London Planning to Better Coach Students on Career and College Options

After identifying a need to provide students with a more systematic way of exploring attitudes and career interests, London is currently revamping its Career Advising Policy and future practices. Currently, the district provides students a wide array of opportunities to explore college and career choices. However, not all of these practices are systematic. In December of 2019, the district entered into an agreement with Naviance to offer students and families a career planning platform. Around the same time, the Madison County Business Advisory Council recommended that county districts utilize a particular aptitude identification program. Using both resources and beginning in sixth grade, London plans to have students identify aptitudes and interests and complete student success plans. Plans would like student skills and interests with future goals and be documented using Naviance’s career planning platform. The student success plans will be updated twice a year prior to parent-teacher conferences in order to help guide students, parents, and educators in planning courses, discussing grades, etc. based on a student’s ultimate goals. It is expected that goals may change several times as students explore and develop new interests.

Not coincidentally, London High School is also exploring adopting a block schedule beginning in 2020-2021. A block schedule means instead of students taking 6-8 courses that meet throughout the year, they will be enrolled in four courses during the fall semester and another four courses during the spring semester. The primary advantage is to provide students with greater opportunities to complete coursework during high school that is more attuned to their college and career goals especially as Juniors and Seniors, when they may choose to take college coursework, participate in internships, or enter the world of work through career based intervention. London Middle School, which already hosts a Life Fair annually, would add a dedicated career exploration curriculum for students during their exploratory lab periods.

Final recommendations for a change to the district’s Career Advising Policy and Student Success Plan is expected later this spring.

LHS’s 1st Senior Signing Day Generates Excitement

May 1st is the day college-bound seniors across the nation make decisions on what their post-high school life will look like. For the first time, London High School participated in National College Decision Day by having seventy-seven college-bound seniors, two military enlistees, and six students who have secured full-time work sign the Senior Signing Day banner and commit to their school or career choice. The event, the hard work of LHS School Counselor, Mrs. Betsy Dennis, and LHS Assistant Principal, Mrs. Carla Shaw, allowed the entire high school, families, as well as the 8th-grade and 5th-grade classes the opportunity to witness the soon-to-be graduates make the important decision on where to go to school or start their working careers.

This year’s Guest Speaker, Mr. Matt Barnes from NBC4, talked of the importance of following your dreams and not giving up on yourself. Other guests of the event included David Kell, President of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, who welcomed to the workforce those students who are ready to begin earning a paycheck, and Dr. Lou Kramer, Superintendent of London City Schools, who made sure graduating students remembered that, “part of the journey is the end.” The 85 students who participated represented over half of the graduating class of 2019.

Senior Signing Day, which will become an annual event at London High School, started in 2014 as National Signing Day with one school participating and has grown to over 1,500 schools since. As LHS seniors heard their names announced they signed the large banner and walked across the floor to rousing applause. After the event, many students took pictures with friends and family to mark the special occasion.