Clifton Counseling Department Cited as a “Proven and Promising Practice” by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center National Office for School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA)
Clifton Middle School, Houston,Texas: Early Action for Student
Interviews and email correspondence with Clifton Middle School and Houston
Independent School District. June through August, 2012.
Ruby Clifton Middle School in Houston, Texas, serves a diverse population of more than 1,000 young adults. As of 2011, 85 percent of Clifton students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, 19 percent were considered ESL (English as a second language) and another 20 percent LEP (limited English proficiency).29 At the Houston Independent School District high schools Clifton students go on to attend, more than 20 percent do not graduate in four years. “Completion Status and Dropout Report 2010-2011“ July 9, 2012. Houston Independent District Research & Accountability. Retrieved from: https://www.houstonisd.org/ResearchAccountability/Home/DA_DropoutAnalysis/Reports/Drop-Comp_12CompleteReport.pdf
In light of district and citywide educational challenges, counselors at Clifton Middle School decided to address college and career readiness issues with students by promoting college awareness, as well as encouraging the academic and personal behaviors and achievements proven to predict success in high school and beyond. With the support of their school principal and other educational leaders, the counseling department successfully conducts dozens of programs per year, including college financing workshops for parents and families, college-going culture activities, attendance recovery initiatives, and efforts to enroll students in more challenging courses. Their annual College and Career Night brings together over 200 college career representatives, business executives from across the country, college students, local politicians and district administrators in an effort to encourage Clifton students to plan their future. Local high school and even elementary school students are also welcome to attend this event that draws nearly 1,000 students, parents and families each year.
Collaboration for Student Success
With only two counselors currently working at Clifton, support from other school leaders is vital to implementing new programs, setting goals and ensuring that counseling goals are integrated into school improvement plans.Clifton counselors have a common college-going message for students, and are working with teachers, principals, students and their families to ensure this message is received. To serve more than 1,000 middle school students, counselors at Clifton enlist the help of administrators, teachers, students, families and community partners to implement their ever-growing list of programs. For example, after counselors designed a school climate curriculum, teachers set aside time on Fridays to present these lessons. Counselors at Clifton call on local partners, such as mentors from local community colleges, to teach students how to use college and career exploration technology tools. Clifton students even play a role in implementing guidance programs, taking ownership in preparing their peers for high school and college. Students have the option to sign up to work in the college-oriented “GO Center” during an elective period. After training to use the resources in this computer lab exploration center, students help their peers use technology-based tools to plan their futures.
Bruce, Mary and Bridgeland, John. 2012 National Survey of School Counselors True North: Charting the Course to College and Career Readiness. TheCollege Board Advocacy and Policy Center National Office for School Counselor Advocacy (NOSCA). The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center: October 2012.