Garrett Middle School Counselors collaborate with their community to host their first Future Week, which focused on preparing students for life after high school.In collaboration with Communities in Schools, the Garrett Middle School Counseling team celebrated their first “Future Week” this October in an effort to help their students be ready for career, college, and life. Future Week focused on enhancing academic, social/emotional, and career skills to help prepare students for life after high school. Some of the week’s highlights included student panels for all grade levels, a mini-conference, virtual college tour, and the Reality U financial literacy workshop.
School counselor, John Nwosu, shared that their “goal was for students to improve how they show up (attend), grow up (behave), glow up (achieve), and sow up (plant seeds for positive climate and culture) after participating in Future Week.” They also wanted to increase school connectedness and school climate, which are aligned to areas in the Georgia Student Health Survey as well as the American School Counselor Association’s Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success, which are standards school counselors address with students.
Monday of Future Week was focused on the upcoming transition for each grade level. The majority of students at Garrett Middle School will attend South Cobb High School, Pebblebrook High School, or Osborne High School. The counselors at Garrett collaborated with the counselors and other staff members at those schools who collectively brought more than 30 student panelists to speak to the 8thgrade students about how to navigate high school. Diverse student populations were represented in the panels; There were students spanning grades 9ththrough 12thwho participate in organizations, athletics, and internships, along with some who have demonstrated resilience by recovering from missteps in middle and high school. For the 7thand 6thgrade students, the Student Government Association along with other peers, who were recommended by their teachers or counselor, from the grade level above shared about what skills, attitudes, decisions, and resources helped them make it to the next grade level. They also addressed pitfalls to avoid.
Tuesday was the South Cobb Cluster Family Magnet Night. The counselors coordinated a magnet information session for the families of Garrett, Cooper Middle School, and Floyd Middle School. Ms. Angela Hurley, magnet coordinator at South Cobb High School, came to share information and answer questions about Cobb’s magnet programs.
On Thursday, Garrett students had the opportunity to hear from community volunteers who discussed various careers and college options. Some careers represented included healthcare administrator, university student advisor, visual brand etiquette specialist, U.S. Marshal, entrepreneur, lawyer, U.S. Marine recruiter, and more! Also on this day, the counselors collaborated with Cobb’s Instructional Technology department to offer a Virtual College Tour for 8thgraders. Students were able to use iPads to explore a flagship university, state school, historically Black college and university (HBCU), and/or a technical school from their classroom.
Finally, on Friday, 8thgrade students participated in Reality U, a financial literacy experience that is offered by Communities-in-Schools. A few weeks before the event, 8thgrade students took a survey that asked them about their 26-year-old-lives. Students were required to provide their grade point average (GPA), which were calculated based on progress report grades to stress the importance of not waiting until the last minute to do their best. Students also responded to questions about their work ethic and effort, preferred marital status, whether they want kids or pets, and more. Students were then able to see all the career options and earning potential, but the careers they were able to select were limited by the quality of their GPA. The counselors collaborated with their 8thgrade math department to deliver surveys. The teachers reported that some students almost immediately began to ask about what they could do to “raise their GPA.”
From the survey results, profiles were created that included monthly income, marital status, number of kids, credit score, debt, whether they pay or receive child support each month, and more. Students were given their assigned profile and then had to participate in the simulation, where they used the information on their profiles to complete adult tasks at various stations. The Reality U stations were worked by more than 25 community volunteers. The students had to use their monthly income to make sure they covered things like food and groceries, transportation, medical insurance, and childcare. After each transaction at each station, they had to calculate their remaining balance. Some students had to secure a second job for extra income to pay their bills.
Dr. Melisa Marsh, Supervisor
Contributing Authors: Alexandra Huguelet, School Counseling Consultant and John Nwosu, School Counselor