Ditching Naviance For Personalized and Engaging College & Career Exploration

January 19, 2023
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Download PDF Version Of This Customer Story

Prior CCR Platform Did Not Meaningfully Support an Effective College and Career Exploration and Planning Process 

St. Augustine Preparatory Academy is a K4-12 school on the southside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The school opened in 2017 and currently serves about 1,500 students across PK4-12th grades. A large majority of the school’s students–84.8%–are economically disadvantaged and over 90% of students are from Hispanic backgrounds. The school’s mission statement describes that “our graduates will go on to achieve their highest potential and make our city, and ultimately the world, a better place.” Postsecondary aspirations and success are fundamentally tied to the core values and philosophies of the school community.  

As a critical part of the team responsible for ensuring that St. Augustine Academy’s students can transform their dreams into postsecondary realities, Allison Jacobsmeier serves as Director of College Advising and Alumni Engagement. The primary goal of her role is to connect students and families to opportunities and resources that promote not only the pursuit of best fit postsecondary pathways but also persistence through college and entry-level careers. As an initial step when she was new to her role, Jacobsmeier took stock of the resources the school had in place to support this goal.

She immediately sought thoughtful and open feedback from the team of secondary educators at the school about what was working well and the major challenges they felt were getting in the way of maximizing student postsecondary potential. The team of support resoundingly shared that the college and career readiness platform the school had been using–Naviance–”was not serving our students and…wasn’t serving the team that was responsible for leading and supporting those students and families.” 

The team shared that the Naviance platform did not sufficiently personalize the postsecondary exploration process and, therefore, left students lacking confidence in their postsecondary choices. Put differently, students did not fully find the postsecondary path that was the best fit for them, specifically. Educators described frustrations that the system did not support them to efficiently and cohesively manage the college application process for all of their students, and, therefore, left them burdened with using their own processes to track students and complete requisite steps. 

Overall, students, parents, and educators described the system as not being engaging for users, leaving the resources it did provide going unused. Jacobsmeier checked in with partner schools who voiced similar complaints and issues. The school knew they needed a different solution to set the foundation for their college and career readiness approach. 

Finding a Robust, Engaging, Student-Centered Platform that Could Personalize Experiences for Students and Amplify Capacity of School Staff

The St. Augustine Prep team recognized that it was critical to find a new platform that would better serve their students, families, and educators. This was especially important given that half of the school’s population includes first generation college-going students who could not easily rely on their family’s experience base to guide them through the college planning and application process. 

As the team searched for what other college and career readiness platforms might meet their needs, they came upon SchooLinks and were impressed with the diversity of tools, resources, and capabilities that SchooLinks offers to students, families, and counselors. It was immediately evident that SchooLinks provided a student-centered user experience that was engaging for students. Jacobsmeier even explained that the interface was visually appealing in a way that made it inviting for students to explore and use. The St. Augustine Prep team was also impressed by how many of their processes could be managed and automated with the SchooLinks platform–freeing them up to focus their time and energy on directly supporting students. 

During the process of considering SchooLinks, Jacobsmeier sought feedback from the lived experiences of other schools and districts who have implemented SchooLinks. She was very impressed by how each person she spoke with was “totally bought in and really excited to share how [SchooLinks] transformed their work.” She also had an ongoing dialogue with the SchooLinks team to ensure that it was the right fit to meet the specific needs of St. Augustine Prep. Hearing about the success of SchooLinks in other schools and districts, and clearly seeing the incredible benefits its features could have for the students, families, and educators of St. Augustine, Jacobsmeier was excited to unleash the power of SchooLinks in her school community. 

Engaging and Personalized Approach is Ensuring that Students’ Interests, Preferences, and Strengths Are Mapped Onto Postsecondary Plans

The initial implementation of SchooLinks required a tight turnaround as the St. Augustine Prep team was eager to get students using the platform as soon as possible. Jacobsmeier was highly complimentary of the personalized and on-demand support the school received from the SchooLinks team to facilitate a smooth and seamless implementation. She shared that any question that arose received a response within 24 hours and very much appreciated the team of former educators at SchooLinks who deeply understood the practical challenges of school operations and could draw on their experience to support the St. Augustine Prep community. And counselors were quick to utilize the SchooLinks capabilities that track where students are in the college and career planning process and provide useful data to guide additional support. 

Upon deployment, students at St. Augustine Prep readily engaged with the SchooLinks platform. School staff immediately saw benefits in how students were exploring postsecondary pathways. Educators reported that the SchooLinks platform prompted middle school students to think more deeply about their own strengths and interests and how those mapped them onto potential careers, some of which they did not previously know existed. These features in SchooLinks truly expanded what these students saw as possible futures and helped them understand the requisite steps to get there. 

