By Louisiana Fellow Ambrosia Grant
Our goal at Helen Cox High School in Louisiana is for every student to have truly meaningful opportunities to choose from upon graduating from high school. So what does college and career readiness really mean?
Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), states have developed standards that articulate the skills students need after high school, both for the workforce and for pursuit of higher education opportunities. Louisiana’s rigorous college and career readiness standards help our students to create a meaningful “road map” towards success for college and/or a career.
At Helen Cox, this includes careful attention to ACT and ACT Workkeys preparation. This also includes opportunities for students to take ACT remediation coursework, participate in ACT “bootcamp,” and receive targeted interventions to improve in specific tested areas. These initiatives help students increase their access to both opportunities and funding for continuing their education. Our students also have additional opportunities to extend learning by completing Advanced Placement coursework and taking advantage of dual enrollment opportunities with University of New Orleans and University of Holy Cross.
Another important aspect of ensuring our students are college and career ready is arranging for them to have access to opportunities to obtain CTE industry certifications and diploma endorsements that are responsive to local labor needs. Students can work towards industry certifications like automotive tech, pharmacy, and dental tech - among many others.
Once our students have been prepared to be successful in college and/or careers; it is essential that we assist them with FASFA completion in order to minimize possible roadblocks.
Hosting FASFA event nights for parents and students has helped to increase the number of our students successfully clearing this hurdle to college and career readiness. This is particularly important for first generation college students in a diverse school community.
In the upcoming school year, Helen Cox High School teachers will participate in the pilot of the America Achieves Quest For Success Initiative. Our goal is to continue on a path towards student success by emphasizing the focus on cross-sector skills and competencies through high-quality project-based learning and building capacity for college and career readiness support at every level for teachers and students.
Ambrosia K. Grant, M. Ed, is Academic Dean at Helen Cox High School. Grant is a Louisiana Educator Voice Fellow with America Achieves.