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A Rich Tradition of Helping our Students Succeed: Union City's "senior alumni" recall a wonderful place to grow up that included a bustling economy, an excellent school system and a community culture that encouraged life success. There were two primary paths forward after high school, both providing excellent opportunity for the pursuit of happiness.
Stay Close to Home and Family, Build a Life: Jobs were plentiful. The many advantages of small town lifestyle were available and real. A vibrant economy offered the opportunity to enjoy today and be confident of eventual security in retirement.
Pursue Career Interests in Other Fields and Other Places: Our "Off to College" graphic may be a bit overly dramatic, but the known requirement was a 4-year college education, sometimes longer, in a place far different from Union City.
How Did Supporters of Student Success Help? Financial support focused on helping our graduates afford to attend college. This scholarship mentality was not favoritism, rather the simple truth that Union City had many built-in ways to help stay-in-town graduates find jobs and develop necessary skills. College involved a different level of expense, usually affordable with a bit of help.
The Game Has Changed in Century 21. The 4-year degrees is no longer viewed as an automatic ticket to success. Costs are extremely high. Debt is an enormous issue. The job market now demands skills that many "general education" graduates do not have.
Many in-demand jobs require vocation-focused K12 education, not only for college prep but also for those seeking a non-college career path.
What Does It Mean to Union City Schools? Curriculum stability -- "good old readin', writin' and arithmetic" has been replaced by constant requirements to monitor trends, upgrade teacher skills and revise curricula to meet new demands. Smaller schools facing local economic hardship, must fight harder to assure that students are competitive with graduates of larger schools.
What Does It Mean to a Financial Supporter of 21st Century Education? A broader view of the definition of support. Scholarships will remain an important part of giving, providing the satisfaction of one-to-one engagement in development of young lives, but...
Teachers need support in personal skill development and in providing innovative teaching tools and techniques.
And schools -- especially small schools -- need support in adapting curricula to match skill requirements in a constantly changing marketplace.
What Does It Mean for Union City as a Community? Aggressive steps are underway to rebuild Union City's economy. The consistent excellence of Union City Schools -- as part of a small-town lifestyle -- is an essential building block for attracting the families and businesses that will become part of new prosperity.
Changing times, changing needs.
Impossible for small-town public education to fully address without help.