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Post-Secondary Transition Plans

David Diehl

Pepperdine University

Participatory Action Research

Spring 2017
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Table of Contents

Part I: PAR Study Overview.4

Background....4

Setting4

Problem..5

Inquiry Question.8

Purpose Statement..8

Importance of Study...8

Ethical Plan11

Methodology Overview.12

Part II: PAR Cycle Stories.14

Cycle One Story.14

Research Questions..14

Literature Review.15

Actions Taken..18

Measurement of Actions..19

Outcomes.19

Key Learnings..21

Cycle Two Story..23

Setting23

Problem..23

Research Questions25
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Literature Review...26

Actions Taken28

Measurement of Actions30

Key Learning.31

Cycle Three Story.34

Research Questions34

Literature Review...35

Actions Taken36

Measurement of Actions37

Key Learning.39

Part III: Discussion of Key Findings, Leadership, and Change Learning...40

Discussion of Key Findings...40

Conclusions....42

Implications....45

Recommendations..45

Part IV: Personal Leadership, Leadership, and Leading Change...47

Personal Leadership....47

Leadership...48

Leading Change..50

Part V: Summary52

References...54

Appendices..57
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Part I: PAR Study Overview

Background

College and career readiness have become a major focus and priority for educational

institutions in the United States (Obama, 2009). Both Federal and State governments have

recognized the need to prepare students for the 21st century and the emerging, new economy

(Solberg, 2011). As such, school districts are implementing career exploration curriculum, career

pathway academies, and college and career pathway transition opportunities for their graduating

seniors. HD School District has a traditional high school and operates independent study

learning centers in 14 communities within the inland empire. Through California's Local Control

Accountability Planning and my personal observations, it was recognized that our students were

clearly disadvantaged in their ability to navigate the pathways that would prepare them for

gainful employment in adulthood. Research addressing the means or strategies to create post-

secondary transition plans for students enrolled in independent study programs is limited at best.

Additional research is necessary to ascertain the means to educate counselors and teachers in the

development and construction of viable transition plans for the students assigned to them so they

may be exposed to, and receive, equitable post graduation counseling. Therefore, my

Participatory Action Research will examine the process necessary to develop post-secondary

transition plans for high school students enrolled in the traditional and non-traditional academic

settings within the HD School District.

Setting

As a result of a promotion within my school district, this study took place at two different

schools sites within the HD School District. The first site, ABC School, is a K-12 independent

study public charter school and is managed by the HD School District. Currently, there are 14
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learning centers with student populations ranging from 15-250. The typical student enters the

ABC school deficient of credits and has not been successful in the traditional school setting.

Teachers see students from all grade levels; however, the majority of students within ABC school

are in grades 9-12. Students spend one hour per week with their teacher.

The second site, XYZ Preparatory High School is a parent choice school established in

2007 and is dependently chartered through the HD Elementary School District. The school is

located in the town of RR, a rural community with less than 1,000 residents, many of who make

less than $20,000.00 per year. XYZ is committed to serving all students within their community

as well as serving families within a 30-mile radius. XYZ High School Prep's student population

of 650 students is over 60 percent Hispanic, and 66 percent of the students are socioeconomically

disadvantaged.

Problem

As an organization, the HD School district school has recognized a need for providing

accessible resources and relevant information about post-secondary options for its students;

therefore, it is imperative that students have specialized and specific information when choosing

and applying for a college, as well as seeking financial aid (Conley, 2012). As a result of the

Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), educating and counseling the students on career and

college options has become a priority. The two schools share several similar challenges;

however, each school faces unique obstacles. Specifically, guidance counselors for the ABC

School are housed out of the district office and are virtually inaccessible to the students. Thus,

the necessary information that high school students need to be exposed for career and college

readiness is limited. Moreover, the implementation of any curriculum or strategy to better

educate students has not been achieved. There is no process or system to assess the student's
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interests or career aspirations. ABC school has not developed any working relationships with

neighboring Community College outreach coordinators to aid in making the transition to local

community colleges a less intimidating process. Consequently, they do not have a

comprehensive process in place to provide information to our students regarding career and

college transitions as well as the availability of financial aid.

The XYZ Preparatory has only two counselors to service 700 students. XYZ Prep is

attempting to establish a college-going culture and has recently changed its graduation

requirements to insure all students have completed the required A-G requirements for admission

to one of California's 4-year public universities; however, many students and their families have

not been properly informed of the financial and academic responsibilities they will face upon

admission, resulting in students not attending college upon graduation. Additionally, college and

career readiness are a priority for the district as a result of the LCAP. To address this goal and

assist students and families in planning for a post- secondary transition from XYZ Prep, the

district has instituted three strategies to help achieve the goals:

1. The district purchased Naviance, a computer-based college planning and career

exploration program. Naviance is introduced to the students in their freshman seminar class;

however, families must be instructed on how to navigate Naviance and students must regularly

interface with Naviance to continue their progress towards developing a plan towards college

and career. The Naviance program tracks how many students log on and how often. At the

beginning of the school year, less than 10% of the student body had utilized Naviance. Since

there is no requirement for students to utilize the program and benefits of using it have not been

effectively disseminated.
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2. A Freshman Seminar class was implemented to inform students on the use of

Naviance, expose them to college exploration, and provide them with tools and strategies for

success in their college preparatory courses at XYZ Prep. The Freshman Seminar teachers have

minimal teaching experience and this is the first year any of them have taught this course.

Additionally, there has been no training or professional development on the best means to

instruct freshman students in college and career exploration in the use of Naviance

3. Seniors are required to take a year-long course on career exploration, which requires

them to utilize Naviance, conduct research on career pathways, complete community service and

complete 30 hours of job shadowing in a chosen career. For the past three years, the previous

guidance counselor conducted an exit survey of the graduating senior class, which revealed some

worthwhile data and feedback. For example, in the exit surveys conducted between 2014 and

2016, the surveys revealed that 43% of the seniors would have liked more information on the

college admissions process and 47% reported that they believed the career exploration should

have been implemented earlier in their high school curriculum.

The school employs two counselors to serve the entire 700 students at XYZ Prep. One of

their responsibilities is to work with students on maintaining their student college planning via

Naviance. Additionally, the counselors must inform students and their families on the financial

aid process, the college application process, and counsel them on college requirements.

Moreover, the counselors are required to educate the students on which college may be the best

fit for their particular needs. This daunting task is in addition to the daily duties that include, but

are not limited to, schedule changes, academic progress monitoring, counseling students with

personal issues and interacting with the many daily concerns that parents may inquire about. As
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such, the counselors are not able to adequately meet all of the students needs to be effectively

counseled and informed of post-secondary educational and career opportunities.

As a result of this deficit, there is a need to enlist the assistance of the teachers at XYZ

Preparatory High School in the advising and mentoring of students. However, before they can be

of assistance they will require professional development and access to information to allow them

to adequately guide the students. Therefore, there is a need to study a viable strategy in which

we can provide teachers and inform parents with information related to college and career

options and the financial aid process. Thus, there is a need to study an effective way in which we

can provide all students with a viable transition plan before graduation from high school. As

such, we do not have a comprehensive process in place to provide information to our students

regarding career and college transitions as well as the availability of financial aid. Therefore,

there is a need to study an effective way in which we can provide all students with a viable

transition plan before graduation from high school.

Inquiry Question

How do we insure that all graduating seniors in the HD School District have a post-

secondary transition plan upon graduation?

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this study was to explore strategies that would be useful in educating and

counseling students and their families on post-secondary educational and career opportunities.

Importance of Study

There is limited information that supports developing secondary learning plans for

students in nontraditional settings, specifically, independent study programs (Solberg, Phelps,

Haakenson, Durham, & Timmons, 2011). Moreover, families who have proven to be able to
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successfully traverse the typical public school environment are those that possess proficiency in

the English language, financial stability, and access to current technology. Conversely, families

who are not as fortunate are less likely to be successful (Ferrara, 2015). As a result, teachers,

counselors, as well as the students and their families, may benefit from the acquisition of the

information garnered from the study. Teachers could gain additional knowledge in the area of

college and career opportunities, which in turn, might allow them to better counsel their students.

The teachers will have the ability to fill the void of either not having a guidance counselor at

their site or augmenting the services the counselors can provide. Also, the study could gather

relevant and current information for post-graduation opportunities. Furthermore, it may enhance

the level of knowledge on navigating the process of applying for financial aid, grants, and

scholarships.

Initial outcomes may produce effective methods of introducing a new curriculum to each

site that is outside of traditional core classes. Additionally, the new college and career

curriculum has the potential of guiding teachers towards the role of a guidance counselor (Curry,

Belser, & Binns, 2013). Gathering this information can assist in assessing best practices for

gathering feedback and acquiring data that could lead to greater acceptance and buy-in from

staff. Analyzing buy-in and its effect on the success of the implementation of the new

curriculum can be important in the delivery and reception by the targeted students. Determining

how to effectively utilize teacher feedback and their involvement before, and during the

implementation of a career exploration curriculum that is connected to post-secondary transition

plans will be gained through this study. Assessing the strategies that proved to be most effective,

or ones that were not, will allow for improved and efficient means of program design.
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In addition to outcomes that may impact teachers and counselors, it may cause students to

explore the means to acquire the necessary education, identify obstacles that will need to be

addressed, and assess the probability that their desired goals can be attained. Moreover, the

engagement of family members and the increased dialogue may lead to an improved support and

guidance system outside of the school.

The study may supplement existing literature in the realm of the teachers and students

ability to research, prepare, and develop a post-secondary career and college readiness plan. It

could add additional perspectives on methods of training and motivating teachers and counselors

in their delivery and follow through of career exploration and the construction of post-secondary

plans for the students assigned to them.

College and career preparation is a national educational focus as our nation prepares for

the emerging economy. Educators and school counselors are shouldering the responsibility to

prepare students for the new 21st-century economy (Symonds, 2012). Interestingly, this requires

access to the available career pathway preparation resources and requisite information; however,

there is limited research or curriculum available to address the effective strategies for gaining

this access and programs that will benefit the underserved and nontraditional student. Besides,

research is lacking on the effectiveness of the SLP and its impact on student success, family

engagement, and transition to career and college opportunities.

Definition of Key Terms

The following key terms were defined for this study:

Naviance: a comprehensive online K-12 college and career readiness program that helps

districts and schools align student strengths and interests to postsecondary goals.
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Specialized Learning Plans: a comprehensive plan that can change and evolve as the

student approaches graduation. It is clearly defined transition plan devised by the teacher,

student, and backing of the family.

Career Pathways: a series of structured and connected education programs and support

services that enable students, often while they are working, to advance over time to better. jobs

and higher levels of education and training.

Post-Secondary: the period after the graduation of high school.

Ethical Plan

The HD school district has no written policies prohibiting research; however, the Chief

Academic Officer (C.A.O.) was informed of any studies, surveys, questionnaires, or interviews.

Student involvement was cleared through the C.A.O. and parental consent it mandatory.

Informed consent was required of any and all participants and their parents or guardians, when

applicable, for research that includes the analysis of confidential records, personal interviews, or

the review and analysis of personal data. All participants were made aware of the purpose of the

study, or the manner in which the data will be used per the guidelines of the district policies. The

standard operating procedure for the collection of all data will be that participants identity shall

remain confidential. Any data collected that can identify a particular subject despite the

safeguards to ensure anonymity will be shared. Data collection was consistently being conducted

with an ethical consideration and one that protects the identity of the participants when

appropriate. Guidelines were reviewed and adhered to before and during each instance of data

collection. Measurement tools will be accompanied by a disclosure of the intent of the

measurement tool if required by district policy or deemed necessary by the PAR team. District

guidelines for protecting one's right to confidentiality were strictly adhered to, and will remain at
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the forefront of all studies and analysis of data. A consistent, reflective practice will be

employed through journal documentation. Reflection and discussion of data collection, along

with the various steps will be assessed through debriefing sessions with the PAR team to insure

impartiality and neutrality.

Methodology Overview

This research study used Participatory Action Research (PAR) in determining how we

can ensure that all students have a useful and comprehensive post-secondary transition plan upon

graduating from high school. PAR is a collaborative process that allows educational leaders to

address problems and identify potential solutions James, Milenkiewicz, & Bucknam (2007).

My research consisted of three cycles. Through this cyclical process the outcome and findings of

each cycle informed the following cycle. Cycle 1 examined the effect the implementation of a

12th-grade college and career exploration research project would have on independent study

students. In addition, it probed what effect, if any, involving teachers in the development of the

project, how would affect their buy-in, involvement, interest, knowledge, and acceptance of the

project. Data collection consisted of a teacher interview, a student survey, and an online survey

of the site administrators. Cycle 2 consisted of qualitative and quantitative analysis of

professional development for our faculty on college and career options and the increase of our

faculty's knowledge on viable post-secondary options. Additionally, hosting parent workshops

on financial aid was analyzed to determine if it would enhance parental knowledge on college

accessibility and attainability for their child. Data collection consisted of a parent questionnaire,

teachers questionnaire, counselor questionnaire, and a teacher survey. Finally, Cycle 3

constituted the hosting of parent college information at a location closer to where our students

resided and at a time frames that was convenient for working-class families. Data collection
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consisted of a parent survey, student survey, and a questionnaire provided to the school

counselors.

The cumulative learning that was gleaned from each cycle allowed me to gain a deeper

understanding of the elements necessary to ensure that students are properly guided and

informed on available post-secondary opportunities and the means to achieve their chosen career

paths. This increased understanding was facilitated through the essential principles of the PAR

process that occurred through the three cycles of study.

Validity. According to James, Milenkiewicz, & Bucknam (2008), there are five types of

validity in the PAR process. Outcome, process, democratic, catalytic, and dialogic. This study

employed outcome and process validity. Process validity, which is defined as to what extent the

project resulted in an increase in knowledge and systems that improve the overall educational

environment that was studied (James, Milenkiewicz, & Bucknam 2008, p. 164). Process

validity was demonstrated when the teachers were surveyed on their level of college and career

knowledge, as well as their desire and responsibility to convey this information to their students.

Outcome validity is defined as to what extent actions taken during the study proved efficacious

in improving educational practices for students (James, Milenkiewicz, & Bucknam 2008, p.

163). Outcome validity was demonstrated when the college workshop that held in at an off-

campus location in Cycle 3 resulted in over 100 students and family members attending. This

exceeded all previous attendance counts by over 70 attendees.

Part II: PAR Cycle Stories


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Cycle One Story

College and career readiness have become a priority for most traditional school districts

in the United States. As such, many districts are implementing career exploration curriculum,

career pathway academies, and college and career pathway transition opportunities for their

graduating seniors. Likewise, the ABC school is interested in preparing their students to be able

to transition to career pathways upon graduation. However, ABC school is an independent study

(IS) school that typically attracts credit deficient students who have become disengaged from the

traditional school model. Three credentialed guidance counselors are employed by ABC School;

however, under their current job description, they are engaged in administrative duties at the

district office. Thus, the amount of personal attention each student receives by a credentialed

counselor is nominal. Consequently, post-secondary transition counseling is not occurring and

students are graduating from the ABC school with little or no college or career guidance. The

focus of this study took place within a K-12 independent study public charter school. The

typical student enters the ABC school deficient of credits and has not been successful in the

traditional school setting. Students may enroll in ABC school up until age 21.

Research questions.

The first cycle was guided by two research questions:

1. If we implement 12th-grade college and career exploration research for

graduating seniors in an independent study program, in what ways, if any, will it

increase students knowledge on viable post-secondary options?


2. If we involve teachers in the planning, scoring, and development of the project,

how will it affect their buy-in, involvement, interest, knowledge, and acceptance of the

project?
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Literature review. The review of literature revealed four themes: The importance of

educating families and the student on resources and means to access college and/or careers,

development and utilization of a curriculum in school that connects learning to career

exploration and relevant skills, Teacher preparation and enthusiasm in that particular career

pathway curriculum, and the development of a comprehensive career pathway plan. Nine sources

informed this study which included journal articles, policy and college admissions reports, and a

presidential address to the joint session of Congress. Research in the specifically relating to

independent study programs could not be located; however, this review summarizes four key

themes derived from the literature.

Preparing students for the new, emerging economy has become a priority not only for

educators nationwide, but also for state and federal government officials (Solberg et al, 2011). A

review of nine sources has demonstrated that there are various strategies and methods that can

assist students, families, educators, and schools in guiding and educating the student towards a

career pathway before graduation from high school.

Family education. Navigating the path to college, as well as vocational and career

technical education schools can be a daunting task for many students and their families. As such,

it is essential that students and their families begin exploring the means to a successful transition

to these institutions through an ongoing planning process (Kohler and Field, 2003; McDonough,

2004). Unfortunately, many students do not have access to mentors or family members that

have the knowledge and familiarity with post-secondary education (Conley, 2102).

Consequently, students leave high school and enter the workforce as unskilled workers and do

not have the exposure to the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities that are sought after by

prospective employers (Symonds, 2012). In addition, high school graduates lack the compulsory
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information required on to gain the technical or formal education necessary to prepare to enter an

economy that seeks skilled and educated workers (Schneider, 2006). Moreover, many families

do not understand the process in which their student can apply for college, the entrance

requirements, and the financial aid that can assist them in paying for an education beyond high

school. Knowledge in this area of college admissions and the process to enter college by the

parents is an indicator of the student's success in college (Wang, Ye, & Pilarzyk, 2014).

Providing families with the essential tools, especially low-income families who they themselves

have not attended post-secondary educational institutions, is vital in the effort to ensure all

students are leaving high school with a viable goal oriented career pathway plan (McDonough,

2004).

College and career curriculum. To rectify the absence of students and families being ill-

informed, early and continuous edification, offered at school and embedded in the curriculum,

can assist in ensuring that students and their families are engaged in the student's successful

transition from high school (McDonough, 2004; Symonds, 2012). For instance, the curriculum

that is aligned with specific career paths is becoming increasing popular in high schools

(Solberg, et al, 2011). Students can connect the learning to potential career clusters.

Additionally, a multitude of strategies are being utilized in several public schools, such as online

resources that allow students to assess their interests and skills, and then determine which careers

would be a good match (Solberg, et al, 2011).

Teacher inclusion. Research revealed that teacher involvement and buy-in were

essential in the success of the curriculum being effective and conveyed to the students in a

meaningful and authentic manner (Curry et al, 2013; Solberg et al, 2011). Since teachers are in a

position where they have constant and direct interaction with students, it is essential that they are
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properly informed and educated on the means to navigate pathways to potential career paths

(Curry et al, 2013; Solberg et al, 2011; Symonds, 2012). Furthermore, it is essential that teachers

be trained in the area of college and career readiness, as well as career technical education cluster

and pathways. (Curry et al, 2013) To further illustrate this point, teachers would require

professional development specifically designed to address the dissemination of career and

college in a manner that was meaningful and authentic. To increase the probability that the

delivery of the material was done with the teacher's belief and support of the curriculum, teachers

would benefit from increased involvement in the development and implementation of the

program.

Specialized learning plans. To aid in this planning and delivery process, Student

Learning Plans (SLP) have been initiated in many public schools to give students and their

families the necessary exposure and guidance required to leave high school ready to enter the

workforce or pursue a post-secondary degree. SLP's are a comprehensive plan that can change

and evolve as the student approaches graduation. It is clearly defined transition plan devised by

the teacher, student, and backing of the family. The implementation and success of the SLP's are

contingent upon the student's support system at the respective school and the person responsible

for compiling the SLP (Symonds, 2012; Wang et al, 2014). Additionally, the SLP can include

collaboration between student school, and community. This holistic approach to exposing the

student to opportunities supported in a familiar environment has the chance of being more

successful and effectual (Kohler and Field, 2003).

Conclusion. Family awareness and engagement coupled with teacher edification and

support are essential components to student success beyond high school. (Symonds, 2012)

However, focused and comprehensive SLP's that are utilized as a tool to educate and foster
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opportunities beyond high school are necessary as the nation's youth enter a changing economy.

The combination of efforts may increase motivation, instill planning strategies related to long-

range goals, and affect career decisions in a positive manner (Conley, 2012).

