Partner Success Story: Transforming Academic & Career Planning with Virginia Beach City Public Schools
As the largest individual city school division in the state, Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) plays a critical role in preparing Virginia students to become life-long learners and active contributors to their local communities.
The district serves more than 60,000 students with an on-time graduation rate of 95%—an impressive achievement VBCPS attributes in part to building an intentional academic and career readiness planning (ACP) process.
"We give students voice. We really want this to be a personalized pathway—not just one goal, but instead the path by which students get to their goals." — Robert Jamison, Coordinator of School Counseling Services at Virginia Beach City Public Schools
In order to meet the needs of all 60k students on their unique pathways, VBCPS partnered with MajorClarity to make the ACP process sustainable and personalized.
4-Step Approach to Academic and Career PlanningCredit: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
Virginia Beach starts the personalized process with a 4-stage approach:
Awareness: Students in Virginia Beach’s 56 elementary schools begin learning about careers and building awareness of industries in their local community.
Exploration: Students in middle school explore their own interests and map careers to aligned academic pathways
Readiness: Students in high schools build skills to prepare them for their chosen career—whether it be military, college, credentialing, or straight into the workforce.
Go: Graduates are prepared with plans for success and are equipped with the skills to adjust as needed.
For Virginia Beach, it’s essential that this process be adult-supported and student-driven, so students are using the MajorClarity platform to explore multiple interests, cultivate their own experiences, and create personalized ACPs.
The platform provides students with the ability to take career planning assessments that produce personalized results for suggested career paths to explore. To expand their awareness of careers, students are guided towards relevant career descriptions, salary data, education/certification requirements and interviews with professionals.
Once they have identified aligned careers, students can “test-drive” careers by completing career simulation experiences, and competency-based student micro-credentials. As students complete activities and review their experiences, they receive a personalized fit score that guides exploration and leads to the creation of an ACP, resume-building, and postsecondary planning.
"Alignment with Virginia Beach came very naturally. We know that students learn by doing and the platform specializes inconnecting students through the full journey from exploration to putting down plans.”— Audrey Johnston, Senior Director of Customer Success at MajorClarity
Embedding Career Readiness in Practice
Implementing a comprehensive platform and ACP process requires alignment between parents, students, teachers, and counselors. To build a strong foundation, Virginia Beach City Public Schools leveraged their district-wide Scope and Sequence that maps back to their four-step approach.
At the elementary level, schools are including visits to community centers, activities with graphic organizers, and age-appropriate reading recommendations that encourage a diverse set of careers.
Students complete their first academic career plan (ACP) in 5th grade, where counselors also discuss graduation requirements related to the individual student’s goals and interests.
Virginia Beach uses MajorClarity to ensure student experiences are tracked, reflected, and assessed, as well as providing students with the ability to view their own course history, build plans, and learn about related courses offered within the building. To build a strong foundation, Virginia Beach City Public Schools leveraged lesson plans and activities from MajorClarity's Partner Hub within their district-wide scope and sequence to ensure career readiness isn't a one-time occurrence.
Designing an Intentional Implementation Plan
Implementing any new software requires intentional planning to get students and staff using a new system regularly. For Virginia Beach, a big goal was to design targeted interactions for staff within the MajorClarity platform—so that staff would be able to trust they could find all career readiness needs in one comprehensive place rather than needing to search across multiple sources.
To accomplish this, Jamison built career readiness into the district Scope and Sequence and spent time meeting with staff and counselors to describe the “why” behind the new platform. He worked in concert with the district’s IT department to ensure integration would be seamless, including leveraging MajorClarity’s ClassLink integration to simplify log-in for teachers and students.
In December 2021, Virginia Beach City Public Schools became an official MajorClarity Power User—a designation that means they have exceeded industry standards for staff engagement, student activation, and returning users.
Their user activation rate has since surpassed 60%, meaning that the majority of teachers and students are regularly using the platform to complete their academic and career planning process.
To learn more about how Virginia Beach City Public Schools is incorporating career readiness into class time, tackling change management with staff, and making ACP meaningful, view the full webinar.