Amy Carrier's Mission, Vision and Philosophy
We need to ask our kids what excites them. That is the place where every child is aligned with his or her own divinely given gifts. Those gifts are meant to blossom in this world and it is up to us to nurture those passions and potentials in the world. No standardized test will show us a child's passions and yet that is what our education system is designed around. This form of mass assessment of students' gifts teaches our students to believe that intelligence and success are measured on a finite set of indicators and not on passion, talent or abilities. We are wrong. What we are doing is wrong. It's time to change.
A clear vision for the future is one where all students have equal access to lessons that will prepare them for life and career success after graduation. Until there is an equity of access to this curriculum and its hands on learning opportunities, our society and our world will continue to perpetuate cycles of poverty.
A 21st Century Philosophy with Equality at its Heart
Education is a big system that will not change overnight but I believe that we must start now by supporting the students who are closest to entering the world of adulthood by showing them how to express, explore and try on the types of work that can fulfill them. When we provide our students with these opportunities and surround them with a small number of adults who work in those fields, who can mentor and coach, guide and care about them from high school to professional adulthood and beyond, then we will effectively create a critical safety net for the gaps we talk so much about - one that is unique to each child. The child's gifts don't belong to us. Let's remove the barriers of unpreparedness for real life and create the best kind of safety net there is for a child: exposure to the real world, experience practicing important skills, knowledge of the world they will soon enter and a group of caring adults who will stick around long after graduation day. We must build these relationships at the school level for our students because in many cases, school is the only vehicle.
It is critical, in a 21st century global society, that we arm our students with a solid foundation of self-confidence, exposure to the real world and business and professionalism skills to prepare them for higher education and the world of work. Unfortunately, there are few models of success to guide the system in this direction. Preparing students for post-secondary success requires both academic prowess on the part of students and an attitude of entrepreneurial thinking and social responsibility within the system itself.
Through the implementation of sustainable workforce development curriculum in schools, we can provide all students with the skills they need to move toward a 21st century career path rather than a string of jobs. By bringing students together with members of the local business community for practice-based learning, the experience is not just theoretical, but actualized.
The value of experiential learning, combined with the long-term impact of relationships with professional adults benefits a student on intellectual, emotional and social levels. Similarly important is the inclusion of a business-based curriculum. Through this, students learn how to communicate effectively, think creatively and entrepreneurially, market themselves, and network with professionals who can become mentors to them, further ensuring a long-term foundation for success.
This can only happen by providing comprehensive self-empowerment and workforce readiness programs for all students. This requires a change within our education system itself. It's time to get started.
A Mission and a Vision Growing Roots Across the Globe
Amy's mission is to engage the community in teaching real world work and life readiness curriculum to all children. The can be done in many parts of the United States through the engagement of the business and employer community. Effective school-business partnerships can leverage adult mentors, funding and support for new initiatives to support our nation's children in learning the skills necessary for successful citizenship in a global workforce and world. They can also foster larger conversations about healing the ills that plague our communities.
Through the implementation of structured partnerships, schools have the opportunity to deliver business skills and entrepreneurship programs, career-readiness curriculum and classroom mentoring to students today. Building these partnerships addresses a critical need to better prepare students for the world of work while providing community members the opportunity to directly impact the lives and futures of our young people.
Preparing students for life after high school is critical to empowering the next generation workforce. Education reform policies have not yet made these skills part of every school's core curriculum nor every child's essential learning. Young people will be expected to perform on teams, think creatively and solve problems for the betterment of our community and society. To ensure their success, there is a two-fold approach to preparing youth that we must begin to do now:
1. Teach entrepreneurship, business, career readiness, self-empowerment and 21st century skills in schools today. We must:
- Impact students directly through experiential learning
- Enable equity of access for all students
- Expose students to these lessons within their learning environments (at school), underscoring importance and value
- Provide a consistent and structured way for students to learn and practice critical 21st century and non-cognitive skills
2. Engage the employer and business community in schools through structured and reciprocal partnership programs. We must:
- Deepen and define our School-Business partnerships
- Bring mentors into the classroom
- Expose students to careers, workplace skills & culture
- Invest tangibly in workforce development
- Demonstrate to our youth that the community cares about their futures
The work that needs to be done will level the playing field for all children everywhere. Once every child has the basic skills, confidence and experience practicing how to envision and achieve their dreams, we will live in a world where every child has a fair shot. When every child has a fair shot, society will change completely.
Let's Level the Playing Field For All Children Everywhere.
What would that look like?
- A global approach to educating children that empowers them to create and nurture the skills, talents and abilities they uniquely possess apart from anyone else.
- A foundation of equal preparation for all students regardless of where they attend school and what resources their family, school or community does or does not have.
- A learning environment that nurtures ALL learners of all "abilities." One that encourages a child’s strengths, passions and interests and does not punish or fail students for a lack of ability in areas typically assessed by standardized tests.
- An equitable system of educating students with real world skills tied to real-world measurements and sign posts of success in our modern-day society and global family.
- A society of students empowered with the confidence, courage and education to face the complex world of challenges that await them post-high school and college.
The children on this page are Amy's Kenyan students. She lived with and developed a self-empowerment curriculum that she taught to 18 orphaned girls in coastal Kenya. The girls learned how to envision themselves as empowered women. They worked through issues of self esteem, trust, confidence and how to speak publicly. The students even role played some of the lessons they learned - a practice unheard of in the Kenyan educational pedagogy. To learn more about Amy's work in Kenya with these girls and the schools she visited across that country, please click here.