I believe that the Roots of Success curriculum has the ability to be a powerful resource for teachers in low-performing schools across the country who are providing instruction to a diverse group of students that for various reasons are struggling to be successful and complete their degree. From the perspective of a student, the course content is not intimidating and promotes success through an engaging, multi-media, relevant approach. The curriculum captures students’ attention and gets them interested so that they want to learn, which as an educator I have found to be the secret to success.
-Don Davis, Superintendent of the Waterford Unified School District
Roots of Success for High Schools
Our work in schools and youth programs across the nation has provided us with insights and understanding about how to empower and engage youth that are struggling in school, keep them on track to graduate, reduce achievement gaps and dropout rates, and prepare students for productive and prosperous lives.
We have developed strategies that get students excited about learning, keep them coming back to class, and provide them with the knowledge and skills they desperately need.
We use innovative curriculum design and teaching materials to engage students, make learning relevant, build on their previous knowledge and experiences, and connect what they are learning in the classroom to real world issues and employment opportunities.
The focus is on strengthening the academic and professional skills students need for careers, college and life – confidence, motivation, excitement about lifelong learning, vocabulary, reading, writing, science, math, quantitative reasoning, information literacy, digital literacy, health literacy, environmental literacy, financial literacy, communication, presentation, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, creativity, study skills, test-taking, among many others.
Built around intensive student engagement in the classroom, and integrating multi-media and group activities, the Roots of Success curriculum stimulates students’ intellectual curiosity, increases their excitement about learning, and ignites their interest in science, math, environmental and public health issues, careers and civic engagement.
Science, Math and Quantitative Reasoning
Students are introduced to basic science, environmental science and health concepts — gradually building their scientific and technical vocabulary, as well as their understanding of scientific processes and essential scientific skills sets that include: observation, classification, measurement, inference, prediction, and communication.
Group activities provide students with opportunities to apply scientific methods and values that include: seeking to answer questions, using evidence, recognizing the importance of collecting and checking data, and understanding that scientific knowledge and theories change over time as more information is gathered and under different circumstances.
Students are encouraged and supported to develop the attitudes and dispositions of science by being inquisitive and critical thinkers who are curious, imaginative, and enthusiastic about asking questions and solving problems.
They apply mathematical concepts required to facilitate quantitative reasoning to their everyday lives and concerns. They apply numerical reasoning in context, using it to analyze real-world problems and questions, and to inform decision-making and communication. Examples include math exercises where students calculate and analyze their water use, waste generation, energy use, and transportation patterns, as well as how much water it takes to produce the food they eat and the products they use.
Through continual practice and engagement in reading, writing and public speaking, students gain competency and increased confidence in their ability to comprehend, create texts, and present their ideas and arguments orally and in writing.
They expand their vocabulary, identify key issues, and produce short paragraphs that build on their personal experiences and concerns. They use computers to investigate, gather information, and produce oral presentations on what they have learned. They use their vocabulary, read and understand specialized texts, develop their ideas, identify main points, find evidence to support these points, engage in extended discussions, summarize their ideas, and consistently apply their critical thinking and problem solving skills.
They engage in research, evaluate information, and learn how to communicate their ideas in different settings and to diverse audiences. They learn to think and work independently, as well as in teams. They learn to set goals and focus their attention. They take tests to assess their knowledge and enhance their test-taking skills and confidence. They learn study skills and strategies that help them succeed on the job and in college.
Career and College Readiness
The professional development component familiarizes students with jobs and career pathways in multiple sectors of the economy and prepares them for successful interviews with employers, additional certifications, and post-secondary education.
Civic Engagement and Leadership
Roots of Success increases people’s knowledge and understanding of environmental and public health issues and prepares them to become environmental stewards and leaders.
The module on “Civic Engagement and Leadership” provides students with examples of effective and inspirational efforts to address environmental and public health problems and to promote sustainable development.
They learn how to go door to door, prepare for a meeting with public officials, craft and communicate their message through social media, bring people to a meeting, fail in getting enough people to come out, and go back and try again using new strategies. They identify community needs, create mission statements, and learn how to form organizations.
Financial Literacy and Social Entrepreneurship
The curriculum includes a module on Financial Literacy and Social Entrepreneurship that prepares students to manage their personal finances and challenges them to think about how they can address problems in their communities through entrepreneurial initiatives.