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 New Resources Help Students Learn About Essential Skills

Building essential skills prepares students for high wage, high growth careers in our regional workforce in addition to helping them manage their academic life, make goals for the future, and interact with others in a more meaningful way

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) and San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) have teamed up to provide parents and educators with some simple ways to help students build skills such as emotional intelligence and creative thinking.

"This partnership helps us ensure that all students are connected to the world of work and understand the skills needed to be competitive in our local economy," said Jewyl Clarke, integrated curriculum coordinator with SDCOE.

One of the efforts is the Essential Skills Challenge. View some of the strategies below organized by grade level.

  • TK-K: Develop creative thinking from an early age by asking your students to play the part of a character in their favorite book. Ask them questions about why they did the things in the story and make up new stories for the same character. Scholastic highlights great ways to encourage creative thinking from an early age. 
  • Elementary: Distance learning requires students to be resourceful. Look around the house for supplies to make your own math manipulatives to model a classroom math problem or recreate a painting you might see in a museum. You might also be able to find baking soda and vinegar and explore how to make a gas by mixing a liquid and a solid.
  • Middle School: Communication is more challenging now than ever. Make a list of all the ways you stay in touch with the people around you. Do you communicate differently with friends than family? How do you communicate with your teacher and classmates? What is the easiest form of communication for you? Do you think it's the same for everyone? How do you think your communication will be different in the workplace? 
  • High School: Learning from home has a lot of parallels to working from home. Use Canva or a similar program to make an infographic on an essential skill showing how you are developing that skill through distance learning and how that skill is used in the workplace as people work from home. 

There are other resources to learn about essential skills at the SDCOE website, including a poster highlighting skills San Diego County's employers are looking for in new hires. You can also find trainings for educators on essential skills at SDCOE's College and Career Readiness webpage. An essential skills training series is being planned for both students and teachers for the fall.

"It is our hope that providing real world examples of these skills in action will act as a model for success for students," Clark said. "Success in industry is determined by far more than academic knowledge and technical skills."