College and Career Preparation
Grade 9 students at Bangor High School participate in a semester course entitled “Insights,” in which they are exposed to concepts and strategies for initiating a post-secondary school plan. The curriculum is derived from standards and strategies embraced in 21st Century Skills, The Maine Learning Standards in Career and Education Development, The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Standards for Students, and the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success.
The Insights curriculum, which was custom designed by the Bangor High School Guidance Department, divides lessons and standards attainment into 4 instructional strands essential to meeting expectations set by the Bangor High School Personal Learning Plan; Academic Literacy, College & Career Planning, Social-Emotional Well-Being, and Financial Literacy.
In addition to classroom-based college & career readiness instruction, Grade 9 students have access to individual counseling related to all aspects of the guidance curriculum and other areas of concern, such as class schedules and academic advising.
Introducing the Personal Learning Plan (PLP)
The personal learning plan is the individualized plan that monitors each student on his or her path to college & career readiness. The baseline goal for each student is to be ready for any post-high school options that may be required to achieve their full range of career and employment aspirations. To keep it simple, the PLP encourages students to aim high. The practical function of the PLP is to establish goals early in high school and to ensure that students are making timely and prudent progress toward those goals.
Academic Literacy (Grade 9)
The Grade 9 curriculum in the Academic Literacy strand focuses on getting students off to a good start in high school. The work actually begins when students and their Grade 8 Teachers develop a class schedule for the Freshman Year. The first mission in promoting academic literacy is setting up students with the most rigorous program in which they are able to have a high level of success. Making sure that students operate at the top of their ability is the most important aspect of the Bangor School Department’s mission of Academic Success for All Students because it prepares them for a more demanding environment in college and careers.
As students get comfortable with their academic schedule during their Freshman Year, the focus immediately turns to enabling students to thrive in the challenging academic environment. The guidance curriculum emphasizes study skills, time management, task completion, and student-teacher communication. When students are able to use time wisely and are efficient with their work they are successful. When students reach out to teachers for extra help they are successful.
In the college & career planning process, Grade 9 Students learn the lingo of the college application process. The students will learn to identify the critical pieces of a transcript and to understand the importance of a strong grade-point average, class rank, and the presence of rigorous courses and good grades. They also come to understand the role of standardized testing by preparing for the PSAT 8/9. The students will also sign up for a CollegeBoard account and will know how to use it to interpret their test scores and identify areas of strengths and weaknesses.
College and Career Preparation (Grade 9)
Grade 9 Students begin to explore the development of a post-secondary plan by looking first at their own personality characteristics with activities such as completing personality typologies and by doing interest inventories. Once they look at themselves, they begin to explore careers and college majors that match their personalities and interests. As they start to set their post-secondary plans, the relationship that the student have with their counselors expands to ensure that their 4-year high school plan can get them to their goals.
Social-Emotional Well-Being (Grade 9)
A happy and well-adjusted student is highly likely to succeed. The Bangor High School Guidance Department is committed to helping students feel welcomed and supported while in our school. The critical elements of the guidance curriculum that are focused on social and emotional well-being include self-confidence, resilience, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and persistence. In the Insights classes, students learn about strategies for confronting bullying, strategies for managing stress and how to best communicate issues in a productive manner.
Financial Literacy (Grade 9)
For many students, their future plans will not be finalized by college and career dreams, but instead by financial realities. As students progress through their academic 4-year plan at Bangor High School, they will also develop an understanding of the financial aspects of their college and career pursuits. Students in Grade 9 will begin by looking at cost-of-living, wages & salaries, student debt, part-time job income, and borrowing & saving, to name a few.
Continuing the Personal Learning Plan (Grade 10)
During the Sophomore Year, students will continue to be monitored by the Personal Learning Plan (PLP) to ensure that they are making progress toward their individual post-secondary goals.
What if students are exceeding their goals? The answer is simple. It is time to level up! When a student exceeds his or her own expectations, it is best practice to reset the goals to a higher level. It is very common that the original plans set by students in the first year of high school undergo several alterations. These changes can include attempting Honors or AP classes and taking on an extra class in place of a study hall.
What if students fall behind in their plan? There are several things that can happen when a student in the sophomore year experiences some academic struggles. First, students who fall behind in credit attainment, performance on standardized tests, or in maintaining an adequate grade-point average for admission to a two or four-year college are identified under a process called Response-to-Intervention (RTI). The academic profiles for these students are reviewed by a team of teachers and counselors to ensure that as much as possible is being done to help them get back on track. Second, individual students are recommended for a variety of interventions including credit recovery classes, summer school, level changes, adult or peer mentoring, after school help sessions, and possible referral to the 504 or IEP process.
Introducing Guidance Seminars
Students in the Sophomore and Junior Years will be able to custom design their guidance curriculum based on their post-secondary plans. For students to meet proficiency-based diploma standards in college & career development, they must participate in and complete activities related to three types of seminars.