Actions taken. After review of the information derived from the literature review, a

meeting was arranged with my Chief Academic Officer and Chief Operating Officer to continue

our discussion of how to best implement a strategy to ensure students would be able to receive a

viable post-secondary transition plan upon graduation. The literature review identified student

learning plans, family engagement, a useful college and career curriculum, and teacher

participation as a means to accomplish our goal of a transition plan; however, we realized our

first order of business would be to identify a specific curriculum, determine a means to include

teaching staff in that implementation process, and obtain feedback from our students involved in

the college and career research. We discussed the importance of teacher buy-in, as teachers

would be the direct conduits for students if we would be able to implement a successful program

of SLP's for our students. Since RTN was already being considered as the curriculum to

purchase, the decision was made to move forward with the acquisition of the program.

Additionally, we were beyond the mid-year point. Thus, it was decided to purchase enough units

for following year and additional units to use as a method of exploration with select teachers and

students. The RTN is geared towards career exploration; yet, it did not address, to the degree we

had desired, the college or vocational schooling component needed to attain the chosen career.

As such, we identified a window of four weeks in the 12th grade English curriculum where we

could insert a career research project that would include a research paper and final culminating

project and presentation. The senior project was assigned to every senior, whereas RTN was

assigned to approximately 20 juniors and seniors a part of their careers curriculum. Teachers
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would be surveyed on the buy-in and acceptance of the RTN experimentation phase of the

program. Students would be surveyed on the research project to ascertain what effect, if any, it

had on their level of interest and knowledge of post secondary options. A select number of

teachers would be surveyed on their interest, buy-in, and acceptance of the research project.

Measurement of actions. This cycle of the study focused on whether or not 12th grade

college and career exploration research for graduating seniors in an independent study school

would increase students knowledge on viable post-secondary options and if involving teachers in

the planning, scoring, and development of the project would affect their buy-in, involvement,

interest, knowledge, and acceptance of the project. A mixed methodology of data collection was

utilized in this first cycle, which consisted of an electronic survey, a structured interview, and a

survey distributed to twenty 12th grade students who completed the career research project. The

purpose of each of these inquiries was to determine the impact, if any, the career and college

exploration research had on the students increase in knowledge and to assess the acceptance of

the curriculum by the teachers; therefore, both qualitative and quantitative data was obtained for

analyses.

Outcomes. An online quantitative survey was distributed to the Center Administrators

and teachers who utilized the RTN curriculum with at least one of their students. A total of nine

teachers responded to the close-ended, nine-question survey, the rating scale choices were:

strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly disagree. The survey questions were focused on the

usability of the curriculum and their satisfaction as a result of being allowed to partake in the

implementation and assessment of the program.

A qualitative, open-ended interview (Appendix B) of the teachers was distributed and

consisted of 8 questions regarding the 12th-grade senior career research project. The seven
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teachers who were asked to be on the research project development committee interviewed from

the 3 ABC sites. The focus of the interview was to determine acceptance, buy-in, and capacity as

a result of being involved in the development and administration of the research project.

20 seniors participating in the research project and community college tour were

surveyed (Appendix C) using an open-ended survey. This qualitative survey focused on

determining their level of acceptance of college, the impact of the research project on their post-

secondary plans, and their knowledge gained as a result of the research project and tour. The

survey of the teachers demonstrated that their impression of the new curriculum was favorable.

100% of the teachers agreed that the opportunity to use the curriculum increased their knowledge

and understanding of the curriculum and 88.9% agreed that the opportunity to use the curriculum

increased their knowledge of college and career options for their students. The following

information was obtained as a result of the teacher interviews or the senior research project:

a. Including teachers in the initial testing phase of the 12th-grade research project was extremely

successful in gaining their acceptance and willingness to try the curriculum.


b. Teachers overwhelmingly commented that they learned along with their students as they were

completing the senior research project.


c. The research project had a motivational effect, as both teacher and student were able to learn

together.
d. Teachers were supportive of the senior project and are eager to support other teachers in the

implementation and rollout this school year.


e. Teachers became more knowledgeable on careers and college.
f. Teachers became motivated to share information
g. Inclusion of the teachers in the implementation process is essential to success and sustainability.

Students identified the following key areas: Through the survey that students responded to they

provide the following insights:


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1. The value of being able to identify a career path and explore realistic strategies to attain the

identified career.
2. The students commented that understanding how to enroll in a post-secondary school and obtain

the financial aid to pay for their education was extremely beneficial.
3. Students felt that the being able to collaborate with their teachers and receive guidance and

direction during this assignment was very helpful. They found that the guidance and support

were essential to their ability to, at a minimum, select a career path and understand the necessary

steps to take in beginning their education upon graduating from high school.

Key learnings. My leadership growth increased immensely as this process caused me to

improve my ability to listen, include others in the decision-making process and be able to

maintain a level of constant patience during the first cycle of this research. As a person who

historically prefers to work alone and make decisions sooner, rather than later, this cycle allowed

me to step out of my comfort zone and trust others. Stepping back as a leader and allowing

teachers and other staff members to take part in the implementation of the curriculum, college

tours, and evaluation of the research projects provided me with the needed support and

acceptance to complete the inquiry. Seeking to understand, as opposed to being understood, and

having the patience and confidence to allow others to take part in my inquiry caused me to grow

as a leader. As someone new to education and even newer to education administration, it has

become quite apparent to me that shared leadership and eliciting feedback is essential to

accomplishing organizational goals and objectives. Obtaining the buy-in and acceptance of the

curriculum from the teachers was crucial and reinforced to me the necessity of laying the

groundwork for the teachers allowing them to analyze, critique and evaluate the tools that we are

asking them to use. Gathering their insight is not only beneficial to the organization, but

ultimately benefits the students.


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The study revealed the importance of educating students on career pathways and

providing the means to explore their post-secondary options. A perplexing issue regarding the

potential implementation of a formalized SLP tool is the management and oversight of the plan.

It is evident that ABC school is not yet equipped to manage the plan, nor do they have a system

in place to track student progress towards college and career pathways. Teacher's familiarity

lacked significantly with college entrance requirements, career paths, and financial aid. This

finding led me to believe that training for teachers would be necessary, yet is it the best strategy

to institute student-counseling procedures? Regardless, Continued counselor and teacher

training will need to occur and the development of formalized tracking system will need to be

developed. Ensuring that teachers are remaining vigilant in the college and career pathway

component with each of their students could become difficult to supervise. Alternative methods

may need to be investigated to determine if relying on the teacher as the conduit the most reliable

means of accomplishing the goal.

Since my position and school site will change in this next cycle, the next steps for this

research will be altered; however, had I remained at this site, I would have begun the creation

and development of the new careers curriculum and determined the necessary steps required to

incorporate an SLP into the curriculum. Additionally, surveys of teachers and students involved

in the careers curriculum would have been conducted along with qualitative measurements to

assess student and teacher input on the necessary elements required for a comprehensive SLP.

Since the RTN curriculum would be separate from the new careers curriculum, the satisfaction

and perceived effectiveness of RTN would be assessed through teacher and student surveys.

Investigating the possibility of using research and an ongoing embedded projects within

the curriculum as a means to give the student more ownership and continuity in the creation of a
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customized post secondary transition plan would be an area for consideration and inquiry. To

supplement the student's projects and research, looking at strategies to educate family members

and allow them to take an active role in their childs college and career pathway would have been

a goal of this second cycle.

Cycle Two Story

Problem. XYZ Prep was attempting to establish a college-going culture and had recently

changed its graduation requirements to insure all students have completed the required A-G

requirements for admission to one of California's 4-year public universities; however, many

students and their families had not been properly informed on the financial and academic

responsibilities they will face upon admission, resulting in students not attending college upon

graduation. Additionally, college and career readiness were a priority for the district as a result

of the LCAP. To address this goal and assist students and families in planning for a post-

secondary transition from XYZ Prep, the district instituted three strategies to help achieve the

goals:

1. The district purchased Naviance, a computer-based college planning and career

exploration program. Naviance is introduced to the students in their freshman seminar class;

however, families must be instructed on how to navigate Naviance and students must regularly

interface with Naviance to continue their progress towards developing a plan towards college

and career. The Naviance program tracks how many students log on and how often. At the

beginning of the school year, less than 10% of the student body had utilized Naviance. Since

there is no requirement for students to utilize the program and benefits of using it have not been

effectively disseminated.
Running head: POST SECONDARY 24

2. A Freshman Seminar class was implemented to inform students on the use of

Naviance, expose them to college exploration, and provide them with tools and strategies for

success in their college preparatory courses at XYZ Prep. The Freshman Seminar teachers have

minimal teaching experience, and this was the first year any of them have taught this course.

Additionally, there was no training or professional development on the best means to instruct

freshman students in college and career exploration or in the use of Naviance

3. Seniors were required to take a year-long course on career exploration, which requires

them to utilize Naviance, conduct research on career pathways, complete community service and

complete 30 hours of job shadowing in a chosen career. For the past three years, the previous

guidance counselor conducted an exit survey of the graduating senior class, which revealed some

worthwhile data and feedback. For example, in the exit surveys conducted between 2014 and

2016, the surveys revealed that 43% of the seniors would have liked more information on the

college admissions process and 47% reported that they believed the career exploration should

have been implemented earlier in their high school curriculum.

The school employs two counselors to serve the entire 700 students at XYZ Prep. One of

their responsibilities was to work with students on maintaining their student college planning via

Naviance. Additionally, the counselors would inform students and their families on the financial

aid process, the college application process, and counsel them on college requirements.

Moreover, the counselors were required to educate the students on which college may be the best

fit for their particular needs. This daunting task is in addition to the daily duties that include, but

are not limited to, schedule changes, academic progress monitoring, counseling students with

personal issues and interacting with the many daily concerns that parents may inquire about. As
Running head: POST SECONDARY 25

such, the counselors were not able to adequately meet all of the students needs to be effectively

counseled and informed of post-secondary educational and career opportunities.

As a result of this deficit, there was a need to enlist the assistance of the teachers at XYZ

Preparatory High School in the advising and mentoring of students. However, before they can be

of assistance they will require professional development and access to information to allow them

to adequately guide the students. Therefore, there was a need to study a viable strategy in which

we could provide teachers and inform parents with information related to college and career

options and the financial aid process.

Research questions.

The second cycle of this research was guided by two central research questions:

1. If we provide professional development for our faculty on college and career options and the

methods in which our students can access these career pathways, in what ways, if any, will it

increase our faculty's knowledge on viable post-secondary options?


