Steamboat Springs High School English teacher Jennifer Gabriel, right, helps 11th-grader Jennifer Bean select courses Thursday.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School English teacher Jennifer Gabriel, right, helps 11th-grader Jennifer Bean select courses Thursday.

Steamboat students planning early with program

Individual Career and Academic Plan helps teens map out future

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For more information about the Individual Career and Academic Plan, ICAP, can call Danica Moss, the high school’s career and college counselor, at 970-871-3641. To access Naviance, visit the high school’s website, http://teacherweb..., and click on “Naviance” on the left side of the page.

— Tatum Sear is the exception rather than the rule.

Just a freshman at Steamboat Springs High School, Sear knows she wants to attend college to be a lawyer or psychologist. She said the Individual Career and Academic Plan, ICAP, that she started filling out last week and will complete by Thursday should help her get there.

Sear said the plan, a new annual requirement for all Steamboat students starting in eighth grade, allows her to prepare for the classes she’ll need to take in high school in addition to starting to consider colleges.

“I think it’s great,” she said about the new plan. “I have thought about (the future) a lot, but maybe some kids haven’t. And this is a chance for them to start thinking about it.”

The plan, a requirement of state legislation approved in 2009, is intended to better prepare students for postsecondary education or the work force.

Danica Moss, the high school’s career and college counselor, said the plan is a working document among students, parents and counselors each year. She said state law now requires it, but Steamboat started working on creating the plan last year.

Starting in eighth grade, students each year will complete a four-year plan that maps out the classes they will need to take to graduate. In addition, students will take surveys annually that assess where they are and what they need to do to reach their post-high-school goals.

Student plans, depending on their grade in school, will require them to complete different exercises. For instance, eighth-graders are required to complete career interest surveys while seniors apply for scholarships as part of the process.

“It’s really exciting because now we can have really thoughtful conversations with students about the classes they’re taking and what they want to do with them,” Moss said. “We’re trying to instill this skill of looking at the end result and looking backwards from there.”

Sophomore Matt Procyzyn registered for classes Thursday during anchor, a class period similar to homeroom where students stick together all four years. Students will work during anchor period Wednesday and Thursday to complete the plan.

Procyzyn said the plan makes things easier.

“It’s much more simple,” he said. “It’s student- and user-friendly. It just helps everyone out and doesn’t put as much pressure on the counselors to help every student. It just helps plan for the future.”

Moss said students, their parents, teachers and herself have access to the plan through Naviance, software accessible through the high school’s website. She said Naviance provides services such as allowing students to search for colleges and maintaining a database of the colleges they’ve applied to, whether they’ve been accepted and if they have scholarships to those schools.

Junior Jake Becker said he’s not sure what he wants to do after high school, but the new plan is making him think about his options.

“I feel like with the new system, it’s more supportive,” he said. “I felt like in the past years, I just signed up for classes and maybe that wasn’t the best.”

Moss said students who do not know what they want to pursue after high school shouldn’t worry about having to complete the plan every year.

“All we’re trying to do is help them think of a plan,” she said. “That can change. That’s OK.”

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or e-mail jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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