The 9th grade career cluster finder survey proved to be a good activity for students as 96% of students were able to correctly identify with a career cluster at the conclusion of the lesson which was a 33% increase based on perception data taken prior to the lesson. Students were able to research careers that fell within a cluster area as well as gain knowledge about recommended courses, post-secondary education requirements, employment outlook and wages. We feel that this lesson is imperative for students in order to begin making more informed decisions regarding course selection and post-secondary planning.
We had 15 students who were not able to name a specific career cluster area but they were able to cite a specific career they had considered. We need to allow more time during the lesson for one-on-one discussion with those students who struggle and possibly even work with them independently to complete the activity. Some students would have probably benefited from one-on-one for reading/comprehension assistance or clarification of the questions posed. We can then further expand our lesson by bridging education and career. This would help students plan well for postsecondary studies so that they are able to correctly enroll into appropriate high school courses as well as work to meet admissions requirements for postsecondary programs.
Another improvement to this lesson would be to invite our Career Development Coordinator and Career Coach to assist in the classroom. They could prove to be a valuable resource in answering questions about career clusters, post-secondary programs of study at Alamance Community College and opportunities for students to further explore a cluster area (online resources, job shadowing, internships, etc). We will work to increase collaboration with these professionals in this classroom lesson for the 2017-2018 school year.
Improving our ACT scores this year was a school improvement goal for our school and carries a lot of weight as our school accountability model considers ACT scores. Naturally, our Principal is always working with us to creatively find ways to help students perform better not only for school accountability measures but also for personal student gains (IE: college acceptance). We incorporated ACT prep in junior English and math classes in hopes to help prepare our students for the state administration. 69% of students reported feeling prepared to take the ACT after the prep session compared to 39% during the pre-test.
Only 52% of students tested scored a 17 or higher on the ACT administration; so we still have a lot of work to do to better prepare our students. We will make recommendations to our leadership team to continue providing test preparation activities but we need to look at expanding our activities and starting them sooner. We will suggest a school-wide plan that incorporates test preparation across multiple content areas and that can be delivered by teachers and Counselors. We will also work to increase the frequency of these activities based on students’ feedback (86% felt they would benefit from more test preparation). Students realized after the prep session that they would benefit from additional support and we should be prepared to offer this assistance when we have an engaged audience who finds value in the information.
With a graduation rate of 84.3% we are pleased to report that 98% of 12th graders report having concrete plans to enroll, enlist or obtain employment following graduation. Only 2% of students were undecided or plan to take a gap year to explore their interests. We have a lot of work to do to increase our graduation rate to 90% and are already considering many interventions that might help address this goal. Senior conferences continue to be one of the highlights of year. Seniors report feeling more at ease with the college application process and post-secondary planning after conferences with their school counselor.
We need to look at creative ways to conference with every senior. We have discussed doing conferences via phone or google hangouts. Our goal next year will be to conference with 100% of the senior class to ensure that all students have the support and information needed for proper post-secondary planning. This year we utilized a google document to collect important information about seniors. Next year we plan to include a section on intended major/area of study beyond high school. We are doing this in order to reach out to students when specific scholarship, employment or enrichment opportunities become available during their senior year. We look forward to expanding and enhancing equitable services to all students.