2. If we conduct parent workshops on financial aid opportunities for their children, in what way, if

any, will it increase the parent's understanding of the financial aid process and their

understanding of how the aid will impact their child's ability to attend post-secondary education?

Literature review. The review of the literature revealed three themes: The necessity to

cultivate a college-going culture at the school, the significant influence a teacher can have as a

mentor for students, and the need to inform students and families on financial aid in order to

dispel the myths and remove potential economic barriers in accessing post-secondary education.

Nine sources informed this study which included journal articles, policy analysis reports, and

literary texts. It is of the utmost importance that our nation's youth leave high school with the

necessary skills such as literacy, critical thinking, and the ability to attain a skill set that aligns

with needs of the fluid and changing labor market (Symonds, Schwartz, & Ferguson, 2011). A
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review of nine sources has that there are various strategies and methods that can assist students,

families, educators, and schools in guiding and educating the student towards a career pathway

before graduation from high school

College-Going Culture. Schools that promote and display a strong college-going culture

have the most significant impact on a student of color and those who come are determined to be

of lower socioeconomic status. Moreover, a viable college-going culture can influence a

student's decision and goals once they leave high school (Corwin & Tierney, 2007). Participation

and inclusion in the college-going culture is essential for students as it allows them to gain

confidence and begin to realize the possibilities that lie ahead. Corwin & Tierney (2007),

suggest that participation in a college-going culture will promote success in the college

application process. Furthermore, many students do not see themselves attending college. This

lack of self-efficacy can be compounded by schools that choose to have college preparatory and

non-college preparatory tracks (Roderick, Nagaoka, Coca, & Moeller, 2008).

Teachers as Mentors. According to Bell, Rowan, Kenyon & Perna (2009) school

counselors are expected to play a role in providing college and career information to all students;

however, this is not a feasible expectation given the counselor to student ratio in most public

schools. To rectify this disparity, teachers can become mentors for students and fill the void

created by the lack of counselors (Corwin & Tierney, 2007). The impact an experienced adult

can have in increasing a student's self-esteem, and self-worth is remarkable. Tierney, Bailey,

Constantine, Finkelstein & Hurd (2009) maintain that interested and informed adults help

increase a student's personal expectations and confident in post-secondary success.

Financial Aid Information. A realistic barrier for many students desiring to attend

college is the ability pay for the cost of attending higher education. This reality is exacerbated
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by a student's perception that their parents cannot afford the costs of college tuition, therefore,

they put a reduced effort into their academic preparation and desire to do well in their classes

(Grodsky & Jones, 2007). Kelchen and Goldrick, (2016) assert that significant barrier for access

to financial aid is believed to be the financial aid application form, as it is a daunting and difficult

document to understand. To complicate matters, many students do not have access to family

members that have the knowledge and understanding of the steps required to navigate the

arduous college entrance process (Conley, 2102). Destin and Oyserman (2009) performed a

study which indicated students who were given information about their ability to afford college

had a higher level of perceived success in the future as opposed to those who did not receive the

information on college affordability.

Conclusion. Knowledge, guidance, and an environment that promotes higher education

are factors that contribute to the potential success of students, especially those who may be the

first in their family to attend college. An ethical educational institution has an obligation to

educate and inform students and their families on the various options that are available to their

children (Symonds, 2012). To facilitate this guidance, it is imperative that teachers realize the

significant role they can play in the lives of their students beyond the standard curriculum. The

success of students is a concerted and interrelated effort between the student, family, and the

school. When these components are recognized, the post-secondary transition can be seamless

(Conley, 2102).

Actions taken. The key findings from Cycle One led to three action steps in Cycle Two.

After an analysis of the information obtained from the literature review, I met with the college

counselors to decide on a method to best inform our parents, teachers, and students on college

and career pathways, as well as methods to access financial aid to defray post-secondary
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educational costs. Also, we discussed developing a training and informational sessions for our

teaching staff so that they would be better prepared to discuss avenues to access college and

career pathway opportunities. The literature review identified a College-Going Culture, Teachers

as Mentors, and Financial Aid Information as themes that we could base our strategies and

frameworks on as we prepared to launch a viable approach to executing our design. The

partnership that we had developed allowed us to formulate a plan attain our vision of

implementing internal training sessions within our schools and workshops for our families; yet,

in order to realize this vision, we realized we needed to further discuss how we might effectively

institute a strategy that would be achievable and sustainable for our stakeholders.

Family engagement strategies. We conferred on the challenges of reaching working class

families of students that can live up to 30 miles from the school. Family engagement with XYZ

Preparatory has been sporadic and unorganized at the high school level for the past three years.

Before that, the demographics of the student body were significantly different and were not

representative of the surrounding population. As a result, the previous methods of enlisting

family involvement and effectively communicating with the families were no longer adequate.

We set out to develop a systematic process to reach families through Facebook, phone calls,

personal invitations, and information that the child could take home, all of which was in English

and Spanish. Dates were set up for three separate workshops designed to educate students and

families on Naviance, college admissions, and financial aid.

Informational Sessions for Parents. The first workshop was on Naviance, and it

concentrated on the navigation of the program and the various tools and resources it offered. The

second informational meeting was a college workshop for all seniors and their families where the

focus was maneuvering the various application requirements for college admission. Our final
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workshop focused on financial aid. The families and students were educated on grants,

scholarships, loans and the federal financial aid application process.

Increase teacher understanding of college and career options. Lastly, we decided to

pilot a professional development session on emerging careers in the new economy and provide

an overview of the various college options that currently exist for our students. After three

meetings, we identified the key areas that we felt teachers should possess a solid understanding.

A lesson plan was developed, and our method of instruction and delivery was determined. We

chose our social studies teachers as the initial group to be the recipient of the training session

since three of these instructors teach our freshman seminar course. The freshman seminar course

is similar to AVID, and prepares our incoming freshman on how to utilize our Naviance program,

conduct college and career exploration, and provide them with strategies for high school success.

The attendance for the training was voluntary; however, all of the teachers opted to attend. After

the completion of the professional development event, the teachers were asked to complete and

anonymous online questionnaire.

Measurement of actions. This cycle of the study focused on whether or not training our

teaching staff on career pathway clusters and the means to obtain post-secondary education

would result in increased knowledge and self-efficacy in post-secondary opportunities for our

students. Additionally, this cycle of the study focused on whether parent workshops would

increase the family's knowledge on financial aid and its effect on their child's ability to attend

post-secondary educational institutions. A mixed methodology of data collection was utilized in

this second cycle which consisted of a questionnaire distributed to parents attending the parent

workshops, a questionnaire distributed to the counselors, and a questionnaire distributed to 4

Social Studies teachers who participated in the college and career pathway professional
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development, and quantitative survey distributed to ten teachers regarding perceived efficacy in

counseling students on college and career options. The purpose of each of these inquiries was to

determine the impact, if any, the career and college training had on the teacher's increase in

awareness and to determine what increase in knowledge, if any, the financial aid workshops had

on the parents and students who attended. Therefore, both qualitative and quantitative data was

obtained for analyses.

Outcomes. Based on the Cycle 1 literature review, questionnaires, and surveys, it was

determined that family awareness and engagement were necessary elements that contribute to

student success. This qualitative data that was derived from the research informed the questions

in this study and the development of this questionnaire (Appendix E). 5 of the 16 attendees of

the family college financial aid workshop voluntarily responded to the parent questionnaire.

Their responses were not examined until the following day, and there was no follow-up to clarify

responses or ask additional questions. The responses were inductively coded for themes utilizing

a manual method of categorizing and organizing. The following themes emerged from the

questionnaire: Usefulness and relevance of the workshop, Information provided was useful and

beneficial in their pursuit of navigating the college financial aid application process, and the time

spent attending the workshop was a worthwhile endeavor. There were no negative comments or

references to the workshop not being an informative or relevant session. The implications

indicate that the financial aid information provided is useful and beneficial to the attendees;

however, due to the relatively low turnout, additional means must be identified to reach a larger

number of families, as this information is essential.

As a result of data collected from the Cycle 1 literature review, teacher surveys, and

document analysis, the following individual themes were derived and classified as follows:
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Teacher Buy-In, Teacher Knowledge, Teacher Motivation, Teacher Collaboration, and Inclusion

of the teachers in the implementation process. These themes were utilized in the analyses as an

A Priori method was employed in this qualitative research design utilizing content analysis. The

data collected from the online questionnaires (Appendix F) was analyzed via a deductive process

to ascertain themes, which informed the research question proposed in this study. Additionally,

key terms and operative definitions were identified. The responses of the faculty members

treated as four separate interviews within one case. The textual data collected was 1-2 sentence,

verbatim text; therefore, the theme identification technique obtained exemplars, quotes and

expressions that were relevant and worth recording. (Bernard, Wutich, and Ryan 2016). The

following themes emerged as a result of coding via the HyperRESEARCH software that was

employed to organize the data: Mildly Receptive, Worthwhile, Relevant, Self-Efficacy, On-

Going training, and Obligation to Students. The overarching implication from this data was that

teachers felt training is valuable; however, it must continue for the vision to be sustainable.

The guidance counselors respond to the five prompts in the questionnaire (Appendix G)

with typewritten replies. The responses were not anonymous; however, they were able to opt out

if they desired. The responses were 2-3 sentences per question and were analyzed for themes and

key elements. The two guidance counselors identified the following key areas in their narrative

response to the questionnaire.

1. The workshops increased parents knowledge regarding the financial aid process and the means

to obtain various types of financial aid.


2. An increase in student motivation was observed since the workshop for the students as they feel

they have a better chance of affording college.


3. The workshops alone are not sufficient to educate the student and families
4. Multiple workshops should be hosted, and information should be embedded in the curriculum

earlier in the student high school experience.


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The implications of the data collected were that the financial aid information is a necessary

component to assist our students in accessing post-secondary educational institutions; however,

there should be a variety of in which the information can be delivered and received.

The following results were obtained as a result of the anonymous, closed end, four-

question teacher survey (Appendix H): 100 % of the teachers felt confident discussing college

and/or career options with students. 66.7 % of the teachers felt confident in providing the steps

necessary for college entrance information to my students. 66.7 % of the teachers believed they

have an obligation to educate their students on post-secondary opportunities. Lastly, 66.7 % of

the responding teachers felt that embedding college and career pathway information into the

curriculum, when possible, is worthwhile for their students and is an effective use of

instructional time. The implications of the data obtained would suggest that the majority of

teachers feel comfortable discussing college and career options and possess the necessary

information to accomplish that task. Moreover, they feel it is a teacher's obligation to provide

this information and embedding it to their lessons is worthwhile and a realistic endeavor.

