CHILDREN & YOUTH


CHILDREN & YOUTH


OVERVIEW   

The goal of improving educational attainment at the population-level requires strategies across the lifespan, beginning with support for all of our children and youth to build a strong foundation for success, with opportunities to develop the skills they will need in school, in life and in their careers. With strong academic, social-emotional, and life skills, our young people are ready to begin on a pathway to a meaningful career, beginning with career awareness and exploration and then incorporating hands-on experiences. High school students have opportunities to earn college credit, and even an industry-recognized credential, and gain real-world work experience before graduation through opportunities such as apprenticeships and other work-based learning programs. Plans for postsecondary education then become fully integrated into career pathway plans, as students understand the connection between educational attainment and career success.

OVERVIEW   

The goal of improving educational attainment at the population-level requires strategies across the lifespan, beginning with support for all of our children and youth to build a strong foundation for success, with opportunities to develop the skills they will need in school, in life and in their careers. With strong academic, social-emotional, and life skills, our young people are ready to begin on a pathway to a meaningful career, beginning with career awareness and exploration and then incorporating hands-on experiences. High school students have opportunities to earn college credit, and even an industry-recognized credential, and gain real-world work experience before graduation through opportunities such as apprenticeships and other work-based learning programs. Plans for postsecondary education then become fully integrated into career pathway plans, as students understand the connection between educational attainment and career success.

OUR APPROACH

HEA collaborates with school, community and business partners to build a system to prepare all of Elkhart County’s children and youth for a lifetime of well-being and meaningful work.

OUR APPROACH

HEA collaborates with school, community and business partners to build a system to prepare all of Elkhart County’s children and youth for a lifetime of well-being and meaningful work.

hea logo

PRIORITIES

HEA is engaging our county in cross-sector collaboration to ensure all children and youth have practical, emotional and social skills to thrive in school, work, and life. Educators, business leaders, community leaders and parents generally agree that success in life requires more than academic skills, and that social-emotional skills, or non-cognitive skills, are equally important. Advances in brain research have demonstrated that these skills are linked – with social-emotional and non-cognitive skills serving as a foundation for academic learning, and predicting outcomes such as academic achievement, employment, and health later in life. Research on the needs of employers also continually demonstrates the emphasis on non-cognitive skills, with employers often identifying social and emotional skills as the most difficult skills to find. There is growing consensus around the need to focus on the whole child, including social, emotional and academic well-being, but this need cannot be met by any one sector, and requires cross-sector collaboration and attention to the environment and culture within homes, communities and schools that enable children to thrive.

Postsecondary attainment is increasingly important for economic mobility, as workers with only a high school education are being left behind in the post-recession economy. At the same time, the type of postsecondary credentials and degrees that are most valuable is shifting, and dependent on the local economy. Although it is important that students’ plans after high school include some postsecondary education, students need to be prepared for a range of postsecondary opportunities, including industry certifications, technical certificates, and other stackable degrees as well as associate and bachelor degree programs, and provided the opportunity to explore which is the best fit for their personal goals.

Connecting education and career pathways is not only important for our economic well-being, but it can also help remedy the significant challenge of student disengagement in school. The National Gallup Poll, through their survey of student engagement, has consistently found that engagement in school declines steadily as students progress in school, reaching its lowest point in 11th grade. This re-enforces the need for a system that connects students’ experiences in schools to real-world, authentic experiences outside the classroom, so that students can make the connection between education and their future and to find hope and purpose. Students who have clear visions and goals for the future and see education as relevant to reaching these goals are much more likely to be engaged and successful in school.

hea logo

GOALS

hea logo

PRIORITIES

HEA is engaging our county in cross-sector collaboration to ensure all children and youth have practical, emotional and social skills to thrive in school, work, and life. Educators, business leaders, community leaders and parents generally agree that success in life requires more than academic skills, and that social-emotional skills, or non-cognitive skills, are equally important. Advances in brain research have demonstrated that these skills are linked – with social-emotional and non-cognitive skills serving as a foundation for academic learning, and predicting outcomes such as academic achievement, employment, and health later in life. Research on the needs of employers also continually demonstrates the emphasis on non-cognitive skills, with employers often identifying social and emotional skills as the most difficult skills to find. There is growing consensus around the need to focus on the whole child, including social, emotional and academic well-being, but this need cannot be met by any one sector, and requires cross-sector collaboration and attention to the environment and culture within homes, communities and schools that enable children to thrive.

