Going into a new school year, COVID continues to be a lingering term and presence in classrooms worldwide. So how can a program like Xello alleviate some of the common stressors educators may experience when it comes to CCR planning? Lynda Byrne explains.

I recently asked an educator friend of mine how she’s feeling about the upcoming school year and was met with a laundry list of worries. Given what she experienced as a high school teacher during the pandemic, her worries ranged from in-school safety measures, delayed planning due to constantly changing schedules, ways to give students enrichment opportunities, and more.

Everyone, especially teachers, know that things can change quickly during these unpredictable times, so it’s hard to tell what September will bring. In either the classroom or online setting, educators will continue to face added stress and need as many supportive tools in their tool belt as possible.

And for many students, living through the pandemic has changed how they feel about their future schooling and career options—they’ll need support navigating the choppy waters of uncertainty. For others, returning to school may trigger a lot of fear and distraction, so engaging, culturally relevant content to keep students on-track will be crucial.

There will be a lot going on for both students and educators in the upcoming school year. What Xello can offer educators are tools to help provide students with engaging experiences to get the focus back on their future and not on what they may have missed out on during the last year and half.

Here are five Xello tools that can help to ease the load on teachers for the new school year, particularly when it comes to college and career planning.

1. Integrate Flexible, Built-in Curriculum into Teaching Plans with Xello Lessons

You may know Xello for its career exploration tools for students, but are you familiar with its lineup of ready-to-go lessons? Xello’s ready-made Lessons cover a wide range of age appropriate, future-readiness topics that encourage ongoing learning and reflection. Looking for something to help prep students for the transition to high school? How about the overwhelming task of choosing post-secondary pathways? Or what about something like understanding work-life balance?

Xello has educators covered with interactive, fully digital lessons that can be integrated into a curriculum or used during advisory periods. In their own Xello accounts, educators can experience each Xello Lesson themselves so they’re fully aware of the student experience. For more on how to use Xello Lessons both inside and outside the classroom, check out this post.

My favorite part:

Xello’s built-in lessons are not only interactive for students, but they’re personalized based on what students have saved in their Xello account, such as careers of interest. Keeping a student focused and engaged in a lesson is no small feat, so having something personalized to each student helps to keep them involved and on-task.

2. Ensure Students Successfully Complete Requirements with Custom Lessons

If there’s a specific project or set of criteria not covered in Xello’s out-of-the-box lessons be sure to check out Custom Lessons in Xello. Educators with administrator access can create customized lessons where everything from the content, title, instructions, attachments, and even Xello activity prerequisites can be customized to ensure specific future-readiness mandate requirements are met and easily reported on.

My favorite part:

Even though Custom Lessons are yours to customize, you can still determine which “gates” to put on each lesson. Take advantage of prerequisite options when creating custom lessons to ensure students finish other activities in Xello, such as completing an assessment, creating a plan, or adding interests. Learn how to track student activity with prerequisites for Custom Lessons.

3. Quickly Identify which Students Need Support with Xello Reporting Tools

With Xello’s robust and easy-to-understand Reporting Tools, educators can use report data for accountability, create relevant learning experiences by understanding student’s aspirations, and ensure students are on-track to meet expectations. Reports in Xello give educators quick answers to important questions, such as “who needs more support?”

Xello’s reporting tools can help schools report on the completion of mandated activities to their school board, but it can also help educators and counselors get in front of possible mental health issues with at-risk students. As noted in the article The Power of Future Thinking for Healthy Living, “Positive future thinking (PFT) is an important component of healthy cognitive functioning. When people can’t imagine a positive future, that negative view often becomes a central feature of anxiety and depression.”

Giving students tools like Xello that allow them to imagine an exciting and achievable future is a great way to ensure students are practicing positive future thinking. Keeping an eye on student’s mental health will continue to be an important theme for educators this fall, so reporting on students who haven’t been able to create a post-secondary plan in Xello can help educators and counselors recognize students who might be struggling with their mental health.

My favorite part:

With Xello’s reporting tools, educators don’t have to worry about creating a report or dashboard when they get their Xello account. All educators gain valuable insights right away with Xello’s ready-made engagement and profile reports, so they can get the information they need and act on it.

4. Provide Independent Learning for the Real-World with Resume Builder

The important role of a good resume is something we as adults understand and continue to finesse as a skill as we move through our careers. Summarizing who you are, your experiences, and why you’re the best candidate for an opportunity in a daunting task when you’re young.

Educators can introduce students to the skill of resume building when students are already in the process of reflecting on their interests and experiences in Xello. And since Resume Builder has a built-in onboarding function that takes students through the process, educators can leverage this tool as a great self-paced, independent, in-class or at-home activity while providing one-on-one support to students in need. Need some inspiration for your younger students creating their first resume? Invite a senior student who works part time to be your class’s weekly guest speaker!

My favorite part:

Students don’t have to start from scratch with Resume Builder in Xello. If they’ve added interests, skills, work and/or volunteer experiences in their Xello ‘About Me’ portfolio, those items are available for them to port over into their resume. The Resume Builder also ensures that there aren’t any discrepancies between the content of a student’s resume and their ‘About Me’ profile. So, any saved profile entries edited while in Resume Builder or new content that is added is automatically synced back to the ‘About Me’ profile. Everything is mirrored. This gets an A+ for consistency!

5. Turn Student Families into College and Career Readiness Super Teams

College and career readiness relies on the perfect trifecta relationship of student, educator, and family. Last month, I touched upon how important the relationship is between educator and guardian when it comes to a student’s future-readiness. To support students in their future planning, parents and educators need to be aligned and Xello is equipping both parties with a tool to accomplish that. With Xello Family, parents and guardians can be invited to view their child’s future goals and plans, so they can better support their learning and development.

My favorite part:

Whether a family has one child, three children, or even more, parents and guardians can access all their students’ work in one location.

The hard truth for many educators is that the pandemic is not yet over and they will continue to be met with challenges in the new school year. At Xello, we hope that this summer is providing educators with the rest they need and hope they know that our team is here to support them in anyway we can when they’re gearing up to take on the new year this fall.

ABOUT LYNDA

Lynda Byrne is a seasoned marketing professional in the education technology space, specializing in user engagement and customer retention. When she isn’t working to empower educators to provide world-class future-readiness programs, you can find her traveling, testing out dessert recipes, or playing with her dog Otis.