A college-preparation program should provide
students with cognitive strategies, content
knowledge, self-management skills, and
knowledge about postsecondary education.
engaging in this collective process.
Following these steps shows students
a model for pursuing any complex
process with deadlines, a good employability skill. Several comprehensive high
schools in our area are now building
this approach into their programs.
their application deadlines are nigh.
Requiring students to set high goals,
providing guidance about post-
secondary options, and monitoring key
deadlines create a momentum for each
student’s planning process. Last year,
Clear Horizons sent 91 percent of our
graduates to four-year schools; 4 per-
cent to complete a two-year program
they’d already started; and 5 percent to
travel, missions work, a technical pro-
gram, or military service—all of which
are well-thought-out choices. College
and career-ready means something dif-
ferent for each of these youth. Our strat-
egies provided the scaffolding each of
them needed to climb to individualized
Clear Horizons publishes a newsletter
each semester to tell parents about college and career readiness activities and
resources like free test-prep classes. We
include a checklist of steps that freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors
should take to solidify and pursue goals.
Every semester we hold three parent nights, each offering a variety of
workshops, such as a “lessons learned”
roundtable featuring parents who have
children at a university, financial aid
counseling, and a session at which
university admissions counselors share
what they really want on college application essays.
We publicly highlight our students’
honors and our juniors’ and seniors’
progress in the application process. It’s
important to tell the community when
students receive their first acceptance
letters of the year and to list the universities that say “we want you.” It’s also
important to give updates on how many
students have submitted applications.
This gives students and parents confidence that they are in a high-performing
environment and reminds seniors that
Jennifer Glenn Morrow is principal of
Clear Horizons Early College High School
in Houston, Texas; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alex Torrez is assistant superintendent
for Clear Creek Independent School
District in League City, Texas; atorrez@
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