A Team Approach to Supporting Students with Making Career and Academic Choices
In a school, the role of career advisor cannot fall to just the counselor—it must be a team effort. Schools that commit to the post-secondary success of every student understand this. The counselor’s goal of supporting students with making career and academic choices is a vital part of their job, but they need support from their team. This comes from three primary sources: administration, fellow teachers, and curriculum and technology specialists.
From the building principal to the superintendent, there must be support from the top. Administrators must protect the time of counselors while giving them the tools that they need to be successful.
Every counselor knows that their plate is too full to do the job that they thought that they were hired to do. While everyone in the education system is stretched thin, the role of a counselor is different. Too many administrators assign counselors other duties, often ones administrative in nature. Things like master scheduling, tiered instruction support, classroom subbing, and even lunch duty swallow all the minutes in the day, and social-emotional support and post-secondary planning tend to fall by the wayside. Administrators can help support students by protecting the counselor’s time to help kids plan for their future.
Even with adequate time to work with students, counselors still require resources from their administrators. The counselor plays a vital role in helping students create a plan to achieve their goals. Choices360 is an example of the perfect tool for post-secondary planning. Counselors can support students from the enrollment process in their freshman year to their college applications as seniors. Choices360 can be used by students anywhere, anytime, so teachers can add additional support to the process.
If counselors’ plates are full, teachers’ plates are overflowing. How could we possibly add post-secondary planning to their long list of duties? By giving them an easy-to-use tool and showing them the benefits that it has for them as a teacher.
Whether it is a future in the military, workforce, trade school, or four-year university, most students will get an inkling of what they want to do next. The teacher can tap into that interest to help increase a student’s motivation. The work that the counselor has done with the student to research careers gives the teacher knowledge of the student’s goals in a more efficient manner. The student’s account in Choices360 becomes a one-stop depository for the student portfolio and post-secondary plan.
Technology and Curriculum Support
Other critical team members are the leaders in the technology and curriculum departments. Their work of implementing a big-picture vision for the district is essential for student success.
The curriculum department can focus on the ecosystem supporting students with making career and academic choices. Ongoing professional learning is critical to remember, both in training on the technical/software side and on the implementation side of things. As advances in technology create demand for new, specific technical jobs, it is hard for anyone in the school to keep up with all the job trends. Teachers have daily contact with students and can engage them better in conversations about the future of work if they have ongoing professional learning about post-secondary options.
Finally, the support of the tech department is crucial. Single-sign-on integration and student rostering are small but essential elements to have in place. Choices360 supports these features and can troubleshoot any technical problems that arise, reducing the workload of the counselors.
By having a supportive team and maximizing a tool like Choices360, counselors can help students plan for their post-secondary options and meet all the other demands of their position. In supporting students with making career and academic choices, counselors can improve school outcomes, like graduation, and post-secondary outcomes, like college enrollment and degree completion. Teamwork turns students’ dreams into plans and those plans into reality.
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!