KDE creates free "toolkit" to enhance student advising

From the Kentucky Department of Education

A new advising toolkit will help districts keep students in school, better prepare them for postsecondary options and increase the number of students that are college/career ready.

The toolkit, Your Future Ahead, is available to all school districts free of charge. It was developed by staff at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).

“College and career advising is a vital component of KDE’s persistence to graduation strategy and college- and career-readiness plan,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday.

Earlier this year, all public school districts signed the Commonwealth Commitment for College and Career Readiness, pledging to increase the readiness rates in their high schools by 50 percent by 2015. Strengthening advising programs is one of multiple strategies included in Kentucky’s College and Career Readiness Agenda.

Advising is also a key strategy for keeping students in school. The Kentucky Board of Education, as part of its strategic plan, has a goal of increasing the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate from a baseline of 75 percent in 2009 to 90 percent by 2015.

“The primary goal of an advising program is to provide students with early awareness of the benefits of continuing their education beyond high school, whether it is at a two-year community college, four-year college or university, or through a technical/career training program,” Holliday said.

The advising toolkit is designed to help middle and high schools develop and improve their mentoring and advising programs. It includes sections on effectively using the Individual Learning Plan (ILP); building in time during the school day for advising; and Kentucky-specific lesson plans that trained mentors/advisors can use with students. The lessons are divided into three areas — college, career and personal/social — and mirror the American School Counselor Association’s standards. The toolkit also includes a section on best practices.

Starting this fall, Kentucky schools will be expected to include information about their advising program in the Practical Living/Career Studies Program Review. In the future, Program Reviews will be a measure included in Kentucky’s accountability system for schools and districts.

Your Future Ahead can be downloaded at no cost from the KDE website Toolkit.

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