Middle school. It can be a tough time for many tweens, teens, and the adults who live and work with them. It’s an important time for a young person (and their family) for future planning and decision making. It may seem very early to start thinking about college and career. It’s not. That’s why YALSA is offering a professional learning/funding opportunity for library staff working with middle schoolers on the college and career readiness process. As noted in The Forgotten Middle: Ensuring that All Students Are on Target for College and Career Readiness before High School
…the level of academic achievement that students attain by eighth grade has a larger impact on their college and career readiness by the time they graduate from high school than anything that happens academically in high school. This report also reveals that students’ academic readiness for college and career can be improved when students develop behaviors in the upper elementary grades and in middle school that are known to contribute to successful academic performance. The implication is clear: if we want not merely to improve but to maximize the college and career readiness of U.S. students, we need to intervene not only during high school but before high school, in the upper elementary grades and in middle school.”
It is this need that YALSA identified and was recently funded, by IMLS, to address in its Future Ready with the Library project. This three-year project focuses on supporting small, rural and tribal libraries in their work related to college and career readiness of middle school youth and their families. Over the three years three cohorts of library staff will gain skills and receive support in building successful college and career readiness services for the middle school age group. Members of each of the three project cohorts will have the opportunity to learn about:
- building community partnerships
- the needs of middle school youth and families
- what college and career readiness looks like at the middle school level
Anyone working in a small, rural, or tribal library for and with teens that is interested in participating in the project is invited to submit an application to be a member of the first cohort. You can learn more about applying and the project by visiting the Future Ready with the Library web page.