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go alliance academy - course modules

The Go Alliance Academy instructor-led modules incorporate a community learning approach, which has proven effective for delivering online professional development to educators. School counselors and college access professionals participate in the online courses as a cohort with structured online discussions with colleagues.

Each Module Includes:

This module, developed for practicing professional school counselors, pre-service school counselors, and college access advisers, includes four sessions that are designed to help them increase the postsecondary success of the students they serve, particularly those in poverty or students who face barriers in postsecondary planning. The sessions help school counselors and college access advisers develop approaches for communicating and working with high-poverty students and diverse populations to remove barriers to high aspirations and achievement.

The term “college” is used throughout this module to refer to any postsecondary education or training at a Pell-eligible educational institution beyond the high school level, including those that offer apprenticeship programs, certificates, and associate and/or bachelor degree programs.  

Session 1

Understanding The National Workforce Landscape and 21st Century Careers helps counselors to understand the changing demands of work, including the need for postsecondary education; the education requirements and earning potential for various career fields; and state and national trends in job growth, loss, and stagnation.

Session 2

Cultural Competency and Equity shows how pervasive cultural beliefs and values, held by both school staff and a student’s family, can be a barrier to postsecondary achievement for certain groups of students. Counselors learn techniques for communicating with culturally diverse populations and how to intervene to help students overcome barriers.

Session 3

Understanding, Communicating, and Advocating for the Role of the School Counselor in College and Career Planning helps counselors understand their role as a social justice advocate in helping all students achieve their postsecondary goals as well as how to communicate the role of the school counselor in postsecondary planning to administrators, teachers, students and parents.

Session 4

Creating a Schoolwide College-going Culture shows how to create a college-going culture; identify barriers to students’ postsecondary aspirations; gain faculty, administrator and parent support for increasing college access for all students; and increase students’ college-going self-efficacy.

This module, developed for practicing professional school counselors, pre-service school counselors, and college access professionals, includes four sessions that focus on engaging students in early career awareness and development; supporting students in career and postsecondary planning; using data to address equity and to guide academic and career planning; and the importance of postsecondary choices and finding the right postsecondary fit. Participants build knowledge and skills in each of these areas, and they are expected to engage in constructive discussions in a learning community with their colleagues during each session.

The term “college” is used throughout this course to refer to any postsecondary education or training at a Pell-eligible educational institution beyond the high school level, including those that offer apprenticeship programs, certificates, and associate and/or bachelor degree programs.

Session 1

Engaging Students in Career Awareness and Planning shows the connections between course planning, postsecondary planning, and career planning, and how to communicate these relationships to students. This session also teaches strategies counselors can use to engage students in academics by showing how secondary courses relate to a students’ future career interests.

Session 2

Using Data to Address Equity teaches strategies to intervene for students who are in danger of being left out of the school’s college-going mission; help students and parents understand the impact of secondary academic achievement on postsecondary opportunities; and collaborate with classroom teachers to support career exploration.

Session 3

Using Data to Guide Academic Planning enables counselors to use data to assist students in academic planning; align students’ course selection to career interests; and assist students in understanding and pursuing non-traditional course options, such as dual enrollment, AP courses, CLEP, honors courses, virtual courses.

Session 4

College/Postsecondary Choice trains counselors to help students and parents find the right fit among many postsecondary options in academics, size, cost, location, school culture or atmosphere, diversity, and match to students’ career interests. Counselors will also learn about useful tools and resources for college planning and how to assist students and parents in understanding college terminology.

This module, developed for practicing professional school counselors, pre-service school counselors, and college access professionals, includes four sessions that address financial aid literacy, completing the FAFSA, and preparing college applications. Parents and students need assistance in navigating the complexities of financial aid and the college admission process. School counselors, in collaboration with principals, teachers, and college access professionals, can guide parents and students through these processes to increase student access to education after high school. This module focuses on how school counselors and college access professionals can support parents and students in navigating financial aid and successfully preparing for postsecondary admissions and applications.

