Client Corner: How Highline Public Schools Creates a College and Career Readiness Culture

Naviance is honored to serve dedicated educators and amazing students across the country. In this blog series, Client Corner, we will uplift and celebrate the impactful work Naviance clients are accomplishing every day. Our hope is that this is a space for all educators to share knowledge and best practices around preparing students for college, career, and life. We thank you for your partnership and we continue to root for you!

About Highline Public Schools

Highline Public Schools is located in Washington state and serves 18,000 students from Pre-K – 12 across 33 schools in the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac, and White Center. The district is committed to equity in education, high expectations for all, and partnering with families and the community to ensure that all children achieve their potential. Highline Public Schools promises that every student is known by name, strength, and need, and that they graduate prepared for the future they choose.

Engaging Students in Their College Planning

We’ve all heard it hundreds of times by now: this has been a year unlike any other. As schools all over the country transitioned to a fully virtual learning environment, top of mind for many educators was keeping students engaged and on track toward their future goals.

Highline Public Schools is committed to continuing its pursuit of ensuring all students graduate prepared for college and careers. We spoke with Director of College and Career Readiness Sativah Jones to learn more about a district initiative called the Highline Challenge. To promote engagement with their college planning while in a remote learning environment, seniors are encouraged to complete 10 college planning activities in their Naviance account for a chance to win one of 13 scholarships. Additional giveaways from local universities and community partners will also be part of the drawing for students who did not win the scholarship.

All seniors who plan to attend an accredited two- or four-year college, apprenticeship, technical, or trade program in fall of 2021 are eligible to participate. The district chose to remove GPA and immigration status to clear away any barriers to participating. Sativah shared, “We want all students to have an opportunity to engage with planning for their futures. This year has been challenging for students but we are excited to see the impact the Highline Challenge will have on our students’ college planning.”

Take a page from Highline Public Schools and create a similar challenge at your school or district to drive student engagement. Here are the 10 college planning activities students must complete to be eligible to enter the scholarship drawing:

  1. Fill out your senior survey in Naviance
  2. Complete your Naviance resume
  3. Favorite three to five colleges of interest in Naviance
  4. Attend a financial aid 101 workshop
  5. Attend one virtual college visit
  6. Apply for financial aid (FAFSA or WASFA)
  7. Attend a workshop of the week
  8. Apply to at least one college
  9. Apply to at least two scholarships
  10. Complete the Highline Challenge survey in Naviance

The Highline Challenge continues to emphasize Highline Public Schools’ commitment to ensure equity in education for all its students. We look forward to connecting back with Sativah and her team to celebrate their students during the scholarship drawing in March!

Learn more about the Highline Challenge here.

Preparing Students for Careers

Highline Public Schools strives to ensure that students are prepared for a career after they graduate. One of its high schools doing this incredibly well is Raisbeck Aviation High School (RAHS). Located on the Museum of Flight campus, this high school serves 400 students who have an interest in pursuing a career in aerospace or aviation.

We spoke with Therese Tipton, principal at RAHS. Therese shared, “We work hard to prepare students for the college and career of their choice in the context of the aerospace and aviation industry. We want to build a foundation for students of understanding what careers exist in the industry, how they can envision themselves in that career, what careers are a good match for their strengths and interests, and how they can get to that career.“

Ninth graders at RAHS take career exploration classes to identify what types of careers exist within the aerospace and aviation industry, what a good fit for them might be, and how they can envision themselves in that career. This foundation is the base for them to build off of in the next three years. Continuing in sophomore, junior, and senior year, students participate in an advisory program, where they use Naviance to continue to explore career profiles and understand what education they need to reach the careers they are interested in.

The Pacific Northwest is home to hundreds of aviation-related companies, most notably, Boeing and Alaska Airlines, both headquartered near Highline Public Schools. RAHS has done a remarkable job building strong partnerships with such companies, and these partnerships have helped the school develop a successful mentorship program with industry professionals. All students are matched with a mentor who works in a specific career that the student is interested in within aerospace and aviation. Since it is important for students to see people who look like them, RAHS does its best to match students with mentors of the same race, gender, or ethnicity. Many girls for example, said Therese, want to see women who are in the careers they are interested in. Students and mentors decide how they will communicate; some choose to meet for coffee, others choose email and phone calls, and others choose to meet at the mentor room on campus (an option not currently available due to the coronavirus pandemic).

The relationship with their mentors helps students better understand the careers they are interested in and allows them to learn from experts in those fields. Many of these mentorships lead to lifelong mentor/mentee relationships. In addition, RAHS provides robust internship experiences that can lead to a full-time job after college graduation. Therese proudly shared about a student who will be graduating from Purdue University this year and will be working at the company she was connected to during her time at RAHS Aviation High School.

Learn More

To learn more about the incredible work Therese and her team are doing, watch her presentation, Equity and Excellence Take Flight: The Power of Public-Private Partnerships at Raisbeck Aviation High School.

Topics College and Career Readiness K 12
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College & Career Readiness

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