Principals Offer Advice to High School Students' Families

Results of an Exclusive Principal Poll Announced at Union Pacific-Sponsored Professional Development Conference

Omaha, Neb., July 17, 2007 – Families can help their high school students prepare to enter the workforce by supporting the development of job skills, according to a recent poll of high school principals.

More than 400 principals representing 21 states responded to The 2007 Principals’ Partnership Poll conducted by The Principals’ Partnership, a program created by the Union Pacific to support high school principals in communities served by the nation’s largest railroad.

Principals enrolled in The Principals’ Partnership were asked to answer the question:

"What single piece of advice would you offer families to help them prepare their high school student to enter the workforce?"

Of the respondents, 43 percent (165 principals) advised families to help their high school student develop workplace readiness skills. These skills include prompt and regular attendance, teamwork and accepting responsibility.

Principal Cynthia Clark of C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento encourages parents to incorporate workplace skills into the home.

"Too many employers are finding that young people do not have a strong work ethic," Clark said. "Parents can help their student prepare for the workforce by teaching them how to accept a task, follow-through, and complete all chores."

Principal Stephen Jupe of The Dalles-Wahtonka High School in The Dalles, Ore., emphasized instilling teamwork.

"Everyone appreciates a team player who goes beyond what the expectations are of any work activity, whether it be at home, at school or on the job," Jupe said.

Other top action items cited by principals participating in the poll include:

  • "Investigate career interests through inventories, job shadowing and internships (19 percent);
  • "Prepare academically by taking challenging coursework (14 percent);
  • "Give your child responsibilities at home that have natural consequences (6 percent);
  • "Stay involved with the school, particularly your child’s counselor (4 percent).

Many of the poll respondents are among the nearly 700 principals attending The Principals’ Partnership 2007 Summer Leadership Institute this week in San Antonio. The three-day event provides principals the chance to network, and to learn from their peers across the country, as well as from top educational speakers. Conference themes include safety in schools, closing the achievement gap between minority and white students, literacy, ethics, classroom discipline and issues related to gangs.

The Principals’ Partnership, the signature giving program of the Union Pacific Foundation, is one of America’s premier business and education partnerships. The program supports a network of 1,000 public high school principals in 21 states. A team of nationally recognized educators facilitates the exchange of knowledge, best practices and resources across the network, benefiting all member principals and their schools. Team members also develop a customized program for each principal, working with principals on key issues they have identified as areas of concern in their schools. There is no cost to principals or school districts for Partnership activities, including the Summer Leadership Institute.

In addition, The Partnership maintains an award-winning public Web site ( featuring research briefs and case studies useful to all educators. It is estimated that The Partnership, through the participating principals, will reach approximately 71,000 teachers and 1 million students this year.

The Principals’ Partnership has been honored by state education associations in Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, and Arizona; the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center and the California Association of Renaissance Educators.

Union Pacific Foundation

The Union Pacific Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of Union Pacific Corporation. The Foundation has distributed funds since 1959 to qualified organizations in communities served by Union Pacific. The Foundation is not endowed, but is funded each year from the operating profits of Union Pacific Corporation. Much of the foundation’s philanthropic support is directed toward The Principals’ Partnership, its signature giving program. Union Pacific believes principals who are effective leaders build strong schools, which in turn produce solid citizens, workers and adults. When that happens, we all benefit.

About Union Pacific

Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country and serves the fastest-growing U.S. population centers. Union Pacific’s diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad offers competitive long-haul routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada’s rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America’s premier rail franchise.

For further information, contact Shannon Sherman, (402) 514-9423.

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