28 Skills Students Need to Be Really Ready for Life After High School

A little over a year ago, Getting Smart partnered with Apex Learning to study what skills students need to truly be ready to face life after high school, whether in college, career, or just living as an independent adult. The resulting report identified 28 skills, which are summarized below.

  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Communication
  3. Growth Mindset
  4. Self-Directed
  5. Social & Emotional Skills
  6. Self-Awareness
  7. Relationship Skills
  8. Responsible Decision-Making
  9. Social-Awareness & Perspective-Taking
  10. Self-Management
  11. Problem-Solving
  12. Reflective
  13. Flexible & Adaptable
  14. Active Learner
  15. Nimble
  16. Resourceful
  17. Project & Task Management
  18. Articulate Strengths and Areas of Need
  19. Life Management
  20. Curious & Inquisitive
  21. Digital Citizens
  22. Innovative & Entrepreneurial
  23. Passionate & Positive
  24. Embrace Failure
  25. Analytical & Evaluative
  26. Grit & Perseverance
  27. Logic & Reasoning
  28. Cross-Cultural Communication

These skills are summarized and detailed in a helpful infographic that you can share.


What to Expect at Your Child’s Checkup

You might have obsessively read the What to Expect When You’re Expectingbook when your first child was on the way. Perhaps you’ve used PTA’s Parents’ Guides to Student Successto be informed about what your child will be learning each year and what questions you should ask your child’s teacher. As your child grows, having an idea of what’s coming up can make you a better parent.

One of the areas where parents may not be too sure what to expect is their child’s annual checkup. Kids’ Health has a series of guides in both Englishand Spanishabout what to expect at each checkup from birth to age 21. The guides provide information on:

  • What your doctor should be doing and asking about.
  • What to keep in mind until your child’s next checkup.
  • What your child should be learning to as they grow and mature.
  • What safety issues you should be aware of for that age.

Check out the guide for your child’s next checkup and bookmark the listso you have it handy next time your child is in the examining room. Share the guides for the older years with your teen or young adult to help take some of the fear out of their next visit.

Photo © 2015 by Greens MPsunder Creative Commons license.

Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Illinois PTA Convention



The 116thAnnual Illinois PTA Conventionis coming up May 4-5 at the NIU-Naperville Conference Center. If your PTA doesn’t have someone attending convention yet, here are the top ten reasons why you should. The early bird discount ends April 6th, so register today!

  1. Meet keynote speaker Dr. Devorah Heitner.In addition to giving the keynote address, Dr. Heitner will be presenting a workshop and signing copies of her new book, Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World. Copies will be for sale at convention.
  2. Get some hands-on learning with MemberHub.Are you a little confused about how to use MemberHub with your PTA or school? Take advantage of the hands-on workshop time in the NIU-Naperville computer lab with MemberHub staff to learn how to make the most of this great platform to run your PTA.
  3. Network, network, network.Tired of having your PTA do the same thing year after year. Share experiences and ideas with PTA members from across Illinois to learn new ways of doing programs or to discover new events your PTA can do. Find out how other PTA leaders have solved the problems you or your PTA are facing.
  4. Spend some PTA funds to improve your PTA.Attending the Illinois PTA Convention is an acceptable use of PTA funds. The leadership skills, program ideas, and other experiences of convention can supercharge your PTA going forward.
  5. Win prizes.Our convention vendors love our members and donate prizes that are given away at the start of both general sessions and the end of the last general session. In addition, Illinois PTA will be having a drawing among first-time convention attendees for a free convention registration to the 2019 Illinois PTA Convention. If you haven’t attended before, here’s your chance for a 2-for-1 deal.
  6. Become a better advocate.As a PTA member, you have a superpower. It is your voice, which is heard far too rarely by school boards and legislators. Learn how to use this superpower to make a difference in the life and education of not just your child, but all the children in your school district, in Illinois, and across the nation.
  7. Enhance your leadership skills.Whether you knew it or not, PTA leaders are running small non-profit organizations. Learn how to run your PTA more effectively through the Illinois PTA University leadership courses and other workshops at convention.
  8. Learn from experts. Want to grow your PTA membership, but don’t know how? Want to reach out to all the communities at your school? Heard about childhood trauma and education, but don’t really know what it means? Want to write grants for your PTA, but don’t know where to start? We’ll have workshops covering all these and more.
  9. Make your voice heard.Convention is where Illinois PTA has its business meeting, and it’s your opportunity to direct where the association is going. Vote on the budget, elect program directors (officers next year), shape our legislative platform, and more.
  10. Meet with vendors.Looking for an alternative to your wrapping paper fundraiser? Want to find an exciting assembly? Vendors at the Illinois PTA Convention are there to help you.

Here’s a secret 11threason to attend: to have fun! Getting together with fellow PTA leaders and members often involves laughter and new friendships. Don’t miss out on the fun. Register today!



Illinois Student Advisory Council Launches Student Voices Microsite with ISBE

The Student Advisory Council (SAC), which provides feedback and insights to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), launched a new Student Voices microsite at www.isbe.net/studentvoices to create space for students statewide to ask and answer questions about preparing for their futures.

The microsite links to resources such as the Illinois Reality Check personal budgeting application, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission’s guide on paying for college, the Illinois PaCE: Postsecondary and Career Expectations framework, and ISBE’s resources for dealing with health topics such as bullying.

“The members of the State Board and I deeply appreciate the good work and leadership of the Student Advisory Council and the value their voices bring to the table,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “The thoughtfulness they have put into this project shows just a small fraction of their contributions to ISBE and to their school communities. This new microsite provides a critical vehicle for including student voices in the conversation about improving workforce development and career pathways.”

The microsite originated from the SAC’s yearlong project on college and career preparation that they presented to the State Board at last week’s board meeting. The SAC identified post-high school readiness as a common source of stress for themselves and their peers.

“There’s not a single student unaffected by the overwhelming state of our current transition process,” said Neha Arun, a junior at Carterville High School and member of the Student Advisory Council. “School counselors are stretched so thin that students are not getting the one-on-one guidance they need. We hope the Student Voices website can help fill a gap in delivering resources and create space for students to express their shared worries and questions.”

The microsite provides opportunities for any student to share information and experiences with each other through questions, answers, photos, and quotes.

“A school’s culture and socioeconomic status often determine the types of information students receive,” said Kathleen Rock, a senior at Byron High School and member of the Student Advisory Council. “Increasing the availability of information about diverse options and ways to prepare can help decrease inequity across Illinois. We want to improve students’ abilities to choose and prepare for their next step after high school, whether technical education, service in the Armed Forces, or college.”

The members of the Student Advisory Council are a diverse group of active students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and teamwork abilities. Applications for the 2018-19 Student Advisory Council are available at www.isbe.net/studentadvisory.

View the full list of 2017-18 members, many of whom are available for comment, at www.isbe.net/Lists/News/NewsDisplay.aspx?ID=1125.