skills List – 10 Skills Students Need to be Successful, “Approximately 65% of our students will be employed in jobs that don’t exist yet”. How do schools prepare students for something they can’t define? By teaching them skills beyond the basic memorization and recall used on most tests throughout the country. Collaboration, critical thinking, innovations, creativity, inquiry and empathy, are just a few of the skills employers are seeking, and thankfully MBEF funds enriched academic programs that provide the opportunity to utilize many of the skills mentioned in the article.
Critical Thinking & Problem Solving and Creativity & Innovation Skills
The hands-on foundation in STEM education helps students develop the ability to be innovative and think critically. At the elementary level, one example is MBEF’s support of MakerSpace that empowers students to learn how to problem solve through trial and error and is a platform for innovation without the worry of failure impacting a student’s grade. It is through failure that some of the most interesting things are invented. Unstoppable Protective Gear, specializing in breast protective gear for female athletes, is a product developed by Taylor Ryan while exploring MakeSpace as an elementary student. Taylor, now a MCHS sophomore, admits that without the opportunity to tinker around and explore new concepts in MakerSpace, she may never have considered being an inventor and entrepreneur at such a young age. To read more about Taylor Ryan check out this article in Southbay Health.
Students at the middle school have the chance to take advanced level STEM electives, where they learn how to ask the right question and think outside the box. And at the high school level, MBEF funds a Science Lab Assistant to prepare the materials for lab instruction, so students have more time to learn the skills essential to experimenting with trial and error.
Empathy & Perspective Skills
MBEF’s Social Inclusion Grant gives educators, parents and students an opportunity to create a program or event that teaches students to embrace diversity and create an inclusive environment for all. Link Crew is such a program where juniors and seniors serve as mentors to incoming freshmen during their entire first year of high school. The transition from middle to high school can be intimidating and these students offer advice and tips to incoming freshman hoping to make the experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Another way MBEF helps teach empathy and perspective has been through funding an Assistant Principal at the middle school who focuses on student life. Middle school can be one of the most challenging times for students socially, emotionally and academically. The Assistant Principal helps guide students through this journey while meeting the diverse needs of all students.
From elementary through high school, MBEF helps to fund a comprehensive music program where students learn to collaborate and explore their creative side. The music community is also a place where students connect and form life-long friendships with other like-minded musicians. According to the National Association for Music Education, “Many musical education programs require teamwork as part of a band or orchestra. In these groups, students will learn how to work together and build camaraderie”. Music offers many other benefits as well, including skills like improved language and reasoning, mastery of memorization, increased coordination, fine-tuned auditory skills, and better self-confidence. At a time when many schools are forced to cut music education programs, MBEF funding ensures ours remains strong at every grade level.
There are additional skills not typically considered part of the K-12 curriculum although important life skills that often support success. Learning how to manage multiple projects and organizing one’s time are critical to time and be organized is just expected. Funding by MBEF helps keep the counselor to student ratio lower than most California public schools allowing more time to work with each student not only on their class schedule but also educating them on how to keep on track for their post high school graduation goals through time management and organization.
It is imperative that our schools keep up with the changes happening in the world. Funding from MBEF helps ensure that there are opportunities for students to learn skills beyond basic memorization and recall. With community support, we can ensure that our students are better prepared to enter college and the workforce with the skills and confidence to succeed.