Building a College-Going Culture
Ensuring Students are College Ready
Each staff member’s role in contributing to students’ success in school is a central feature of ISA’s beliefs about distributed counseling. “To improve the quality of education so that all students can achieve, every staff member, individually and as a team, has an important role to play in attending to students’ social and emotional needs so that every child will have the support needed to succeed academically” (Freeman and Mogulescu 2003).
Sustained and trusting teacher-student relationships can be used to influence student performance, motivation, and achievement. Every adolescent should have available to him or her an adult who is responsible for monitoring and advocating for that adolescent’s academic and social progress. Students, like adults, are respected as autonomous human beings. Thus they are recognized not only as students, but also as individuals with their own thoughts and feelings. All team members encourage all students to achieve. As schools/academies strive toward improvement, student failure becomes less and less of an option.
School teams put in place a variety of structures and strategies to support students’ academic, social, and emotional development. Two common strategies that are used to help teams support students’ progress are team case conferencing and advisory programs. ISA coaches support the development and implementation of these approaches as a means for improving graduation rates, on-time graduation, and student achievement.
High schools that hope to prepare a college-for-all vision need to prepare their students to conduct a well-informed postsecondary search process that results in college admission, enrollment, and graduation. A well-developed college access program creates opportunities that improve students’ expectations early on, so ISA schools map out a college going-plan that begins in the 9th grade. ISA’s college access program prepares students for the journey ahead over a period of 4 years and helps to demystify the college application process. ISA students and families believe that college is a viable option and are appropriately equipped for the journey ahead.
To enrich the college-going program, ISA has partnered with Hobsons, the developers of the online Naviance platform. Naviance is a comprehensive college and career readiness solution for middle and high schools that helps align student strengths and interests to post-secondary goals, and improve student outcomes. Naviance supports students’ self-discovery of interests and learning styles, career explorations, college and career preparation, and aligned academic planning.