As a new school year begins, community attention naturally shifts not only to education, but also to the prospects for improvements.
We are encouraged by a shared vision voiced by educators and community leaders in stories published in the News Tribune, the Back to School 2012 special section and the August Chamber Today, included in Monday's edition.
First, we found a common denominator is comments by education officials connected with two local high schools - one public and one parochial.
Jefferson City High School is moving toward the academy concept, designed to channel students to smaller groups based on common educational interests.
Regarding the transition, Myron Graber, director of secondary education, said: "Typically in education, we have done two things - we have separated hands and minds, and we have separated school and work. What we're trying to do is bring those components together, because typically (when) students move out of this (education) environment and into the workforce, they don't have any idea what it takes to be successful there."
At Helias Catholic High School, President Didier Aur said technology will be a focal point during the coming school year.
He expanded the idea to include spirituality, as well as hands and minds, when he said: "Pope Benedict XVI expressed this well when he said the proclamation of Christ in the world of new technologies requires a profound knowledge of this world if technologies are to serve our mission adequately."
How, then, do students acquire a profound knowledge of this world?
Enter the businesses community. Through a Central Missouri Innovation Campus, the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce will facilitate a program to link area educational institutions to participating businesses. One practical manifestation of the link will be internships and job training programs offered by businesses. This combined effort contains other facets we intend to highlight in this forum in the near future. For now, we are heartened by a shared effort to merge the intellectual and practical, and to join instruction with real-world applications.