College and Career Planning

Six-Year Plan

Overview

To support all students in transition to post high school education opportunities the administrative team at Stillwater Area High School developed and implemented a process called the “Six-Year Plan” in conjunction with our strategic plan Vision 2014. Students meet with guidance counselors in 9th grade to conduct career and academic inventories as well as to begin planning their course progression throughout the 10-12 high school.

Students develop a comprehensive plan for four years of high school and their first two years of post high school education. As students move through this system they manage an online portfolio through Naviance. All students meet annually with parents, counselors and/or administrators. Students take a primary role and enter courses taken in their 9-12 education. Students self assess using an interest inventory providing data to place into Naviance. Counselors schedule individual meetings with all eleventh grade students. Students complete interest inventories to support their post secondary planning.

This information is shared during meetings with all students in grades 9-11. Additionally, parents meet once per year using this information to help students build/review their Six Year Plan. Administration at the high school will meet with all twelfth grade students to conduct an exit interview about how the plan helped shape their future plans as well as collect feedback on their high school experience.  

The positive involvement and parent component is just one way of redefining how we connect with parents. We have very low turnout at parent teacher conferences and this is one of the things we still do because it is something we “have always done.” Even though the rates of turnout indicate conferences are not successful. We believe if we create a meaningful experience for parents to come in, they will. The Six Year Planning process replaces the current registration process. Students complete this with a trained professional who guides them through a course selection process based on future interests. 

Staff Involvement

Parents and guardians meet with each student to discuss course progression with counselors and administrators. Teaching staff provide insight and ideas on how this process could better serve students in preparing for their future.

Assessment of Effectiveness

Do counselors and administrators meet with 100% of students? Are plans documented in Naviance. Does data reflect increased post secondary enrollment for students who have made six year plans? What is the increase in credit earning opportunities as they enter the post secondary setting? Are there fewer remedial courses?

Career Center

Overview

One of our identified goals was to increase the number of students who enter a two or four year educational institution upon graduation. We have seen a significant increase in the amount of student and community use. We also witnessed a significant increase from twenty colleges and universities to over ninety in the number of collegiate, technical and military representative visits to benefit our students. 

Staff Involvement

The Career Center staff serves in the center five days of the week hosting college visits and providing an open learning lab space. The learning lab is for learners seeking individual career planning using online resources. Staff coordinate events for counselors including the college signing day and other post secondary events.

Assessment of Effectiveness

We expect increased numbers of colleges and universities to access for our students to secure them to attend their institution. We see an increase in the number of students who access the Career Center for information they need for college and career planning opportunities.

Projections for 2012-13

We will promote school and academic opportunities using social network options including twitter and school-sponsored resources. We will see an increase number of parents accessing resources. We will increase the tracking of student use and data.

Stillwater Area High School Post Secondary Education Fair

Overview

During the 2011-2012 school year Stillwater Area High School hosted a College Fair for the high school community. Stillwater Area High School is one of the most well respected high schools in the state of Minnesota, making it easy to attract high performing colleges, universities, technical schools, armed services and other institutions of higher learning and service. We had 132 schools present at the College Fair and over one thousand participants. This activity dovetailed nicely with our focus on post secondary education for 100% of our students and the Six Year Plans.  

Staff Involvement

College and Career Center Staff, Counseling Staff, and Administration

Assessment of Effectiveness

Attendance rates of community and student participation, post secondary institution involvement as well as survey feedback from stakeholders.

Projections for 2012-13

Stillwater Area High School will project to offer the College Fair yearly in 2012-13.

Increase College in the Schools Elective Areas

Overview

Stillwater Area High School began a partnership with the University of MN in Agriscience in 2006. One staff member was trained in CIS to partner and offer credit to students in CIS: Agriscience. Our current CIS partnerships expanded in 2010 to include Music courses and partner with Century College. In 2011-2012 further expansion of the CIS program is being pursued with Century College, Minnesota State Mankato, University of Minnesota Duluth, and Globe College in multiple academic areas. Many of our students enrolled who meet criteria can receive college credit that is recognized by the University of Minnesota system. We anticipate further dialogue as we consider launching multiple new CIS options for students in the fall of 2012.

