- California's Gridley High School started a floral design program with just $3,500, raising extra funds from starting a floral club, in an effort to help students develop skills that could potentially lead to an agricultural career.
- Maintaining the floral business is a challenge, as the raw material — flowers, are expensive and can’t be stored for very long. The club also takes professional jobs such as weddings, all with support from the school's administration, according to a story from eSchoolNews.
- By running the business, students can earn a certification, with eight seniors working with a florist after their high school graduation.
What students learn in school can carry them far beyond the next class exam. While test-taking expertise is important, so too are tools they can apply after their education ends: financial literacy, technical know-how or even the chops to maintain and run a business. Classrooms are training centers, where students learn the ability to be scholars, of course, but also where they learn how to operate as citizens of the world.
Administrators who want to graduate students who can succeed on whatever path they take might consider enriching curriculum with not just academics, but practical life skills as well. And these shouldn’t be taught separately.
A report from the U.K.’s The Sutton Trust noted that with the development of life skills, students have a higher chance of “better attainment outcomes” when they leave school and start working in the world — but only if these tools are not relegated to extra-curricular programs or after-school activities.
“It is vital for schools and teachers to recognize that emphasis on academic results and wider skills is not an either/or question, but one of approach,” reads the report from the educational foundation. “As success in the two tend to go hand in hand, with the use of carefully selected strategies and approaches based on evidence, it should be possible to improve both.”
Children once took courses such as home economics and even metalwork. Learning to make your own hammer or a fruitcake from scratch may not be high up on anyone’s need-to-know list today, but certainly understanding the difference between profit and loss or how to code a simple web site are core skills for any 21st-century student.