The educators at St. Augustine Preparatory Academy believe that having this capability –for students to start with their specific interests, strengths, and preferences and connect to a potential career or area to pursue as the foundation for the college and career planning process–will transform the postsecondary success of their students. Jacobsmeier explained, “[SchooLinks] is really helping students to think more closely about that best fit piece–that we’re really focused on… Kids are really able to articulate why they are selecting a particular school or why they are selecting a particular major, and we are very confident that, long-term, this will support higher persistence rates for our students, over 50% of whom are first generation college-going students.” She summed up the impact this is having on her students as “transformational.” 

Finding the Best Fit for Students is Driving Higher Rates of Persistence and Success

In reflecting on her experience, Jacobsmeier insightfully explained that “it is critical to make sure the systems you have in place are setting you up for success.” SchooLinks has become a vital part of St. Augustine’s college and career readiness ecosystem. The school went into this process with a clear intentionality and articulated objective to find a platform that would reshape what is possible for St. Augustine students, and they found it in SchooLinks. This has been in stark contrast to their previous experience with Naviance. 

SchooLinks has helped students determine their preferences, navigate their options, and take ownership of their future. Students at St. Augustine Prep are engaging with the resources at high rates. The school did a formal survey of students about their experience with SchooLinks and the response was overwhelmingly positive–showing the tremendous value they are seeing in the depth and breadth of the offerings. Counselors have appreciated the SchooLinks features that automate some of their time-consuming tasks, increasing their capacity for more meaningful student support. SchooLinks has also allowed St. Augustine to build a more robust alumni network that will elevate the connections and role models for the student body going forward. And, all the educators at the school are thrilled to see their students expanding the exploration process, mapping goals onto productive next steps, and forging a postsecondary path that is personalized to their needs, interests, strengths, and preferences. They know that their investment in SchooLinks is an investment in their students’ ability to thrive well beyond their high school graduation. 

Download PDF Version Of This Customer Story

Prior CCR Platform Did Not Meaningfully Support an Effective College and Career Exploration and Planning Process 

St. Augustine Preparatory Academy is a K4-12 school on the southside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The school opened in 2017 and currently serves about 1,500 students across PK4-12th grades. A large majority of the school’s students–84.8%–are economically disadvantaged and over 90% of students are from Hispanic backgrounds. The school’s mission statement describes that “our graduates will go on to achieve their highest potential and make our city, and ultimately the world, a better place.” Postsecondary aspirations and success are fundamentally tied to the core values and philosophies of the school community.  

As a critical part of the team responsible for ensuring that St. Augustine Academy’s students can transform their dreams into postsecondary realities, Allison Jacobsmeier serves as Director of College Advising and Alumni Engagement. The primary goal of her role is to connect students and families to opportunities and resources that promote not only the pursuit of best fit postsecondary pathways but also persistence through college and entry-level careers. As an initial step when she was new to her role, Jacobsmeier took stock of the resources the school had in place to support this goal.

She immediately sought thoughtful and open feedback from the team of secondary educators at the school about what was working well and the major challenges they felt were getting in the way of maximizing student postsecondary potential. The team of support resoundingly shared that the college and career readiness platform the school had been using–Naviance–”was not serving our students and…wasn’t serving the team that was responsible for leading and supporting those students and families.” 

The team shared that the Naviance platform did not sufficiently personalize the postsecondary exploration process and, therefore, left students lacking confidence in their postsecondary choices. Put differently, students did not fully find the postsecondary path that was the best fit for them, specifically. Educators described frustrations that the system did not support them to efficiently and cohesively manage the college application process for all of their students, and, therefore, left them burdened with using their own processes to track students and complete requisite steps. 

Overall, students, parents, and educators described the system as not being engaging for users, leaving the resources it did provide going unused. Jacobsmeier checked in with partner schools who voiced similar complaints and issues. The school knew they needed a different solution to set the foundation for their college and career readiness approach. 

Finding a Robust, Engaging, Student-Centered Platform that Could Personalize Experiences for Students and Amplify Capacity of School Staff

The St. Augustine Prep team recognized that it was critical to find a new platform that would better serve their students, families, and educators. This was especially important given that half of the school’s population includes first generation college-going students who could not easily rely on their family’s experience base to guide them through the college planning and application process. 

As the team searched for what other college and career readiness platforms might meet their needs, they came upon SchooLinks and were impressed with the diversity of tools, resources, and capabilities that SchooLinks offers to students, families, and counselors. It was immediately evident that SchooLinks provided a student-centered user experience that was engaging for students. Jacobsmeier even explained that the interface was visually appealing in a way that made it inviting for students to explore and use. The St. Augustine Prep team was also impressed by how many of their processes could be managed and automated with the SchooLinks platform–freeing them up to focus their time and energy on directly supporting students. 

