Adulting 101

Fern Creek High School in Louisville, KY, is making sure its students are prepared for the real world with a new class called Adulting 101. The three-day course for seniors was created by the school’s college access resource teacher Sara Wilson-Abell. “We’re preparing students for life after high school,” she says. “Yesterday was all about money, today it’s home and health, and tomorrow it’s about being a professional.”

The students also learn about car maintenance, washing clothes, and cooking. “I learned a lot about how to do my laundry. I mean, I kind of knew some aspects of it, but I never sorted my clothes or anything like that,” says student Lilly Farmer. Adulting 101 has been such a hit that the school is planning to bring it back next year.

Yardwork for Credit

A school in eastern Iowa is offering physical education credits to students who do yardwork for people who can’t do it themselves.

Students at the Alternative Learning Center in Dubuque are helping people with outdoor chores around their homes. Many of the individuals they help are elderly or disabled.

“The students and I come out and help them,” says social studies teacher Tim Hitzler. “It could be raking leaves, pulling weeds, cutting grass, cleaning gutters—just depends on what they need.”

Though they may initially be reluctant, Hitzler admits, students ultimately learn lessons about helping the community and come away feeling something positive from the experience.

Immersion Programs Teach More Than Another Language

Students in Matthew Bacon-Brenes’s classes learn more than a language—they learn culture as well. The dual-language immersion mentor instructor teaches Japanese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and Spanish at Portland Public Schools in Portland, OR. “It is a gateway to understanding the multicultural, multiperspective world in which we all live,” he says. His interest in language is deeply rooted in cross-cultural communication. Students need to understand different cultures and perspectives in order to fully understand their place in history and in relation to the world, he notes.

The rigor of language acquisition, combined with content acquisition, has enormous cognitive benefits for native and non-native speakers, raising achievement particularly in language arts and math. These benefits have been seen in every student demographic—affluent, low-income, native speakers, and native English speakers. Higher-level learning skills come from the power of transferring words and ideas from one language to another, thereby reinforcing them.

Zero Hour

Are your students interested in getting involved with climate change? Zero Hour is a youth-led movement creating entry points, training, and resources for young activists and organizers (and adults) wanting to take concrete action around climate change. Co-founded by Jamie Margolin and Nadia Nazar, it is a movement of unstoppable youth organizing to protect rights and access to the natural resources and a clean, safe, and healthy environment.

Don Cheadle and Mark Ruffalo, popularly known for their roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, have endorsed Zero Hour and are recognized as powerful allies between generations. The group held its most recent summit on July 12–14, 2019, in Miami—it was conceived and organized exclusively by a diverse group of high school students from Florida and across the United States. The summit featured climate activists from the front lines of environmental destruction.