Giving Good Guidance – Part 2
September 18, 2019
Well, thank you, Dr. Rosenbaum. That was the perfect segue into my presentation. I’m going to talk a little bit about how college and career readiness have changed in Iowa over the last about 10 years, and how Iowa has moved from a task-based checklist to – hopefully into some high-quality career exploration planning and having a quality career decision making experience. Dr. Rosenbaum mentioned focusing on college and career and the benefits of earning a certificate. And that’ll be part of our discussion later. My name is Amy Vybiral. I work for the Iowa Department of Education. I’m in the Bureau of Career and Technical Education. And I’m a counselor by training. I have both – had both, I haven’t kept it up – school counselor endorsement and community counseling endorsement. And I’ve worked on – at Iowa State University for two years, and then at a community college for three or four years. So, when I came to the Department of Education and started working in Perkins, the state model was a single source of truth, which was I Have A Plan Iowa. It was a product that used to be called Choices. And that was a state-designated career information system. That was based on 32 components in grades 8, to actually get started, through 12. And that seems to be the general model, or people are still using that extensively – different states are. That was passed as an unfunded mandate in 2007, and that first five year cohort came out of ’08 through ’13. What those 32 components, they were developmentally appropriate career experiences, for example, for 8th graders to have. And the spirit of the law was that students would be choosing a pathway forward that would be visited every year. And they would be selecting coursework that reflected their post-secondary experience. I would say that their post-secondary experience usually meant a four year baccalaureate experience. That has evolved substantially to include anything beyond high school, including degrees, diplomas, certificates and so forth. So, I was really glad to hear what Dr. Rosenbaum was saying about the 78.8% increase and the 13% increase in earnings, because those are important numbers to recognize for diplomas and for certificates. What we – we ended up having quite a few users – sorry, Megan. So, after the first I believe it was six years, we had over 164,000 students enrolled. Iowa’s total population is 3.2 million, so we’re a pretty small state. But we made this available for everybody. So, for example, adult – adults could use it, parents could check into it, middle school, high school. Students started in 8th grade and prepared their course plan. And we required a parent signature so that we had parent engagement. Again, the spirit of the law – the intent was parent engagement, and as we all know now, one of our unintended consequences was that signature doesn’t necessarily imply parent engagement. And I certainly understand that as a busy parent myself. So, what we learned is, there was one state-designated system, and that was the I Have A Plan Iowa. And it was a very large and comprehensive program. What we knew in Iowa at the time was that some schools were engaged in quality career programming – you know, pre-K-12. Others were doing very little about it. And I would guess that most states see that kind of implementation statewide; where there is a school counselor who is passionate about career counseling, they have a wonderful career counseling program. Where that doesn’t hold true and other things are valued from the counselor’s point of view, career counseling is not implemented in the same way as it might be elsewhere. But the size of the options for the programming for IHAPI were enormous, and it was an overwhelming task to – just to do the professional development with that. It was actually funded by Iowa College Student Aid Commission, and they put about, you know, it was close to – it was close to $9 or 10 million for the state. So, schools did not have to pay for that system. But we lost the funding to that in the ’15 academic year, and the Department of Ed funded it this year. June 30th, it will go away. Some other unintended consequences: like I said, IHAPI was inflexible. So, for example, you had to go in sequential order. And as you know, most of you know, you’re teaching to a multi-level – multi-level classroom, and what works for some 8th graders doesn’t work for other 8th graders and so forth. Others implemented it beautifully and had quality career programming going. I think the most important lesson we learned is, allow counselors to – and trust them to use their training and use good sense when providing career counseling. Our new direction with this – I’ll try to keep up with my own slides. Our new direction really came when the legislature mandated HF604, that required that Career and Technical Education – create a task force to look at CTE in Iowa. And so, when – there were several groups that came together looking at things like career academies. They will be looking at work-based learning, maybe. But career guidance fell into that realm. And so, we had a career guidance task force members subgroup task force work groups. And then out of that came changed legislation that the governor signed that altered our Iowa code for that. What we eventually did, as well, is we put together a career standards group. Let me go back and just explain, I guess, a couple of things that changed. So, in it, we required – in the spirit, I guess, of the law, but adding some flexibility – so, the revision law requires that all students in grades 8 through 12 have an academic plan that is updated annually, and post-secondary refers to everything. Dr. Rosenbaum, again, I’m glad he spoke to this. But it includes college, career, military, training; so many different things. My time is coming short, and it required a tool. It required a local team. So, the – the sum and substance – I need to wrap this up – is that Iowa will be moving forward so that districts do choose their own vendor and will be required to report utilization statistics to Iowa. But I guess the implementation will be monitored by some regional partnerships that were set up. It’ll be 9 to 12 different partnership that will bring together several different themes and resources within the community.