The term “college” is used throughout this course to refer to any postsecondary education or training at a Pell-eligible educational institution beyond the high school level, including those that offer apprenticeship programs, certificates, and associate and/or bachelor degree programs.

Session 1

Guiding Parents and Students Through the Complexities of Financial Aid unravels the complexities of financial aid, including terminology, and strategies to help parents and students understand the total cost of postsecondary education. The session also covers best sources of financial assistance, including grants, loans and scholarships.

Session 2

Assisting with the Financial Aid Process teaches participants the process parents and students need to follow to complete the FAFSA, what information is needed, what financial aid terminology means and what types of aid can be received based on the FAFSA.

Session 3

Preparing for College Admissions Tests helps participants plan ways to help students prepare for college admissions tests. This session also addresses fees and waivers, test-taking strategies, practice tests, and helping parents and students understand what scores mean.

Session 4

College Admissions: Application Process trains counselors to assist students in completing the application process for the postsecondary schools they are interested in.

This module, developed for practicing professional school counselors, pre-service school counselors, and college access professionals, includes six sessions that address the skills and knowledge required to help middle grade students prepare for college and careers. Participants build knowledge and skills in several areas, including how to create a college-going culture; the value and affordability of postsecondary education; career exploration; how to use data to support student success; academic planning; transitions from elementary to middle school and from middle to high school; and how to help students to develop academic mindsets and skills for college and career success. Participants will engage in constructive discussions in a learning community with their colleagues during each session, and complete practical, hands-on activities throughout the course.  

Session 1

Session one focuses on the importance of developing a college-going culture in middle school as well as how to identify and address barriers within the school that impact students’ ability to reach their education and career goals. Participants learn effective strategies to establish a college-going culture in their school, how to help students and faculty to understand all postsecondary options, and how different higher education degrees/credentials lead to different career paths. Participants also learn how to dispel cultural, social, and gender stereotypes associated with college and careers. 

Session 2

Middle school is a crucial stage at which students and their parents must begin to make variety of complex choices that range from pursuing a challenging academic curriculum to developing an understanding of college financing. Studies have shown that almost all parents hope that their children will be able to attend college, but many parents do not have the necessary information to help their children make the important early choices that will help them prepare to fulfill their college dreams. This session equips participants with tools and strategies to communicate the value and affordability of a postsecondary education as well as the steps that are necessary to take now in order to plan for college.

Participants learn how to provide practical, developmentally-appropriate information to students and families about the costs of higher education; the types of aid that are available; what “postsecondary” means; the pros and cons of different types of postsecondary options; and an overview of the college planning and admissions process.

Session 3

In this session, participants learn how to research employment area forecasts, explore state-adopted career clusters, and explore tools and strategies to help students understand the connections between career aspirations and academic planning. This session also shows how stereotypes can influence students’ future aspirations, and the steps counselors can take to dispel those myths.

Session 4

This session addresses the importance of exploring school data from multiple perspectives. First, it explores the use of data to uncover issues related to equity. It also explores the importance of using disaggregated school-level and individual student data to identify early warning signs for at-risk students. Participants plan interventions to support students who are struggling to be college and career ready as they progress through middle and high school.

Session 5

Transition activities, career assessments, and academic planning are important elements in student motivation, engagement and learning. This session helps participants understand factors that influence how students make decisions about whether or not they will go on to college. In addition, participants learn how to support students in their transitions from elementary to middle and from middle to high school; how to help students and families to understand the link between success in academic courses in middle school and access to postsecondary preparation options in high school; and how to help students and families understand why taking the right courses in high school and getting good grades prepares them for success in college and careers.

Session 6

Research suggests that racial/ethnic and gender differences in school performance can be reduced by focusing on students’ attitudes and behaviors. It’s important for students to learn self-regulation skills in middle school, as they are foundational to success in high school, college, and careers. This session will expose participants to strategies for helping adolescents develop a growth mindset and how academic mindsets, social skills, and career-readiness skills lead to success in college and careers.

