The following year I launched electronic student portfolios, but made them optional. Today those free electronic student portfolios are mandatory for all students and the foundation of my school counseling curriculum, as they support all 3 ASCA domains and provide parents with the opportunity to monitor their students academic growth, personal/social development and career development.
Today, College & Career Day is a staple at CHS, we host a keynote speaker and colleges, our career center & local employers set up information tables & share information, our students also work on their career portfolios and do testing. Currently, almost 100% of my seniors go into their senior year with a clear direction for their future, I do still have some that have a tough time deciding, or listen to the negativity from faculty members that don't believe in my vision-yes there are major obstacles.
A lot has changed for the better as a result of our comprehensive school counseling program and systematic career development program, the results don't lie. Almost 100% of our students graduate with college credit and almost 90% go on to college, trade school or enlist with the armed forces.
When the new IL School Report Cards were released recently I was disappointed that my school chose not to highlight our great and ever improving program. Here is how I chose to advocate for more exposure and support:
An email to my administration (including my superintendent)
"This article is exactly why I always highlight our Career Development program. We have been above the curve for 6 years & running and we didn't buy our program. I created it based on current job market trends and the needs of our students, and customize and update it each year with free, electronic resources from the state and other sources.
I implemented electronic student portfolios 6 years ago for struggling seniors and made them mainstream 5 years ago. Last year they became mandatory for all students and are now the foundation of our school counseling curriculum.
Through the career development process students can better see the connection between the classroom and a career and begin to appreciate education more. The possibilities are endless.
We need to highlight our program on our school report card and continue to strengthen it with more teacher buy-in, participation from the grade school in career development efforts and create a systematic job shadowing program within our own community.
I am committed to growing & strengthening the program. How can you all help to make sure we stay above this curve and ensure success for all of our students?"
November is National Career Development Month, read the article above and create an opportunity to dialogue with your administration about the unique contribution school counselors bring to schools and why we must be given the opportunity to do what we do best for the sake of our schools, students, communities and the future of our nation.