College and Career Readiness
As the new College & Career Readiness counselor, I’ve had the unique opportunity to help our Juniors and Seniors establish clarity and progress on their goals in preparation for high school graduation. Students may choose to attend a university or a trade school while others may wish to launch directly into the workforce. It is also common for students to take a gap year. Our mission here at TSS is to help students accomplish their goals and foster their independence.
All Juniors and Seniors take our Seminar course, where they explore career interests, develop a resume, practice informational interviewing, and research internship opportunities. Students also receive considerable support with their college search and application process. We take students on college visits, invite college counselors to speak with our students, and meet with students and their parents to develop a comprehensive plan to prepare for life beyond high school. We also oversee students in fulfilling their high school graduation requirements, which include completing their Capstone Projects, community service hours, mastering at least 80% of our foundational skills, and presenting their student portfolio.
We love bringing in guest speakers, which include college admissions counselors, leadership development specialists, and community outreach organizers, as well as other professionals who let students in on what life is like in their particular careers. These speakers help shed light on different fields and broaden our scholars’ perspectives to inspire what they’d like to do after high school. After all, our job is to help them discover where each of them shines and how they can thrive post-TSS.
During Seminar, students also compose their college essays, build their LinkedIn profiles, craft their resumes, and create brag sheets, as well as apply for internships and part-time jobs. One of TSS’s hallmark supports is explicitly teaching executive functioning skills. Many of our students struggle to approach long-term projects in an organized manner or to plan out an event. We teach students strategies to break down long-term projects into manageable chunks and to utilize tools that foster increased work production and time management.
Our signature long-term project required for graduation is our Capstone Project. A Capstone Project is a passion project. The student must choose a project that will both stretch them and reflect an interest or passion they may choose to pursue post-high school. One student may choose to create a film, while another may prefer to create a museum exhibit or a video game. Projects need to contain a written element and a presentation component, and they must be completed by the end of senior year. In the spring, our students present their Capstone Projects to our larger community.
Our College & Career team also assists students in building out their mastery transcript. The beauty of the MTC Mastery Transcript®, which is our school’s way of documenting competency-based learning, is how it reflects our students’ unique strengths, interests, and abilities and helps to encapsulate our mastery-based learning approach. We have communicated with various admissions offices and spoken to many Deans who are very supportive of the MTC Mastery Transcript®. They recognize that prospective students come from diverse backgrounds that don’t always have traditional transcripts with GPAs, test scores, and class rankings. There is a lot more to each student than simple numbers on a screen. Our MTC Mastery Transcript® reflects what skills students have mastered and what courses they have taken while providing evidence related to skill mastery. Our students choose the specific projects, papers, and evidence that highlights their strengths and accomplishments they wish to include.
TSS’s College and Career readiness Team supports our high schoolers in completing all their graduation requirements and helps them prepare for life after TSS. One of the amazing facets of our school is the individualized attention we give to every student. Our high school requirements are rigorous and can feel daunting, but we help each student map out their unique plan by providing structure, scaffolding, and support. We want all of our students to not only graduate, but to launch after TSS into college or a meaningful career.