Greatra Mayana

Career & Employment Opportunities

Session 09 – Counseling for Careers

After 40 plus years in the education arena,
I’ve learned a few things. Hopefully, most of them are good. One thing I’ve learned is that regardless
of quality instruction, regardless of the curriculum that you have, the textbooks you
have, the facility that you have, there are few things that stand in our way. We still have some detours and roadblocks
that we had to deal with a hundred years ago, and we’re still dealing with those today. The first one is absenteeism. As I used to tell my students when I was in
the classroom, if you come to school, I’ll do the rest, but if you’re not here, I can’t
teach you. And as I work with schools around the country
I keep hearing over and over again that students just do not come to school. So absenteeism is an issue that I feel like
we have nationally. The second thing is discipline. We have far too many discipline referrals. It’s almost like if the students decide
to come to school, then they don’t behave themselves and so if they’re going to be
in ISS or in the principal’s office all day or get suspended, then once again, if they’re
not there, we can’t teach ’em. As I talk to a group of administrators recently,
we all agreed on that we needed better attendance, we needed fewer discipline referrals, but
the third thing that came up really bothered me and at the same time I was not surprised. I said, so what else is the issue? Why do students not want to come to school? Why do students get in trouble when they do
get to school? And what I heard was apathy; students are
just not motivated. Matter of fact one of the principles went
so far as to say you know, apathy, I don’t care and my momma don’t care, either. Well, I would like to think if I could offer
you a solution, maybe not a silver bullet, but a solution, to these three areas that
we all have issues with, would that be something you’re interested in? I hope so. I’m Lynn Anderson. I represent the Southern Region Education
Board School Improvement Division, and I’m the coordinator of an initiative called Counseling
for Careers. Counseling for Careers is a districtwide,
statewide, campuswide initiative. We’re all-hands-on-deck, are a part of an
initiative that encourages students, motivates students, and makes education personalized
and customized so that our students want to come to school. Recently in a school, I heard a young lady
say, “It’s not so bad anymore because we’re planning my life.” Counseling for Careers is a initiative that
doesn’t cost you anything. What we need is, we need time, we need passion,
we need energy, and we need to do the right things for our students. Over the next few minutes I’m going to share
with you the seven essential strategies that make up Counseling for Careers. Again, this is not a program that you buy,
this is not something that one entity does. Administrators don’t do this, teachers don’t
do this, counselors don’t do this, everyone does this. We’re even going to call on the students,
and the community, and the parents. So let’s take a look at the Counseling for
Careers initiative and hopefully be able to make a plan so that we can input this in your
schools to overcome some of the issues that we’re having with students today. Counseling for Careers — don’t let the
name fool you — this is not only what counselors do, but it’s what everyone on campus does
in order to make sure that we’re serving our students and preparing them for their
successful future. Counseling for Careers, better known as C4C,
can be a statewide, a districtwide, a campuswide, schoolwide initiative that basically cost
you nothing except time, dedication, passion, and a vision. You’ve got a lot of this stuff going on,
on campus already, I promise you, you do. And that’s one of the things that we do
with Counseling for Careers, if you decide that this is something that you’re interested
in knowing more about, then I would come to your school and we would sit down and do a
gap analysis, an assessment, to see which of the seven essential strategies that we’re
about to be introduced to that you already have going on, on campus; which ones need
to be tweaked; which ones need to be done a little differently, but I guarantee you, you have a lot of this already going on, on campus. You’re doing great things, sometimes we just have to package ’em just a little bit differently. Counseling for Careers help students connect
to a goal beyond high school. We want to make sure that they’re not just
getting through one year to the next, but that they have an education and career plan
for the future. Counseling for Careers is counselor-led – I
said earlier it’s not just a counseling program – it is counselor-led and by that, what we
mean there is that counselors have the resources in many cases that we need in other parts
of the initiative. For example, they know the website for an
interest inventory, they understand the graduation plan, they know the number of credits that
it takes to be able to graduate from your school. Matter of fact, if you have anybody on a high
school campus who doesn’t know the number of credits it takes to graduate from your
high school, we need to make sure we’re informing our educators just a little bit better. Shame on you! It is administratively driven, because we
all realize that without administrative support and understanding and positive feedback, nothing
on our campus is going to be successful. Through teacher partnerships, counselor-led,
administratively-driven through teacher partnerships. Dr. Mel Levine had a book a few years ago
called Ready or Not: Here Life Comes and in the book Dr. Levine mentioned that we need
to make sure that we talk to our children and our students about the future on a regular
basis; that we implement good work habits in our classroom; that we make our classroom
a workplace. You know, how serious is your school about
