planning

What Really Matters in Planning for Student Success?

Career- and college-ready standards for all students, with a focus on high school graduates who choose to pursue paths other than a four-year college

Schools can better ensure that every student completes high school and graduates with the skills that they need to succeed in their post-secondary educational pursuits and careers by focusing on two domains: school culture and school learning/academic support.

School culture can be defined as the beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, relationships, and written and unwritten rules that influence and shape the way that a school operates. A positive school culture has certain distinguishing features, including:

  • Challenging curricula to meet the needs of every student and encourage the greatest success for each individual
  • A focus on high expectations for individual students through personalized academic plans, along with a commitment to engaging and motivating each unique student to reach higher standards for themselves
  • Targeted interventions for students at risk, beginning in middle school
  • Counseling services that prepare every student for graduation
  • A commitment to creating positive relationships with families and the community

The school learning environment refers to the diverse physical locations, contexts, and cultures in which students learn and encompasses the way that individuals interact and treat one another. It also includes how the classroom, online or in-person, is set up to facilitate learning. Crucial considerations to enhance school learning in an intentional way include:

  • Aligning middle and high school promotion standards, graduation requirements, instruction, and assessments with career readiness standards
  • Beginning age-appropriate conversations early on about establishing the link between decision-making in secondary school and the impact that it has on personal goal setting
  • Illustrating and modeling connections through individualized curricular decision-making
  • Being transparent about the requirements to reach goals
  • Enabling students to lead the process, with school counselors and caring adults acting as supportive and crucial participants
  • Providing support services that include counselors, mental health professionals, and social workers
  • Using criticism in a constructive way that views mistakes as opportunities for growth and self-exploration

It is important to engage all learners in order to plan for students’ success after high school.

Learning environments that have a deep recognition of students’ unique personal backgrounds and skill sets adopt an inclusive approach to education. This also requires exposing students to the broad array of options available to them, all while promoting a strength-based philosophy. Challenging each individual to attain their personal bests through various learning experiences, activities, and self-exploration exercises makes education relevant to the individual and heightens engagement with learning.

When education is student-driven and adults take on the role of coaches and supporters, students are empowered. This is an essential element in making meaningful plans for students’ success after high school.

While much of the attention in the United States has revolved around high school dropout rates, this obscures another real challenge: approximately 40% of students who do graduate are not prepared to succeed in post-secondary education or the workforce. These young people are falling through the cracks due to systems that do not meet their specific needs. Measures that schools can put in place to help rectify this issue and reach this large cohort of students include:

  • Expanding the conversation and broadcasting a broader perspective on what successful transitioning means
  • Assigning challenging coursework beginning in the middle school years to prepare for the rigor of high school
  • Exposing young people to all their options and giving them enough time to explore so they find the right fit
  • Providing a strength-based perspective focusing on students’ competencies and building on them
  • Linking what students do in the present to what will have an impact on their future by using relatable, real-life storytelling and experiences
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Being transparent around the preparation and requirements for high school graduation
  • Targeting support for at-risk students

Schools that empower students to take active roles in planning for their own future and that encourage them to reach further will see the best results. Choices360 is an innovative, modern technology platform that enables students to investigate their interests, abilities, and aptitudes. As students move through different activities and assessments during secondary school, they collect a personal data pool that informs them and their school counselors about curricular decision-making and how their unique competencies, interests, and abilities can be considered and applied when planning for their futures.

Choices360 is a foundational technology platform that helps every student identify their interests, abilities, and competencies to help navigate the complicated post-secondary transitioning landscape. Whether it is for career or technical courses aligned with industry standards, credentialing programs, combined high school/associate’s degree attainment, or online learning opportunities, this tool supports purposeful student self-exploration. Choices360 is committed to guiding career and academic planning to ensure that every student has a meaningful plan in place that sets them up for success after high school.

Here at XAP, we believe that exploration lays the foundation for planning. That’s why we help school and district counseling leaders implement equitable programs and strategies to ensure that students graduate high school not only with a diploma but also with a plan.

To see how we can help you better support your students and drive state, district, and school initiatives with greater ease, transparency, and data, feel free to contact our specialists today!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s