Best Practice: The Career & College Prep Handbook

In my previous blog we talked about strategic planning, why it matters, and how one organization used our intensive process to vault from good to great. Now I want to take a closer look at a key best practice that emerged from the TFS strategic planning process at Moore Norman Technology Center: the Career & College Prep Handbook. Susan Gladhill, Director of Educational Services, took the time to answer some questions about the purpose, implementation, and results of this valuable tool. Here’s what she had to share:

TFS: As a result of our high-level strategic planning process, your team has developed a Career & College Prep Handbook and 18-week curriculum for your associate school district. Can you tell us what those materials entail?

Moore Norman: The Career and College Prep Handbook (CCPH) was created by MNTC counselors and staff in collaboration with Moore and Norman Public School District staff members. The original intent was to combine multiple sources of career planning information into one resource. The handbook includes curriculum and valuable information on resumes, college credit, timelines for high school students, FAFSA information, interviewing tips and scholarship information.

TFS: What student and staff benefits does the Career & College Prep Program deliver?

Moore Norman: Use of the CCPH benefits students and staff by providing consistent and pertinent information to create a plan for the student’s college/career goals.

TFS: Of course, we know each piece of a strategic plan is only as good as its implementation. What did you do to ensure a successful launch of the Career & College Prep materials and curriculum?

Moore Norman: In addition to the printing of the Career & College Prep Handbook, additional avenues of accessibility were included to maximize the effectiveness of the resource. A poster that included a QR code and linked to the digital version of the handbook was placed in the partner high schools, at the tech center site and in highly visible locations in the community. Business cards also including the QR code were provided to counselors and advisors as well as to parents attending Career Awareness sessions. Adult students enrolled in workforce development classes also received handbooks and business cards.

Information about the handbook was posted on the MNTC website and linked to a web block ad on the homepage. Finally, a postcard that included the QR code was sent to parents of high school students announcing the handbook availability.

At this time, both Norman High Schools and Moore High School utilize this resource with students during their Teachers As Advisors Class throughout the year. Westmoore and Southmoore High Schools provide this handbook to students during their Junior year.

TFS: How did you keep the rest of the organization up to date and enthusiastic about the creation and mobilization of the Career & College Prep Program?

Moore Norman: Students, parents and teachers have found the handbook valuable and shared this resource with others. Each year a committee (including representatives of all stakeholders) is responsible for updating and revising the CCPH. In addition to being given to students in Moore and Norman High Schools, the CCPH materials are available to MNTC students, and sections such as the employment services curriculum are used by counselors and employability staff.

TFS: Any other thoughts or best practices you’d like to share?

Moore Norman: We have made the CCPH available in PDF format on our website to increase accessibility to all stakeholders and to decrease cost.

I want to thank Susan and the Moore Norman team for taking the time to share these insights. It’s our hope that this best practice will spark ideas for other organizations seeking to give their students the most comprehensive and streamlined career resources possible. In my next blog we’ll look at another best practice that was created through the TFS strategic planning process. Stay tuned!

About The Author
Tom Schultz
Tom has over 38 years of experience in education leadership and has devoted the last decade to educational consulting. In his work with TFS, Tom is recognized as a leader in strategic planning and implementation of organizational change and cultural transformation.