Postsecondary attainment is increasingly important for economic mobility, as workers with only a high school education are being left behind in the post-recession economy. At the same time, the type of postsecondary credentials and degrees that are most valuable is shifting, and dependent on the local economy. Although it is important that students’ plans after high school include some postsecondary education, students need to be prepared for a range of postsecondary opportunities, including industry certifications, technical certificates, and other stackable degrees as well as associate and bachelor degree programs, and provided the opportunity to explore which is the best fit for their personal goals.

Connecting education and career pathways is not only important for our economic well-being, but it can also help remedy the significant challenge of student disengagement in school. The National Gallup Poll, through their survey of student engagement, has consistently found that engagement in school declines steadily as students progress in school, reaching its lowest point in 11th grade. This re-enforces the need for a system that connects students’ experiences in schools to real-world, authentic experiences outside the classroom, so that students can make the connection between education and their future and to find hope and purpose. Students who have clear visions and goals for the future and see education as relevant to reaching these goals are much more likely to be engaged and successful in school.

hea logo

GOALS

MEASURES

In order to measure progress towards our priorities, HEA has worked with Elkhart County school districts to develop a unique measure for assessing children’s social-emotional and physical development skills at Kindergarten entry, to administer the Gallup Student Poll to understand student’s engagement and hope for the future, and to track whether our Elkhart County graduates enroll in and complete postsecondary. In addition, HEA tracks the impact of our collaborative initiatives on our children and youth.

See our Outcomes Data page to learn about more measures.

MEASURES

In order to measure progress towards our priorities, HEA has worked with Elkhart County school districts to develop a unique measure for assessing children’s social-emotional and physical development skills at Kindergarten entry, to administer the Gallup Student Poll to understand student’s engagement and hope for the future, and to track whether our Elkhart County graduates enroll in and complete postsecondary. In addition, HEA tracks the impact of our collaborative initiatives on our children and youth.

See our Outcomes Data page to learn about more measures.

AREAS OF WORK

EARLY LEARNING
Children’s early experiences and opportunities, starting before birth and through their entry into elementary school, have a significant impact on their education, career and life outcomes. Ensuring all children have access to the resources, relationships, and positive environments they need in early life requires a communitywide, systems-level approach.

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COMPREHENSIVE COUNSELING COLLABORATIVE OF ELKHART COUNTY
Elkhart County’s school counselors are working collaboratively to develop comprehensive counseling approaches across the county that support the social-emotional learning and career readiness for all children and youth.

view more

STUDENT PATHWAYS
HEA is supporting a robust career pathways model in Elkhart County, partnering with middle schools, high schools, community partners, postsecondary institutions, and employers to develop a seamless pathway for students into high-demand careers.

view more

ADDITIONAL INITIATIVES
HEA has supported the community in launching and piloting several initiatives that are now sustained by other organizations. These initiatives include Tools of the Mind Preschool and Kindergarten, PAX Good Behavior Game, ECoSistema (Elkhart County’s El Sistema-inspired music initiative) and Reaching Higher for middle schools.

view more

AREAS OF WORK

EARLY LEARNING
Children’s early experiences and opportunities, starting before birth and through their entry into elementary school, have a significant impact on their education, career and life outcomes. Ensuring all children have access to the resources, relationships, and positive environments they need in early life requires a communitywide, systems-level approach.

view more

COMPREHENSIVE COUNSELING COLLABORATIVE OF ELKHART COUNTY
Elkhart County’s school counselors are working collaboratively to develop comprehensive counseling approaches across the county that support the social-emotional learning and career readiness for all children and youth.

view more

STUDENT PATHWAYS
HEA is supporting a robust career pathways model in Elkhart County, partnering with middle schools, high schools, community partners, postsecondary institutions, and employers to develop a seamless pathway for students into high-demand careers.

view more

ADDITIONAL INITIATIVES
HEA has supported the community in launching and piloting several initiatives that are now sustained by other organizations. These initiatives include Tools of the Mind Preschool and Kindergarten, PAX Good Behavior Game, ECoSistema (Elkhart County’s El Sistema-inspired music initiative) and Reaching Higher for middle schools.

view more