Students and faculty argue school should be more practical

It can be both stressful and difficult to think about the future, let alone plan for it.  There are many different decisions that need to be made when transitioning to a new chapter in life. For some high school students, these decisions are based on college. They come with bundles of future headaches and stress from completing essays and applications, touring colleges (virtually), and much more. Students have to make the difficult decision of what they want their future to look like.

A possible solution to the inadequate understanding of students in regards to future plans could be a practical life skills course that shows students how to live in the real world successfully.

“It can help teenagers to take school seriously,” an anonymous student said.

Freshmen at San Marin are required to take the College and Career Readiness course (CCR). Life skills courses are created to teach students how to pay taxes, invest money, save money for college, choose the right college, write a resume, and other life skills. The current CCR course at San Marin is one semester-long and is taught by Dennis Davis and Rosa Herrera. 

Some juniors and seniors took an informal survey to gather opinions on the CCR program and whether or not they feel it is adequate. The survey asked students how they viewed the usefulness of the current CCR class, and how it could be improved. It also asked how a hypothetical life skills class should be structured and whether or not it should be an AP class, an elective, or a built in core class. A majority of students believed the current CCR course is inadequate and or not a good use of time. A majority also believed the course should be offered as an elective.

 “SM should offer it and call it CCR,” another anonymous student said. “That’s what CCR should be because learning life skills is useful and CCR, as it is now, is not.” 

Former CCR teacher David Krakora expressed that it would be helpful to have an additional class that teaches students practical daily life skills.

“CCR course is actually a year-long course, but the district made the decision that we have a semester to teach it because of funding issues,” Krakora said. “I think an additional practical learning class may be more suitable for juniors and seniors.”

The idea of a practical learning course is not new. Many private schools like San Domenico with their adulthood and college readiness lessons and Marin Academy in San Rafael offer a similar course to CCR, except these are full year courses that are more in-depth. Feedback from students suggests that a practical life skills class would be beneficial.

“This course would have helped me so much as a growing student,” an anonymous student said. “It’s an actual skill you can use outside of a specific career.”

A practical life skills class that teaches all the basic knowledge and skills you need outside of high school would be beneficial to most students, but “it’s always a funding issue,” Krakora said. Although San Marin does not currently offer this kind of class that covers all the bases, students can do additional research, by taking online courses or finding a mentor. 

“I would absolutely take a life skills class because I feel it is so crucial to learning,” senior Sofia Valdespido said.

San Marin students gather resources to help them with the college application process. They argue that a practical life skills class would be beneficial because it can help them visualize their future and alleviate some stress when applying for college.

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