When you ask educators why they decided to enter the field, you’re likely to hear something akin to the following: a love of children, a sense of helping others and doing good, a feeling of making a difference in the world. Among all of these answers, a common thread runs – relationships and building connections are important to educators, inspiring and animating them.
The very thing that educators have built their lives around is community – groups of parents, guardians, and students who are making things happen in the world. The village that it takes to raise a child who is college and career ready spans households and schools, districts and even regions. Thankfully, Texas OnCourse has proven to be an organization with connection at its core, with an assortment of resources that educators can use to help students live fully in the world around them after high school.
Here are three ways that educators can use Texas OnCourse to inspire community engagement, in and out of the classroom:
Host a middle school career fair
Give middle schoolers a better understanding of various career paths by hosting an on-campus career fair, using a toolkit developed by the Texas OnCourse leader fellows. Bonus: here’s a great blog post to guide your implementation of the career fair toolkit. This is a great activity for you to schedule just in time for endorsement selection season! When a school or district invites industry-based partners and local technical schools, junior colleges, and military recruiters, the whole community can participate in elevating students.
Get the family involved with a senior parent night
Hosting an event specifically for parents and their seniors is an excellent way to help them get prepared and excited for college. Prior to the event, any college readiness counselors or advisers needing to brush up on college application or financial aid specifics can complete modules on FAFSA, TASFA, ApplyTexas, and more in the updated Texas OnCourse Academy. Then, they can consult this handy guide, which outlines a logistical planning timeline, objectives for the event, and presentation topics. When students and their families are on the same page about financial aid and the admissions process, great things happen!
Empower your fellow educators
Did you know the Texas OnCourse Academy is not just for counselors and advisers? To explore how the Academy can best support your school community, download our 10 Creative Ways to Use the Texas OnCourse Academy in Your School handout. It includes tips for engaging AVID and economics instructors, librarians, and more in the quest for college and career readiness for all students. You can read more here about how leader fellow Holly Moore successfully implemented some of these very strategies in her district.
When you’re passionate about education, you’re committed to finding the best resources and helping as many students and families as possible. We hope that you’ll explore our college and career readiness resources for middle schools and more, share them with your peers, and join us in elevating educational communities.