The All IN! Coalition steering committee – with members from Hartford Public Schools, city of Hartford, Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, Hartford Promise, Capital Workforce Partners, Metro Hartford Alliance and Achieve Hartford – always recognized that its goals are ambitious, and that each is dependent on the previous one.

Post-secondary completion goals cannot be reached without major progress towards post-secondary enrollment goals, which in turn are unlikely to be reached without major progress towards high school graduation goals.

For months, members discussed what the district highlighted as a challenge of ensuring all students have a high-quality student success plan. An idea began to form around how neighborhood high schools could tap external resources to ensure students had a plan for succeeding in high school through post-secondary completion.  In response, the Advisory & Student Success Plan action team was launched.

All IN!’s newest Advisory action team is ready to utilize the high school advisory block as a vehicle for relationship building, academic success and overall college and career readiness.

Advisory programs are not new, but they often go unsupported or not well-organized, leaving some to believe the dedicated block of time could be better spent on instruction. During advisory, teachers meet with small student groups – usually for a shorter time than a typical class- to advise them on academic, social, or future-planning topics.

The broad purpose of advisory is to strengthen connectedness between adults and students to ensure every student has someone they can count on in order to access the support they need to graduate on time, connected to their learning and their futures.

Planning and research of best practices has been underway from the start of fall 2018 with implementation planned for January 2019 at the co-located Journalism and Media Academy and High School Inc., on the Barbour Street campus.

The team being led by co-chairs, Susan Johnston, teacher at JMA and Kevin Timbro, financial analyst at United Healthcare and industry advisory board member at High School Inc. is focused on bringing private sector resources – nonprofit, corporate, and higher ed – to support and complement what teachers have the time and capacity to do.

Building this out in one school with one group of students can pave the way for getting the support to every high school student later on.

With an early objective of scaling the pilot to reach all high schoolers at the new Weaver in August of 2019, the program this winter/spring will provide students with academic interventions, social/emotional supports, cultural competency training, financial literacy, career exposure, and other preparation for standards-based internship experiences.

An intentionally designed advisory with a developed vision statement, strong partnerships and collaboration are hoped to be the key elements in increasing student college- and career-readiness outcomes.

We’ll keep you posted on the team’s progress as the initiative gets underway.