Grosse Pointe Public Schools high schoolers will soon have access to software designed to navigate the maze of college applications, career options and other preps that can consume so much time for students, counselors, teachers and families pre and post graduation.
The software, Naviance, brings together information that is normally spread across several sources and makes it accessible to all involved in college and career planning. Naviance is already used in schools around the country and on some local campuses, including University Liggett and Detroit Country Day. It is favored by schools considered competitive when it comes to college admissions.
The district paid $22,346 for a three-year software and training agreement. The software will be implemented in January through next fall, once student data is entered and after counselors and IT staff are trained, said Beth Walsh Sahutske, a counselor at Grosse Pointe South High School.
"It's hard to put your arms around all the different things you can do with this program," she says. "But it is a great tool on many levels."
Sahutske reviewed and recommended Naviance, along with Barbara Skelly, her counterpart at Grosse Pointe North High School. Sahutske sees the software as a way to take some of the confusion, stress and wasted efforts out of trying to figure out where students will be best served after high school and college.
"All the information is out there somewhere," Sahutske says. "But it's all over the place…It becomes very, very challenging organizing a career search with a curriculum search, getting the alumni piece of college admission statistics and such. The really awesome thing about Naviance is it does all of those things with one platform.
"It really pulls everything all together. And it's not just for any one member of a group. It's a family tool. It's a student tool. It's a district tool."
It's a family tool, she says, by helping parents of high schoolers have more involvement. It's a student tool that streamlines the college application process, among other things, and it's a district tool by helping counselors give students more targeted attention and in a more efficient manner. Additionally, Naviance data will let the district track students and alumni post secondary success.
The Naviance program replaces a software - though not as comprehensive - from a company that has gone out of business, and it will likely replace a handful of others that currently assist in career and college planning.
"This is almost perfect, but not quite. It's the best we have so far anyway," she says. "I don't want to promise or over-promise, but so far it seems to be the answer."
She says that other schools that compare to Grosse Pointe in academic achievement and higher education goals have seen value in Naviance.
"Nationally, what we found is the most competitive high schools are already in on this," she says. "One of the huge benefits it will have is to increase communication among all the different players in the process."
Sahutske wants students to have access to the software today or even tomorrow, but it's involved, getting it up and running. She expects many students to have access come January and likely all by fall.
Once training is complete and Naviance is activated, Sahutske believes all high school students, including freshmen, could benefit. Typically, it is geared toward juniors, when college planning ramps up.
"It is so much more complex now than it use to be," she says. "It's such a different world….You could look at it and say, 'Yes it's a much more competitive world,' but it's also a different set of standards getting into the school you choose….It has upped the stress level. It's made the process of putting together all the different pieces all the more amped up. It makes it a very intimidating process.
"We have a great district here…We have very committed families. Even with all the best intentions in the world the process can be too much."