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Success Stories: How Jaylen Beat the Odds

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How Knowing the Five Essential 21st Century Skills Can Beat the Odds and Reverse the Downward Trend of Earning Power
Article Written by D.Scott Schwartz, M.Ed. 
(The Names Have Been Changed to Protect Privacy)
What makes Jaylen's story so interesting to follow? 

Is it because Jaylen was born African-American? Is it because Jaylen grew up in one of the poorest neighborhoods? Is it because Jaylen was raised by a single parent?

The reason Jaylen's story resonates with so many people is because his story is your story.

Why should you care about Jaylen's story?

If you're an American citizen, you are just like Jaylen. You don't get to choose where your born, where you live or what schools you attend. All of those decisions are made for you by your parents and family.

Jaylen grew up in one of the lowest socioeconomic communities in NJ. And as we all know, the poorer communities also have worse schools. And Jaylen's high school was one of the bottom in the state.

But his father made a decision that upset Jaylen, but changed his life forever.

What did Jaylen's father do?

Jaylen's father knew that sending his son to the local public high school was predictable. Yes, Jaylen would graduate. Jaylen was smart, and did all his work, and his father would be on top of him.

But what does a high school diploma from one of the bottom high schools mean in real life?

The answer is NOT MUCH and we all know that. The data and the statistics prove that.

So Jaylen's father did some research and found me "The School Doc" and my K12 program in NJ.

A different type of education

In 2011, I became one of the first superintendents in the country to implement a 21st century skills curriculum in my high school.

Jaylen's father did his homework and recognized that if Jaylen was going to be successful, he needed to learn the Five essential 21st century skills.

The Five Essential 21st Century Skills

As we now know, every high paying job in America requires workers to have all five essential 21st century skills. (Source: Georgetown University 2020)

Those skills are:
- Leadership
- Team Building
- Problem Solving
- Sales
- Communications

Jaylen's father wanted him to learn these five skills so he could be successful after he graduated from high school.

Jaylen was upset

Jaylen's father might have been excited for his son to learn the five skills that would help him in the future, but that didn't mean Jaylen was happy about it.

Jaylen wanted to go to his local high school. He wanted to be with his friends. He also didn't want to learn some "NEW" way of learning.

Every course Jaylen took in high school was different than anything his friends were learning.

And he hated every minute of it.

The turning point

Jaylen's father didn't care if Jaylen was happy or not. It was his job to make sure Jaylen was prepared for life.

So Jaylen started as a 9th grader and graduated four years later. After high school, he went to a trade school and earned his auto-mechanics certificate.
For the next couple years, he worked as an auto-mechanic in a garage. He was anonymous, faceless and making around $16-an hour. 

For a kid from one of the poorest neighborhoods in NJ - this was a success story.

The Real Success Results

But making $16 an hour isn't success. In fact, it's right at the poverty line. 

But Jaylen had learned the five essential 21st century skills in high school. And that meant, he saw the world differently than all of his high school friends.

One of the five skills he learned in high school was "problem solving."
One day when Jaylen was at the garage, a former teacher walked in to get an oil change.

Even though Jaylen was unhappy for four years in high school, he was a nice kid, so he talked to the teacher and they explained to him that it was a major pain in the neck to get oil changes.

Because Jaylen had learned how to be an expert "listener", he asked why?

And that's when it all clicked.

Using his 21st Century Skills

Teachers are not allowed to leave the school building during the day - thus getting normal chores done can be quite a hassle, such as oil changes.

Jaylen learned how to put on his problem solving hat and put the pieces together.

The next thing he did was call me - "The School Doc." He wanted to know if I would review his powerpoint presentation.

When Jaylen came back to visit, the first he did was apologize, "Mr. Schwartz I'm very sorry." 

"For what?" I said.

"For giving you a hard time for 4 years," he said. "I see now what you were teaching me and I just want you to know that I appreciate it."

Then Jaylen showed me his presentation.

It was brilliant!

Jaylen had discovered a solution to a real world problem that only teachers face. But if Jaylen could solve it, it would mean more money for him and more success.

How Can You Copy Jaylen's Success?

At the age of 23, Jaylen started his own side hustle. And it started with one school district, then expanded to a second and then a third.

Jaylen was no longer working at a garage, he was so busy and successful, he was traveling from school district to district helping teachers get oil changes.

Jaylen's story could be your story. If you're struggling financially, stuck in a dead-end job, or wondering how you can pursue your dreams - it's important to understand why Jaylen was able to be successful.

The secret to his success was learning the five essential 21st century skills first. 

Once you learn all five skills, you will begin to see all the opportunities you are MISSING right under your nose.

America is the land of opportunity, but only for people who can SEE THEM!

If you aren't seeing opportunities, it's because you haven't learned the five 21st century skills.

The Simple Solution


Jaylen was lucky. His father did the research and took the risk to send him to a different type of high school.

You can do the same thing RIGHT NOW!

You don't have to wait to learn the five 21st century skills. You can learn them right here at Leaf Academy.

If you want to problem solve like Jaylen, you need to start developing your 21st century skills.

One of the keys to Jaylen's success was his ability to LISTEN really well. Listening is part of The 6 Objectives of Leadership.

What are you waiting for?

It's painful to say, but your high school and college sent you out into the world UNDER-PREPARED!!

But you can CHANGE your future!!

Let Jaylen's story inspire you and give you HOPE. BE THE SUCCESS you want to be, by learning the five 21st century skills.

Don't let another opportunity pass you by.