Large Group Seminars: Each semester, students will meet as a large group with their counselor. These seminars are designed to disseminate information that is critical for college and career preparedness for that particular time period. For example, juniors will get information for visiting colleges in the Spring semester so that they can plan visits for the summer. STEM students will also meet as a full group Grade 9-12 because many of the underclassmen will share a common experience with the upperclassman cohorts.
Small Group Seminars: Throughout the school year, the guidance department will conduct various seminars during the school day that will address individual needs of students in grades 10 and 11. These seminars include, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- SAT Preparation
- Financial Aid Strategies
- Visiting a College Campus
- Living On Your Own
- Military Careers
- Two-Year Associates Degrees
- Four-Year Bachelors Degrees
- Graduate & Post-Graduate Degrees
- Taking a Gap Year; Risks & Rewards
- The College or Job Interview
- Taxes, Insurance & Investments
- Part-Time Jobs and Child Labor Laws
- Resume Development
- Managing Social Conflict
- Organization and Time Management
All students in the Sophomore Class must participate in at least 5 of the small group seminars before the end of their Junior Year.
Individual Personal Growth Activities: Each student in the Sophomore Class must begin to document personal growth activities that are beneficial to being prepared for the college and career experience. Personal Growth Activities are recorded in the Personal Learning Plan (PLP) and represent a portion of the standards-based diploma. All students in the Sophomore Class must complete at least 50% of the personal growth activities before the end of the first semester of Senior Year. The activities include the following topics:
- Attend a Senior Parent College Planning Event
- Attend a UMaine College Fair
- Attend a “Careers in the Military” Event
- Attend a FAFSA and/or CSS Profile Completion Event
- Attend a Financial Aid Information Event
- Attend a Bangor HS College & Career Event
- Conduct at least one college tour
- Conduct at least one college interview
- Visit with at least one college recruiter who comes to Bangor High School
- Visit with at least one military recruiter who comes to Bangor High School
- Complete at least one full-length SAT Prep Exam
- Take the Accuplacer or ASVAB Exam
- Open a CollegeBoard and a Khan Academy Account
- Complete at least one job shadow
- Take at least one AP Exam
- Submit a Draft Resume to your Guidance Counselor
- Submit a Draft College Essay to your Guidance Counselor
- Get and Keep a paying job for at least 6 months
- Open a Checking/Savings Account at a Bank or Credit Union
- Participate in at least one volunteer or community service event
- Achieve 95% Attendance for at least one full school year
- Make Honor Roll at least twice in one school year
- Research a career interest in the Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Tutor an Underclassman
- Apply for at least one scholarship that requires an essay
- Get a Drivers License
- File a Federal Income Tax Return
Academic Literacy (Grade 10)
The academic demands on students begins to escalate during the Sophomore Year and the goals of the guidance curriculum ramp up to match the demands. The students are expected to examine their academic progress and to seek opportunities to increase rigor and expand academic exposure across the curriculum. When students identify future goals and link them with academic abilities, the guidance department helps students to focus the use of their electives to strengthen their academic profile.
In the sophomore year, the guidance department will begin to emphasize the creation of post-secondary opportunities, through a strong college and career readiness profile including; a rigorous course load, good grades, good attendance and participation, extra-curricular activities, community service, and strong standardized test scores.
Social-Emotional Well-Being (Grade 10)
In Grade 10, the social-and emotional support that students received in Grade 9 will continue to expand with the emphasis on developing a stronger sense of responsibility and self-advocacy. As students mature, they should be able to own their behavior and be able to articulate feelings in a positive and pro-active manner. The guidance department will help keep students focused on the big picture and the help them learn that long term goals are achieved through many short term decisions. Students will be encouraged to see the benefit of making smart, forward-thinking decisions.
Financial Literacy (Grade 10)
Grade 10 students will continue to learn about the importance of planning ahead with regard to financial decisions. By connecting financial literacy to academic literacy, the guidance department will demonstrate to students how good high school performance can drastically reduce post-secondary financial stress. Many sophomores begin reaching the age where they can get a workers permit and can begin seeking part-time employment. When students get jobs, the guidance department will stress the importance of time management, saving money, and the fact that school is still the primary job the student holds.
During the Junior Year, students will continue to be monitored by the Personal Learning Plan (PLP) to ensure that they are making progress toward their individual post-secondary goals. This year is critical to the post-secondary planning process, as it is the last piece of evidence that college admissions offices will see in each student’s application. The college & career planning portion of the PLP will have a greater emphasis throughout this year.
What if students are exceeding their goals? Similar to the sophomore year, when a student exceeds his or her own expectations, it is best practice to reset the goals to a higher level. In the Junior year that means looking into honors or AP options.
What if students fall behind in their plan? If a student is experiencing failure or low grades upon entering the junior year, the RTI process becomes critical. If a student is credit deficient, he or she starts to feel the pressure of time and a loss of flexibility in elective choices. All of the members of the RTI team, including teachers, counselors, administrators and parents will be activated to address chronic and/or acute issues impacting academic progress.