Research indicates one of the most significant things schools can do to close the achievement gap is to offer college credits to students in at risk populations. Research dictates that if students earn college credit and have a transcript they are more likely to enroll and continue post secondary education than if they graduate from high school and have no credits. The credit allows students to identify with a college or university and provides a place they are connected to where they can pursue future credits.

Staff Involvement

Partners from Century College continue efforts to expand credit earning opportunities and courses to provide post secondary plans while attending high school. Partners include Administrative Team, Century College Dean of Students, Teaching Staff, Administration, and Counselors.

Assessment of Effectiveness

Increased College in the Schools course offerings for all students. Increased number of students who attend post secondary education as a result of earning college credits during their time in high school.

Projections for 2012-13

Examine options to increase total offerings to have students in the middle third of decile rankings have increased opportunities.

Weighted Grades & Dual Rank

Overview

Students who enroll in academic courses at Stillwater Area High School receive a weighted grade for all Advanced Placement and College in the Schools courses. They will also now receive a decile rank instead of an individual rank. Starting with the Class of 2009, student transcripts no longer reported rank by GPA. Stillwater Area High School began reporting weighted and unweighted GPA’s starting with the class of 2009. This decision aligned with the practice of the majority of high schools Stillwater Area High School students complete with for college scholarships and admission.

Staff Involvement

Administration and counselors determined which high schools, colleges and universities to survey as part of the Class Rank Task Force prior to the decision being finalized by the Board of Education. Approximately 40 schools were surveyed by the PAC: Parent Action Group working with principal. It was determined that the addition of decile rank would provide expanded opportunity for students. Actions were finalized by Dr. Laager who proposed this process for recommendation to the board in December 2009.

Assessment of Effectiveness

The anticipation of the dual rank required proactive measures and problem solving in advance to making any proposed changes to the process. The largest concern was an anticipation of students enrolling in weighted classes. There was no measured decrease in unweighted courses and weighted course enrollment continues to be consistent with previous measures.

Projections for 2012-13

Continue current efforts and applications

School Profile

Overview

During the 2008-2009 school year, work was completed with input from Northwestern University (Illinois), Harvard University (Massachusetts), Stanford University (California), as well as other highly successful area school districts (Mounds View, Minnetonka, Edina, and South Washington County) to reconfigure the Stillwater Area High School profile.  With every graduate applying for post secondary education, the school profile is sent with student transcripts. The school profile is perhaps one of the most important communication tools to post secondary education institutions as it outlines our school’s successes, grading practices, and innovative programming. Prior to 2008 the Schools Profile was seen by parents as something needing significant improvement.  

Staff Involvement

Counselors, Administration, Clerical Staff

Projections for 2012-13

Continue current efforts and applications

Book Awards

Overview

Stillwater Area High School started honoring outstanding juniors with Book Awards given by some highly selective Colleges and Universities (Colby, Harvard, Yale, Wellesley, Dartmouth, and St. Michael’s).  In 2009 we expanded this opportunity and implemented a formal ceremony to honor students each year in our College and Career Center. A Book Award recognizes academic achievement and honors a student for their hard work. Book Awards do not offer scholarship or admission to the honoring college or university, however they serve as a public relations outreach opportunity. During the 2008-2010 school years, this event has increased in size and formality.

Staff Involvement

Guidance Counselors, Career and College Center, Administration

Projections for 2012-13

Continue current efforts and applications

Senior Signing Day

Overview

Starting three years ago, the Stillwater Area High School Career and College Center, in collaboration with the counseling staff began a Senior Signing Day. On May 1st each spring, students are honored in a post-secondary Signing Ceremony in the Career Center. Students sign in with their representative Pony Center to indicate where they are going for their post secondary experiences. This list is then compiled and listed on a framed wall for students and community. Refreshments are provided and students are acknowledged for their further pursuit of knowledge, and job training.  

Staff Involvement

Counseling Staff, Administration, Career and College Center

Projections for 2012-13

Continue current efforts and applications

Alumni Day

Overview

Annually, Alumni are invited back to share their current experiences in post secondary education. Juniors meet with Alumni focusing on the selection process, course work suggestions for their senior year, financing questions, ACT/SAT question and other general college and university themed inquiries. Seniors meet with Alumni during this time and the focus is on the transition to college or university including: dorm life, social and academic balance, rigor of courses and how to get the most out of the college experience.  

Staff Involvement

Career and College Center, Counseling Staff

Projections for 2012-13

Continue current efforts and applications