Key learnings. Resilience and adaptability emerged in this cycle as relevant and viable

character traits that have allowed me to continue my growth in my role as an educational leader.

In the previous cycle, patience and the ability to listen emerged as pragmatic qualities in my role

as a new administrator in a foreign and unfamiliar environment. In both instances, I have had to

gain the trust and confidence of my fellow educators as I navigated the internal politics and

unique culture of each site. In this new role as an Assistant Principal of a contemporary high

school, I was fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to coordinate a full W.A.S.C. accreditation

self-study in addition to my regular duties. During my interview for this position I was asked if

working on a doctorate, coordinating the W.A.S.C. study, and clearing my Administrative


Running head: POST SECONDARY 33

Credential would be too much to handle. Was it too much? I had to pause, internally compose

myself, and give my Assistant Superintendent the proper response. In my heart, there was no

doubt that I would be able to balance this fantastic opportunity that was being presented to me.

Knowing my Why became the driving force as I settled into my new role. Applying the concepts

and philosophies that had been discussed throughout our leadership courses began to rise to the

surface and become significantly more pertinent as I have settled into my new position.

During this cycle, it became apparent that our counselors would need to utilize human capital

within the school site to effectively communicate and disseminate college and career guidance.

Leveraging available resources at the site level is necessary to adequately inform our students on

realistic and appropriate post-secondary transition opportunities. Fortunately, many of our

teachers were open to filling the void for college and career counseling by acting as surrogate

counselors. Their desire to fill this void was a testament to their commitment to the students and

their belief in assuming roles and responsibilities that may go beyond the scope of their job

description. Teachers alone cannot be responsible for guiding students to the variety of college

and career pathways that exist for our students. Family support and engagement is essential to

supplement and augment the guidance provide by the counselors and teachers. Families need to

be well informed in the means to access and pay for the requisite schooling their child will need

to achieve their desired career choice. As a result of what I have learned in this cycle, my next

steps will be to focus on strategies and best practices to engage our families who live in a 30-

mile radius of the school. The ability to reach all families so that they will be well informed and

remain active participants in their child's education and future endeavors is crucial. Thus, if we

cannot reach them, we cannot educate them.

Cycle 3 Story
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Research Question. The third cycle of this research was guided by one central research

question: If we host college informational workshops in closer proximity to where our students

and their families reside, what effect, if any, will it have on increased family participation?

Literature review: The review of the literature revealed two major themes: The

importance of proactive family engagement strategies and cultural awareness training for school

staff. Eight sources informed this study which included journal articles and research articles.

This review summarizes the two key themes that were derived from the literature.

Site Level Cultural Awareness and Support. Families who have proven to be able to

successfully traverse the typical public school environment are those that possess proficiency in

the English language, financial stability, and access to current technology. Conversely, families

who are not as fortunate are less likely to be successful. Ferrara (2015); Nieto, Rivera, Quinones

& Irizarry (2013) claim that when teachers and administrators lack cultural awareness and are

not prepared to work for the Latino population, it has a negative impact on their ability to be

successful in their educational experience and is the root of the issues that affect their success in

their quest to a quality education. To combat this deficiency, culturally proficient school sites

must devise a comprehensive strategy to support the family unit when they begin their efforts to

maintain cultural proficiency. To aid in their efforts to involve minority parents and students,

teachers and administrators will require training (Gallagher, 1999; Williams & Chavkin, 1989).

Additionally, the training must be sustainable and continuous. Williams & Chavkin (1989)

maintain that for the cultural awareness training and professional development to be viable and

effective, the school administration must support the endeavor.

Proactive family engagement strategies. Traditional school settings can be intimidating

to minority, and low-income families and their willingness to become involved may be
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misinterpreted as being disinterested in their child's education (Lareau & Shumar, 1996). Family

involvement is a vital component to a student's success in school, especially minority students

who are economically disadvantaged (Epstein & Dauber, 1991). On some occasions schools

have been remiss in recognizing challenges that certain families face when planning events that

could be informative and worthwhile. As such, insuring that the locations in which these

sessions is necessary to increase equitable access and attendance (Nieto, Rivera, Quiones &

Irizarry, 2013). Ferrara (2015) maintains that families who can develop social capital and

improve social relationships are better equipped to learn about the various educational

opportunities that may be beneficial to their child. Developing strategies that can engage families

who may not understand the means necessary to aid their children can be beneficial to the school

as well as the family. The negative connotation that may be associated with low-income

migratory families can hinder the students ability to become fully engaged in school (Nieto,

Rivera, Quiones, & Irizarry 2013). Educators who are supportive of parent involvement in the

educational process can increase involvement for these marginalized groups and improve the

students access to additional resources and information necessary for their success (Henderson,

1986). Schools that advocate a strategic planning component to engaging families are utilizing

proactive methods that will benefit families that have not traditionally been included or felt

welcome in becoming involved in their child's education (Williams & Chavkin, 1989).

Actions taken. Upon examination of the information obtained from the literature review,

I discussed the findings with our counselors and Director of Student Services. Since the

literature review suggested that reaching minority and non-English speaking families may

require hosting workshops at locations that may be more convenient to their schedule and less

intimidating, we decided to analyze our record management system data and ascertain where
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clusters of our lower socioeconomic status families resided and if there were convenient, off-site

locations where these families would be able to easily access. Additionally, we examined the

primary language spoken in the household and the parents education level to inform what

resources and tactics we could use to attract and ultimately best meet the needs of these families.

The data revealed that we had a significant number of families that lived near one of our ABC

independent study schools. Additionally, the data revealed that we had over 115 families that

identified themselves as Spanish speaking only. It was decided to collaborate with the

counselors and staff from the ABC school hold a college information workshop. We opted to

focus on students who resided near the ABC school. A phone message was sent to all of our

students in English and Spanish. Previously, no calls were going home in Spanish. The

counselors began making personal phone calls to parents and inviting them to the workshop,

Additionally, as a team, we called students individually into our offices and reviewed their

grades, college and career aspirations, and gave them positive feedback. During that meeting,

we personally invited them and their family to attend the workshop. Teachers were encouraged

to promote the workshop to their classes and discuss the benefits of attending. Lastly, we visited

the classrooms and promoted the informational session. On the night of the meeting, we

personally greeted the attendees and had our Spanish teacher present to assist with translation

and clarification for those families that needed assistance. Based on previous workshops we

were hoping for the best; however, estimated that we would only see 8-10 families. Our

attendance at the workshop ended up topping 100 parents and students. We were ecstatic, to say

the least.

Measurement of actions. This cycle of the study focused on whether or not hosting

college and career workshops off-site locations which closer to where families of XYZ Prep
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students reside would increase attendance, participation, and engagement at the events. A mixed

methodology of data collection was utilized in this third cycle, which consisted of a

questionnaire distributed to parents attending the parent workshops, an interview distributed of

the counselors, and a qualitative interview of 4 students. The purpose of each of these inquiries

was to determine what impact, if any, moving relocating events from the school site to locations

closed to where our families resided had on engagement and participation. Therefore, both

qualitative and quantitative data was obtained for analyses.

Outcomes. The outcomes for Cycle Three were derived from two surveys, and one

interview. The following results and data were obtained as a result of those methods. The data

that was derived from the research informed the questions in this study and development of this

survey. 16 attendees of the college workshop voluntarily responded to the survey, which was

provided in Spanish and English (Appendices J and K). The results indicated that the location

and time of the workshop was a factor in their attendance. 15 of the 16 attendees agreed that the

location of the workshop was more convenient than the traveling to the high school; however, 12

replied that they would have attended if the workshop were at the high school. 14 of the 16

attendees indicated that they were better informed as a result of information obtained at the

workshop. This data indicates that the information was useful and the location was more

convenient, yet it appears that most families may have attended despite the convenience of the

workshop. Based on this survey It is unknown if the personal calls and invitations were the

reason for the increased attendance.

The two schools counselors were interviewed via a qualitative open-ended interview,

(Appendix L) which consisted of 3 questions regarding the effectiveness of using personal

contacts to invite the students and families to the college workshop. The focus of the interview
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was to ascertain their perception on the effectiveness of their strategies to engage minority

students and their families. Both counselors responded that the personal invitations to parents

were the most significant factor in the increased attendance at the workshop and parents

motivation to attend. Furthermore, it was the personal phone call and ability to speak directly to

the parents that had the most profound impact on parents desire to attend. The counselors both

indicated that nearly every parent that was called and invited to attend showed up at the

workshop.

As a result of the confidential, three question interview (Appendix M), I found that

students did not feel that the school was reaching out to those families who may not speak

English or be familiar with the process to gain information on attending college. Their

impression was that the sharing of information was geared towards those families who spoke

English and felt comfortable interacting with school staff and administration. The students

interviewed felt that it was necessary to provide opportunities that met the needs of Spanish-

speaking families and/or those families whose children were the first in their family to

potentially attend college.

Key learnings. As this cycle came to a close, so did the schools W.A.S.C self-study, and

my decision to seek employment in a setting that served students who were deemed at-risk or

potentially susceptible to dropping out of school. It seems that my personal reflection and self-

assessment as a result of the PAR process has caused me to gain further insight and clarity into

my purpose and direction as an educator. As such, deep inquiry and the utilization of question

thinking became fundamental aspects that were incorporated into my daily leadership practices at

my school site. Through the query in this last cycle, we analyzed whom our school served and

the various needs of those stakeholders. The findings were not startling or alarming; yet, it was
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clear that the population that needed the most support and were the greatest population within

our school, was being overlooked and treated in a manner that was culturally negligent. Our

school made the decision to increase the rigor of the academics with the goal of better preparing

our students for college and career; however, as we probed the necessary elements of preparing

students for successful post-secondary transition, it became evident that a significant factor was

overlooked in this process, specifically, the majority of the population that attends the school.

