Cambridge High School
Decision-making; planning; organizing and management and teamwork
In the Spring of 2019, Cambridge High School (Ga.)SkillsUSA members Phillip-Michael Collins, Michael Hudson and Chesney Zillweger met with Hopewell Middle School’s administration to discuss the proposal of a new club that will prepare eighth-grade students for issues they will face in high school. The club plans to have biweekly meetings to facilitate this process, with high school mentors presenting weekly topics that include fun and interactive challenges.
Our initial blueprint was to have 20 members (10 boys and 10 girls), however after further discussions Hopewell administration deemed it more beneficial to have 120 plus students broken up into four classes. This decision broadened Cambridge High School’s SkillsUSA opportunity, from just highlighting challenges the students might encounter to equipping these rising eight-graders with skills they can use in high school and beyond. Collins, with tremendous help from Geri Southall, wrote a curriculum that would reinvent our community’s culture while establishing blueprints to ensure success in school and later in today’s working industry. This course later became known as Skills for Adolescence.
Objectives of the program
In our Skills for Adolescence program, our team introduced the 7 Keys to Success (Taking Responsibility, Setting Goals, Prioritizing, Having a Positive Attitude, Listening, Recharging Your Mental Battery and Utilizing Synergy) to help students flourish in their transition to high school and young adulthood.
Alongside the 7 Keys to Success, the Skills for Adolescence team also prepared students for the 7 Dream Killers (Irresponsible Social Media, Promoting a Bullying Spirit, Objectifying Classmates, Unhealthy Relationships, Alcohol/Drug Abuse, Disrespecting Authority, and Unobtainable Scholastic Standards) they will be challenged with during their high school career.
These 7 Keys to Success and Dream Killers, as well as elements from the SkillsUSA Framework, helped shape the program’s objectives. The five objectives were:
Surpassing the Scholastic Standard: Over the nine-week mentor-ship period, the class strived to maintain an average grade of 87% or above in all subjects. This was achieved by committing to using the study-skills and other tips including Organization, Time Management and Planning Ahead taught to them by the members of Cambridge SkillsUSA.
Utilizing Synergy: Over the course of eight, 50-minute classes, students efficiently worked in groups of four to complete a group presentation on the 7 Dream Killers or 7 Keys to Success. After each group presentation each member filled out a Google evaluation form judging teamwork and cooperation on a scale of 1-10 (1 being unacceptable and 10 being exceptional). The goal was for 76% of all group members to achieve a score of 8 or above.
Setting Goals: 80% of students will accomplish 70% of the 10 personal SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Frame) goals created by each student at the beginning of the nine-week class. Students reviewed their goals daily to track their progress. At the end of the nine-week class, students evaluated themselves via Google Form and reflected to make adjustments to better accomplish their goals.
Reducing Screen Time: Over a seven-day time period, the students were split into two groups and asked to reduce their screen time on Instagram, Snapchat or Tik-Tok. The goal for each group was to accomplish an average screen time reduction of at least 15%. At the end of seven-days, the percentage was measured by data usage from phones.
Increasing Study Time: Over the course of seven-days students increased their study time by an average of four hours. Each student kept a log outlining hours studied daily. The log was turned in at the end of the seven-days.
Hopewell Middle School and the Skills for Adolescence team were both extremely pleased with the program’s success throughout the first three, nine-week classes. Skills for Adolescence taught a total of 102 students during this time.
The students showed outstanding comprehension with skills and traits that will create a culture shift to benefit themselves and our community. All of the classes have met or exceeded all five of objectives formulated around building a better community.
Surpassing the Scholastic Standard:
- 1st Nine-Weeks: Class Average: 87.19%
- 2nd Nine-Weeks: Class Average: 89.23%
- 3rd Nine-Weeks: Class Average: 93.76%
This data shows that during our mentorship period, our students had an overall class average grade of 90.06% in all subjects. This exceeded our original objective of 87%.
During this challenge, students played a game that detailed scenarios in disarray. They were required to use their newly acquired organizational skills, time management skills and techniques of planning ahead in order to reconstruct the scenario. Proper study skills can improve students ability to learn and reach their full potential in school.
- Utilizing Synergy: Teamwork and Cooperation Grade 1: .7%
- Teamwork and Cooperation Grade 2: 1.3%
- Teamwork and Cooperation Grade 3: .3%
- Teamwork and Cooperation Grade 4: .7%
- Teamwork and Cooperation Grade 5: 3.6%
- Teamwork and Cooperation Grade 6: 2.3%
- Teamwork and Cooperation Grade 7: 3.9%
- Teamwork and Cooperation Grade 8: 21.9%
- Teamwork and Cooperation Grade 9: 28.1%
- Teamwork and Cooperation Grade 10: 37.3%
This data shows that 87.3% of the 102 students scored an 8 or above on teamwork and cooperation skills. During this challenge the students played games that utilized trust, communication and combined efforts in order to achieve success.