tardies? Is there a plan? Is there a procedure? Because you know being late to work is not
something that’s going to get you a positive; after a certain amount of time, it could probably
cost you your job. If your task not done on time, if you don’t
learn to work as a team, if you don’t have … honesty and integrity, those things make
a difference. So counselor-led, administratively driven,
through teacher partnerships — we have to count on our teachers because they see the
students and have them firsthand more than anyone else on campus. Now, the very beginning for a Counseling for
Careers initiative on campus is we must have a Counseling for Careers implementation team. As you are aware, many professional development
opportunities, or many initiatives that come down the pike, the first thing they want to
do is take half your teachers off campus for 20 days a year to provide professional development
and mentoring and tutoring and that’s wonderful, if that’s a possibility. But having had two children of my own, I know
as a parent and an educator I get a little miffed when I keep hearing that my son had
a sub at school because the expert is the teacher and I want my child, just like most
parents, their children being taught by the expert. So we begin with a Counseling for Careers
implementation team, and this team becomes the governing body for this initiative on
campus. They don’t do it all, but they direct it
all. We must have an administrator. An administrator who has bought into the initiative,
who believes what we’re doing is going to be positive and can be positive and is willing
to have our back if there’s an issue, whether it be within the faculty, with the district
office, with a parent, an administrator who believes in what we’re doing. Then we need this … this … particular
implementation team that you see in front of you is the minimum. It can be more people if that works out, but
at the same time, it can be simply this … these folks — would never want any more than 10
members on the implementation team. Really about six to eight is a good number,
so we have the administrator, we want the lead counselor, we want a lead academic teacher,
and a lead career and technical educator. Now as I say lead, I am not talking about
the people who’ve been there the longest. I’m not talking about the people with the
highest amount of education. I’m not talking about the person with the
most test scores or the best test scores. I’m talking about the educators who are
the first ones there in the morning, the last ones to leave in the afternoon, who truly
love children, and want to make a difference. Then we can add a graduation coach, a career
coach, student services representative. Another good person to add to the team is
Junior ROTC. Basically, anyone who loves children, wants
to make a difference, and realizes that there is no time clock in being an educator and
that you’re never going to get paid for everything you do. Counseling for Careers is an organized structured
effort that helps students connect to their successful future. Through this experience, students learn, they
experience, and they become a part of all of that set of learning experiences that enables
them to have a vision for the future. All of us, we’ve heard that a goal is just
a dream with a deadline. A friend of mine years ago, Fox Butterfield,
who was a research journalist with the New York Times, did a survey on why Asian students
appeared to be more intelligent than students.American And one thing he learned was that Asian students
in the Asian culture value a vision; they look beyond. If they can dream it, they’re going to work
hard and try to do it. They always have a vision of something better. And then there was one other key component
of their culture: they are raised to believe that you do not feel entitled to anything
you don’t sweat and struggle for. Counseling for Careers is putting an organized
structure effort in place that connects students to a successful future all the while giving
them the knowledge and skills that it takes to be able to accomplish that future. As I mentioned earlier, Counseling for Careers
has seven essential strategies and we’re going to go through those one at a time, quite
briefly, because what we would like to do is come to your region and do possibly a two-day
professional development where you send teams from your schools, that would be middle schools,
high schools, and technology centers. We also welcome elementary schools — that
is always up to the district — but what we’re going to do today is were going to
run through the seven essential strategies to give you an idea what they are and then
you can have the information and contact us if you want to know more. Strategy Number 1: Assignments and lessons
where students discover the connection between the classroom and their successful future. Basically, what we’re going to do here is,
we’re going to answer those age-old questions, “Why do I have to take this?” and “When
am I ever going to use this?” We’ve all asked these questions, don’t
say you haven’t. I can remember specifically when I asked these
questions in my geometry class as a sophomore in high school. I asked my teacher, “Why do I have to take
this?” and the answer I got was, “Because you have to have it to graduate.’ Then I asked, “When am I ever going to use
this?” and she thought for just a moment and said, “Trust me, you will.” Now what I’ve learned from that since then
is when-am-I-ever-going-to-use-this? Trust-me-you-will meant, in reality, I don’t
know but I love math and I want you to love math, too. And I don’t and I didn’t. However, when I’ve hung a ceiling fan at
my home or tried to plumb a door or when I was making draperies for my living room and
the list goes on and on, I sure wish I had taken that geometry a little more seriously. Many times we hear that elementary teachers
do a great job with this making it relevant and you know why? That’s easy. A second-grader does not care that it’s
