Education: The High School Years Ages 14 to 18

Adopted April 1991 – Reviewed and deemed relevant April 2022 – Education Commission

California State PTA believes the future of our country depends upon how well we educate our students. We must ensure that all students, English and non-English speaking, have equal access to academically rigorous instructional programs that foster the ability to think critically and solve problems. Students should leave high school with a body of knowledge that opens the door to continued education, the world of work and lifelong learning. We must prevent students from dropping out of school. High schools must offer the most comprehensive and diversified education possible.

California State PTA believes family engagement should not end when the student enters high school. It is vital that parents must continue to take an active role in helping their child succeed.

Therefore, California State PTA supports a strong family engagement component with school practices that are designed to:

  • Welcome and empower parents, to work collaboratively with students, teachers and administrators to make decisions and to share in setting the goals and direction of the school, thus promoting improved curriculum, better teaching and high student achievement;
  • Assist parents, teachers and administrators in communicating and becoming aware of one another’s roles regarding student achievement; and
  • Provide multiple opportunities for parents and students to access the resources on graduation requirements, college entrance requirements and career opportunities.
  • The capability to build a student’s sense of belonging is a fundamental step in shaping a high school. A sense of belonging can help to instill values and improve learning. Certain components are essential to effective high school education programs.

These include but are not limited to:

  • A belief by teachers, administrators and counselors that every student has the ability to learn and will be encouraged to achieve his or her highest potential;
  • Student access to high quality standard based core curriculum, advanced level courses and the arts;
  • A high quality, diverse instructional program whose delivery allows students to make connections between classroom learning and its application to real life situations;
  • Teachers who use relevant innovative instructional strategies that engage students in active learning that prepares them with the knowledge and life skills they need to be productive, contributing adults;
  • Counseling and guidance assistance to help students make informed decisions that meet their individual needs;
  • A setting that allows for alternatives to the traditional school;
  • Effective high school suspension and dropout prevention and intervention programs to provide:
    – Collaboration with community agencies;
    – Community service and effective co-curricular activities;
    – School-business partnerships and internships;
    – Classes in life skills to prepare students for parenthood, for decision-making, and recognizing the consequences of choices;
  • Diversity and inclusion awareness integrated into the curriculum;
  • Opportunities for all students to have access throughout the curriculum to the study of technology, its applications, and the use of technology as a tool;
  • Opportunities for career technical education to serve the needs of all students†;
  • School opportunities for students to participate in community service;
  • Quality co-curricular and extra curricular activities and programs, such as but not limited to athletics, visual, performing arts or leadership training.

†See related position statement: School-to-Career Technical Education.

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