November is National Career Development Month! This is the fourth and final article in our Career Development Month blog series.

As Career Month comes to an end, we want to focus our last blog post on the secret ingredient to reigniting College and Career Readiness (CCR) in your schools: Parents and families.

Parents play a key role in all aspects of education and CCR should be no exception. Since family involvement in college planning is so important for students, it’s imperative that schools find ways to work alongside them.

When you involve parents in the work, they can help generate new ideas, establish new partnerships, and reinforce the CCR framework at home. Here are a few ways to get families involved in your school’s College and Career Readiness.

Share the Load

Begin by thinking about parents as partners in this work. Some families will be well-equipped to talk about post-secondary options and what it takes to prepare for future careers with their students, while others might be approaching the topic for the first time. It’s important to introduce parents to future readiness and let them know that they all play an important role.

Open house or other back-to-school nights provide a great opportunity to introduce the parents to the school’s future readiness plans. If your school doesn’t have an already established night for families to visit the school at the beginning of the year, perhaps a night could be scheduled to talk about CCR.

Emails or other forms of communication can also be used to introduce families to CCR. Regardless of how you share the information with the families, make sure resources are available online so they can access the information at their own convenience. The most crucial aspect is that parents know how valuable they are in reinforcing the CCR framework at home.

Reintroduce the CCR Framework

As you begin to talk to parents, introduce the framework with them so that they can reintroduce the ideas at home. Highlight the areas in which they can help and provide examples that they can easily reference and use.

Here are the three ways parents can assist with their student’s CCR:

  1. Encourage self-discovery. Beginning at the elementary level, parents can help students understand who they are and what makes them unique. By exposing kids to different activities and experiences, students have the opportunity to determine what they like and what skills they are good at. These skills should be encouraged and celebrated so that students develop confidence and become more self-assured.
  2. Create career awareness and explore options. Parents can play an integral role in helping students become aware of the working world. Anytime families are out in public, they can encourage their children to pay attention to the workers that are in different environments. Once young students become aware of the working world and specific careers, parents can further develop the conversation by talking about the level of education that is needed for certain jobs. This will help students begin to understand the skills and pathways needed for certain professions.
  3. Build future readiness with a plan of action. As students become more familiar with the working world, they will learn concepts and skills that will be applicable for real-world readiness, which will help them transition from elementary school to middle school and beyond. Students will continue to hone their plans of action as they age and learn more about the careers that interest them. Parents can guide and provide important levels of support as students begin developing these plans.

Parents play a role in their child’s career readiness, and the expectations that they have at home directly impact their plan. From our research, we’ve learned that parents are concerned their child won’t be prepared for the world of work or be fulfilled by the path that they choose.

By involving parents in the CCR process, it helps students better prepare and helps parents have a hand in trying to ensure that their child feels fulfilled in their future career path.

We want to build community with parents by inviting them to support their child’s future planning. Here are a few tools and resources that can be instrumental in that process:

A Parent Newsletter

An email newsletter is a great way to let families know what future-readiness activities their kids are working on, allowing them to ask their kids about the project or offer their support. Xello is currently creating a newsletter that will be aimed directly at parents. The newsletter will share future readiness concepts and examples of activities that parents can do at home with their child to extend the work they’re doing in school with Xello. This promises to be a great resource for families. Stay tuned for more details!

Student Activity Ideas For the Home and Beyond

Parents have an important role in helping their students make successful transitions from middle school to high school and beyond. The following inquiry questions can be used to explore these transitions with students:

  • How can you make a successful transition to middle school/high school/college/workplace?
  • Will you/we (as a family) have to change our routine once you go to high school (e.g. new times, new after-school activities, new transportation route, new homework schedule)?
  • How can we make a plan together to get ready?

Additionally, a small group of high school mentors can be organized to talk to an upcoming class about their concerns and questions about high school.

Sometimes it’s most effective to have recent graduates lead the sessions because that provides a level of comfortability in a shared experience. Students are sometimes more likely to listen to and ask questions of fellow students even if they are a few years older than them.

Xello also provides the following resources that can help parents navigate College and Career Readiness and assist them in helping their child.

  • Welcome Families to Xello is a three minute video that introduces families to Xello. It also discusses how parents can be a support system for students as they discuss future goals and plans.
  • Get Started for Parents/Guardians is where parents will go to log in to their account. There is information on how to navigate Xello and an explanation on what their child’s Xello experience will look like. This can be used to help parents tailor their conversations at home to match their child’s Xello experience.

Parents are a critical component in the College and Career Readiness of their child, and therefore, it’s important that they are invited to participate. By inviting parents to participate with CCR, it creates a community of support for students.

Parents can continue the conversations from school and reinforce the three components of the CCR framework at home, which will help students transition from middle school to high school and eventually to a successful future in which they feel fulfilled.

Thanks for following along in our Career Development Month blog series! If you missed the first three articles, check them out here: