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Wed, Feb. 19

Prescott High School has big plans for readiness tool

Prescott High School Badgers (Courier file photo)

Prescott High School Badgers (Courier file photo)

In the high school years, teens are bombarded with so much stuff related to growing up that it can be difficult to navigate between the here and now and the hard-to-imagine distance tomorrows.

Prescott High Principal Mark Goligoski, a one-time Badger, is all-too-familiar with the pressures, and confusion faced by these emerging young adults. It is why he is eager to unveil a new career and college readiness technology tool, Naviance by Hobsons. The technology, used by schools around the globe, is enabling millions of high school students to discern what careers are suited to their interests, intellect and identity.

On Friday, the high school will offer a first educational session on the new program to 40 volunteer students and parents; some other small-group mini-training sessions will follow.

With the soft launch, Goligoski said staff will have the chance to work alongside the students and parents so they determine how best to tailor the program to suit their needs, including selecting courses that align with the students’ college or career plans. In some cases, he said, Naviance might encourage a student to consider dual-enrollment college courses or select vocational training courses offered through the high school or the regional Mountain Institute JTED program, he said.

The feedback from the inaugural session will be critical to helping the guidance staff know how to maximize the potential of this technology.

Naviance is a gift to Prescott High School from the Prescott Unified Education Foundation. The foundation provided the initial installation cost of about $26,000 with a five-year commitment to paying the more reduced fees to maintain the program.

The idea is that the sessions will enable students and parents to see what types of information Naviance can provide so that it can be an integral part of the student’s career and course planning from freshman to senior year. Beyond the initial surveys, Naviance can assist students in planning courses that apply to particular careers and help with college selections; the program even assists with college applications, scholarship opportunities and financial aid services.

Guidance counseling staff and other faculty are also learning the program so they can advise students and parents as they plot a path through high school.

Naviance is a “powerful resource” and “we need to get it in the hands of all our kids as soon as possible,” Goligoski said.

The plan now is to roll out the Naviance technology to all students by fall 2019.

With a renewed focus on career and college preparation, with some of that to begin in the middle school years, Goligoski and staff are also working on a regeneration of a freshman academy. The precise details and schedule have yet to be determined, but the idea is to offer a transitional program targeted to students who might benefit from some extra support and resources to be successful in high school.

District Superintendent Joe Howard said the idea was proposed a couple years ago as a means to help students in need of remedial math and English.

Though this is still in the discovery phase, Howard said his hope would be this academy would have a broader scope and incorporate the use of the Naviance technology to promote student success.

Part of PUSD’s focus is to offer students more opportunities to take control of their own education, and Naviance is a technology that enables students, with the guidance of staff and their parents, to “be in the driver’s seat,” Howard said.

Many students arrive from middle school uncertain where they want to go, but over the course of four years the hope is that they discover their passion and find ways to pursue those dreams in the world, Howard said.

“This (Naviance) helps with that path to discovery, and creates a place and a culture to help them explore their journey,” Howard said.

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