October 4, 2023 | Harold Hare

Find Your Grind and Montgomery County: A “Future Self Vision” for All Students

Dayton, OH — Providing students with an attainable vision for their own unique future is the driving force behind Montgomery County Education Service Center’s (MCESC) work to support 16 school districts and over 90 educational entities in Ohio. Through cutting-edge support in social-emotional learning, innovative instructional programming, and direct classroom services that prepare students for their futures, MCESC is a nationally recognized educational agency paving the way for the future of education. 

When Find Your Grind and the leadership team from MCESC first connected, it was clear that both organizations’ mission, vision, and values were dramatically aligned. It was not a question of if there was a partnership opportunity; there was only a question of how big of a partnership and positive impact on students they could have together. 

“I want students to close their eyes and envision themselves in the future and not just answer the question, what do I want to be when I grow up, but be able to answer the question, what kind of quality of life do I want to have when I grow up? Find Your Grind supports our opportunity to build a future-self vision for our students by providing a real-world curriculum and real people for real students.”

Shannon Cox, Superintendent, Montgomery County Educational Service Center 

Find Your Grind and MCESC are excited to announce a strategic 3-year collaboration to bring Find Your Grind’s innovative Future Ready curriculum and personalized exploration experience to thousands of students in the Dayton metropolitan area. 

“Working with Montgomery County to bring future readiness to the center of every student’s learning journey is a huge moment to celebrate. It was evident from early on that we both shared the same vision for students to help them discover who they want to be and where they want to go through a comprehensive curriculum solution that meets kids where they are.”

Nick Gross, Founder, Find Your Grind 

The Find Your Grind partnership will include access to area school districts to work directly with MCESC on providing student and educator Find Your Grind curriculum licenses, Find Your Grind professional development opportunities to help equip educators with the tools to help young people navigate the future of work, and Find Your Grind’s unique twist on the outdated career fair – the Find Your Grind Lifestyle Fair

Q&A with Candice Sears

MCESC Director of Instruction and Curriculum:

1. Why was it important to bring a program like Find Your Grind to Montgomery County, and how does the program support your strategic vision?

Find Your Grind offers an enhanced layer of focus for our students that is unique, intentional, and impactful!  Montgomery County ESC believes that all students should have a Future Self Vision, and it is the responsibility of schools to support students with experiences to learn more about themselves, explore a variety of opportunities that exist in the world, and equip students with the skills to flourish and thrive in an ever-changing society!  

2. How do you plan on implementing Find Your Grind?

Our mission is to engage all middle and high school students with Find Your Grind.  We believe that giving students the tools and confidence to be future-ready is of utmost value to what we can offer our students.  Our students deserve these experiences and connections.  We have three school districts currently participating in a WestEd research study focusing on the impact Find Your Grind has on bolstering a Future Self Vision.  Our goal is to have 75,000 students esteeming with Find Your Grind over the next three years.  During our partnership, we will continue to elevate our students’ voices to create relevant opportunities within the region.  

3. Did any core feature from Find Your Grind convince you to bring this program to students in your community?

Find Your Grind’s mission, commitment, and unique approach align entrancingly well with our hope for each and every student in Montgomery County!  The synthesis of self-discovery, employability skills, and career exploration with a unique, lifestyle-first approach creates a deliberate learning experience for students that engages every learner. Find Your Grind elevates learners’ confidence and a Future Self Vision, opening their minds to be future-ready. 

4. As an educational leader, what is the most prominent challenge schools must overcome in preparing students for success in a rapidly changing world? How do you feel Find Your Grind can support?

One of the most prominent challenges that schools must overcome in preparing students for success in a rapidly changing world is adapting and evolving their educational methods and curricula to keep pace with the changing demands of society and the job market. This challenge encompasses several key aspects:

  • Technological Advancements: The rapid evolution of technology is transforming industries and job requirements. Schools must integrate technology into the learning process effectively, teaching students digital literacy, coding, and the ability to adapt to new digital tools and platforms.
  • 21st-Century Skills: Beyond traditional academic subjects, students need to develop a set of skills often referred to as “21st-century skills.” These include critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, communication, and adaptability. Schools must emphasize these skills alongside traditional content knowledge.
  • Globalization: The world is becoming increasingly interconnected. Schools need to foster global awareness, cultural competence, and the ability to work with diverse groups of people. This involves integrating global perspectives into the curriculum and encouraging international experiences when possible.
  • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL): Addressing students’ social and emotional well-being is essential. Schools must provide support for emotional intelligence, resilience, and mental health to help students navigate the challenges of the modern world.
  • Equity and Inclusion: Educational institutions must work to ensure that all students have equal access to quality education and that diversity and inclusion are core values. Addressing disparities in resources and opportunities is a critical challenge.
  • Lifelong Learning: The concept of a one-time education followed by a lifelong career is outdated. Schools should instill a love of learning and the skills necessary for lifelong learning, as students will need to continually adapt to changing job markets and technologies.

In summary, the most prominent challenge for schools in preparing students for success in a rapidly changing world is the need to adapt their educational approaches to encompass a broader set of skills, knowledge, and values that align with the evolving demands of society. This requires a commitment to innovation, flexibility, and a willingness to embrace change in the education system. Find Your Grind does a beautiful job of interconnecting all of these elements into the student experience, giving students a Future Self Vision. 

5. Other programs that address similar topics to Find Your Grind are available. Beyond the core feature you highlighted earlier, was there anything specifically about Find Your Grind that stood out to you during your vetting process of products?

Find Your Grind has a dynamic team that all believe in the mission!  The energy the team brings to the space to ensure students are getting a prodigious experience creates a culture of belonging.  The product and the team ignite the spark of enthusiasm for students, ensuring their journey is charged with energy and filled with remarkable experiences.  Find Your Grind isn’t just providing a curriculum; they infuse it with an electrifying essence that resonates with students, making their learning journey relevant, dynamic, and absolutely astonishing.  Imagine a world where products and customer service come together to create a whirlwind of excitement and meaningful interactions for students.  That’s what Find Your Grind delivers- uniqueness, energy and memorable experiences! 

To learn more about how your community can partner with Find Your Grind, connect with your state expert today!

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