During the process of considering SchooLinks, Jacobsmeier sought feedback from the lived experiences of other schools and districts who have implemented SchooLinks. She was very impressed by how each person she spoke with was “totally bought in and really excited to share how [SchooLinks] transformed their work.” She also had an ongoing dialogue with the SchooLinks team to ensure that it was the right fit to meet the specific needs of St. Augustine Prep. Hearing about the success of SchooLinks in other schools and districts, and clearly seeing the incredible benefits its features could have for the students, families, and educators of St. Augustine, Jacobsmeier was excited to unleash the power of SchooLinks in her school community. 

Engaging and Personalized Approach is Ensuring that Students’ Interests, Preferences, and Strengths Are Mapped Onto Postsecondary Plans

The initial implementation of SchooLinks required a tight turnaround as the St. Augustine Prep team was eager to get students using the platform as soon as possible. Jacobsmeier was highly complimentary of the personalized and on-demand support the school received from the SchooLinks team to facilitate a smooth and seamless implementation. She shared that any question that arose received a response within 24 hours and very much appreciated the team of former educators at SchooLinks who deeply understood the practical challenges of school operations and could draw on their experience to support the St. Augustine Prep community. And counselors were quick to utilize the SchooLinks capabilities that track where students are in the college and career planning process and provide useful data to guide additional support. 

Upon deployment, students at St. Augustine Prep readily engaged with the SchooLinks platform. School staff immediately saw benefits in how students were exploring postsecondary pathways. Educators reported that the SchooLinks platform prompted middle school students to think more deeply about their own strengths and interests and how those mapped them onto potential careers, some of which they did not previously know existed. These features in SchooLinks truly expanded what these students saw as possible futures and helped them understand the requisite steps to get there. 

The educators at St. Augustine Preparatory Academy believe that having this capability –for students to start with their specific interests, strengths, and preferences and connect to a potential career or area to pursue as the foundation for the college and career planning process–will transform the postsecondary success of their students. Jacobsmeier explained, “[SchooLinks] is really helping students to think more closely about that best fit piece–that we’re really focused on… Kids are really able to articulate why they are selecting a particular school or why they are selecting a particular major, and we are very confident that, long-term, this will support higher persistence rates for our students, over 50% of whom are first generation college-going students.” She summed up the impact this is having on her students as “transformational.” 

Finding the Best Fit for Students is Driving Higher Rates of Persistence and Success

In reflecting on her experience, Jacobsmeier insightfully explained that “it is critical to make sure the systems you have in place are setting you up for success.” SchooLinks has become a vital part of St. Augustine’s college and career readiness ecosystem. The school went into this process with a clear intentionality and articulated objective to find a platform that would reshape what is possible for St. Augustine students, and they found it in SchooLinks. This has been in stark contrast to their previous experience with Naviance. 

SchooLinks has helped students determine their preferences, navigate their options, and take ownership of their future. Students at St. Augustine Prep are engaging with the resources at high rates. The school did a formal survey of students about their experience with SchooLinks and the response was overwhelmingly positive–showing the tremendous value they are seeing in the depth and breadth of the offerings. Counselors have appreciated the SchooLinks features that automate some of their time-consuming tasks, increasing their capacity for more meaningful student support. SchooLinks has also allowed St. Augustine to build a more robust alumni network that will elevate the connections and role models for the student body going forward. And, all the educators at the school are thrilled to see their students expanding the exploration process, mapping goals onto productive next steps, and forging a postsecondary path that is personalized to their needs, interests, strengths, and preferences. They know that their investment in SchooLinks is an investment in their students’ ability to thrive well beyond their high school graduation. 

Download PDF Version Of This Customer Story

Prior CCR Platform Did Not Meaningfully Support an Effective College and Career Exploration and Planning Process 

St. Augustine Preparatory Academy is a K4-12 school on the southside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The school opened in 2017 and currently serves about 1,500 students across PK4-12th grades. A large majority of the school’s students–84.8%–are economically disadvantaged and over 90% of students are from Hispanic backgrounds. The school’s mission statement describes that “our graduates will go on to achieve their highest potential and make our city, and ultimately the world, a better place.” Postsecondary aspirations and success are fundamentally tied to the core values and philosophies of the school community.  

As a critical part of the team responsible for ensuring that St. Augustine Academy’s students can transform their dreams into postsecondary realities, Allison Jacobsmeier serves as Director of College Advising and Alumni Engagement. The primary goal of her role is to connect students and families to opportunities and resources that promote not only the pursuit of best fit postsecondary pathways but also persistence through college and entry-level careers. As an initial step when she was new to her role, Jacobsmeier took stock of the resources the school had in place to support this goal.

She immediately sought thoughtful and open feedback from the team of secondary educators at the school about what was working well and the major challenges they felt were getting in the way of maximizing student postsecondary potential. The team of support resoundingly shared that the college and career readiness platform the school had been using–Naviance–”was not serving our students and…wasn’t serving the team that was responsible for leading and supporting those students and families.” 

The team shared that the Naviance platform did not sufficiently personalize the postsecondary exploration process and, therefore, left students lacking confidence in their postsecondary choices. Put differently, students did not fully find the postsecondary path that was the best fit for them, specifically. Educators described frustrations that the system did not support them to efficiently and cohesively manage the college application process for all of their students, and, therefore, left them burdened with using their own processes to track students and complete requisite steps. 

Overall, students, parents, and educators described the system as not being engaging for users, leaving the resources it did provide going unused. Jacobsmeier checked in with partner schools who voiced similar complaints and issues. The school knew they needed a different solution to set the foundation for their college and career readiness approach. 

Finding a Robust, Engaging, Student-Centered Platform that Could Personalize Experiences for Students and Amplify Capacity of School Staff

The St. Augustine Prep team recognized that it was critical to find a new platform that would better serve their students, families, and educators. This was especially important given that half of the school’s population includes first generation college-going students who could not easily rely on their family’s experience base to guide them through the college planning and application process. 

As the team searched for what other college and career readiness platforms might meet their needs, they came upon SchooLinks and were impressed with the diversity of tools, resources, and capabilities that SchooLinks offers to students, families, and counselors. It was immediately evident that SchooLinks provided a student-centered user experience that was engaging for students. Jacobsmeier even explained that the interface was visually appealing in a way that made it inviting for students to explore and use. The St. Augustine Prep team was also impressed by how many of their processes could be managed and automated with the SchooLinks platform–freeing them up to focus their time and energy on directly supporting students. 

During the process of considering SchooLinks, Jacobsmeier sought feedback from the lived experiences of other schools and districts who have implemented SchooLinks. She was very impressed by how each person she spoke with was “totally bought in and really excited to share how [SchooLinks] transformed their work.” She also had an ongoing dialogue with the SchooLinks team to ensure that it was the right fit to meet the specific needs of St. Augustine Prep. Hearing about the success of SchooLinks in other schools and districts, and clearly seeing the incredible benefits its features could have for the students, families, and educators of St. Augustine, Jacobsmeier was excited to unleash the power of SchooLinks in her school community. 

Engaging and Personalized Approach is Ensuring that Students’ Interests, Preferences, and Strengths Are Mapped Onto Postsecondary Plans

The initial implementation of SchooLinks required a tight turnaround as the St. Augustine Prep team was eager to get students using the platform as soon as possible. Jacobsmeier was highly complimentary of the personalized and on-demand support the school received from the SchooLinks team to facilitate a smooth and seamless implementation. She shared that any question that arose received a response within 24 hours and very much appreciated the team of former educators at SchooLinks who deeply understood the practical challenges of school operations and could draw on their experience to support the St. Augustine Prep community. And counselors were quick to utilize the SchooLinks capabilities that track where students are in the college and career planning process and provide useful data to guide additional support. 

Upon deployment, students at St. Augustine Prep readily engaged with the SchooLinks platform. School staff immediately saw benefits in how students were exploring postsecondary pathways. Educators reported that the SchooLinks platform prompted middle school students to think more deeply about their own strengths and interests and how those mapped them onto potential careers, some of which they did not previously know existed. These features in SchooLinks truly expanded what these students saw as possible futures and helped them understand the requisite steps to get there. 

The educators at St. Augustine Preparatory Academy believe that having this capability –for students to start with their specific interests, strengths, and preferences and connect to a potential career or area to pursue as the foundation for the college and career planning process–will transform the postsecondary success of their students. Jacobsmeier explained, “[SchooLinks] is really helping students to think more closely about that best fit piece–that we’re really focused on… Kids are really able to articulate why they are selecting a particular school or why they are selecting a particular major, and we are very confident that, long-term, this will support higher persistence rates for our students, over 50% of whom are first generation college-going students.” She summed up the impact this is having on her students as “transformational.” 

Finding the Best Fit for Students is Driving Higher Rates of Persistence and Success

In reflecting on her experience, Jacobsmeier insightfully explained that “it is critical to make sure the systems you have in place are setting you up for success.” SchooLinks has become a vital part of St. Augustine’s college and career readiness ecosystem. The school went into this process with a clear intentionality and articulated objective to find a platform that would reshape what is possible for St. Augustine students, and they found it in SchooLinks. This has been in stark contrast to their previous experience with Naviance. 

SchooLinks has helped students determine their preferences, navigate their options, and take ownership of their future. Students at St. Augustine Prep are engaging with the resources at high rates. The school did a formal survey of students about their experience with SchooLinks and the response was overwhelmingly positive–showing the tremendous value they are seeing in the depth and breadth of the offerings. Counselors have appreciated the SchooLinks features that automate some of their time-consuming tasks, increasing their capacity for more meaningful student support. SchooLinks has also allowed St. Augustine to build a more robust alumni network that will elevate the connections and role models for the student body going forward. And, all the educators at the school are thrilled to see their students expanding the exploration process, mapping goals onto productive next steps, and forging a postsecondary path that is personalized to their needs, interests, strengths, and preferences. They know that their investment in SchooLinks is an investment in their students’ ability to thrive well beyond their high school graduation. 

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Download PDF Version Of This Customer Story

Prior CCR Platform Did Not Meaningfully Support an Effective College and Career Exploration and Planning Process 

St. Augustine Preparatory Academy is a K4-12 school on the southside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The school opened in 2017 and currently serves about 1,500 students across PK4-12th grades. A large majority of the school’s students–84.8%–are economically disadvantaged and over 90% of students are from Hispanic backgrounds. The school’s mission statement describes that “our graduates will go on to achieve their highest potential and make our city, and ultimately the world, a better place.” Postsecondary aspirations and success are fundamentally tied to the core values and philosophies of the school community.  

As a critical part of the team responsible for ensuring that St. Augustine Academy’s students can transform their dreams into postsecondary realities, Allison Jacobsmeier serves as Director of College Advising and Alumni Engagement. The primary goal of her role is to connect students and families to opportunities and resources that promote not only the pursuit of best fit postsecondary pathways but also persistence through college and entry-level careers. As an initial step when she was new to her role, Jacobsmeier took stock of the resources the school had in place to support this goal.

She immediately sought thoughtful and open feedback from the team of secondary educators at the school about what was working well and the major challenges they felt were getting in the way of maximizing student postsecondary potential. The team of support resoundingly shared that the college and career readiness platform the school had been using–Naviance–”was not serving our students and…wasn’t serving the team that was responsible for leading and supporting those students and families.” 

The team shared that the Naviance platform did not sufficiently personalize the postsecondary exploration process and, therefore, left students lacking confidence in their postsecondary choices. Put differently, students did not fully find the postsecondary path that was the best fit for them, specifically. Educators described frustrations that the system did not support them to efficiently and cohesively manage the college application process for all of their students, and, therefore, left them burdened with using their own processes to track students and complete requisite steps. 

Overall, students, parents, and educators described the system as not being engaging for users, leaving the resources it did provide going unused. Jacobsmeier checked in with partner schools who voiced similar complaints and issues. The school knew they needed a different solution to set the foundation for their college and career readiness approach. 

Finding a Robust, Engaging, Student-Centered Platform that Could Personalize Experiences for Students and Amplify Capacity of School Staff

The St. Augustine Prep team recognized that it was critical to find a new platform that would better serve their students, families, and educators. This was especially important given that half of the school’s population includes first generation college-going students who could not easily rely on their family’s experience base to guide them through the college planning and application process. 

As the team searched for what other college and career readiness platforms might meet their needs, they came upon SchooLinks and were impressed with the diversity of tools, resources, and capabilities that SchooLinks offers to students, families, and counselors. It was immediately evident that SchooLinks provided a student-centered user experience that was engaging for students. Jacobsmeier even explained that the interface was visually appealing in a way that made it inviting for students to explore and use. The St. Augustine Prep team was also impressed by how many of their processes could be managed and automated with the SchooLinks platform–freeing them up to focus their time and energy on directly supporting students. 

During the process of considering SchooLinks, Jacobsmeier sought feedback from the lived experiences of other schools and districts who have implemented SchooLinks. She was very impressed by how each person she spoke with was “totally bought in and really excited to share how [SchooLinks] transformed their work.” She also had an ongoing dialogue with the SchooLinks team to ensure that it was the right fit to meet the specific needs of St. Augustine Prep. Hearing about the success of SchooLinks in other schools and districts, and clearly seeing the incredible benefits its features could have for the students, families, and educators of St. Augustine, Jacobsmeier was excited to unleash the power of SchooLinks in her school community. 

Engaging and Personalized Approach is Ensuring that Students’ Interests, Preferences, and Strengths Are Mapped Onto Postsecondary Plans

The initial implementation of SchooLinks required a tight turnaround as the St. Augustine Prep team was eager to get students using the platform as soon as possible. Jacobsmeier was highly complimentary of the personalized and on-demand support the school received from the SchooLinks team to facilitate a smooth and seamless implementation. She shared that any question that arose received a response within 24 hours and very much appreciated the team of former educators at SchooLinks who deeply understood the practical challenges of school operations and could draw on their experience to support the St. Augustine Prep community. And counselors were quick to utilize the SchooLinks capabilities that track where students are in the college and career planning process and provide useful data to guide additional support. 

Upon deployment, students at St. Augustine Prep readily engaged with the SchooLinks platform. School staff immediately saw benefits in how students were exploring postsecondary pathways. Educators reported that the SchooLinks platform prompted middle school students to think more deeply about their own strengths and interests and how those mapped them onto potential careers, some of which they did not previously know existed. These features in SchooLinks truly expanded what these students saw as possible futures and helped them understand the requisite steps to get there. 

The educators at St. Augustine Preparatory Academy believe that having this capability –for students to start with their specific interests, strengths, and preferences and connect to a potential career or area to pursue as the foundation for the college and career planning process–will transform the postsecondary success of their students. Jacobsmeier explained, “[SchooLinks] is really helping students to think more closely about that best fit piece–that we’re really focused on… Kids are really able to articulate why they are selecting a particular school or why they are selecting a particular major, and we are very confident that, long-term, this will support higher persistence rates for our students, over 50% of whom are first generation college-going students.” She summed up the impact this is having on her students as “transformational.” 

Finding the Best Fit for Students is Driving Higher Rates of Persistence and Success

In reflecting on her experience, Jacobsmeier insightfully explained that “it is critical to make sure the systems you have in place are setting you up for success.” SchooLinks has become a vital part of St. Augustine’s college and career readiness ecosystem. The school went into this process with a clear intentionality and articulated objective to find a platform that would reshape what is possible for St. Augustine students, and they found it in SchooLinks. This has been in stark contrast to their previous experience with Naviance. 

SchooLinks has helped students determine their preferences, navigate their options, and take ownership of their future. Students at St. Augustine Prep are engaging with the resources at high rates. The school did a formal survey of students about their experience with SchooLinks and the response was overwhelmingly positive–showing the tremendous value they are seeing in the depth and breadth of the offerings. Counselors have appreciated the SchooLinks features that automate some of their time-consuming tasks, increasing their capacity for more meaningful student support. SchooLinks has also allowed St. Augustine to build a more robust alumni network that will elevate the connections and role models for the student body going forward. And, all the educators at the school are thrilled to see their students expanding the exploration process, mapping goals onto productive next steps, and forging a postsecondary path that is personalized to their needs, interests, strengths, and preferences. They know that their investment in SchooLinks is an investment in their students’ ability to thrive well beyond their high school graduation. 

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Download PDF Version Of This Customer Story

Prior CCR Platform Did Not Meaningfully Support an Effective College and Career Exploration and Planning Process 

St. Augustine Preparatory Academy is a K4-12 school on the southside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The school opened in 2017 and currently serves about 1,500 students across PK4-12th grades. A large majority of the school’s students–84.8%–are economically disadvantaged and over 90% of students are from Hispanic backgrounds. The school’s mission statement describes that “our graduates will go on to achieve their highest potential and make our city, and ultimately the world, a better place.” Postsecondary aspirations and success are fundamentally tied to the core values and philosophies of the school community.  

As a critical part of the team responsible for ensuring that St. Augustine Academy’s students can transform their dreams into postsecondary realities, Allison Jacobsmeier serves as Director of College Advising and Alumni Engagement. The primary goal of her role is to connect students and families to opportunities and resources that promote not only the pursuit of best fit postsecondary pathways but also persistence through college and entry-level careers. As an initial step when she was new to her role, Jacobsmeier took stock of the resources the school had in place to support this goal.

She immediately sought thoughtful and open feedback from the team of secondary educators at the school about what was working well and the major challenges they felt were getting in the way of maximizing student postsecondary potential. The team of support resoundingly shared that the college and career readiness platform the school had been using–Naviance–”was not serving our students and…wasn’t serving the team that was responsible for leading and supporting those students and families.” 

The team shared that the Naviance platform did not sufficiently personalize the postsecondary exploration process and, therefore, left students lacking confidence in their postsecondary choices. Put differently, students did not fully find the postsecondary path that was the best fit for them, specifically. Educators described frustrations that the system did not support them to efficiently and cohesively manage the college application process for all of their students, and, therefore, left them burdened with using their own processes to track students and complete requisite steps. 

Overall, students, parents, and educators described the system as not being engaging for users, leaving the resources it did provide going unused. Jacobsmeier checked in with partner schools who voiced similar complaints and issues. The school knew they needed a different solution to set the foundation for their college and career readiness approach. 

Finding a Robust, Engaging, Student-Centered Platform that Could Personalize Experiences for Students and Amplify Capacity of School Staff

The St. Augustine Prep team recognized that it was critical to find a new platform that would better serve their students, families, and educators. This was especially important given that half of the school’s population includes first generation college-going students who could not easily rely on their family’s experience base to guide them through the college planning and application process. 

As the team searched for what other college and career readiness platforms might meet their needs, they came upon SchooLinks and were impressed with the diversity of tools, resources, and capabilities that SchooLinks offers to students, families, and counselors. It was immediately evident that SchooLinks provided a student-centered user experience that was engaging for students. Jacobsmeier even explained that the interface was visually appealing in a way that made it inviting for students to explore and use. The St. Augustine Prep team was also impressed by how many of their processes could be managed and automated with the SchooLinks platform–freeing them up to focus their time and energy on directly supporting students. 

During the process of considering SchooLinks, Jacobsmeier sought feedback from the lived experiences of other schools and districts who have implemented SchooLinks. She was very impressed by how each person she spoke with was “totally bought in and really excited to share how [SchooLinks] transformed their work.” She also had an ongoing dialogue with the SchooLinks team to ensure that it was the right fit to meet the specific needs of St. Augustine Prep. Hearing about the success of SchooLinks in other schools and districts, and clearly seeing the incredible benefits its features could have for the students, families, and educators of St. Augustine, Jacobsmeier was excited to unleash the power of SchooLinks in her school community. 

Engaging and Personalized Approach is Ensuring that Students’ Interests, Preferences, and Strengths Are Mapped Onto Postsecondary Plans

The initial implementation of SchooLinks required a tight turnaround as the St. Augustine Prep team was eager to get students using the platform as soon as possible. Jacobsmeier was highly complimentary of the personalized and on-demand support the school received from the SchooLinks team to facilitate a smooth and seamless implementation. She shared that any question that arose received a response within 24 hours and very much appreciated the team of former educators at SchooLinks who deeply understood the practical challenges of school operations and could draw on their experience to support the St. Augustine Prep community. And counselors were quick to utilize the SchooLinks capabilities that track where students are in the college and career planning process and provide useful data to guide additional support. 

Upon deployment, students at St. Augustine Prep readily engaged with the SchooLinks platform. School staff immediately saw benefits in how students were exploring postsecondary pathways. Educators reported that the SchooLinks platform prompted middle school students to think more deeply about their own strengths and interests and how those mapped them onto potential careers, some of which they did not previously know existed. These features in SchooLinks truly expanded what these students saw as possible futures and helped them understand the requisite steps to get there. 

The educators at St. Augustine Preparatory Academy believe that having this capability –for students to start with their specific interests, strengths, and preferences and connect to a potential career or area to pursue as the foundation for the college and career planning process–will transform the postsecondary success of their students. Jacobsmeier explained, “[SchooLinks] is really helping students to think more closely about that best fit piece–that we’re really focused on… Kids are really able to articulate why they are selecting a particular school or why they are selecting a particular major, and we are very confident that, long-term, this will support higher persistence rates for our students, over 50% of whom are first generation college-going students.” She summed up the impact this is having on her students as “transformational.” 

Finding the Best Fit for Students is Driving Higher Rates of Persistence and Success

In reflecting on her experience, Jacobsmeier insightfully explained that “it is critical to make sure the systems you have in place are setting you up for success.” SchooLinks has become a vital part of St. Augustine’s college and career readiness ecosystem. The school went into this process with a clear intentionality and articulated objective to find a platform that would reshape what is possible for St. Augustine students, and they found it in SchooLinks. This has been in stark contrast to their previous experience with Naviance. 

SchooLinks has helped students determine their preferences, navigate their options, and take ownership of their future. Students at St. Augustine Prep are engaging with the resources at high rates. The school did a formal survey of students about their experience with SchooLinks and the response was overwhelmingly positive–showing the tremendous value they are seeing in the depth and breadth of the offerings. Counselors have appreciated the SchooLinks features that automate some of their time-consuming tasks, increasing their capacity for more meaningful student support. SchooLinks has also allowed St. Augustine to build a more robust alumni network that will elevate the connections and role models for the student body going forward. And, all the educators at the school are thrilled to see their students expanding the exploration process, mapping goals onto productive next steps, and forging a postsecondary path that is personalized to their needs, interests, strengths, and preferences. They know that their investment in SchooLinks is an investment in their students’ ability to thrive well beyond their high school graduation. 

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Prior CCR Platform Did Not Meaningfully Support an Effective College and Career Exploration and Planning Process 

St. Augustine Preparatory Academy is a K4-12 school on the southside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The school opened in 2017 and currently serves about 1,500 students across PK4-12th grades. A large majority of the school’s students–84.8%–are economically disadvantaged and over 90% of students are from Hispanic backgrounds. The school’s mission statement describes that “our graduates will go on to achieve their highest potential and make our city, and ultimately the world, a better place.” Postsecondary aspirations and success are fundamentally tied to the core values and philosophies of the school community.  

As a critical part of the team responsible for ensuring that St. Augustine Academy’s students can transform their dreams into postsecondary realities, Allison Jacobsmeier serves as Director of College Advising and Alumni Engagement. The primary goal of her role is to connect students and families to opportunities and resources that promote not only the pursuit of best fit postsecondary pathways but also persistence through college and entry-level careers. As an initial step when she was new to her role, Jacobsmeier took stock of the resources the school had in place to support this goal.

She immediately sought thoughtful and open feedback from the team of secondary educators at the school about what was working well and the major challenges they felt were getting in the way of maximizing student postsecondary potential. The team of support resoundingly shared that the college and career readiness platform the school had been using–Naviance–”was not serving our students and…wasn’t serving the team that was responsible for leading and supporting those students and families.” 

The team shared that the Naviance platform did not sufficiently personalize the postsecondary exploration process and, therefore, left students lacking confidence in their postsecondary choices. Put differently, students did not fully find the postsecondary path that was the best fit for them, specifically. Educators described frustrations that the system did not support them to efficiently and cohesively manage the college application process for all of their students, and, therefore, left them burdened with using their own processes to track students and complete requisite steps. 

