Kelly McKeon: VISTA Creates Career and College Readiness Tool for Counselors
August 07, 2018
Kelly McKeon is the Career and College Readiness Educator VISTA at Region 15 Education Service Center. The organization serves 43 school districts throughout Texas. Kelly began her service year in February 2018 with ESC-15. During her first six months, her major accomplishment has been developing a tool for school counselors. Many of the school districts are isolated have only one counselor who ends up filling more than one role. Kelly identified a need for a way for counselors to network with each other, share resources, find resources for students, and quickly answer questions.
Using Canvas, Kelly created a tool call Region 15 Counselor Connection. So far, the tool has eight modules that include 107 resources as well as a discussion board for counselors to use. The modules are broken up by student grade levels and what post-secondary track (such as college, career, or military) the student would like to pursue. Kelly also spent a significant amount of time researching what factors contribute to college retention and success, especially for low income and first generation students. Two of the factors she found that made a significant difference were increasing soft skills and encouraging volunteerism, so she integrated these findings into the modules. Kelly recently unveiled the resource at the College, Career, and Military Readiness Symposium.
She hopes that this resource helps ESC-15 meet the 60x30TX initiative (by 2030, 60% of Texas residents aged 25-34 will have a postsecondary credential). To date, 20 counselors have signed up to use the resource. Kelly hopes that as the school year gets closer that more counselors will sign up. Additionally, she hopes that these tools will help counselors to determine the best way to assist students to reach their fullest potential and reduce the instances of college “under-matching” (a trend where low income and first generation students enroll in colleges they are over-qualified for).