How Wicomico County Public Schools Has Responded to the Challenges of COVID-19
It has been unlike any school year we have ever experienced. What has historically been a time for graduations and end of year celebrations has now been exchanged with social distancing and remote learning. The silver lining has been the way schools and students have bounced back; rather than letting the impact of COVID-19 put an end to what they have been working toward, schools and students have found new and creative ways to continue to push forward. The perseverance that many schools and students have shown has been nothing short of admirable.
We spent some time speaking with Lori Batts, supervisor of school counseling services at Wicomico County Public Schools (WCPS) to learn how they have been able to continue supporting their students amid the abrupt changes brought on by school shutdowns. WCPS has done a tremendous job of leveraging Naviance during this time to ensure students can continue planning and preparing for college without missing a beat.
Wicomico County Public Schools is located in Wicomico County on the eastern shore of Maryland. WCPS consists of 24 schools that serve around 15,000 pre-K-12 students. When asked about her district, Lori shares, “Our district has really great people; everyone works hard to make sure our kids have what they need to succeed. We love watching our kids hit their stride. And of course, it doesn’t hurt that we’re near the beach”.
In a rural community like Wicomico County, most jobs students have visibility to are hospitality and service-related. Lori shares that a priority for their district is to give students exposure to all the different kinds of jobs that exist for them. Naviance has helped open that vista for their students by letting them see the different careers that exist through tools like the RoadTrip Nation video archive and the various self-discovery and career assessments. Once students have an idea of a career they’re interested in, they can build a path to reach that aspiration.
In their 7th year using Naviance as their college, career and life readiness platform, WCPS share that it has been a lifesaver this year in particular with the abrupt changes brought on by COVID-19. Lori shares she has never been more grateful than this year for the decision to go 100% digital with a comprehensive solution like Naviance. In early March when schools all over the country began shutting down and moving to a remote learning environment, counselors were tasked with continuing to support students in one of the biggest milestones of their lives; preparing for college.
With Naviance, Lori and her team were able to respond in real-time to seniors who need teacher recommendations, transcripts, and scholarship information. Lori shares, “This is prime scholarship season. Students are emailing me every day with scholarship application questions as well as teacher recommendation and transcript requests. If I wasn’t able to track and communicate all of that in Naviance, it could be the difference for them being able to go to college or not.” WCPS used to have a large binder with all their scholarship information but thankfully now they house all their scholarships in Naviance making it easily accessible to all students during this time. This has allowed Lori to be able to quickly update scholarship deadlines and communicate with students of new scholarships that would be a good match for them. The students at WCPS are not slowing down; they were not going to let COVID-19 stop them from pursuing their goals, and with Naviance, WCPS was able to easily adjust to their new normal and continue to help push their students to the finish line.
“If we didn’t have Naviance, our kids would have lost so many opportunities; they would have lost potential scholarship money and being able to complete their college applications”, Lori shares.
Naviance hopes to help more districts all over the country leverage our trusted college, career and life readiness platform to ensure all students have access and opportunities to explore who they are and prepare for their future college and career aspirations.
We know that COVID-19 has caused a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty among students. In our new white paper, Five Ways to Ease Transitions for Students During COVID-19, we highlight five ways school counselors and other educators can assist students to transition successfully into the next stage of their lives.
To learn more about how Naviance can support your district, contact us.