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Monday, October 3, 2011

Week Five Notes

We're on Facebook and Twitter

That's right.  We're going where kids hang out these days in our continuing effort to reach out and communicate information we feel they need to know.  Email, for many students, seems to have been dumped at the "swap shop" and replaced with Facebook and even Twitter

So, while we've moved to open a Facebook page, we've also created a Twitter account.  If you use Twitter, try us out @eos_guidance.  And if you're a Facebook user, make us a "friend" and receive information this way as well. 

What's Naviance and Why Should You Be Interested In It?

The EOS Guidance Department has been using Naviance for several years now, adding features along the way when they become available to subscribers and when we feel they're useful to our school community.  Naviance is a web-based program that offers a full range of services.  You'll find course descriptions on classes offered at EOS, four-year plans of study that match the various post secondary goals that students may have, data on student outcomes specific to colleges and universities to which EOS students have applied over the past seven years, links to the vast majority of post secondary institutions throughout the country, links to financial aid web sites, a link to The College Board, career information, results of surveys we administer to students, Success Planner that holds electronic portfolios we're building with students, and an SAT prep program that is extensive - and free to students.  There is even more.  The link to Naviance may be found on the school web site (http://www.eosmith.org/).  You may also wish to follow a tutorial video that we put together.  This may be found to the right under "Tutorials" or you can simply open the link here.

Part Two is available as well.  It's not Hollywood calibre, but it suffices in terms of providing an overview.  Should you have questions about the program, do not hesitate to contact the Guidance Office at guidance@eosmith.org

PSAT Registration Continues

Registration for the PSAT continues this week.  Students may register in the Guidance Office during school hours.  The window for registration will close on Wednesday, October 12th.  Unlike the SAT, where registration is done on-line through The College Board, registration for the PSAT is conducted at the test site.  Cost for the test is $20 and is payable by cash or a check made to E. O. Smith High School.  More information about the test, including times and date, may be found in the Week Three Notes.

How to Register for the SAT and Report Scores to Colleges

Unlike the PSAT where students register at the test site (in this case, EOSHS for EOS students), students register for the SAT via The College Board.  Simply click on the link just mentioned in the previous sentence and you'll go to the web site where information about the registration process is available along with test dates and registration deadlines.  Be sure to have a credit card handy when registering.

Readers should also know that students possess sole ownership of their test scores and, thus, possess sole rights to these scores.  This means that only students can request that The College Board release their official scores to colleges, etc. The College Board began offering a "score choice" option a couple of years ago that essentially gives students the right to choose a set of scores earned on a specific test date.  Previously, when students requested that an SAT score be sent, all previous scores would be sent as well.  Now, if students sit for the SAT on more than one occasion, they can choose to withhold a set of scores and release the other(s). 

Colleges have expressed their own views of this score choice option - they want all the scores, and they assure students that the highest scores earned in each category (Critical Reading, Math, Writing) will be considered even if these scores are earned on separate test dates.

Tutoring Available

Students have hit their stride now that four weeks of the school year have passed.  Some may be experiencing difficulty in their classes at this point in the school year.  Everyone should know that plenty of support is available.  The Math Department offers tutoring in all of its courses (arranged through each student's math teacher), help with writing is available in the Writing Center (housed in the LMC), world language support is provided through the World Languages Department, and three UConn interns preparing to be teachers are also available to provide assistance in the Guidance Office.  Regarding the latter, students can arrange to work with one of these tutors by contacting their counselors.

For additional support at home, students may wish to try Khan Academy.  This web site has received much acclaim in the media in recent months and may be useful to students as another form of support.

Faith-Based Education Necessary for Success in School

OK - it's not what you think.  It really has nothing to do with religion, with the Tea Party, or with politics in general.  Rather, it really has everything to do with students believing in the process of education and trusting that what they're being asked/required to do will lead to promising opportunities  - in spite of what may seem like a lack of relevance in the moment.  So, it's about having faith in education and it's about having faith in themselves to succeed in what they're doing/learning.  This is what it means by a faith-based education.

Unfortunately, more and more students are beginning to question their faith in the educational process (College Senior Glimpses Future, Sees Hope) and too many are finding it difficult to finish (The Completion Shortfall).  Still others are saddled with debt and unable to find meaningful employment once they do graduate (Degrees of Debt).  And many wonder if the American Dream is any longer a reality for the majority of students who will soon find their place in adulthood (Can the Middle-Class Be Saved?).

Graduating from high school assures the graduate of very little if s/he is not prepared for access to a meaningful pathway that leads to some form of higher education.  Whatever path one takes, it will likely mean meeting up with an assessment like the Accuplacer, SAT, ACT, and even a licensing exam.  Like it or not, we're all tested.  So, we need to be ready.  No one needs to utter another word about the state of the economy these days or the prospects for improvement in the immediate future.  But we do need to tell kids that their best chance for reaching the promised land of meaningful employment and a middle-class lifestyle is still via the pathway of higher education.  The data shows it.  They need to believe this, to trust the process, and believe in themselves.  Meanwhile, educators need to adapt to a changing world, although the debate continues about what this adaptation should look like.

The brief video below was played at the start of Sony's Annual Convention a couple of years ago.  Even though it's almost two years ago, the contents and message remain relevant today.  The world is changing rapidly.  And change is inevitable.


Let us know if there are topics you'd like us to write about in this blog or any ideas you may have to make this space more useful to the EOS community.

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