The ALL IN! Steering Committee, during its September meeting, agreed to address the added student engagement challenges brought on by living through a pandemic during the 2020-21 school year.
Acknowledging the negative impact virtual learning has on high school seniors, the committee agreed the best way to leverage the cross-sector nature of its work would be to launch a comprehensive effort to ensure every Hartford Public Schools senior receives counseling support that produces a post-graduation plan.
A sub-committee has been working for the past few weeks on ways to support high school counselors on Wednesdays, when students have no academic classes. Members can provide workshops on topics such as how to complete the common app, write a college essay and fill out the FAFSA. At least a few sessions, presented in multiple languages and accessible at any time, will be geared to parents, including how and why to complete the AFSA and why it’s important for families to let their children get an education. Committee members are working together to create and present these online workshops, which will begin as soon as possible.
In addition, supplemental advising to work 1:1 with students to develop their post-secondary plans will be needed. The committee is considering options to support both the students who are “college-intentional” as well as those Class of 2021 members who don’t want to attend college and may want to join the military or pursue apprenticeships, certification programs and/or job training. While the Hartford Consortium’s Career Beginnings program already supports many college-intentional students, counselors could refer other students for 1:1 support from other coalition partners.
Finally, a component of the work must address the need to engage students and families directly so they know the students’ options as well as families’ roles. As more information becomes available about this year’s ALL IN! initiative, it will be shared.