With unemployment numbers at historic highs, preparing our students for life after high school has never been as important. Ensuring that students graduate college and career ready is the goal of Academic and Career Planning (ACP). And this year, to make sure districts have the ACP guidance they need, the Department of Public Instruction and Wisconsin CESAs have banded together to offer a new ACP “community of practice” that will kick off on September 16 with a discussion of “Creating your ACP calendar during COVID-19.”
“Collectively as a state, we all benefit from working together to create opportunities for student engagement and enthusiasm in planning for their futures. Their future is our future!” —Jamie Brown, CESA 6 ACP Consultant
ACP helps better equip students to succeed, even in a recession when opportunities become more scarce. Economic recovery may take years before employment recovers to pre-COVID-19 levels. Students need to graduate prepared for this reality. ACP students will be more ready to navigate the complexities of postsecondary education and get the boost they need to land a high-skill job.
The sudden shift last spring to remote learning and the unpredictability of the pandemic will affect education this school year and may have some districts considering putting ACP temporarily on hold. Doing so could jeopardize post-graduation outcomes for years to come. While ACP may look different this year, it’s crucial that districts continue to provide these critical programs and services.
Why “crucial”? Because relevance is the key to engaging students. And engaging students can be challenging in virtual or blended environments. Career exploration helps students find the relevance in their classes and increases academic motivation. When students choose courses that align to their career interests, their sense of belonging and engagement in learning increases.
In addition, adult mentors involved in ACP can provide students with access to the guidance and support they need when they need it. It ensures that ALL students have a plan for success after high school. Not all students have the resources or adult mentors in their life to help them with their postsecondary education and career planning. Institutionalizing ACP within school districts is imperative to equitable education.
So be sure to join the ACP community of practice. Educators from around the state will share their strategies and lessons learned as we navigate an ever-changing environment together while maintaining high quality education.
Each month features a different ACP topic with related models, resources, and best practices. Participants can join live or link to the post-event recording. In addition, each CESA will have a follow-up discussion to give educators in their region an opportunity to process the information and discuss next steps together in a virtual environment.
"The ACP Community of Practice is a wonderful resource for educators and school leaders across Wisconsin to … support each other in … maintaining and building high-quality ACP programs for students in the midst of a uniquely challenging school year." —Kayla Correll, CESA 1 ACP Coordinator
To learn more or to register, go to the ACP Community of Practice webpage.
—Karin Smith, Education Consultant, Academic and Career Planning, Dual Enrollment, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction