May 12, 2024
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Larson: Glenbard focuses on equipping students for success

The primary goal of comprehensive high schools is to equip students for the future – preparing them for college, careers and life after high school. At Glenbard District 87, we are proud of our work helping our students identify and pursue their goals.

One of our district’s main strategic priorities is to engage every Glenbard student in postsecondary planning. It is a focus throughout all four years of high school – from when they walk into the schools as freshmen until they walk out the doors as graduates.

Our school counselors at each high school closely align with the Illinois PaCE Framework (Postsecondary and Career Expectations). The framework is organized around three key areas:

  • Postsecondary education exploration, preparation and selection;
  • Career exploration and development;
  • Financial aid and literacy.

These robust career exploration and individualized learning plans help students make decisions about career and postsecondary education or training; plan a course of study; and make financial aid assessments with family members.

This planning process culminates during senior year. Our school counselors work hard to make sure students pursue a diverse selection of postsecondary opportunities, such as:

  • Safety/match/reach schools,
  • Apprenticeships,
  • Credentialing programs,
  • Military enrollment, or
  • Joining the workforce.

All seniors and their families have a group conversation with their school counselor to review options and create a clear postsecondary plan. This structured approach supports student goals and gives them a path to pursue those goals with confidence.

Glenbard schools use SchooLinks, an online portal that empowers students to find their path, linking student interests with career exploration and academic and postsecondary plans. Students and families have access to the SchooLinks portal. Along with a college search function, the platform also features financial literacy tools. Glenbard’s SchooLinks accounts remain active for students to use as a resource even after graduation.

Our approach to postsecondary planning has yielded successful results:

  • Glenbard students who enroll in a four-year college have a 91 percent graduation rate within six years, compared to 62 percent nationally.
  • Glenbard two- and four-year college enrollment remains above the national average at 79 percent for the class of 2023.
  • Our postsecondary support counselors have helped ensure more students than ever following through with their postsecondary plan, lowering student “summer melt,” from 15 percent in 2019 to 8 percent in 2023.

We wish all of our graduates much success in their future plans of college, careers and life after Glenbard.

David F. Larson, Ed.D.