How Vancouver Public Schools District is Meeting High School and Beyond Plan Requirements Using Xello
The Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) district Career Guidance team is on a mission to make sure their students are “enrolled, enlisted, or employed after high school”.
With a goal of honoring all pathways, they are working to prepare students to enroll in a professional technical school, a two-year college or a four-year college; enlist in one of the branches of the military; or become employed in a high-demand, high-wage career.
In addition to achieving the state-mandated 24 credits, high school students are expected to make connections with what they’re learning and what they want to do when they graduate.
“They need to find out about themselves, their interests and skills and what career opportunities are available to them and then put that all together to make a plan,” said Katie Siewert, CTE teacher and lead of the district’s Career Guidance team.
“Our job isn’t to just get them to graduate high school. We want our students to be aware of all options and be prepared when they leave us. We need to make sure they’re ready to launch into their career journey,” she said.
In addition to course credit requirements, VPS high school students must meet the requirements for one of eight pathways, including statewide assessment scores in ELA and math, advanced placement exams, dual credit courses, and a CTE course sequence.
Students must also fulfil the requirements of a state-mandated High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP), and administrators must document each student’s progress.
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VPS made the switch from Career Cruising to Xello in the 2019/20 school year and began using the new platform to provide innovative future readiness activities and document the state-mandated activities.
Siewert says she and her team immediately identified a number of Xello features that would help students become future ready and improve administrative efficiency, including:
- Activities encourage students to explore their learning styles, abilities and career and education interests, set goals relative to their future, and compile school and community involvement throughout sixth through 12th grades in an electronic portfolio.
- Course Planner allows students to develop a four-year plan of high school courses aligned with their career and postsecondary plans and is the vehicle by which students will forecast for their next year’s classes. The plan is developed in 8th grade and reviewed annually by students in cooperation with counselors, career specialists, and parents.
- The Resume Builder feature prepares students for a successful transition to work and other post-high school opportunities.
- The Budget feature in Xello is used as part of a financial literacy unit of instruction in the classroom designed to increase awareness of important financial information and skill-building for life-readiness.
- To incorporate the family connection, students will be given the opportunity to share the components of their HSBP annually with parents as part of student-led conferences.
Even when the pandemic caused an abrupt switch to remote learning in March 2020, Xello proved to help students continue with their future readiness work.
“We could message students through Xello, reminding them of what they needed to do for their activities for their High School and Beyond Plan or we could message through our Student Information System and let them know they needed to log into Xello,” said Siewert.
“Xello was integrated with Clever, so students, from their devices, could just click right into Xello and complete their assignments. If we hadn’t had an online platform already established, I think it would have been very challenging to continue to do college and career readiness remotely.”
Siewert says the student response to Xello has been positive from the beginning. They especially appreciate the engaging interface, the way they can customize their profile and search for careers that are interesting to them based on the filters they’ve entered.
“Students are fascinated by figuring out how much money they want to make and then how much schooling they think they want to do, whether it’s two-year or four-year college. And then [Xello] will show them different careers that meet that filter range, and then they can explore. They’ve been really liking that,” said Siewert.
The district’s career specialists have noted that students were able to stay engaged and on track using Xello throughout an entire class period, which she agrees is the sign of a successful program.
Xello has also been a useful tool in helping 8th graders develop their four-year plan of courses in high school.
Even during remote learning, Siewert said the district continued to do all of the same activities they used to do in school, including tracking HSBP completion. “I ran reports from Xello on an ongoing basis and sent that out to our team of career specialists so that we could support our students in getting the activities done that they need to get done and then the seniors, especially, could get that completed before graduation,” she said.
When a district has an ambitious goal like VPS does, they need a technology partner that empowers administrators, educators and students to see the big picture and prepare for a successful future—no matter what pathways youth may choose.
That was Vancouver Public Schools District’s success story—now it’s time to write yours. Learn how Xello can help students at your district get college and career ready. Book My Demo