According to the Miriam Webster dictionary, the term Higher Education means ‘education beyond secondary, especially in a college or university.’ The word ‘especially’ in this definition gave us a bit of pause. It is not that we don’t believe colleges and universities provide an important educational experience to foster young people into future adult professionals who are prepared, but beyond that, we believe that each young person needs to identify the pathway and postsecondary experience(s) that match their future goals. This pathway should both correlate to the best approach to their individual learning, as well as provide access to the most impactful experiences on their future. When we think and talk about higher education, we must expand our vocabulary beyond colleges and universities as viable and endorsed options for young people.
As high schools move through the process of postsecondary planning, which often includes exposure to different options, allowing them to explore their interests, and preparing for next steps, we need to be more inclusive in our conversations, preparation activities, and messaging. Inclusivity is important in thinking about higher education. When our priorities, programming and planning communicate that four year colleges are the gold standard and all other pathways are lesser options for those who aren’t ‘collegebound,’ we may send and/or reinforce an unintended message. High quality options exist beyond colleges and universities, including enrolling in the military, serving through the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps, gaining an apprenticeship with a skilled professional, or engaging in hands-on learning through formal internship and entrepreneurship activities. In each of these experiences there are elements of further learning and education beyond high school, in other words, higher education.
At Innovageous we work with schools to build learning experiences that promote innovation and courage. Innovation in the human-centered approach to ensure every student succeeds by providing them with accessible content, responsive practices, relatable content, relationships, and diverse resources. We promote courage in the decisions that adult leadership teams make that impact our learners, ones that build agency in students and productive citizens even if the implementation of programs looks different than the norm. Building diverse postsecondary pathways to higher education is at the core of this work, with a vision of ensuring every high school graduate has a plan for higher education and how they will achieve future success. With new requirements at local and state levels, such as Act 158 in Pennsylvania, schools have to build programs that meet students where they are, and support all students to reach all graduation requirements. Our team at Innovageous has the knowledge and experience to support schools in building systems of support to ensure all students can graduate successfully and move into higher education that meets their needs. Reach out today at info@Innovageous.com or make an appointment at calendly.com/innovageous for a free consultation!