Partner Success Story: Championing CCR in the First Year with Wyoming County Schools
7 min read
Kara Halsey-Mitchell is the Assistant Superintendent of Wyoming County Schools in West Virginia, where she focuses on Pre-K-12 Curriculum and Instruction on all programmatic levels. As a first-year partner and new MajorClarity Power User, we met with Kara to discuss some of the CCR initiatives in Wyoming County and how the district is partnering with MajorClarity to achieve their goals.
Key Career & College Readiness GoalsFor Wyoming County Schools, helping students build a foundation in career and college readiness is essential to preparing students for life after high school.
Wyoming County Schools was looking for a partner to support in the following areas:
- Providing one comprehensive place for counselors, students, parents, and administrators to manage CCR initiatives
- Automating academic planning and streamlining the PEP (personalized education plans) process
- Connecting students with career exploration to discover a broader range of career options
- Guiding students towards postsecondary planning that aligns with their individual career goals
How did Wyoming County meet CCR Objectives in the past?
Wyoming County Schools did not have an official district-wide CCR platform. College and Career Readiness was solely the responsibility of classroom teachers. Among balancing many other classroom duties, teachers needed to search for their own resources in career exploration.
The partnership with MajorClarity not only simplified planning for teachers—it gave students ownership in their own career readiness and postsecondary planning.
“Making that shift to MajorClarity was really the vision that we had in mind because it [provided] us with that one stop shop—and it allowed the counselors to have digital access to a student’s personalized education plan, which made the correspondence with parents/guardians so much more effective and efficient.” – Kara Halsey-Mitchell
MajorClarity personality assessments play a key role throughout this process, providing students with a dynamic Career Fit Score that students use to guide their career exploration.
Wyoming County Schools uses the platform to ensure all students receive individualized career guidance and access to participate in interactive career-specific activities and video interviews from people directly in the field.
“I did the personality assessments myself, and they nailed it spot on! My top three were identical to my passions and my background: 99% in teaching, 99% in History (I have a minor in history), and Psychology as well–I have a strong family history of counseling. I felt like this really captured who I am and who the students are as well.” – Kara Halsey-Mitchell
Student & Teacher Interaction with the Platform
Students use MajorClarity on a rotating timeline, allowing them to explore other subject areas in their schools, such as STEM and the Arts. Teachers and counselors use the student engagement data to plan other activities for career and college exploration–for example, a counselor may schedule a college tour that aligns with trends from student exploration in the MajorClarity platform.
Further, school building administrators can access the career exploration data to see student interests in real-time, make early enrollment and course scheduling decisions, and plan community workforce partnerships.
Ensuring a Smooth Roll-out & Ongoing Support
Establishing a strong partnership in the beginning stages of the implementation process is essential to a successful start and longevity. The partnership with Wyoming County included ongoing trainings, check-ins, and access to the Partner Resource Hub.
The MajorClarity Customer Success team works with Kara regularly to share data trends and providing assistance and additional support to administrators and counselors.
“The MajorClarity Customer Success Team has been absolutely phenomenal.” - Kara Halsey-Mitchell
Advice for other West Virginia districts getting started with MajorClarity
- Start Early: Be sure to give yourself enough time to get educators invested, set your goals, and build that internal alignment at your district before you ever had students logging in.
- Technology Prep: Before students and teachers begin using MajorClarity, allow some time to prepare the system with importing students, course codes, programs of study, etc.
- Prioritize: Set first-year goals for your district, and share them with counselors and teachers so that the vision and objectives are clear. Update them regularly with progress so that it doesn't seem like a one-and-done thing.
Next school year, Kara and Wyoming County Schools plan to expand in some areas that weren’t part of their first year goals, such as scholarships.
Building Team Excitement to Use the Platform
According to the 2022 Career & College Readiness Benchmark, engaging a range of stakeholders in career readiness is one of the most persistently difficult areas of career readiness.
For Wyoming County, it was critical to build that buy-in from the start. They began searching for a CCR platform with five team members across curriculum and instruction, counseling, and special services. Once MajorClarity was selected, the platform, objectives, and implementation goals were shared with school principals across the district for review before moving forward. Principals used demo accounts to compare administrator, teacher, and student views and gain a better understanding of how the platform works from multiple perspectives.
Once the partnership launched, Wyoming County Schools worked hard to build up parent excitement and encourage students to share their career explorations and course registrations at home.
“One of our school counselors received an email from a parent saying that they’ve heard so much about MajorClarity this year, and it makes their child excited about registering for their classes because they know the direction they wish to pursue.” -Kara Halsey-Mitchell
Impact & Data
For any district, one metric that’s critical to track for any platform is the number of students who are “active returners.” This data shows that students are actively and consistently returning to career and college readiness at multiple points in the student career journey–whether it be something like completing a career activity associated with a pathway or reviewing a college that offers a degree track in a specific field.
In the first year of using MajorClarity, Wyoming County Schools already has schools in the district at a 90%+ student return rate.
“I’m very proud to see those numbers, especially during the first year of implementation. Of course, we expect and will continue to see these numbers increase in the future.” - Kara Halsey-Mitchell
Academic and Career Planning (ACP)—known in West Virginia as Personalized Education Plans (PEPS)—can be tracked within the platform as well. One of Wyoming County’s objectives was to move from paper and pencil course planning to digital course planning and as a result, administrators are able to view how many PEPs are being completed online.
Helping automate PEPs saved time and streamlined course registration and communication, enabling counselors to send PEPs directly to parents/guardians and corresponding through email or the learning management system (LMS).
As a rural district focused on equity, Wyoming County Schools still provides a paper option for families who may have limited access to internet. Students are still able to access career exploration and save their PEP progress during school-time while educators can use the communication tools to quickly share updates.
Supporting Student Needs with CCR Goals and MajorClarity
The MajorClarity and Wyoming County Schools partnership allows their students to discover personal skillsets, careers, and colleges that align with their personal goals that may not have been considered without using the platform.
“I think college and career readiness gives students in West Virginia access to hope. When I say hope, I mean asking 'what's out there and what's available for my future?”
- Kara Halsey-Mitchell
Through this partnership, and by ensuring all students have career exploration, Wyoming County Schools is delivering on that promise.
ABOUT KARA HALSEY-MITCHELL
Kara Halsey-Mitchell is the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction for Wyoming County Schools, WV. Mrs. Halsey-Mitchell has served at all programmatic levels within the county, including as a classroom teacher, assistant principal, and principal before moving to the central office as a director. Mrs. Halsey-Mitchell is a graduate of Wyoming County Schools, Concord University, and Marshall University.