Beyond Graduation: Ensuring All Students Graduate with a Meaningful Postsecondary Plan

College and Career Readiness

This year, more than 3,000 students are scheduled to graduate from RISE Network high schools. However, we know that a high school diploma is not sufficient for students entering a competitive workforce, and we want all of our students to graduate with a personalized and well-matched postsecondary plan. Some seniors will enroll in college, others will enlist in the military, and some will begin certificate programs or join the workforce. Each of these pathways require students to complete 10+ milestones or tasks in order to achieve their postsecondary goals. Let’s put these numbers in perspective — 3,000 students x 10+ milestones each = 30,000+ milestones for students to complete and for educators and families to support. Under normal circumstances, postsecondary planning can be daunting and overwhelming for students, families, and staff (and with good reason!). And we’re so inspired to see how COVID-19 is not stopping counselors from supporting students in pursuing their college and career goals; instead, everyone is getting creative and feeling an even deeper sense of urgency. For example, we were so inspired to see the Meriden schools celebrate #WhyApply day in September, and schools like East Hartford High School are hosting new virtual workshops and events for students and families.

As we settle into what will undoubtedly be a complex school year, RISE is excited to expand our work together in the areas of college and career readiness. The RISE team looks forward to supporting school teams to ensure that all students graduate with personalized postsecondary plans in two new ways.

Senior List Meetings:  Over the past two years, East Hartford High School, Maloney High School (Meriden), and Career High School (New Haven) have had great success piloting Senior List Meetings. Similar to Grade 9 on-track data team meetings, these meetings bring together senior counselors and other educators on a regular basis to discuss seniors’ postsecondary goals and to ensure students are progressing relative to postsecondary milestones. RISE provides data tools and protocols to support these team conversations. Please learn more about these meetings here.

Postsecondary Trackers:  While most RISE high schools use Naviance to facilitate certain aspects of the application process, educators often struggle to aggregate trends over time, and it can be challenging to quickly pinpoint students who need support with specific postsecondary milestones. RISE will be providing all partner high schools with a secure and user-friendly postsecondary tracking tool to support these efforts. The tool will allow educator teams to understand (a) individual student progress relative specific milestones, and (b) completion rates across milestones.

The senior list meetings and postsecondary tracking tool are designed with four big objectives in mind:

  • Student Outcomes:  Ensure all seniors graduate with meaningful, personalized, and well-matched postsecondary plans, thereby increasing access and closing opportunity gaps.
  • Educator Collaboration:  Create a venue for educators — teachers, counselors, administrators, and college and career coordinators — to discuss data trends and student needs, and to coordinate next steps to support students and families in achieving their postsecondary aspirations.
  • Data-Driven Supports:  Track students’ progress relative to their stated plans and core access milestones, and coordinate Tier I, II, and III supports; celebrate successes and identify areas for continuous improvement. 
  • Postsecondary Culture:  Invest in a college-going and career-ready culture among students and staff by facilitating deeper, ongoing, and individualized conversations about postsecondary plans. 

We are already working with school teams to get these new structures underway and encourage RISE partners to contact your RISE school support team with questions about these new college and career efforts. As always, we look forward to learning from and collaborating with RISE educators to advance our shared goal of ensuring all students graduate with a meaningful postsecondary plan.