This module, developed for practicing professional school counselors, pre-service school counselors, and college access professionals, includes five sessions that address the skills and knowledge required to help elementary grade students prepare for college and careers. Participants will be engaged in building knowledge and skills in several areas, including the creation of a college-going culture, the value and affordability of postsecondary education, career exploration, using data to support student success, academic planning, transitions to elementary school and from elementary to middle school, and helping students to develop academic mindsets and skills. Participants will engage in constructive discussions in a learning community with their colleagues during each session, and complete practical, hands-on activities throughout the course. 

The term “college” is used throughout this course to refer to any postsecondary education or training at a Pell-eligible educational institution beyond the high school level, including those that offer apprenticeship programs, certificates, and associate and/or bachelor degree programs. 

Session 1

In this session, participants learn about the importance of developing a college-going culture in elementary school; the barriers to success many students face; and strategies for establishing a college-going culture, including how to work with faculty to promote one. Additionally, participants practice identifying the barriers their own students face and propose strategies to help students overcome the barriers.

In this session, participants learn to:

  1. identify and address barriers within the school culture that impact students’ ability to reach their education and career goals 
  2. help faculty identify all postsecondary options and how different higher education degrees and credentials lead to different career paths
  3. use effective strategies for creating a college-going culture in the elementary grades

Session 2

Elementary school is a foundational stage to expose students to the idea of education after high school. Studies have shown the majority of parents want their children to attend postsecondary education, but many parents believe college is too expensive and do not have the necessary information about financial aid, low-interest loans, and scholarships. This session equips participants with tools and strategies to communicate the value and affordability of a postsecondary education.

In this session, participants learn to:

  1. communicate the value of higher education for individuals and society and that anyone can pursue postsecondary education
  2. provide an overview of the costs of higher education and the types of aid available and convey to students and families that college is affordable
  3. communicate practical, grade-appropriate knowledge about college planning to elementary students and families

Session 3

In this session, participants learn about employment forecasts by locality, explore state-adopted career clusters, explore tools and strategies to help students understand the connections between career aspirations and academic planning, as well as learn how cultural stereotypes can influence future aspirations.

In this session, participants learn how to:   

  1. use assessments and strategies to help students develop awareness of their interests, skills and abilities — and how these relate to career options
  2. use state resources to promote career awareness and development among elementary students
  3. use research from national- and state-recognized career clusters to assist students in identifying career areas of interest
  4. provide education to students and families to help dispel cultural-, social-, and gender-specific career stereotypes

Session 4

This session addresses the multiple uses of school data. It explores the use of data to uncover issues related to equity. It also explores the importance of using disaggregated school-level and individual student data to identify early warning signs for at-risk students. Participants plan interventions to support students who are struggling to be college and career ready as they progress through elementary school.

This session enables participants to:

  1. identify, analyze and interpret types of data that are useful for understanding student achievement and academic planning needs
  2. analyze and interpret data to identify students who may not be on a path to being college and career ready
  3. plan interventions for students who are not on track to be college and career ready

Session 5

Research suggests self-regulation and resilience contribute to students’ academic performance. In addition, racial/ethnic and gender differences in school performance can be reduced by focusing on students’ attitudes and behaviors. It’s important for students to learn these skills in elementary school as they are foundational to success in high school, college and careers. This session exposes participants to strategies for helping adolescents develop a growth mindset and how academic mindsets, social skills and career-readiness skills lead to success in college and careers.

In this session, participants learn to:

  1. plan transition activities for parents and students to help students prepare for elementary and middle school;
  2. help students develop time-management behaviors, study skills and psychological resilience; successful learning strategies; and self-management behaviors
  3. help students understand how academic mindsets, social skills, and career-readiness skills lead to success in college and careers

This module, developed for school leaders such as superintendents, principals, and assistant principals, helps school leaders understand how to engage effectively with school counselors to take the steps needed to achieve school improvement goals. Participants learn about the school counselor’s role and the impact school counselors can have on student success; what a comprehensive school counseling program is and how to support one; and how to develop a shared vision for student success with school counseling staff. This course was developed in collaboration with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

The term “college” is used throughout this course to refer to any postsecondary education or training at a Pell-eligible educational institution beyond the high school level, including those that offer apprenticeship programs, certificates, and associate and/or bachelor degree programs.