Overall, students, parents, and educators described the system as not being engaging for users, leaving the resources it did provide going unused. Jacobsmeier checked in with partner schools who voiced similar complaints and issues. The school knew they needed a different solution to set the foundation for their college and career readiness approach. 

Finding a Robust, Engaging, Student-Centered Platform that Could Personalize Experiences for Students and Amplify Capacity of School Staff

The St. Augustine Prep team recognized that it was critical to find a new platform that would better serve their students, families, and educators. This was especially important given that half of the school’s population includes first generation college-going students who could not easily rely on their family’s experience base to guide them through the college planning and application process. 

As the team searched for what other college and career readiness platforms might meet their needs, they came upon SchooLinks and were impressed with the diversity of tools, resources, and capabilities that SchooLinks offers to students, families, and counselors. It was immediately evident that SchooLinks provided a student-centered user experience that was engaging for students. Jacobsmeier even explained that the interface was visually appealing in a way that made it inviting for students to explore and use. The St. Augustine Prep team was also impressed by how many of their processes could be managed and automated with the SchooLinks platform–freeing them up to focus their time and energy on directly supporting students. 

During the process of considering SchooLinks, Jacobsmeier sought feedback from the lived experiences of other schools and districts who have implemented SchooLinks. She was very impressed by how each person she spoke with was “totally bought in and really excited to share how [SchooLinks] transformed their work.” She also had an ongoing dialogue with the SchooLinks team to ensure that it was the right fit to meet the specific needs of St. Augustine Prep. Hearing about the success of SchooLinks in other schools and districts, and clearly seeing the incredible benefits its features could have for the students, families, and educators of St. Augustine, Jacobsmeier was excited to unleash the power of SchooLinks in her school community. 

Engaging and Personalized Approach is Ensuring that Students’ Interests, Preferences, and Strengths Are Mapped Onto Postsecondary Plans

The initial implementation of SchooLinks required a tight turnaround as the St. Augustine Prep team was eager to get students using the platform as soon as possible. Jacobsmeier was highly complimentary of the personalized and on-demand support the school received from the SchooLinks team to facilitate a smooth and seamless implementation. She shared that any question that arose received a response within 24 hours and very much appreciated the team of former educators at SchooLinks who deeply understood the practical challenges of school operations and could draw on their experience to support the St. Augustine Prep community. And counselors were quick to utilize the SchooLinks capabilities that track where students are in the college and career planning process and provide useful data to guide additional support. 

Upon deployment, students at St. Augustine Prep readily engaged with the SchooLinks platform. School staff immediately saw benefits in how students were exploring postsecondary pathways. Educators reported that the SchooLinks platform prompted middle school students to think more deeply about their own strengths and interests and how those mapped them onto potential careers, some of which they did not previously know existed. These features in SchooLinks truly expanded what these students saw as possible futures and helped them understand the requisite steps to get there. 

The educators at St. Augustine Preparatory Academy believe that having this capability –for students to start with their specific interests, strengths, and preferences and connect to a potential career or area to pursue as the foundation for the college and career planning process–will transform the postsecondary success of their students. Jacobsmeier explained, “[SchooLinks] is really helping students to think more closely about that best fit piece–that we’re really focused on… Kids are really able to articulate why they are selecting a particular school or why they are selecting a particular major, and we are very confident that, long-term, this will support higher persistence rates for our students, over 50% of whom are first generation college-going students.” She summed up the impact this is having on her students as “transformational.” 

Finding the Best Fit for Students is Driving Higher Rates of Persistence and Success

In reflecting on her experience, Jacobsmeier insightfully explained that “it is critical to make sure the systems you have in place are setting you up for success.” SchooLinks has become a vital part of St. Augustine’s college and career readiness ecosystem. The school went into this process with a clear intentionality and articulated objective to find a platform that would reshape what is possible for St. Augustine students, and they found it in SchooLinks. This has been in stark contrast to their previous experience with Naviance. 

SchooLinks has helped students determine their preferences, navigate their options, and take ownership of their future. Students at St. Augustine Prep are engaging with the resources at high rates. The school did a formal survey of students about their experience with SchooLinks and the response was overwhelmingly positive–showing the tremendous value they are seeing in the depth and breadth of the offerings. Counselors have appreciated the SchooLinks features that automate some of their time-consuming tasks, increasing their capacity for more meaningful student support. SchooLinks has also allowed St. Augustine to build a more robust alumni network that will elevate the connections and role models for the student body going forward. And, all the educators at the school are thrilled to see their students expanding the exploration process, mapping goals onto productive next steps, and forging a postsecondary path that is personalized to their needs, interests, strengths, and preferences. They know that their investment in SchooLinks is an investment in their students’ ability to thrive well beyond their high school graduation.