4  Must-Have Tools for Every Texas Counselor and Adviser

Posted by Texas OnCourse on Apr 23, 2019 3:06:39 PM

Everybody knows that educators – especially counselors and advisers – are superheroes. These professionals center their lives around service and the gift of knowledge. They wear many different hats on any given day, and have a seemingly infinite amount of patience, to boot.

One thing that every superhero needs is a toolbelt. That’s right – a go-to repository of resources that can save the day in a jam. We’re going to share four of our favorite resources that can help these education superheros make the world a better place with the click of a button.

Texas OnCourse’s DataDive

Part of goal setting is determining benchmarks and progress plans – and seeing how a campus performs against district and state metrics is crucial in that process. That’s why we developed DataDive. This brand-spanking-new tool, powered by data from TEA’s Texas Academic Performance Reports, allows users to compare Texas school performance and readiness data in clean, easy-to-read graphics. The tool includes attendance data, STAAR outcomes, TSIA, AP and dual credit, SAT and ACT participation, and more. Comparing academic expectations versus realities on multiple levels (campus, district, ESC, state) has never been easier.

Occupation Trends by Texas Career Check

Students crave information that is relatable and relevant. Taking a moment to step away from a textbook and think about what opportunities will be available after high school can be a breath of fresh air. This resource by the Texas Workforce Commission allows students to view jobs that will be in demand in Texas in the next five years, plus wage information. It shows the top 25 occupations making above the Texas median wage of $36,168, and the jobs are ranked by highest projected number of jobs for the period 2016–2026. Students can also explore job descriptions and educational/vocational paths on other areas of the website.

Form Your Future’s FAFSA Tracker

Did you know that as of March 22, 2019, Texas ranked 28th for percentage of high school seniors having completed FAFSA? Being aware of trends in FAFSA completion can help counselors effect change in their academic communities. Sponsored by the National College Access Network, this tracker allows a user to view year-over-year trends in FAFSA completion by school, district, city, and state, zeroing in on patterns and areas for improvement. For more information on boosting FAFSA completion rates at your school, check out our blog post on how Texas OnCourse leader fellow Holly Moore increased her campus’ FAFSA completion by a whopping 21% in 2017–2018.

Texas College Access Network’s FAFSA Dashboard

Want to get even more specific with FAFSA completion numbers, relative to the state of Texas? Compare your school’s FAFSA completion rates with those of your district, ESC, or county. With this tool, you can even use the buttons and filters to select specific school years and student groups of interest.

What all these tools have in common is that they assist in tracking trends in education and career. We recognize that educators and counselors have enough on their plates, and any time valuable data can be aggregated in a way that is comprehensive, intuitive, and easy to access and understand, it’s a win. We invite you to check out DataDive today. And once you have, share it with a colleague!