By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Plainville High School has kicked off its new College and Career Readiness Center with success, providing students with a more hands-on approach to searching for the right school and field of study.
The center, which fits roughly 20 students in the school counseling suite, offers students the opportunity to get a more hands-on approach to the college and career search. From resumes and cover letters to SAT preparation to college applications, the counseling department has worked closely with upperclassmen to ensure that they stay on track before entering college. The department has also started to work with underclassmen so they can learn more about the center and how it help them define their career goals that match their interests and aptitudes.
Oneda Lamont, a guidance counselor at the high school, said upperclassmen find the center beneficial, especially if they struggle to find a college that best fits their interests. She also said underclassmen have started to use the center to their advantage.
“They come in with an open mind, and are eager to listen,” said Lamont, who also serves as the instructional leader for the School Counseling Department.
Sue Bradley, the coordinator of the center, said she feels excited for students and counselors to have an additional resource to work with. A variety of college recruiters have visited the center to speak with students directly about their school’s expectations and application process.
“We are off to a good start,” Bradley said. “It enables students to define their goals and aptitudes.”
Bradley also said the center has put students more at ease when conducting the college search. As they bring Chromebooks to the center during their study hall period, students spend more time with counselors, having longer conversations about their goals and interests. The center also has state-of-the-art Macintosh computers where students can navigate through Naviance, a college and career readiness platform that helps link academic achievement to post-secondary goals. Through Naviance, students can find the colleges and careers based on personal skills and interests. During their time at the center, students can also view informational videos that break down different career fields, explaining the ins and outs of what the job.
The center is open Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
“It is nice to work one-on-one with them,” Bradley said. “We can get more information from them to conduct a better search.”
The center also provides junior and senior high school students the opportunity to learn more about a prospective career that interests them through “Shadowing for Success.” In partnership with the Plainville Chamber of Commerce, the counseling department has paired students of good-academic standing with local businesses or companies that are in their field of interest, including engineering, psychology and accounting among others. Currently, the school has partnered with Liberty Bank, the Town of Plainville, the Plainville Police Department, and General Electric, among others.
“Meeting someone in that position gets the students excited,” Lamont said.
Bradley said the school already established more than several shadow opportunities. From school psychologists to accounting firms to banks, a variety of businesses and companies have participated in the initiative. On “shadow day,” students dress professionally and bring questions based on extensive research so they can learn the ins and outs of the career field that interests them.
“Our center can really help guide them,” Bradley said. “It also helps students build relationships with businesses.”
Plainville Assistant Superintendent Dr. Maureen Brummett said the Board of Education secured grant funding last spring for staffing and supplies for the new center, which was imperative for the Student Success Plan mandate from the state.
“It has already become a resource for students who need an additional support in determining which colleges have the right programs for them,” Dr. Brummet said in an e-mail. “Our Shadowing for Success Program has already supported several students observing local professionals to help them understand what their future job might entail.”
Any business or company interested in participating in “Shadowing for Success” can contact Bradley directly at (860) 793-3220, ext. 357 or by e-mail at bradleys@ plainvilleschools.org.