I encounter many successful Grenada High School alumni who have gone on to achieve their dreams. Every one of them credits their success in part to people along the way who helped inspire and push them to do their best.
We want to give every student in Grenada School District that same push. Our hope is this: if each child knows that someone in the school - aside from teachers and friends - truly cares about his or her progress, then that student will be more motivated to succeed.
That is why, this summer, we're revamping our counseling program. After all, a school with as many opportunities as Grenada deserves nothing less than a world-class counseling department!
This upcoming fall semester, we'll launch a district-wide student advocate program that aims to provide each student, from kindergarten through 12th grade, with an adult mentor to guide them on a path of study that fits their interests, as well as help them succeed academically, socially, and emotionally.
This mentoring begins in the elementary school, where we strive for strong foundations. Providing om youngest students with the desire and confidence to excel will help ensure that the innovative programs we're putting in place will be filled by a coming wave of hungry learners.
At Grenada Elementary, we're expanding the role of our counselors, who already do a terrific job. They meet with some students individually and see the rest during periodic classroom visits, where they teach lessons designed to develop the self-discipline, ambition, and social skills needed to succeed. Our elementary counselors work with teachers to customize character-building lesson for each unique group of children, whether it be a lesson on bullying or activities to help build study habits. They also endorse good "Charger Traits," illustrating how respectful behavior and communication enhances one's chances of success.
As early as kindergarten, concepts of career planning are introduced. The kids are shown how grown-ups choose a career they enjoy and work hard together to make a community function. The elementary-school expansion of Project Lead the Way, our district-wide advanced learning program, will further expand the children's awareness of potential new career paths in science and technology.
As students progress through each grade, counselors will begin to meet with them individually to detennine if they need a boost of confidence or mentoring, all the while reinforcing the importance of keeping grades high in order to meet their goals. At Grenada Upper Elementary, we're implementing a transition program to educate fifth graders and their parents about the many new options at the middle school with our new emphasis on innovation and career pathways.
Nowhere is counseling-based communica-tion more important than at the middle and high school level, where students will begin plotting their career aspirations. Just like in colleges and universities, students at Grenada Middle and High School will chart their own course of study, based on their individual interests and career aspirations.
Opportunities for students to take Project Lead the Way classes increase significantly in middle school, where students will be introduced to exciting new areas of study, including medicine, engineering, and robotics. By this point, they'll have a better idea of where they want to go in life.
In eighth grade, students will meet multiple times with their counselor to develop a path of study in their field of interest. By the end of the school year, they will have worked with their counselor to complete an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP). They'll set goals for themselves, whether it be a route to college or straight to a career out of high school, and proceed down the right path. What if a student starts out on a pathway to a career in medicine and becomes interested in robotics? Is it too late to switch to engineering? Never! Students will have frequent opportunities throughout high school to meet with their advocate to review and revise their pathway. What if a student plans to forego college and enter the workforce right away? At our Career and Technical School, the opportunities to advance in trades such as welding, carpentry, culinary arts, and automotive repair continue to expand, with more vocational learning on the horizon. Counselors will be able to establish connections with our many local partners in industry to match them with the right employer for hiring.
We envision counselors working with high school students to prepare them for college, both guiding them through college-prep courses and exams as well as directing them toward scholarship opportunities and helping them complete the often-rigorous applications.
In addition to establishing new protocol for our comprehensive counseling program, we've been renovating sections of Grenada Middle and High Schools to accommodate new counseling centers where students can meet with counselors. We're also setting up counselor websites to make it easier for students to make appointments and communicate with their advocate. We want parents to know their child's advocate, so the district is planning lunch-hour workshops to keep parents updated on the new academic opportunities that continue to arise each semester.
Finally, our hard-working counselors at GSD have been saddled for too long with mountains of paperwork, so we're hiring new records clerks at GMS and GHS to schedule appointments, manage records, and enroll students, taking some of the load off counselors to give them time to do what they do best — guiding students to success.
At GSD, we're always searching for ways to meet our goals. Our new comprehensive counseling program will be essential to meeting two of our biggest aims — to ensure that every student leaves high school with a diploma, and to prepare them for college and careers. We believe more meaningful, career-oriented counseling, catered to the needs of the individual, will produce more confident students who are better prepared to take advantage of career and educational opportunities after high school.