How Chesaning High School Used Xello Outside the Classroom During an Unexpected and Challenging Time
School districts across North America worked hard to keep students academically engaged while they learned remotely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Career Navigator and College and Career Advisor Erica Berkmeier is grateful that her school had an EdTech program that ensured the 500 Grades 9-12 students at Chesaning High School continue could prepare for the future—even when they weren’t in the classroom.
In September 2020, the Saginaw ISD in Michigan rolled out Xello to help students explore college and career options. Berkmeier helped all freshman students at Chesaning High set up profiles and begin taking personality and learning style quizzes and exploring Xello’s career Matchmaker feature.
They also have a career and college exploration program for juniors and seniors who have enough credits to participate. Eligible students can make it part of one of their trimester courses and go out in the community job shadow. Part of the process includes logging into Xello to explore options before identifying an appropriate workplace for them.
When students were sent home for remote learning due to the pandemic, Berkmeier tried to keep their future readiness learning business as usual. She used Google Classroom to remind them that working on their college and career readiness would be a good use of their time.
“I let students know that if they weren’t sure what to do [while they were at home], it would be a good to do some exploration on Xello. For example, in the spring of 2020, seniors could do virtual campus tours on Xello. You can get a pretty good idea of what a campus is like using that tool,” she said.
For juniors, she recommended college and career exploration so they could consider making a plan for what they want to do when they graduate.
“They could explore colleges or skilled trade opportunities,” said Berkmeier.
She looked into grade-appropriate activities to recommend to the younger students at Chesaning.
Berkmeier says the feedback from students who onboarded with Xello at school has been overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s definitely very user friendly. It’s almost like being on social media, but with a purpose. The career matches are always a big hit. The kids get a chuckle out of what comes up for them. What’s nice about Xello is that you can see which questions you answered led you to the career being proposed.”
Berkmeier’s ultimate goal is to ensure all Chesaning High School students have a viable plan for when they graduate, no matter what pathway they choose.
“This is why we start using Xello in the 9th grade – because students should be thinking about what happens after high school.”
They also use Xello to help the “wayward students” who need more encouragement on buckling down and getting their work done.
“When you know what you want to be when you graduate, you’re more likely to take care of your business as a student first,” she said.
With the school’s course guide loaded into Xello, it’s a lot easier to schedule students and sit down with them individually to discuss their interests and plans.
“When kids have questions like, ‘I think I want to be…’, we always direct them to Xello. And when they want to know where they are in achieving their credits, they can look at Course Planner on their Xello profile dashboard to see what they need to take and what subject areas they’re lacking in,” said Berkmeier.
Xello is integrated with the Common App at Chesaning High School so they have a “one-stop-shop” when it comes to planning their courses and their future. Berkmeier and her team have uploaded local scholarships into Xello and offer Work-Based Learning lessons as well.
“I would like to use Xello as a resource hub, so that when kids have questions about anything related to school, they go to Xello. That’s one of my goals.”
Berkmeier says she’s noticed an uptick in the number of students who come to talk to her about what they want to do in the future and she’s happy to “work backwards” with them using Xello.
Whether they’re learning in-school or virtually, Chesaning High School has a college and career readiness tool that helps students and staff keep the big picture in mind and prepare for the future—whatever it holds.
That was Chesaning High School’s success story—now it’s time to write yours. Learn how Xello can help students at your district get college and career ready. Book My Demo