Although it appears obvious to me at this juncture, I didn't see the nexus until this past week. We

failed to create a system of interventions and supports to assist the students who would

invariably struggle as the rigor was increased. Interestingly, what I was seeking to research

revealed an entirely more telling and significant revelation. Since the implementation of a more

rigorous curriculum had transpired before my arrival at the site, I cannot speak to the planning

phase before the installation of this direction. In my development as a leader, I have learned the

value of seeking input and participation from those who will be impacted by a decision.

Part III: Discussion of Key Findings, Conclusions, Implications, and Recommendations

Discussion of Key Findings

Three key findings materialized in this participatory action research project. The first

cycle was made it evident to me that garnering input from the various stakeholders was vital in

gaining a full understanding of what would need to be addressed and the potential underlying

issues that may need to be examined before the other areas could be investigated. The data

revealed that empowering teachers and other staff members to take part in the review and

development of the curriculum and proved to be a valuable lesson. Consequently, the realization

that allowing for shared leadership and seeking feedback are critical to achieving and effecting

change within an organization. Obtaining the buy-in and acceptance of the curriculum from the
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teachers was crucial and reinforced to me the necessity of laying the groundwork for the teachers

allowing them to analyze, critique, and evaluate the tools that we are asking them to use.

Gathering their insight is not only beneficial to the organization, but ultimately benefits the

students. The buy-in paved the way for the teachers to become better informed which is an

essential aspect of developing student efficacy. The literature review in this first cycle espoused

the importance of teacher education in the area of college and career readiness. As such, it is

essential that teachers are properly informed and educated on the means to navigate pathways to

potential career paths (Curry et al, 2013; Solberg et al, 2011; Symonds, 2012). However, before

the education of the teachers can commence, their collective level of acceptance had to be in

place.

As a result of the findings in the first cycle, the second cycle focused on teacher and

family education. Family support and engagement is essential to supplement and augment the

guidance provide by the counselors and teachers. Therefore, families needed to be well informed

about how to access and pay for the requisite schooling their child will need to achieve their

desired career choice. The literature review indicated that many students do not have access to

family members that have the knowledge and understanding of the steps required to navigate the

arduous college entrance process. (Conley, 2102). As a result of the financial aid workshops, the

data revealed the families did not initially possess the necessary information on how to access

the financial to pay for college. Additionally, the data supported the notion that teachers felt the

obligation to educate students on college and career pathways, and would willing do so;

however, they were of the belief they needed further training and exposure in this area to

effectively inform their students. Educating families and teachers emerged as an important piece

in the quest to insure students were adequately informed. Possessing information became a form
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of empowerment for teachers and families alike. The literature review was consistent with the

data and reiterated the importance of students and their families exploring the means to a

successful transition to these institutions through an ongoing planning process (Kohler and Field,

2003; McDonough, 2004).

The third cycle revealed the importance of communication with families and the ensuing

engagement and inclusion that occur when direct and personal modes of communication are

utilized. Data gleaned from the student interviews supported the idea that the school needed to

be more responsive to the needs of Latino families and this was supported in the literature. The

manner in which the school could meet those needs was not fully understood before this cycle.

Lareau & Shumar (1996) assert that the traditional school environment can be perceived by low-

income and minority families as intimidating, this, will deter them from becoming engaged with

the school. As a result, theses marginalized groups are perceived as disinterested. Our schools

had employed strategies to engage and invite families to various workshops, which included

college information nights; however, the attendance had been historically low in recent years as

the demographic of the school changed. Employing a strategy of personal invitations via phone

calls to families, one-on-one meetings with students to encourage their attendance at the meeting,

and motivating teachers to promote the benefits of attending the meetings proved to be extremely

successful. The data obtained from the counselors in the post-workshop interviews reiterated

and confirmed the power of making personal connections and developing relationships with

families, especially families who had otherwise not been familiar the manner in which to be

proactive in their child's college and career pursuits.

Conclusions

Through this study, it was found that communication of information to all stakeholders
Running head: POST SECONDARY 42

increased knowledge, which in turn increased engagement. Knowledge and engagement caused

stakeholders to become empowered, accepting, and developed their self-efficacy. The

importance of communication and providing information for the school's stakeholders became

apparent as information proved to be the answer to the why. When teachers are informed, they

are more apt to be supportive and involved in the process. The power of stakeholder buy-in

increased the chance of successful implementation of a project or idea. For example, it was

initially determined that before we would be able to insure that all students could have post-

secondary transition plans, we would need to educate the teachers and students. Simply

educating them would not necessarily address that need. Including the teachers in the

development of a curriculum and gathering their input paved the way for them to be receptive

to learning about college and career readiness planning for their students. Teachers commented

that being included in the implementation and development of the curriculum was a key factor

in their desire to be involved. Students maintained that the ability to have information about

careers and college increased their motivation. Additionally, the guidance and support they

received from their teachers were essential to their success. Furthermore, in the second cycle,

teachers maintained that they appreciated and welcomed the chance to become better informed

on college and career readiness. The literature supported this concept as Curry et al., (2013);

Solberg et al. (2011); & Symonds (2012) suggest that teachers are in a position where they have

constant and direct interaction with students; therefore, it is essential that they are properly

informed and educated on the means to navigate pathways to potential career paths. Moreover,

Curry et al., (2013) maintain that it is essential that teachers be trained in the area of college

and career readiness, as well as career technical education cluster and pathways. It is

recommended that the school continue to educate and empower their teachers by providing
Running head: POST SECONDARY 43

them with relevant and useful college and career information so that they can continue to be

mentors to the students.

In addition to the teachers, all families and students must be informed. To reach the

school's families, it is imperative that they become familiar with their diverse population and

know the most effective means to communicate to them. In this study, it was determined that

the previously used forms of communication were no longer best practices as the school

population had changed to a primarily low-income, minority group of families and students.

Thus, viable and effectual strategies to reach these groups needed to be utilized and executed.

For example, the literature addressed the idea that schools sometimes fail to recognize the

challenges some families have when they are planning events that could be informative and

worthwhile. As such, insuring that the locations are at locations and times that are convenient

to our families is necessary in order to increase equitable access and attendance. When the

organization began to use effective forms of communication and plan events that were

accessible to their families, it allowed the families to feel included, which led to them being

able to gather the necessary information for their children's future. Families commented that

workshops were worthwhile and needed to continue. As a result, it was found that being

informed empowers stakeholders to become involved. The survey that families responded to

after attending the workshop in the third cycle indicated that hosting an event at a time and

location more convenient to their schedule was not only appreciated, but a factor in attending.

The degree to which families felt more accepted or included was not measured; however, the

increase in attendance would seem to indicate that there would be a positive effect on the

perception of inclusion. Based on theses findings, it is suggested that the school continue to

provide resources to the counselors and other support staff to sustain a family engagement
Running head: POST SECONDARY 44

campaign that is personable and inclusive. When teachers and families are informed and

included, the students will reap the benefits as they will be supported and guided in their post-

secondary transition plans. The literature addresses this approach and asserts that the

implementation and success of a viable transition plan for a student depend upon the student's

support system. (Wang, Ye, & Pilarzyk, 2014)

Implications

As a result of the findings and outcomes that surfaced through the cycles, it appears that

in order for students to be fully supported in their plans after graduation, the schools must

embrace the power of stakeholder support and empowerment. To achieve this support and

empowerment, a sustainable professional development plan for teachers should be devised. This

training will increase teacher buy-in and motivation. Ongoing training and support for the

teachers will ultimately benefit the students as they continue to seek out teachers as mentors for

their support and guidance throughout their time in high school. Additionally, the school would

be wise to utilize their data management system to identify specific information on their families,

such as where clusters of families reside, their home language, and economic status. This

information can guide them in how to best meet the needs of these families as they plan college

and financial aid workshops and disseminate information through other modalities. Continuing to

develop the level of cultural proficiency of the staff would serve the school well as they seek to

embrace the diverse population that attends their school. Additionally, the school may want to

explore methods to engage families and ascertain feedback to inform their next steps and so that

they may continue to forge positive and meaningful relationships with not only families, but

members of the community. Building relationships through effective methods of communication

and developing strategies to invite members who have previously been ignored can only increase
Running head: POST SECONDARY 45

stakeholder motivation and increase the level of support that students will receive as they pursue

plans for college and career.

Recommendations

As I reflect on this study and the now have the opportunity to view it a somewhat more

removed, or less involved vantage point, I would have hoped that I could have recognized the

value of family engagement. This realization developed during the latter portion of the study and

became increasingly more apparent as the study drew to a close. With that, I realized that two

keys aspects were braided throughout the cycles that are critical for future research. First,

ensuring that all potential stakeholders are engaged and included emerged as one of the common

denominators in this research. Coming to the realization that the family unit plays such a crucial

and influential role in developing a post-secondary transition for the student is a critical cog in

distinguishing the mechanisms that drive the course of action. Secondly, facilitating the

understanding of the why through educating and informing others is required to implement a

career transition plan for those involved and is a fundamental driving force in this course of

action.

If I were to continue with this research, my next inquiry would most likely have been the

inquiry into improving cultural proficiency. As the study progressed, I realized that our staff

demographics may have impacted the assumptions and beliefs they held about our students.

Since many of our teachers and administration are of European descent and come from English-

speaking, middle-class families, where they were high achieving students in high school, there

was a disconnect in their ability to understand how to properly guide, support, and understand

their students. Although our staff has the desire to serve their students, their ability to do so in a

manner that is culturally proficient appears to be potentially inhibited, as they did not appear to
Running head: POST SECONDARY 46

understand the challenges and cultural norms of their students or their families. According to

Terrell and Lindsey (2008), teachers and students tend to treat each other differently because they

have lived different life experiences. Through this capacity building in cultural proficiency, it

would be a significant step in the right direction if the school could empower low-income and

minority families to become the advocates and sources of information at the school site. These

newly trained and empowered members could begin working for change within their own

community and recruit others to become invested in shaping of the success of the students.

Through this endeavor, a sustainable program could be developed which would benefit all

stakeholders at in the HD School District.