Session 1

In this session, participants learn about the impact school counselors can have on student success. In addition, participants explore strategies for how school leaders and school counselors can partner effectively to achieve school goals, as well as how school results reports can be used to track the impact of counselor activities on student outcomes.

Session 2

In this session, participants learn about the American School Counselor Association framework for school counseling programs, as well as which activities are the most effective use of school counselors’ time.

Session 3

In this session, participants learn about comprehensive school counseling programs that address the academic, career and social needs of all students, as well as how these programs support a school’s goals. Participants discuss potential barriers that might prevent a school counselor from implementing a comprehensive school counseling program, as well as how administrators can help counselors overcome those barriers. Participants also learn how to use an annual agreement that aligns school counseling goals with school improvement goals.

Session 4

In this session, administrators learn about the school counselor’s ethical, legal and professional responsibilities and how to establish a more collaborative and cohesive working alliance with school counselors. Participants also self-assess their effectiveness in working with the school counselor and identify how to strengthen the professional relationship. This module also covers the school counselor’s role on a school’s leadership team.

The purpose of this module is to help teachers-as-advisors and classroom teachers understand their roles in working with school counselors and others to develop a college-going mission for all students. Additionally, the sessions help participants develop approaches for communicating and working with low-income students, those who would be first in the family to attend college, and diverse student populations in order to remove barriers to postsecondary aspirations and achievement.

The term “college” is used throughout this course to refer to any postsecondary education or training at a Pell-eligible educational institution beyond the high school level, including those that offer apprenticeship programs, certificates, and associate and/or bachelor degree programs.

Session 1

This session focuses on strategies to help students understand the relevance of postsecondary education for specific careers. Participants learn strategies to work with local employers, students, educators and schools in support of this goal.

This session enables participants to:

  1. increase their knowledge of the national and state workforce landscape and postsecondary education requirements
  2. understand future employment and earning potential for job fields that are expanding, shrinking and stagnating

Session 2

This session focuses on helping students understand their choices for postsecondary education and finding the right fit among higher education institutions related to academics, size, cost, location, school culture and atmosphere, support services, diversity and career interest.

This session enables participants to:

  1. help students explore postsecondary education options and understand the breadth of available options
  2. support students in comparing academics, size, cost, location, school culture and atmosphere, support services, completion rates, diversity and match to career interests

Session 3

This session covers techniques for creating and supporting a school-wide college-going culture.  

This session enables participants to:

  1. understand what a school-wide college-going culture is and why it is important
  2. learn techniques to create and support a college-going culture

Session 4

In this session, participants explore resources and identify strategies for incorporating career development into their existing curriculum to support students who are in the career and postsecondary planning processes. Participants consider how to engage students academically by helping them understand the relevance of current coursework to future career pathways.

This session will enable participants to:

  1. identify specific strategies for helping students identify career interests, the postsecondary options that lead to those careers of interest, and the secondary courses that prepare them for postsecondary education

The College and Career Counseling for Special-Population Students module was developed for practicing professional school counselors, pre-service school counselors and college access professionals. It includes six sessions that address the skills and knowledge required to help special-population students prepare for college and careers.

Participants will be engaged in building knowledge and skills in several areas, including understanding and identifying special populations, building support systems, planning for school, maintaining records, exploring the college application and financial aid processes, and helping students successfully transition into education after high school.

Participants will engage in constructive discussions in a learning community with their colleagues during each session and will complete practical, hands-on activities throughout the course. 

What Are Special-Population Students?

Special-population students, as defined by Perkins IV are:

  • individuals with disabilities
  • individuals from economically disadvantaged families, including foster children
  • individuals preparing for nontraditional training and employment
  • single parents, including single, pregnant women
  • individuals with other barriers to educational achievement, including individuals with limited English proficiency

This course will specifically address the needs of the following special populations:

  • homeless students
  • students in foster care and wards of the court
  • students with disabilities
  • LGBTQ students
  • migrant, immigrant and refugee students
  • court-involved youth

This course assumes knowledge of the content covered in the Go Alliance Academy modules I-III (Building a College-Going Culture for All Students; College, Career and Academic Planning; and Financial Aid and College Applications). Participants should have taken modules I-III prior to taking this module or have demonstrated knowledge of the material covered in modules I-III.

