Thursday, March 7, 2019

Supporting student success after high school

By Lanet Hane, Director of Community Connections for RSU14

Many Juniors are just starting to consider potential career paths, while simultaneously being asked to make significant decisions regarding their future. And as the end of the school year comes closer, with application deadlines for many colleges and other educational programs creeping up, anxiety is increasing for not just these students, but their families as well.

While a certain amount of stress surrounding what comes next is natural, staff at Windham High School are doing what they can to help everyone with the process. The school is working to not only provide resources and support as families work through their own answers to “what’s next?”, but also to change the conversation surrounding plans after high school.

“Too often students are asked to figure out their entire career path. I work to help them understand that, for now, they only need to figure out a next step,” shares Kerry Kowalczyk, College and Career Specialist, “One step at a time, they start to see a picture of where they are headed.”

While the majority of students go on to college, there is always a good number who choose not to continue formal education. And with the growing need for individuals in the trades here in Maine, WHS is working to highlight alternate possibilities for these students. Encouraging a highly individualized approach to the conversation of next steps, students learn to consider which pathways make sense for them and what they hope to accomplish, whether that means formal education, an apprenticeship, the military, work, or even something else.

College visits, application help, assistance with FAFSA completion, essay editing, and scholarships are all available for those students who are preparing for 2- and 4-year schools, as well as frequent informational meetings during school for students and in the evening for whole families.
Additionally, the school provides opportunities for students to visit businesses, participate in mock interviews, and have one-on-one meetings to consider possible next steps after high school.

“Not every student takes the same path, and we encourage our students to explore their strengths and figure out what the next step looks like for them,” says Megan Fleming, school counselor, “Part of supporting this exploration includes providing the necessary resources to dive into various options.”

Upcoming dates:

March 14: High School Parent Teacher Conferences 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
March 14: Junior Parent College Meeting 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (located in the auditorium)
April 24: Financial Aid Information Night 6:30 p.m. (located in the auditorium)

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