CRIB to COLLEGE
Changing with the Times
Pam Roy of Square One Pathways discusses alternatives to the four-year-track
San Juan Capistrano teen builds social media network for children
BY ERIC HEINZ
hildren are going to be exposed to social media at some point in their lives, but there are areas of modern interaction that can be perilous for families. In order to address this problem, Zach Marks and his father, Daren, decided to create a Facebook-like social media realm for children in kindergar-ten through eighth grade. That’s when they came up with Grom Social, which its owners say is safe and constantly monitored. “It’s a way to help kids better prepare for the world, a place where they can feel comfortable,” said Zach, who is now 17 years old. “We spent so much time completing the parent oversight part.” Kids are allowed to post their own photos and other media, pending approval and examination, or they can create an avatar. Grom Social promotes online stewardship and etiquette and is declared a bully-free zone. It acts similar to Facebook.
and develop focus before investing the time ana Point resident Pam Roy decided and money in college to ensure that a) the to take action after reading a report degree is needed, b) the value is worth it, that 70 percent of people in the and c) the degree can be completed in 4 United States believe there are opyears or less,” Roy reasoned. portunities in the workforce outside Within the last decade, Roy reasons a of the standard four-year academic college radically and rapidly changing economy has experience, as well as learning that more created “new collar” fields that only need than 50 percent of college freshmen since short-term training for very specific, in2016 will drop out before graduation demand skills. The opening of new training That is why Roy started Square One centers (from boot camps to tech schools to Pathways, a program to prepare MOOCs) has greatly expanded and align high-school students for the opportunities available to the main options at their disstudents to test out and explore posal, in addition to opening www. areas of interest at a lower cost pamroyblog.com, where she has of both time and money. become known as a leading expert For those students not sure in parenting education and career which direction to go, a gap year, planning. apprenticeship or corporate PAM ROY “Although my writing can be training program may better suit viewed as such, I’m not anti-college,” Roy them. said. “I am ‘anti’ the cost (debt) and time it “Let’s take the shortest term and least takes to get a degree compared to outcomes expensive option to figure out your interests for most students and ‘anti’ that all students and programs,” Roy suggested. “Let’s find a are channeled into a sameness model certificate program while you are working. defined by a GPA and the SAT/ACT. I believe What good is that extra million dollars if you that a college degree is just one pathway aren’t healthy and well? We are moving into available today and requires a focus and a collaborative society, the skill sets our kids maturity found in a minority of high school need is changing and collaborative, but they students.” (Studies showed only about are in a place that is teaching conformity. one-third of 10-12th graders are engaged We need to be adaptive.” in school and ACT estimates only 1 in 3 are Pam Roy writes about parenting, educaprepared for college.) tion and career planning on www.pamroyRoy’s “Lifelong Learning” blog argues blog.com. She is the founder of Square One that an outdated and exhaustive education Pathways, dedicated to helping high school program our children are receiving in K-12 is students and young adults find a higher only targeted toward college acceptance. education pathway or career training that “We now need to help students mature optimizes their time and resources.
BY DANIEL RITZ
“If someone tries to set up an account and they’re not a child, and someone asks another child personal information, we will step in,” Darren said. In order to make an account, a child must have their parent’s permission and Grom Social calls the parent to verify the account. The company also created and facilitates an app for parents called MamaBear that allows parents to track their child’s online activity. On the website, children can get help with all kinds of homework as well. More information can be found on the Grom Social website, www.gromsocial.com.