Future of You: Ingrid Roberts-Haynes

English/ Social Studies Background:
The Future of You curriculum at Midtown has been developed by several staff members over the last three years. The class is now a requirement for all students and is taken in the semester prior to graduation. It grew out of the understanding that Satellite needed to do more to support it’s graduates and help them make plans and good choices for life beyond high school. We have involved students in the process of creating and evaluating the curriculum and have used their suggestions to improve the class in each year that it has been taught. In the unit that invites students to explore “college level” academic work, the content matter in terms of readings and writing assignments is left to the discretion of individual teachers, with the understanding that different teachers may have different interests (social studies, science, English and Math) and that the specific readings are less important than the practice of more in-depth or complex work. Typical offerings have included readings in American History, Science, and current issues. In addition to the academic components of the class, students also participate in a weekly discussion section to talk about issues related to graduation, college and entering the world of adult life.

Future of You is a course that will help give students a realistic picture of what post-Satellite choices exist, and what responsibilities they entail. our goal is for every Satellite student to have a chance to think out and explore possible “game plans” for their lives after graduation. In this class the students will begin with a self-assessment of their feelings and interests for future exploration into college, careers, and adult life. We will then delve into the different spects of college, careers, and practical life kills. The final goal is for the students to have apped out several plans to put into action after graduating from Satellite.

Course Outline
I. Unit One--Exploring educational experiences, strengths, and interests.
During this fist unit, students reflect on their school experiences, and begin to assess their strengths, weaknesses and areas of interest. Students also solidify their ability to write a standard five paragraph essay, and their mastery of the Learning to Learn skills of close-reading, discussion, note-taking, and working in groups. Activities include, the development of an autobiographical essay suitable for college and scholarship applications, the reading of selections about school (from Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities, and Tony Wagner’s How Schools Change). Watching the film Hoop Dreams, and writing a critical review of the issues raised by the film.

II. Unit Two--Exploring College
Students begin by exploring the benefits and drawbacksof attending college. This is followed by a groupproject where students look at a variety of statistical and demographic information about colleges, education, earnings and so on. These readings are taken from newspapers, magazines, etc. At the conclusion of the projects, students are asked to write an essay using the statistics to support their views about why they do or do not want to go to college at this point in their lives. This unit is followed by several concrete units on exploring and applying to colleges. During these units students do research on colleges of interest to them, send away for applications, meet with our college advisor to set a schedule for applications, financial aid, and SAT planning. These Unit is also supported by several readings about education and college (From bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress and Sara Mosle's “Scores Count.” ). During this unit students are also schedules for some local area college visits, and admissions people from local colleges, Satellite graduates, and other guests are invited to Satellite to speak to students.

III. Unit 3--Exploring “college level” work.
During this unit students explore how academic work is presented at the college level. There are two maincomponents. The first is the writing of a comprehensive paper that requires students to use all the previous readings and the film Hoop Dreams to write about the state of education in the United tates. Students must develop their own thesis, demonstrate understanding of all readings and integrate them into a coherent argument. The style of this paper is modeled on typical freshman English assignments at the college level. Also during this unit students are asked to try reading at college level and college pace. Several books have been used for this purpose, including Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, W.E.B. DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk, and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Students are exposed to a variety of typical college assessments including exams, essays and presentations.

IV. Unit 4--Exploring the world of work and careers.
In this unit students explore possible job opportunities and career paths. Students begin with a discussion of work and working using readings from William Julius Wilson and Studs Terkel. They then proceed to explore careers that are of interest to them using a variety of resources from the Department of Labor, newspapers and magazines. Students chart out several possible career paths for themselves, and prepares resumes and cover letters for their field ofinterest. They participate in mock job interviews, learn to read want ads, and meet with professions from a variety of professions who will come to the school to speak.

State Standards:
The preceding curriculum fulfills the State Standards for Lifeskills/Career Skills:Standard 1 - Knowledge about the world of work,exploring career options, relating personal skills,aptitudes, and abilities to future career decisions Standard 2 - Application of academic knowledge and skills to workplace and other settings Standard 3a - Universal Foundation Skills: Basic Skills, Thinking Skills, Personal Qualities, Interpersonal Skills, Technology, Managing Information, Managing Resources, Systems This curriculum also fulfills the State Standards for English Language Arts:

  • Standard 1 - Language for Information and Understanding

  • Standard 3 - Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation

  • Standard 4 - Language for Social Interaction