How Chelan High School Is Using FYG to Meet District-wide Initiatives
Brad Wilson shares how he prioritizes self discovery, social emotional learning, and career exploration for his students.
We sat down with Brad Wilson, Principal at Chelan High School in Chelan, Washington, to learn more about his district’s latest initiative “Creating Belonging Through Dignity”. Read below to learn more about how he prioritizes self discovery, social emotional learning, and career exploration for his students and why Chelan High School is implementing FYG for Education in classrooms this fall.
Q: Why was it important to bring a program like Find Your Grind to Chelan High School and how does the program support your strategic plan as Principal?
A: We were not doing a good enough job early enough in high school to help students identify their lifestyle goals. We wanted a program that was more universal and foundational, that could help students understand themselves first and the life they want to live, yet also understand what it takes to get there and what their options are. Having a plan is important, but that plan doesn’t just have to be to get good grades and go to a 4-year college. We want to promote pathways that fit each student best and show all the options, not limit students or have them limit themselves because they didn’t do a certain thing. Find Your Grind aligns perfectly with my strategic plan as a Principal to ensure all students are Future Ready.
Our district’s initiative is “Creating Belonging Through Dignity” and I felt Find Your Grind was a great option for us to support students by seeing real-life examples of where they fit. This program supports both non-traditional and traditional paths and that is what we have to provide students so they can find their connection.
Q: How do you plan on implementing Find Your Grind? If your school did not offer this setting, where else would you recommend social-emotional and career readiness development to be implemented?
A: All of our advisory classes (grades 9-12) will implement Find Your Grind. Our seniors will be limited because their advisory time will also focus on additional work they need for graduation but that is why I also like the capabilities to see grade level and school wide insights so I can see which grades are interacting with the content best. We wanted to integrate Social-Emotional Learning, more than just a lesson here and there. This allows us to have a program that incorporates social-emotional learning while supporting the other things we integrate during advisory. If not advisory, I think this program has the flexibility to be incorporated into any required course to support social-emotional development.
Q: Was there any core feature from Find Your Grind that convinced you to bring this program to your students?
A: For me it was the blend of career exploration and social-emotional learning. It has always been either or and other social-emotional learning programs are not super connected to the students’ future. We thought this was unique because it blends both and even historically in advisory we have either done social-emotional learning lessons or a career readiness lesson, and we should be focusing on both all the time.
Q: As a school leader, what is the biggest challenge high schools have to overcome in preparing students for success in a rapidly changing world. How do you feel FYG can support?
A: I think one challenge is as educators we have to think about things from a student perspective. What works for us may not work for them. After piloting the program we immediately saw how the program resonated with students and how easy it was to use, made sense, it was interactive, and provided that “cool edge” that students engage with. The innovation of Find Your Grind will help students be better prepared.
Q: There are other programs available that address similar topics to Find Your Grind. Beyond the core feature you highlighted earlier, was there anything else specifically about Find Your Grind that stood out to you during your vetting process of products?
A: Other programs are sometimes all canned deals. There is limited personalization and I like how innovative Find Your Grind is and how it adapts to each student.