The benefits of teamwork in our community is the ability to focus different minds on accomplishing a common task.
- 0 Goals Meet: .5%
- Less Then 4 Goals Meet: 8.3%
- 4-6 Goals Meet: 10.8%
- 7-9 Goals Meet: 49%
- All 10 Goals Meet: 31.4%
This data shows that 80.4% of 102 students successfully met at least 70% of their 10 SMART Goals. During this challenge students were tasked with visualizing their goals over a 10-year period. These goals are motivationally driven traits that help improve themselves and their outlook on school. By developing and working towards accomplishing their futuristic goals, the students are driven and less likely to make poor decisions that will negatively impact themselves and their community.
Reducing Screen Time: 1st Nine-Weeks Instagram Results:
- Team 1: 15.3% average reduction
- Team 2: 16.7% average reduction 2nd Nine-Weeks
- Team 1: 17.4% average reduction
- Team 2: 17.3% average reduction
3rd Nine-Weeks Tik-Tok Results:
- Team 1: 20.2% average reduction
- Team 2: 21.8% average reduction
This data shows that all the students worked together to achieve the common goal of reducing screen time to be able to effectively communicate face-to-face. During this challenge we introduced hands-on team building activities, such as, positive social media attack, to teach the students how to adequately use their social media platform. This activity allowed the students to practice using their social media platform to promote kindness to peers through positive communication. Effective face-to-face and social media communication will have a positive impact on the community and its members.
Increasing Study Time: 1st Nine-Weeks:
- Average increase of 4 hours and 2 minutes
- Average increase of 5 hours and 45 minutes
- Average increase of 4 hours and 37 minutes
This data shows an average overall increase of 4 hours and 48 minutes. By Increasing study time the students learned how to retain knowledge and increase competence for school formative and summative assessments.
How many people did this activity reach?
Skills for Adolescence taught 120 plus 8th graders.
Project Feedback from Participants
Geri Southall (8th grade Teacher):
I would like to recognize the Cambridge SkillsUSA group members, Phillip-Michael Collins, Luke DiBiase, Michael Hudson, and Chesney Zillweger, for the team’s beneficial work in Hopewell Middle School’s Skills for Adolescence Connections class.
These students volunteer their time to come teach and collaborate with approximately 120 rising 9th graders. The topics discussed and skills practiced are extremely useful and practical when preparing students for the transition to high school.
For example, Being Proactive, Prioritizing: Putting First Things First, Think Win-Win, and Learning to Listen, are just a few of the beneficial topics presented in my class. The middle school students are always excited to work with the SkillsUSA team members. Parents have contacted me, excited about what their students are coming home and telling them.
The work the Cambridge SkillsUSA members are doing in my classroom and the community is invaluable.
Amy Cousin (8th grade Principal):
I would like to commend Phillip Michael Collins, Michael Hudson, and Chesney Zillweger on the work that they have done this semester with our 8th grade Skills of Adolescence class. They have worked with over 100 students this school year and have taught them strategies and tools to prepare them for high school. Their interest in mentoring our 8th graders is appreciated, and our community is excited about continuing this relationship in the future. Students and parents are talking about the positive impact these Cambridge High School, Skills USA students are making on the 8th graders at Hopewell Middle School.
Lauren Corbett (8th grade Counselor):
I would like to formally comment on how impactful the students from SkillsUSA have been on our middle school students. Members: Phillip Michael Collins, Luke DiBiase, Michael Hudson, and Chesney Zillweger have taught our students essential life skills. I have had students tell me that they didn’t think they would like this class but ended up loving it. I believe a big part of that was because of these Skills USA students. The students and teachers at HMS have greatly appreciated these students volunteering their time to make a difference in the lives of our middle school students!
How many of the promises did your mentoring program meet?
The Skills for Adolescence program met four of the five Student2Student promises. Skills for Adolescence created the opportunity for Cambridge High Schoolers to give back to our community by having a successful first year.
Both groups and individuals in and out of our community have said our program is an innovative breath of fresh air that has sparked a much-needed culture shift in our community. Hopewell Middle School wants to bring the program back next year and expand it
The SkillsUSA students were also given the opportunity to expand into other local middle schools next year.