Ready Now Yuma: Preparing Every Student for Success in College and Career

Yuma, AZ | Submitted by Frank Nunez

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Yuma Union High School District (YUHSD) has partnered with Helios Education Foundation to implement a performance-based education model designed to graduate knowledgeable and highly skilled students academically prepared for success beyond high school. Through Ready Now Yuma (RNY) every YUHSD student will participate in a rigorous, high expectations-aligned instructional system guided by national and international college and career readiness standards designed to ensure students master the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in postsecondary studies without remediation.

RNY is designed to ensure every YUHSD student is:

Challenged – As students advance through their education at any one of YUHSD’s high schools, they are receiving a rigorous academic experience (either Cambridge IGCSE/A/AS, or College Board AP courses) designed to prepare them for success in college and career.

Supported – As we raise the academic bar for our students, YUHSD is committed to ensuring every student is supported. We want excelling students to continue to be challenged and we want struggling students to get the academic support they need to succeed.

Prepared – The ultimate goal in implementing RNY across all YUHSD high schools is to ensure every student graduates prepared to succeed in college and career. We want YUHSD graduates to have a solid academic foundation and one that won’t require remediation upon entry into a postsecondary degree, certificate or license program.

While RNY is a relatively new initiative, YUHSD does have a history of raising expectations of students, educators, and community members. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our growth in College Board Advanced Placement Courses. In 2001 the small number of AP students was comprised of 62% white, and 38% minority (89 total students). That distribution was almost in the complete opposite of our district demographic of 8,120 students which were 73% minority and 27% white. In 2012 the number of AP exams administered was 1,845 and of the students who took those exams 79% of them were minority, and 21% of them were white. That distribution was a near match to our district demographic of 10,968 students, of which 82% were minority and 18% were white.

Our commitment to equitable access to a high expectations curriculum is now being carried by implementing the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) curriculum for all 9th and 10th grade students in English, Mathematics, Science, and History.

The RNY model has the potential to be a scalable, replicable, cutting-edge, national initiative that can be used to effectively prepare every student for postsecondary education success. Central to the Ready Now Yuma initiative is the systemic and purposeful way it transforms a school district, and also the community in which it serves.

Our beliefs are transforming:

From: College preparation for some.
To: College preparation for every student.

From: College and career skills are different.
To: College and career skills are the same.

From: Specific paths determined early in school.
To: Unlimited paths that are refined constantly.

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