Activity Guide

Activities for Collaborative Staff Conversations

Academic rigor alone will not increase the number of students in your school who are college and career ready. This jigsaw activity investigates potential component parts of a comprehensive program designed to meet your students where they are and provide strategies and initiatives that will prepare them for success in the 21st century. Initiate a series of collaborative staff conversations and research to help the school leadership team design a college and career initiative customized for your students. The reading selections introduce potential program components, and the resulting discussions and research provide opportunities for members of the team to create a comprehensive college and career program that builds on student strengths and supports their needs.

Comprehensive College & Career Program

College & Career Program ComponentsResources for Staff Presentation
College and Career Course OfferingReading: “Designing a Model College Readiness Course,” Principal Leadership, April 2016, pp. 10–12.Webinar: “Preparing All Students for Post-Secondary Success,” February 26, 2009
Improve Standardized Test ScoresWebinar: “The SAT Suite of Assessments: What Principals Need to Know,” December 3, 2015.Reading: “Actions Principals Can Take to Raise ACT Scores: Training programs, professional development, and communication make all the difference, Principal Leadership, November 2015, pp. 40–43.
Concurrent EnrollmentReadings:“Concurrent College Enrollment: How to boost enrollment for the ‘academic middle,’” Principal Leadership, December 2015, pp. 38–41.
College and Career ReadinessCulture and EventsReading: “Keep It Simple: Support college and career readiness by creating a college-going culture,” Principal Leadership, March 2015, pp. 28–30.
On-Line Courses/ProgramNASSP Position Statement: Online Learning, May 2016.
Rigorous Curriculum withHonors, Advanced Placement Courses, and/or International BaccalaureateWebinar: “Rigor in the Classroom” October 14, 2015.Position Statement: “Promoting Rigorous Classes for All Students,” March 11, 2010.Readings:The College Board, “AP Report to the Nation.”“Creating a Culture of Excellence: One Principal’s Recipe for Success,” Principal Leadership, December 2015, pp. 18–20.“Global Education through IB,” Principal Leadership, March 2015, pp. 60–62.
Setting Goals & DocumentingStudent AspirationsReading: “Combining Teacher Engagement and Student Dreams,” Principal Leadership, January 2016, pp. 10–11.


Process for Presentation Preparations

  • Convene the school leadership team for a discussion and exploration of ways to use the given component parts of a comprehensive college and career readiness program.
  • Involve your data team in an evaluation of the student outcomes that your present program achieves.
  • Summarize local school data that substantiates the student participation in your current program by grade.
  • Summarize the data.
  • Assign a team member to become “the expert” on the material(s) for each component part. Ask each expert to summarize the information for the rest of the group. Distribute copies of the data summary to the team. Discuss the implications for the program at your school. (Note: If the group is large, assign multiple people to each selection and provide time for them to collaborate for their presentation and discussion.)
  • As a team, begin to plan the process to bring the team into a rational and productive discussion of the strategies in each component that prepare each student to be college and career ready. (The presentation process used by the leadership team can be replicated easily for the whole staff by dividing staff members into groups of three to five.)
  • Have a team member who read or viewed the resources of a component begin the presentation and conversation that includes the following Discussion Prompts.
  • Familiarize yourselves with the Discussion Guide Planning Templates for use with initiative planning.
  • Develop a strategy to replicate this process to introduce the entire staff to the component parts of a comprehensive college and career program using the local school data evaluating the student outcomes of your school program.

Process for Presentation to the Full Faculty

  • Divide the faculty into groups of eight to ten participants. Each group will be focusing on the resources in one component of a comprehensive college and career readiness program. (Depending on the size of the faculty, multiple groups may be reading or watching the resources and discussing the same selection.)
  • Distribute copies of the selections to each group’s members and prepare video station(s) as needed in an area prepared for viewing. Each group should receive a summary of the local school data prepared for the existing college and career readiness program.
  • Ask the participants to read or view the resources of their component part—highlighting, annotating, and noting important points. The facilitator from the leadership team should give directions and circulate.
  • Ask faculty members to ignore their assumptions and to use specific reading selection examples and video references to support their comments during group discussions. Use the same prompt questions and add discussion questions to continue the conversation in a way that is most relevant to your school.
  • Use the chart paper and markers to summarize what was learned about each program component and identify the strategies and initiatives that would be effective at your school. If more than one group researches the same component, allow additional time for the groups to reach consensus on the summary.
  • List what local school data indicators might be improved when new strategies and initiatives are implemented.
  • Post the summaries.
  • Have a member of each group read the summaries and strategies to the faculty. Note those strategies and actions on the chart paper that are favored by the group.
  • Lead a faculty discussion about those strategies and initiatives that are in place and effective at your school. Continue the conversation by identifying those component program parts that are “missing but needed” to improve student outcomes at your school.

Extend and Apply

Use the Discussion Guide Planning Templates with initiative planning to gather information and data, identify personnel and resources, and formulate a new plan or update an existing plan to maximize the effectiveness of your comprehensive college and career readiness program for each student at your school