going to be on the test. A fourth-grader does not care if they need
this to graduate. So everything our elementary teaches has to
be relevant, it has to become a part of the lives of those students in order for them
to recognize that they need and want to learn this. We just need to do a better job of that right
on through our postsecondary. Strategy Number 2 is the Structured Advisement
Initiative that provides every student with an adviser, a mentor, or an advocate on campus
through a structured effort that addresses personal, social, academic, and careers. We have a great group of resources, electronic
lessons, a strategic plan for this and would love to share it with you. The advisement initiative has been misunderstood
for years but done correctly can become the very favorite part of students’ and teachers’
days and years on campus. Strategy Number 3 is the Transition Initiative. We’re talking here from elementary to middle
school, middle school to high school, high school to postsecondary, and postsecondary
into a career. Hopefully, a career that will make students
happy and them successful as they venture into the future. I wanted to share this with you mainly because
a few years ago I had the great opportunity to work with a team of 12 educators. It was approximately 2006, and the dropout
rate in our country was higher than it had been in 50 years. Sadly to say, it’s not a whole lot better
today. As I work with these 12 educators from across
the country, we had elementary educators, we had middle school educators, high school
educators, postsecondary educators, as well as some business and industry folks. And we sat down and basically sort of scratched
our heads for the first couple of days because we had been brought together by the U.S. Department
of Education to address the dropout issue. What is going on and what can we do about
this? So we started to try to target where we thought
we stumbled first. We realized that students who start school
into elementary, who have not been to preschool, maybe even not been in a day care, they have
issues, they have to transition. All of a sudden they’re on a schedule, they’re
having to follow certain rules and regulations, they have to get along with others. Then just about the time they get that figured
out, they transition to middle school where things get a little tighter — little more
rules and regulations. They’re supposed to act more grown and as
we know, those middle schoolers, bless their hearts, they just love drama. And so when you have drama with all these
rules and regulations, it gets a little iffy sometimes. But the area that we found that had the most,
the biggest leap, was that transition from middle school to high school. And so we really dug in and we did our homework. Many times I asked, as we look at the data,
I asked schools, I asked educators, I asked parents, you know the data tells us that in
eighth grade, 95 percent of eighth-graders aspire to go to college. Yet, at the beginning of the 10th-grade year,
two years later, 80 percent of 10th- graders aspire to go to college. Now, we realize that everyone does not need
to go to college; there’s other opportunities: technical school, the military, apprenticeship
programs, but that is just one area that we have the data. So I always ask the question, so why did 95
percent of eighth-graders aspire to go to college and only 80 percent of 10th-graders
aspire to college … to go to college? The answer is freshman year. That is the biggest transition move that anyone
makes. Our rising ninth-graders, our eighth-graders
becoming ninth-graders, learn a new vocabulary word – it’s called credits. Before, pretty much, if they did their best,
if they worked hard, and they showed some type of progress in a English, a math, or
a social studies class, they were probably going to get promoted to the next grade. All of a sudden, they go to high school, and
four years and two credits does not a junior make. So, we dug in and looked at that a little
closer, too, and this is the data we have pulled together since 2006. Sixty-seven percent of students who ultimately
drop out of high school make that decision before Christmas their freshman year. They can’t drop out, per se, grade … grade-wise,
age-wise, parents not going to let them do this yet. But they do drop out. They drop out right here and they drop out
right here. They just take the I-can’t-do-this attitude. I can’t keep up with all these courses;
I can’t pass all my courses; there’s so many credits required for graduation; if I
fail a course, I’m not going to have time to make it up. Oh my goodness, my district doesn’t offer
summer school anymore … and eventually they just throw their hands up and quit. So what happens is, if they make that decision
before Christmas, as a freshman, by the time they do become a junior, which is probably
the age that they might be able to legally drop out of school, they don’t have near
enough credits to even dream about graduating the next year and when they realize they can’t
walk with their classmates, they can’t walk with a group of students they come to high
school with, then they are able to convince parents and sometimes educators that they
might as well just go out and do something different and not worry about completing high
school. Herein lies the problem. By 2020, over 70 percent of the careers in
our country will require some type of postsecondary education and training past high school. So as we look at the seven essential strategies
of Counseling for Careers, Number Strategy 3, a Transition Initiative, starting in elementary and going all the way through to postsecondary, might be one of our most important and one
of our most strong initiatives to keeping students in school and helping them stay on
task. That’s where they need to be. Strategy Number 4: Personalized Education
and Career Plans for All Students. Every state has an individual graduation plan