Session 1: Understanding and Identifying Special-Population Students

In this session, participants will learn about the unique needs of special-population students, as well as professional and ethical strategies for identifying and advocating for special-population students. Participants will learn how to work with other professionals in the school system and in the community to support these students, as well as how to develop a referral process for special-population students. 

Session 2: Building Support Systems for Special-Population Students

In this session, participants will learn how to create a safe and supportive school environment for special-population students, as well as how to connect these students and their families with community resources. Participants will also learn strategies for educating professional colleagues on the needs of special-population students. 

Session 3: Academic Progress and Planning

In this session, participants will review methods to support special-population students in maintaining sufficient academic progress through high school graduation. Participants will explore ways to develop self-advocacy and resilience in special-population students. Participants will develop a better understanding of their state and local policies and procedures regarding credit recovery, alternative graduation options and appeals processes for graduation.

Session 4: Postsecondary Exploration

In this session, participants will learn about the specific support needs that special-population students have to be successful in a postsecondary environment. Participants will also develop a deeper understanding of the kinds of supports available on postsecondary campuses and build their knowledge of which postsecondary institutions offer specific supports for different special-population students. Finally, participants will learn how to assist special-population students in researching and selecting postsecondary options that will provide a safe and supportive environment for postsecondary study.

Session 5: The College Admission Process and Financial Aid

This session explores the nuances of the college admission and financial aid processes for special-population students. Throughout this session, participants will develop an awareness of how to support students in receiving accommodations and fee waivers; learn strategies to support students in completing their college applications; understand the special considerations for different special populations when completing the FAFSA; and research grant and scholarship resources targeted for special-population students. 

Session 6: Transition to College

This session focuses on how to support special-population students during their transition to education after high school. Participants will work with colleagues to develop tools and resources for advocacy on campus; learn strategies to avoid summer melt; and practice strategies for helping special-population students anticipate and address barriers to success in postsecondary education.

This module includes four sessions that help school counselors analyze their current practices and redesign their school counseling programs to more effectively help students prepare for postsecondary education and careers. Participants will build knowledge and skills in several areas, including how to advocate for school counseling services; how to evaluate postsecondary education and career advising practices; how to build school-based, community-based, and postsecondary partnerships; and how to maximize counselors’ time and effectiveness. Participants will engage in constructive discussions in a learning community with their colleagues during each session and complete practical, hands-on activities while working toward a Final Action Plan throughout the course.

Session 1: Advancing the Role of the School Counselor Through Ethical Practice and Advocacy

This session focuses on building the knowledge and skills counselors need to advocate for college and career counseling programs to all stakeholders. Participants also learn about how to act in an ethical manner to help students make informed postsecondary choices and successfully enroll in education after high school. Additionally, counselors gain insight into how their personal postsecondary experiences may impact their own beliefs about education after high school and how they work with students.

In this session, participants: 

  1. Learn about the legal and ethical implications of postsecondary advising;
  2. Recognize how personal postsecondary experiences impact belief systems about higher education and postsecondary advising;
  3. Define the role of the school counselor in helping students and families make informed postsecondary choices and decisions;
  4. Develop and practice strategies to advocate for college and career counseling services; and
  5. Research and navigate existing or proposed state-level policies in order to advocate for school counseling programs.

Session 2: Evaluating and Refining Your College and Career Advising Programs

In this session, school counselors learn how to structure college and career counseling services as part of a comprehensive school counseling program. Participants evaluate the context in which they work, look at their strengths and weaknesses of current postsecondary advising services, and set goals to improve/enhance their work.

In this session, participants:

  1. Learn various ways to structure school counseling programs;
  2. Collect and analyze data to identify strengths and weaknesses of their current college and career advising programs; and
  3. Create a plan to improve and/or enhance those programs.

