Site URL: Pencil.org
Content: Pencil, a business outreach program in New York City, aims to better prepare students for the workforce. Pencil’s Web site details the Partnership Program, which builds and supports customized relationships between business leaders and principals to inspire innovation and transform public schools. The companion Fellows Program provides full-time, paid internships for qualifying high school seniors.
Design: The site is fairly spartan, but that is a good thing. Pencil is all about getting the information out there, and doesn’t rely on gaudy pages and jumbled text to do it. A main scroller offers quick links to personal stories of success from business leaders involved in the NYC program.
Review: While the site itself is fairly pedestrian, the content is not. Research indicates the benefits of preparing students for the workforce. Pencil is doing just that, by recruiting local business leaders to help craft curriculum and by providing real-world work experience for students.
While Pencil is based in NYC, the program is simple enough to be adapted in any community. For administrators who may feel overwhelmed by the thought of starting something like this, there is a link that provides information on implementing a Pencil “franchise” in your community.
Bottom Line: Innovation in the classroom and real work experience for students are the cornerstones of a 21st Century education, and Pencil.org explains how to achieve both.