Aspirations Partnerships

Our goal: To build a school's capacity to graduate all students with a plan for their future education and career

VSAC Aspirations Partnerships project began in 2014 when VSAC produced a white paper titled “Gaps in postsecondary education aspirations: A report on disparities among Vermont’s high school graduates.” Based on the report, the Vermont State Legislature asked VSAC to work with schools to help close the aspiration gap between first-generation college-going Vermonters and their peers.

VSAC Aspirations Partnerships are collaborations between VSAC and Vermont schools. Through the partnerships, a diverse group of school stakeholders strengthen each school’s capacity to graduate all students with a plan for their future education and career. Aspirations Partnerships are a capacity-building project through which VSAC works with school leaders, teachers, and students to cultivate a vibrant and equitable college and career culture where all students have access to the same information, support, and experiences to help them plan for their future education or career.  

View the VSAC Aspirations Partnerships Overview and Goal.

Aspirations Partnerships Strategy and Stages

Aspirations Partnerships strategy: Based on more than 50 years of experience working with schools in Vermont and grounded in research, we believe the following strategies are essential in achieving the Aspirations Partnerships goal.

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Involve multiple stakeholders—including school leadership, staff, families, and students—in assessing, improving, and learning about college and career readiness and planning.

 

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Use data to inform, shape, and assess programming and practices.

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Integrate college and career readiness curriculum and information into the school practices, courses, events, and resources through advisory or class meetings, and into communication with and events for families.

Ensure that all students receive this curriculum, information, opportunities, and resources.
 

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Provide professional learning for educators and school staff on the research-based promising practices and strategies related to college and career readiness.
 

View the complete Aspirations Partnerships Strategy and Stages.

Timeline of Aspirations Partnerships 

VSAC Aspirations Partnerships works with select schools over the course of 3–4 years. Our work looks different at each school, as it is based on each school's needs, assets and community. Our work also looks different each year we work with a school. While our model and strategy are fluid and flexible, we use the following steps as a guide to articulate the flow of our collaborative work.

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While we follow thee steps each year, our work is cyclical in nature. The graphic shows how we work with a school each year and throughout our partnership.

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Year 1: Understand School Culture and Asset Mapping

In the first year, we:

  • form, establish, and meet regularly with our steering committee.
  • host a steering committee retreat.
  • implement teacher and student surveys
  • conduct College and Career Readiness Indicator survey.
  • provide professional learning opportunities.
  • model select activities and events.

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Years 2 & 3: Development & Implementation

In years 2 & 3, we focus on implementing the following grade-level specific college & career planning scope and sequence:

  • curriculum in classes, advisory, class meetings, etc. 
  • information & resources
  • student & parent events
  • field trips

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Final Project Year: Reflect, Refine, Sustain & Celebrate

By the final year of the partnership, we aim to have developed a College and Career Scope and Sequence with our schools that articulates curriculum, events, information and resources, and field trips for students in each grade level to experience (related to college and career planning).

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Partnerships & Outcomes
Schools we've worked with and are working with:
  • Lamoille Union High School: 2014–2017
  • Bellows Falls High School: 2015–2019
  • Hazen Union High School: 2016–2020
  • Twinfield Union High School:  2017–Present
  • Spaulding High School: 2018–Present
  • Central Vermont Career Center: 2018–Present
VSAC Aspirations Partnerships Outcomes

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While there are myriad possible outcomes we might hope to achieve together, we measure our success against the following 3 primary outcomes:

  • College & career information and lens are integrated into school systems and practices
  • Increased teacher engagement in college and career readiness, practices, and activities
  • Increased practice, skill, and comfort with college and career knowledge, conversations, planning, and communication for students and families

Interested in learning more?

Contact Kirstin Boehm at boehm@vsac.org.