or an academic career plan or an academic graduation plan, it’s just different to
different state. But the bottom line is we’ve taken this
a step further with a personalized education and career plans for all students. We’re taking that typical graduation plan
and putting it on steroids. We recommend that this starts no later than
sixth grade and is a working document that keeps a record of all the interest inventories,
learning styles inventories, aptitude tests, personality profiles, job shadowing, guest
speakers, and the list goes on and on that will go into students making a wise choice
when it comes to the goals they want to accomplish when they make decisions relating to their
career. This is a working document that is done by
the students, but it must be maintained by school personnel and work cooperatively not
only with the students but with parents in an effort to make sure that the student’s
success is the most logical plan based on all the information that has been pulled together
and accumulated since sixth grade. Strategy Number 5: Career Themed Program of
Study/Career Pathway/Career Academy. I would love to be able to open the window
and open the door and reach out to counselors and say how many students have you said so
what … what career pathway, what career academy, what program of study are you interested
in? If we had a quarter for every time you’ve
heard “I don’t know,” then we’d all be rich. Or, I think I’m going to go into engineering,
they make a lot of money, don’t they? Or, I think I’m going to go into health
care because that’s what my friend is doing. My youngest son went into health care as a
elective and went through his program of study in health science because that’s where his
girlfriend was. Well, I’m proud to tell you that he graduated
from high school, even though he was going to be a teacher and a coach and that’s what
he is today, he graduated from high school a certified nursing assistant, no thanks to
the girlfriend, but thanks to a program of study that he really latched onto and really,
really enjoyed. As he mentioned to me recently, he said, “You
know, Mom, if you’re going to be an educator, this is not bad to have the CNA license because
students are going to get hurt and they’re going to get sick.” So what we look here … with this career-themed
program of study, career pathway, career academy, we look back at all the information that has
been accumulated since sixth grade and then we use that to help students to see the relevance
in their academic coursework, make connections to high-skill, high-wage career options, qualifications
for college and career, postsecondary education opportunities, ending in licenses, certificates,
apprenticeships and degrees. This is definitely, not only, but definitely
a big part of career and technical education today. Strategy Number 6: Education and Career Exploration. One of the first things I recommend is that
we ask our students’ parents what they want to do. We have a survey that goes home to parents
or you can actually put it on your website. We found out where parents work, what their
occupation is, possibly what kind of special hobbies or interests they might have that
they would want to share with a group of students. This is going to evolve into career days,
postsecondary opportunities, and the list goes on and on. Strategy Number 7: another area that I feel
that every school in America has issues with, wants to see more of, possibly doesn’t have
the time to do, or in one case I worked recently, you know Ms. Anderson, these parents just
won’t come. And that is increasing Parent and Community
Partnerships. Years ago, students did not register for their
upcoming year, especially in high school, until they sat down with either a counselor,
an administrator, or an adviser, student, parent, and educator to look at what the options
were, what was available, what the students’ interest pointed them toward. Today I hear all over the country, we sit
down with a student, they tell us what they want to take, or we tell them what we have
openings in, and when we send that form home for the parents to sign and it comes back. Folks, let’s just be totally honest, we
get what we pay for. Who signs those forms? Do we ever get ’em all back? The bottom line is no, and we don’t know. Part of Counseling for Careers is an opportunity
to look at a variety of initiatives that will help get parents more involved, maybe a different
schedule, different locations, hey, sometimes we just have to go to the parents. But by making this annual face-to-face meeting
a requirement, and then working with parents to make that happen, it can happen. It will happen, if that’s important to you. Business and industry partnerships can provide
career role models and mentors for your students, it can also give you opportunities for job
shadowing and internships, and today we’re really looking at economic and community development,
civic organizations as partners because the high-wage, high-skill jobs come from an area
that we need to know more about. Exactly how is that determined and how do
we find training in those areas? Hopefully you have seen something in this
presentation that’s spurred your interest. If so, here … you will see my contact information
at the end of the presentation. Feel free to contact me at SREB, feel free
to call Judith Sams at the state department. Contact your local CTE director or your local
curriculum instruction supervisor. Any of those folks will be glad to help you
get in touch with the right people. Please understand that we’re not selling
a product. We are offering the assistance and the resources
necessary to do what we need to do as educators to make sure that we meet the needs of all
students, not just a few, but all students and help them be prepared and have the knowledge
and skills necessary for their successful future. Thank you.

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