Part IV: Personal Leadership, Leadership, and Change Learning

Personal Leadership

Throughout the three cycles there were numerous learning opportunities that transpired

and have enhanced and developed my leadership ability. Learning the value of asking the proper

questions and realizing that improvement, progress, and change occur most effectively when

there is collaboration and stakeholder input has been valuable lessons for me. Becoming

someone who now reflects more authentically as a result of asking more probing questions and

listing more intently has been a significant improvement for my personal leadership. (Cashman,

2012). During the cycles, I transitioned from an independent study program administrator to an

assistant principal of our district's comprehensive high school. Although these positions were

within the same district, the leadership styles that I worked under were in significant contrast, as

was the culture at each site. This allowed me to experience and respond to a multitude of

challenges. Having the chance to analyze the outcomes in a reflective manner has allowed for

continued growth and development in my leadership skills. Through this process, I was able to
Running head: POST SECONDARY 47

realize the many ways in which relationships develop, exist, and improve the educational system;

however, I believe commitment is ultimately glue that holds the organization together.

According to Fullan (2003) an organization cannot sustain success if there is not a culture of

commitment. For commitment to a vision to occur, leaders must trust and understand their team

members and constantly encourage them in all of their efforts. Considering the four frames,

Bolman and Deal (2002) advocate sharing responsibility to improve relationships and nurture an

atmosphere of collaboration. Using a tactic helped me build on the trust that I had developed

with others and enhance the interpersonal rapport, which resulted in the beginning of many

positive relationships. As relationships were forged, the level of trust, confidence, and

commitment increased. Building trust and establishing relationships have paid dividends for me

and have supported me in my growth as a leader. Understanding the balance of relationships,

trust, and the complexity of an organizations culture, has caused me to appreciate the many

factors that make up a successful school site. Lastly, it has increased my understanding of how

my personal leadership can impact the various systems in the organization. The PAR process

was a stimulating, and humbling task that allowed me to experience the multitude of challenges a

leader faces as they strive to improve the world around them.

Leadership

Through out my twenty-five years a police officer, I held various positions of leadership

and was able to work for several formal and informal leaders. Initially, I believed these

experiences would serve me well as I entered the field of education. To an extent, those

experiences were worthwhile; however, I have come to the realization that there is much more to

learn. There are certain elements to leadership outside of the law enforcement arena that are

necessary to be effectual and have sustained results. The culture of an organization becomes an
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integral component of a groups ability to work cohesively and at the maximum level of

efficiency. Establishing a strong culture can solidify the strengths of the organization and

increase its overall efficacy (Gostick & Elton, 2012). Trust, relationships, and commitment are

necessary elements of strong and cohesive culture. Within the educational system, I have

witnessed the power of how relationships cause results to occur. Conversely, I have witnessed

the damage that transpires when leaders choose to forego establishing relationships, and operate

in an authoritative style. According to Sanborn (2004), relying on results through transactional

relationships will be detrimental. This method of leading others will affect relationships and

ultimately deteriorate the ability to gain trust and confidence. Using an approach that is

transformational, as opposed too transactional, will result in strengthening the level of trust,

confidence, and commitment.

When members of the organization have a voice and can contribute to the decisions that

are made within the organization, the culture is strengthened and the potential for successful

implementation is increased. Sharing the responsibility of transformation and enhancing

relationships within the organization is critical in the development of a collaborative culture

(Bolman & Deal 2002). Through the PAR process I was able to observe the power of a shared

vision. As our team worked towards engaging families that were not able access information

from the school in an equitable fashion, we relied on each others individual strengths and

strategized to accomplish our goals and objective. We had a common vision and were

determined to work through any obstacles that we would face. It was refreshing to see how

possessing a common vision could garner momentum and ultimately, a successful outcome.

Gray (2008) maintains that if people cannot get behind both the vision and the leadership, there

will not be true buy-in. Leaders must have the trust and confidence of the staff and be able to
Running head: POST SECONDARY 49

effectively communicate the vision to be successful. During the entire process I relied on the

research that the literature supported, the guidance and insight that the professors provided, and

the ability to listen and reflect. As I move forward in my personal life and career, I am certain he

tools that I have acquired in this program will serve me well.

Leading Change

Covey (1989) asserts that it is essential that we should seek to understand, rather than try

to be understood in our efforts to communicate, build trust, and guide others in the complex and

often misunderstood process of transformational change. Reading Covey's 5th Habit during my

time in the Educational Leadership Academy at Pepperdine was one of the first moments in my

educational leadership journey that a particular passage in a text caused me to stop dead in my

tracks. My journey in this current participatory action research has required me to reflect on a

daily basis. At this point in my leadership development, I believe that successful leadership in a

school requires a leader who has a vision that can be communicated to students, staff, parents,

and the community. This vision is most likely one that involves improving the quality of

education for the students within that particular school. To realize attainment of that vision, I

believe that a leader must transform the culture and values within that organization in an efficient

and strategic manner while maintaining a high level of trust. Teamwork at all levels, both

horizontally and vertically, must occur along with open lines of communication. As I strive to

improve my communication skills, and continue to seek to understand, I have earned another

strategy to facilitate communication. Question Thinking has been added to my tool belt as a new

Assistant Principal. As the W.A.S.C. study process is in full-swing causing our organization to

look at what we are doing well, where we need to improve, and developing a plan for

improvement, QT is an effective strategy in taking a critical view to examine the effectiveness of


Running head: POST SECONDARY 50

our educational practices from a holistic standpoint. (Adams, 2009). Members of a school

community might also find this to be a valuable tool in creating equity and democracy, ensuring

that all voices are heard. Since QT advocates self-awareness, learning to ask questions as a

means to gain a higher level of understanding has been extremely valuable to me in this past

year. Being able to construct the appropriate questions to allow others to ponder and analyze

current practice has becomes quite beneficial. As I am working through our WASC study it is

necessary for me to ask questions regarding past and current practices. Utilizing appropriate

listening skills is imperative, while at the same time remaining non-judgmental. Integrating the

skills that I have learned through our school's self-study and my PAR has been an intense

experience! My paradigm continues to adjust as new ideas and concepts are presented to me.

Moreover, Lencioni (2012) asserts that core values, those that are behavioral, drive all other

decisions in an organization and are crucial to maintaining integrity and purpose. Clearly, in this

process, I have encountered many situations that have caused me to revisit my personal values as

and reflect on the organization's core values. Hord, Rutherford, Huling, & Hall (2008) Discuss

the Stages of Concern and the manner in which people will react to change, often due to their

personal concerns. This is a necessary component to consider as change and training take place

in an organization. The ability to listen has aided me immensely as our organization is

transitioning and reflecting on our current practices. Teachers are fearful of change as they often

interpret it as a negative reflection on their ability to teach. Cashman (2012) maintains the need

to listen and reflect, and as such, this strategy has continued to be my guiding light as this year

progresses. Assistant Principals work in a fast paced environment that requires quick thinking

and efficient problem-solving skills; yet, for issues that require participation and buy-in from the

members of the school, authentic listening is essential. A common theme for me in my readings
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and the message that resonates with those me are those that promote the benefits of listening. As

Cashman (2012) maintains, the power of listening can transform a leader from effective to

exceptional. My goal is to become a leader who can lead change while instilling optimism in

those that are involved in the process. Bridges (2009) that suggests leaders facilitate the

transition as opposed to change and address employee fears, encourage and embrace the new

direction, and to develop a new identity. This suggestion makes sense as change can cause

employees to react in a variety of counterproductive behaviors. Lastly, I believe that excitement

and enthusiasm for improving the system must become infectious within the organization

coupled with a caring culture and an optimistic, motivated mindset. When this change takes

place, the school will be on track for enhanced achievement.

Part V: Summary

Family support and guidance is believed to be a critical component in increasing the

chances of a student's success both during high school and after graduation; however, for many

families, understanding, and ultimately navigating the complex process of financial aid and

accessing the available post-secondary training and educational opportunities can be a murky and

confusing process. To complicate matters, some families are not proficient in the English

language and may be unfamiliar with the educational process in the United States. All of our

students deserve to have access to the same information and support services. In order for the

access to be equal, additional strategies will be required to allow for fairness at all junctures in

this important time of the student's life. To ensure that this is accomplished, it is essential that

the our educational institutions maintain vigilance in being proactive and recognize the

importance of inclusion, cultural proficiency, and the effective dissemination of this valuable

information. Family dynamics have changed in many communities, and the need to become

responsive and understanding of these changes should be a fundamental practice for our school's
Running head: POST SECONDARY 52

leaders. As a means to continually improve education and prepare our youth for a positive and

rewarding career trajectory, we must weave a comprehensive culture of inclusion into the fabric

of our educational philosophy.


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Note: I was unable to get my tab/indent function to properly adjust this. I realize the indents of

the authors are incorrect; however, in the interest of my sanity, I have left it as is and accept the

consequences!

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Appendices
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Appendix A

How do we insure that all independent study students at ABC school have post-secondary transition
plans upon graduation?

Logic Model 1
Research Literature Variables Actions Measurement Analysis
Questions

1. If we implement Papay, Unger Increase in Create the Survey Coding,


a 12th grade college (2015) knowledge of curriculum for Interview Triangulation
and career post graduation the research
exploration Solberg, options project
research project for Phelps
graduating seniors (2012) Scheduling of Pre-post survey
in an independent college visits and for Seniors Coding,
study program, in Clarke (2014) pre and post visit knowledge of Triangulation
what ways, if any, briefings. college and
will it increase their Cahill career
knowledge on post (2014) Engage teachers,
secondary options? administrators, Conduct
Curry, and students in interviews of Qualitative
Belser, Binns the development selected Seniors Coding
(2013) of the college and/or focus
and career group
research project

Create a tool to
evaluate the
quality of the
project.
Document
review of senior Coding,
Create a video, projects with triangulation
web page or e- Admin. at PLC.
portfolio for
final
presentation.

2. If we involve Clarke Level of teacher Engage teachers Interview Qualitative


teachers in the (2014) engagement and Coding
planning, scoring, administrators in
Running head: POST SECONDARY 59

and development of Cahill Level of teacher the development


the project, how will (2014) knowledge and Survey Coding,
it affect their buy-in, implementation Triangulation
involvement, Conley Acceptance of of the college
interest, knowledge, (2012) project and career Data: Coding
and acceptance of research project. Completion of
the project? Curry, Belser, projects
Binns
(2013)

Solberg,
Phelps
(2012)

Author Educate and Curriculum Teacher Buy-in Specialized Notes


Inform Parents Connected to and Support of Career Pathway
and Students College and Curriculum Plan
Career
Exploration

Conley X X Students fail if


not prepared.
(2012) Transition
requires
assistance.