Academic Literacy (Grade 11)
The academic demands on students begins to focus on post-secondary plans during the Junior Year and the goals of the guidance curriculum are to zero in on the strengths and needs of the students to achieve their individual plans. The students are expected to examine their academic progress and demonstrate an understanding that the junior year is the most important year when post-secondary plans include college. When students identify future goals and link them with academic abilities, the guidance department helps students to focus the use of their electives to strengthen their academic profile.
In the junior year, the guidance department will continue to emphasize the creation of post-secondary opportunities, through a strong college and career readiness profile including; a rigorous course load, good grades, good attendance and participation, extra-curricular activities, community service, and strong standardized test scores.
College and Career Preparation (Grade 11)
In addition to promoting a strong, rigorous schedule, the determination to get good grades, and to be involved in activities, the junior year brings participation in the SAT test. An ever-present reality to college admissions and the awarding of merit-based financial aid is the need to do well on the SAT test. Students who have been at Bangor High School since the beginning of their freshman year have taken the PSAT 8/9 and PSAT 10. In October of the junior year, all students participate in the PSAT/NMSQT test, which qualifies students for the National Merit Scholars Program, and is the final practice for the SAT.
The continuum of scores from the CollegeBoard suite of tests acts as one piece of Bangor High School’s Response to Intervention (RTI) program. This allows us to measure student progress toward College & Career Readiness, by comparing student performance on the PSATs and SAT to the College Readiness benchmark established by the CollegeBoard.
During the junior year, the guidance department will work together with the entire BHS staff to promote a strong approach to success on the SAT, recognizing that college admissions and financial aid are connected to the scores.
Social-Emotional Well-Being (Grade 11)
The goals for the junior year in the social-emotional well-being strand of the curriculum are helping students to handle stress maturely, and building strong relationships with adults and peers. We want our students who are approaching adulthood and independence to be able to problem-solve and to take initiative in handling their own issues as directly and efficiently as possible. The approach involves encouragement for students to actively initiate communication with teachers and other resources. We also want students to interact with peers in an effective manner, solving interpersonal challenges with self-constructed, and productive plans.
Financial Literacy (Grade 11)
Regardless of the nature of individual post-secondary plans, the guidance curriculum strives to help students to be financially independent. This is accomplished through real-life application of personal financial decision-making strategies (i.e. setting up a bank account, and filing their taxes), and through the completion of the necessary financial aid forms for college. There will be several seminars throughout the second semester of the junior year that will focus student attention on the financial considerations of college attendance and career choices.
During the Senior Year, students will continue to be monitored by the Personal Learning Plan (PLP) to ensure that they are reaching their individual post-secondary goals. This year is critical to the post-secondary process, as it moves from planning to implementation. Essentially, it is decision time. The students will need to pick a post-secondary path and will have to take the necessary steps to move beyond graduation and into a career or career preparation.
By the end of the junior year, students should have completed the necessary requirements for proficiency-based diploma attainment. What that means is that students then know how to access a post-secondary plan, and the only thing left to do in the area of Career and Education Development is to execute the plan.
What if students are exceeding their goals? Similar to the earlier years, when a student exceeds his or her own expectations, it is best practice to reset the goals to a higher level. In the Senior year that means resetting college and career plans, to attain goals that might have once seemed beyond their ability.
What if students fall behind in their plan? If a student is experiencing failure or low grades upon entering the senior year, the RTI process becomes critical. If a student is credit deficient, he or she starts to feel the pressure of time and a loss of flexibility in elective choices. All of the members of the RTI team, including teachers, counselors, administrators and parents will be activated to address chronic and/or acute issues impacting academic progress.
Academic Literacy (Grade 12)
The singular goal in the area of academic literacy for students in the senior year is to learn the “language” of colleges and the workplace. Students need to, if they have not already, attempt to perform at a college level. This is achieved by taking classes that may be more challenging than anything they have taken previously. Senior year is not best used as a year to coast, instead it should be the time that students find out if they will really be able to work at a college level.
College and Career Preparation (Grade 12)
Application Time! The year begins with a review of the college application process. Students will be required to get letters of recommendation, write essays, polish up their resumes, and identify the school to which they will apply. The goal is to get 75% of the senior class to apply to college by Thanksgiving, and the rest by Christmas.
Social-Emotional Well-Being (Grade 12)
The focus of the senior year is to socially and emotionally prepare students to be independent from their families. In the college application process, students are expected to be the “captains” of their own choices, and to not defer to parents for task completion. Students will learn about roommate selection and interaction, co-worker and classmate relationships, and how to handle life away from home.
Financial Literacy (Grade 12)
The best way to summarize the senior year goal for financial literacy is “Should I buy a pizza when I am on a meal plan?” Affording college or living on your own is not just about being able to pay for tuition, it is also about managing finances in a holistic and real-life scenario. We will help students look at serious financial considerations, such as providing your own transportation, eating healthy on a budget, and still having a social life on minimum wage.