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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, May 31, 2017 2 years ago

Naviance to help students navigate college, careers

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When using the program, students have access to features such as college research and matching tools, course planning, career assessments and personality tests.
by: Danielle Hendrix Associate Editor

ORANGE COUNTY  Imagine your child being able to graduate from high school with a complete, comprehensive résumé suited for his or her academic or vocational career track ready to go.

With the help of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce’s education committee, Orange County Public Schools and OCPS District 4 School Board Member Pam Gould, every child in the district will be able to do so through a program called Naviance. 

Naviance, a college and career readiness platform, can be used in all grade levels and is meant to help students align their strengths and interests with their postsecondary goals.

In Orange County, students would begin using the web-based software program in sixth grade. When using the program, students have access to features such as college research and matching tools, course planning, career assessments and personality tests.

Additionally, the portal allows school counselors to track student progress, and communicate with students and families. 

“We need kids to understand job skills,” Gould said. “They need to come out of high school prepared, knowing how to write a résumé, go into an interview, problem-solve and have a much more applied skill set, along with their academic and scholarly skill set.”

Gould said the district has been looking for ways to bring in such tools for the past few years as it starts to look at pushing a focus on career-skills training. The chamber’s involvement was key, she said, because the education committee began looking at what skills local businesses are seeking. 

“I get so many comments about kids who can’t even do simple budgeting,” Gould said. “I don’t expect them to come out of school with a finance degree, but we do expect them to do simple checks and balances. Things like that have been lost in mandates.”

With this program, Gould said, students will be able to build academic and extracurricular portfolios as they learn about various college and career options.

Another key feature is a custom scholarship search. Students will be able to input the criteria they meet and the program will pull up a list of scholarships for which they are eligible. Eventually, the district hopes that the program will be able to do the same on the vocational side, so students can use the search for jobs, Gould said.

“I wish my two students had had a tool like this — we were having to build it all in bits and pieces from the knowledge we had,” she said

The first phase of the program — college and résumé-building — is currently being built for OCPS’s use, with the career and vocational phase to follow. 

Naviance could be ready for Orange County students to use within the next school year.

 

Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].

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