Session 3: Working with School-Based and Community Partners

This session focuses on how to develop contacts and build meaningful relationships with key partners in schools, communities, and postsecondary institutions. Participants first learn strategies for networking with and engaging partners, then form a plan for how to collaborate with these partners to improve the reach and impact of their college and career programs.

In this session, participants:

  1. Identify and research potential partners in the school and community;
  2. Make a plan for collaborating with others in the school and community in order to improve the reach and effectiveness of postsecondary advising activities; and
  3. Build relationships with postsecondary admissions staff in order to better understand the admissions process and advocate for students.

Session 4: Maximizing School Counselors’ Time and Effectiveness

This session helps counselors learn about various technology tools that can be used to maximize their time and the scalability of their postsecondary advising programs, including how to conduct a use-of-time study. Additionally, participants learn classroom management strategies to deliver college and career programming more effectively.

In this session, participants:

  1. Explore technology tools that can be used to maximize counselors’ time as well as the effectiveness and scalability of their college and career advising programs;
  2. Learn classroom management strategies and create a lesson plan for delivering school counseling curricula to students; and
  3. Conduct a use-of-time assessment to determine the amount of time spent on direct and indirect school counseling services with students.

This module, developed for practicing professional school counselors, pre-service school counselors, and college access professionals, includes five sessions that address the skills and knowledge required to help students prepare for postsecondary education and careers. This is an advanced level course that builds knowledge and skills learned in prior Go Alliance Academy modules. Participants will learn about postsecondary learning opportunities that are a two-year degree or less and how these programs can lead to success in various career fields. In addition, this module covers NCAA scholarship information and how to ethically support students through process. Participants will also learn how to help students connect their career goals to postsecondary planning; how to best support students through the postsecondary application, admissions, and transitions processes; and how to help students make informed postsecondary decisions based on match and fit, cost of attendance, and the average graduation rates at various postsecondary institutions.

Participants will engage in constructive discussions in a learning community with their colleagues during each session and complete practical, hands-on activities while working toward a Final Action Plan throughout the course.

Session 1: Communicating Career Options and Associated Postsecondary Education

In this session, participants will:

  • Deepen or update their understanding of the jobs outlook in their state, including those in high demand industries
  • Expand their knowledge of the amount of postsecondary education and types of degrees required to enter various career fields
  • Make a plan for helping students and their families better understand the employability skills required to be successful in careers

Session 2: Connecting Postsecondary Planning to Career Goals

In this session, participants will:

  • Identify various postsecondary pathways that students can choose from based on their career interests, academic skills, and personal values
  • Connect high school course offerings to career clusters and postsecondary options
  • Increase understanding of short-term education and training options, such as stackable credentials, apprenticeships, and certificate programs
  • Develop knowledge of CTE pathways, dual enrollment, and early college options

Session 3: Helping Students and Families Make Informed Postsecondary Decisions

In this session, participants will:

  • Develop a deeper knowledge of typical success outcomes at different postsecondary institutions
  • Become familiar with the types of student support services and programs offered by various colleges and universities
  • Practice strategies for communicating with students and families about campus support services and college outcome data to ensure better match and fit
  • Explore ways to support students in making their final decisions, including cost-effective decisions, after acceptance to a postsecondary institution

Session 4: Maximizing Success for Students in the Application and Admissions Process

In this session, participants will:

  • Learn how to assist their students in maximizing the success of their postsecondary applications
  • Gain deeper understanding of college placement and college entrance exams as well as how to help close achievement gaps between demographic groups at their school or organization
  • Develop knowledge of NCAA eligibility requirements for student athletes and understand the school counselor’s role in NCAA recruitment

Session 5: Supporting Students’ Transition to Postsecondary Education

In this session, participants will:

  • Explain the differences in academic expectations for students in high school versus postsecondary education
  • Develop tools and resources to help students advocate for themselves on campus
  • Learn strategies to avoid summer melt and ensure students show up on campus in the fall
  • Develop a system to track student outcomes after high school
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