Shelby County’s CCLR Program Balances School Autonomy and District-Wide Equity
Many large, diverse school districts face a quandary. They must allow schools the autonomy they need to make independent decisions, while ensuring equity for all students across an entire district.
Shelby County Schools, the biggest school district in Tennessee, struggled with this dilemma when expanding their College, Career, and Life Readiness (CCLR) program. Not to be confused with the robust College, Career, and Technical Education program that is burgeoning in Shelby County Schools, where SCS Ready Grad programs feature 40+ College, Career, and Technical (CCTE) course offerings that give students real world skills, education, and experience to pursue any path after graduation. Exemplary planning and implementation helped Shelby, one of four finalists for the 2021 Hobsons Education Advances Award, strike the right balance and achieve their goals.
District support to increase CCLR efficiency and agility
SCS takes pride in letting schools decide how they deliver counseling and planning services to students and families, while maintaining adherence to counseling services standards (Tennessee School Counseling Model and Standards). This independence gives each school flexibility to meet the unique needs of its community.
However, County leaders realized they needed to take a more centralized approach to reach CCLR goals. Previously, the delivery of CCLR programs in Shelby Country Schools differed from grade-to-grade and school-to-school, with no efficient way to track or monitor the implementation across schools. Records of CCLR interactions were hand-written or submitted electronically as individual files, as opposed to being housed centrally. There was no way to aggregate and disaggregate the information, which limited the capacity to differentiate instruction based on student learning preferences or career interests gleaned from CCLR experiences.
Shelby Country Schools made a strong case for a more intentional, programmatic approach to CCLR. “We needed to pivot to a more prescriptive approach to provide CCLR interactions in order to provide consistency that we believe will begin to bring about more equity for students,” Monica Jordan, Program Director of the Office of Academics at Shelby County Schools, explains.
Focusing on early post-secondary opportunities
One of Shelby’s key CCLR goals was to increase early post-secondary opportunities (EPSOs) for students. Research shows students who participate in early post-secondary courses are more likely to enroll and persist in post-secondary environments. With EPSOs, Shelby County students can take full advantage of Tennessee Promise scholarship opportunities and have greater success with education and training after high school.
Driving Naviance adoption across the district
The County chose Naviance as the foundation of a new, district-wide CCLR program. They formed a Naviance Steering Committee, comprised of educators and administrators, who agreed upon goals for the CCLR program. The committee meets monthly to review progress toward these goals, develop solutions to challenges, and forecast upcoming elements of the program.
The Naviance rollout required Shelby County Schools to change decades-old processes and systems. The district accomplished this through strategy, preparation, and execution—with lots of requests for feedback and constant reflection. A Naviance consulting team supports the district with their CCLR goals as they continue to learn how to best serve students and families.
Our keys to success have been having the right voices at the planning table, being transparent about where we are in our process, and always striving to translate what we do in Naviance is what we used to do (with added enhancements) that will enable counselors to enact their Tennessee School Counseling Model and Standards with fidelity.
Student engagement with Naviance
Shelby County Schools saw impressive student login rates during the first semester using the Naviance platform:
- ~206,640 student logins
- 89% of students have logged in at least once
- An average of 6.7 visits per student
As one of their first assignments using Naviance, students viewed their course history and completed a reflection survey to enable planning for the coming school year. The students achieved a 74% completion rate. Shelby County Schools is proud of this accomplishment and the district foresees even greater usage rates for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.
With the help of Naviance, Shelby County Schools is expanding its ESPOs program in a consistent, equitable manner to students in grades 8 to 12 across 50 schools. The Naviance platform provides a new way for students to understand themselves via interest inventories, strengths assessments, and career surveys.
By knitting together the knowledge of self and EPSOs, our students are positioned to be agents of their own learning path, reducing adult bias.