The why behind Naviance EDP’s

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Counselors must track down students who have not completed EDPs, as they are an AAPS graduation requirement.

Anjali Senthooran, Staff Writer

The Educational Development Plan is a big requirement for high school graduation, so that students will have a plan for their future. The Ann Arbor Public Schools currently uses Naviance, an app for completing this plan. Schools require students to complete the activities assigned to them, but why is it so important to do it?

On March 7, 8 and 9, the counselors came to the math classrooms of Huron to talk to students about it and gave them the class time to work on it.

Freshmen and junior guidance counselor Nina Perko explains more about Naviance in detail and why it’s a big requirement to graduate. According to her, Ann Arbor Republic Schools uses Naviance since the Michigan Department of Education requires all students (6th-12th grade) in Michigan to have an educational development plan.

“At any time, they can do career exploration, they can do college exploration, get to know themselves, but as we mentioned, we do link it to graduation, and as a senior, before students can get their cap and gown we check to make sure that it’s been completed,” Perko said. 

Naviance activities have been created specifically for each grade level, 6th grade through 12th grade. Students have to complete their grade-level activities before that school year ends. Every year, all students have a long-term goal and a short-term goal that they have to create.

You can actually take a moment and think, ‘Okay, what am I trying to get out of this right now?’,” Sasena said.“I think that that’s pretty useful. So you know, kind of what you’re trying to do with your life.”

It is not just the short-term and the long-term goals that students have to create, they also have to complete their activities.

“I know that in ninth grade, they have a Strengths Explorer, which helps students look at their strengths, and then it also pairs them with some potential careers that fit those strengths,” Perko said. Each year there’s a different survey that just helps students to kind of narrow down potential jobs or potential careers that they want to pursue.” There’s also in 10th, and 11th grade an opportunity for students to begin searching for colleges or searching for those options after high school to help them meet their goals. Senior year, it’s more focused on kind of what their plan is solidifying their plan for after high school.”

As a freshman, Chloe Sasena had to take the Strengths Explorer during her math class. She found the results of her survey interesting with unexpected careers. 

I feel like it has a good concept, like the idea is pretty good, but I think there are some ways they can improve it to make it more accurate.”

She also has some suggestions about how it could be improved.

“I think asking maybe more questions would have made it more enjoyable like more different questions and not just a scale of 1-5 questions. I think that would have made it more enjoyable.”

Naviance hasn’t been used as an app for the Educational Development Plan all of these years. The schools in AAPS just started using it six years ago.

We had been using a different program called Career Cruising before that, but then Naviance currently links to how students apply to college as well through their requests of transcripts”, said Ms. Perko.  And letters of recommendation. So it just seemed natural to use Naviance for the educational development plans as well.”

The counselors haven’t found it easy to get the students to complete their Naviance activities efficiently.

“It can be a challenge to get students to do it and to take it seriously. I know there are definitely some students who just do it to do it and get it done,” Perko said. 

Doing the activities spread out in classes would cause some conflicts with the schedule, so they only had time for the students to complete the activities in one class.

“We also would love to be able to go in more often and spread it out throughout the year, so that we spend more time on each activity,” Perko said. “However, with what teachers have to teach with our schedules, sometimes that’s really not something that we can do.”

Despite these challenging approaches with the Naviance tool for the Educational Development Plan, the counselors continue getting students to complete the activities as a big graduation requirement and a helpful tool for the future.

“It just helps guide students again to kind of understand themselves,” Perko said. “Look at their strengths, their careers that fit their strengths, and then just kind of help support them through high school in making those decisions and reaching their goals.”