Shepaug Valley School counselors strongly believe in the importance of all students of having a plan for furthering their education, training, or work prior to graduation from Shepaug. We believe it is the responsibility of the counselor to work closely with each student to help them identify a plan and make it a reality. For the last three years the counseling department had administered a future planning survey to students in grades eight through twelve. Counselors analyzed the results of this survey and found that the data indicated that 20% of the student population did not have a post-secondary plan. Given this high percentage we implemented programs aimed at reducing the number of students who were unclear about their post secondary plans. Activities include field trips, presentations, and classroom lessons all aimed at assisting our students to investigate future opportunities.
School counselors continued previous activities that centered around college planning, to help families and students become educated on the college process. We added several activities that were geared to meet the interests of students who were not interested in attending college. We felt that in a school where so much focus is on attending college, we needed to provide information on opportunities that would help non-college bound students further their skills or obtain competitive employment. One example was the creation and implementation of a Ready to Work Panel. The RtWP consisted of five different area employers and career agencies. Presenters explained the process for applying to their training programs and their job placement rates. In addition, the counseling office planned a field trip to Job Corps and took seniors who showed an interest. Two seniors followed up with applying and attending. We planned other trips to a technical school and a community college. Our college and career coordinator organized dozens of job shadow experiences for juniors. Counselors helped students with filling applications to the various training programs and prepared students for interviews.
Our results were that 76 of 77 seniors left with a concrete plan for college, training or work. One student was in the process of deciding between 2 jobs at the time of graduation. Moving forward we will continue the same programs as they proved to be successful in allowing our students to realize the additional opportunities that were available to them. We will also be looking into expanding on the job shadow experience and planning a career fair in the 2016-2017 school year.