X X X Teachers
Curry, Belser, become vital
Binns conduit for
interacting with
(2013) students on
career
exploration

Kohler and Field X An ILP needs to


have a process
(2003) that does not
create barriers or
hurdles

McDonough X X X

(2012)

X Students lack
compulsory
Schneider knowledge.
Running head: POST SECONDARY 60

Lack technical
(2006) and career skills
for success after
high school.

Solberg, Phelps X X Student


performance and
(2011) relationships
with teachers
improve due to
ILP

Symonds X X X X Career
counseling
(2012) essential,
parents students
need
information,
teachers must be
involved.

Wang, Ye, X X Parent needs to


Pilarzyk be educated on
process.
(2014)
Teacher support
of process.
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Appendix B

Questionnaire for Teachers Utilizing Careers Research Project

1. Describe your initial impression and thoughts regarding the introduction of the new college
and career exploration curriculum.

2. Do you feel that the pre-implementation phase of the curriculum elicited your input and
suggestions? Explain.

3. Were the meetings, PLCs, and collaboration amongst the teachers effective and worthwhile?

4. Did your acceptance or impression of the curriculum increase or improve during the
planning phase?

5. Did your acceptance or impression of the curriculum increase or improve after the
planning phase?

6. Did your knowledge and ability to convey post-graduation options increase as a result of
the training and collaboration?

7. Do you feel the senior project is a relevant and worthwhile assignment for the students?

8. Overall, are you more, or less receptive to the senior research project?
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Appendix C

Questionnaire for Students Participating in the Careers Research Project

1. Describe your initial thoughts regarding the exploration of college and career options through
a research project.

2. Do you feel that the assignment adequately explored your interests?

3. Did your desire to attend college change after the project? How so?

4. Did the community college tour change your outlook on college and /or career aspirations?

5. Did your awareness of post-graduation options increase as a result of the assignment?

6. What were three takeaways or things that you learned as a result of the project?

7. Do you feel the senior project is a relevant and worthwhile assignment?


Running head: POST SECONDARY 63

Appendix D
Overarching Question:

How do we insure that all independent study students at ABC school have post-secondary transition
plans upon graduation?

Logic Model 2
Research Literature Variables Actions Measurement Analysis
Questions

1. If we train and (Corwin & Increase in Create Survey Coding,


educate our Tierney, teachers professional Interview Triangulation
faculty on college 2007) knowledge of development
and career options post and training
and the methods in graduation sessions for
which our student options faculty on Pre-post survey
can access these (Grodsky & college and for teachers on Coding,
career pathways, Jones, 2007) Increase career. knowledge of Triangulation
in what ways, if potential college and
any, will it sources of career
increase our college and Engage opportunities
faculty's career teachers, and strategies
knowledge on (Tierney, information administrators to achieve Qualitative
viable post- Bailey, for students and students in students goals Coding
secondary Constantine, the developing
options? Finkelstein & a college going Conduct
Hurd, 2009)
culture interviews of
selected
Create tools to teachers and/or
Coding,
evaluate PD for focus group
Triangulation
faculty
(Bell,
Rowan,
Kenyon &
Perna,
2009)

(Symonds
and
Schwartz,
2011)

Nexus
between Engage teachers Interview of Qualitative
2. If we conduct curriculum and selected Coding
Running head: POST SECONDARY 64

parent workshops (Conley, and career administrators teachers


on financial aid 2102) and college in the
opportunities for pathways implementation Coding,
their children, in of strategies to Triangulation
what way, if any, Level of connect their Survey of
will it increase the parent subject matter faculty Coding
parent's knowledge of to college and
understanding of (Grodsky & financial aid career
the financial aid Jones, 2007) benefits and pathways,
process and their process to making it
understanding of attain aid relevant to the Data:
how the aid will students Completion of
impact their Student FAFSA
child's ability to understanding Implement and applications
attend post of the schedule parent
secondary financial aid and family Survey of Coding
education? process as a financial aid parents
means to workshops.
increase post Interview of
secondary Increase school counselors Coding
opportunities. to home
communication Qualitative,
for financial aid Coding
information and
assistance with
application.

Appendix E

Interview Questions for Parents Regarding Financial Aid


Running head: POST SECONDARY 65

1. How did the financial aid workshops and information provided by the school counselors
increase your knowledge in regard to financial aid and the options to attain aid?
2. As a result of this financial aid information, how has your desire to pursue assist your child
attend college changed, if at all?
3. Can you describe how the financial aid information presented changed, or altered any
previously held ideas about your child's ability to attend college?
4. What impact, if any, do you feel the information presented on financial aid have on child's
future?
5. Would you recommend that these workshops continue for parents of students at Riverside
Prep?
6. Do you feel more or less likely to obtain financial aid now that you have attended this
workshop?
7. Would you like to add any additional comments or recommendations?

8. Three things about financial aid that that I learned today are:

1) ________________________________________________________________________
2) ________________________________________________________________________
3) ________________________________________________________________________

Appendix F
Running head: POST SECONDARY 66

Teacher Interview Questions Cycle 2

1. Describe your initial impression and thoughts regarding the introduction of the college and
career pathways professional development.

2. Do you feel that the pre-implementation phase of the professional development elicited your
input and suggestions? Explain.

3. Did your acceptance or impression of the professional development provided by the


counselors increase or improve after the training session?

4. In what ways did your knowledge and ability to convey post-graduation options increase as a
result of the training and collaboration?

5. In what ways did your knowledge and ability to convey information on career pathways
increase as a result of the training?

6. To what extent do you feel that teachers should be mentoring or counseling students on
college and career decisions?

7. Overall, are you more, or less receptive to the concept of providing information to students on
college and career opportunities?

8. Describe your overall impression of the professional development on college and career
pathways?

Appendix G

Counselor Interview
Running head: POST SECONDARY 67

1. Based on feedback from students and families, do you feel the financial aid workshops have
increased their knowledge regarding the ability to pay for college?

2. Have you observed any difference in students desire or motivation to attend post-secondary
education institutions as a result of the financial aid workshops?

3. Do you feel the financial aid works shops are sufficient to educate parents regarding the
financing of college?

4. Have you seen any difference in the students interest in attend post secondary educational
situations that come from lower socio-economic status as a result of increased financial aid
awareness?

5. What improvements, if any, would you suggest to increase parents knowledge and familiarity
with financial aid and obtaining assistance with paying for their child's post-secondary
education?

Appendix H

Teacher Survey
Running head: POST SECONDARY 68

1. I feel confident discussing college and/or career options with students.

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree

2. I feel confident in providing the steps necessary for college entrance information to my
students.

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree

3. I believe teachers have an obligation to educate their students on post-secondary


opportunities.

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree

4. I believe that embedding college and career pathway information into our curriculum, when
possible, is worthwhile for our students and is an effective use of instructional time.

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree

Appendix I
Logic Model 3
Running head: POST SECONDARY 69

Research Literature Variables Actions Measurement Analysis


Questions

1.If we host Host workshops


college Epstein & on college
informational Dauber Increase in admissions and Quantitative
(1991)
workshops in Family financial aid Survey Analysis
closer proximity to Henderson attendance at process for
where our students (1986) workshops students and
reside, what effect, their families at
if any, will it have off-site
on increased Nieto, locations.
family Rivera,
participation? Quiones &
Irizarry
Cultural
(2013)
Awareness by Educate staff on
staff members cultural Qualitative
Chavkin proficiency Questionnaire Coding
(1989). strategies to
engage student
and families.

Gallagher,
(1994) Families Create a
perceived strategic plan to
Lareau & level of communicate
Shumar acceptance with families
(1996)
and inclusion less likely to
Williams & participate in
Chavkin workshops
(1989)
Analyze
Ferrara
internal data to
(2015)
determine Analyze Quantitative
where targeted Internal Data Analysis
groups of
students and
families reside

Appendix J

Encuesta de Padres
Running head: POST SECONDARY 70

1. El lugar del taller fue ms conveniente que ir al campus de RPHS.

Totalmente en desacuerdo En desacuerdo De acuerdo


Totalmente de acuerdo

2. Yo hubiera asistido al taller si tuviera lugar en RPHS.

Totalmente en desacuerdo En desacuerdo De acuerdo


Totalmente de acuerdo

3. Me siento cmodo/a hacer preguntas a los consejeros, profesores, o la administracin de las


opciones que tiene mi hijo/a de universidades y carreras.

Totalmente en desacuerdo En desacuerdo De acuerdo


Totalmente de acuerdo

4. Estoy ms informado/a sobre las opciones de universidades y carreras como resultado de


asistir a este taller.

Totalmente en desacuerdo En desacuerdo De acuerdo


Totalmente de acuerdo

5. Tener talleres en la noche y en una ubicacin ms cerca a mis casa me hace ms fcil asistir.

Totalmente en desacuerdo En desacuerdo De acuerdo


Totalmente de acuerdo

6. Estoy satisfecho/a con la comunicacin entre la escuela de mi hijo/a y nuestra familia.

Totalmente en desacuerdo En desacuerdo De acuerdo Totalmente de


acuerdo

Sugerencias o comentarios adicionales:

Appendix K

Parent Survey
Running head: POST SECONDARY 71

1. The location of this workshop was more convenient than going to RPHS campus.

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree

2. I would have attended this workshop if it were held at Riverside Prep.

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree

3. I feel comfortable asking the counselors, teachers, or school administration about college and
career options for my child.

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree

4. I am better informed about college and career options for my child as a result of attending this
workshop.

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree

5. Holding workshops in the evening and at a location closer to my home makes it easier for me
to attend.

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree

6. I am satisfied with the communication between my childs school and our family.

Strongly Disagree Disagree Agree Strongly Agree

Appendix L

Counselor Interview
Running head: POST SECONDARY 72

1. Based on feedback from students and families, what do you believe was the significant factor
in the unexpected, increased attendance the workshop?

2. Do you feel the personal phone call to the parents of our Hispanic population was a
contributing factor to the positive attendance/?

3. What would you do differently when planning your next workshop?

Appendix M

Student Interview

1. Do you feel that the XYZ School is communicating effectively with all families?
Running head: POST SECONDARY 73

2. Do you feel that the needs of minority students are considered when decisions are made?

3. Do you feel that college and career information is provided to all families?