A new program is helping to guide South-Western City Schools students as they prepare for life after high school.

A new program is helping to guide South-Western City Schools students as they prepare for life after high school.

The web-based program, Naviance, "is a college and career readiness platform that helps students connect academic achievement to post-secondary goals and success," said Erik Shuey, the district's executive director of high schools.

Shuey and Gretchen Turner, a school counselor at the South-Western Career Academy, presented an overview of the program at the April 28 South-Western school board meeting.

Naviance is already up and running at the high school level and will be expanded into the middle schools next school year, Shuey said.

The program strives to connect learning to life by giving students "a comprehensive set of tools" to help them discover personal skills and areas of interest, explore the career and college options that best match their skills and engage in a personalized action plan for meeting their post-secondary goals, he said.

"It's not just something we give to students," Turner said. "It's something we will work on with them."

The platform includes tasks for students to complete at every grade level, Shuey said.

The tasks for ninth-grade students include creating three smart goals covering personal/social, academic and career aspirations, he said. They also develop a four-year course plan to help them meet their post-secondary goals.

Students will create goals each year during high school, Shuey said. They can keep or revamp their goals.

As sophomores, students will start building a resume and develop a profile of their potential career interests, he said.

As juniors, students attend college fairs, take the ACT and PSAT, begin the college application process and sign up for college visits, Shuey said.

Naviance also provides a process that matches students' career interests with the colleges that provide compatible academic programs, he said.

Seniors will be able to conduct an advanced scholarship search to find a list of scholarship opportunities nationwide that match up with their interests, academic standing and demographics, Shuey said.

The program offers the district an alumni tracking system, he said. Using a student's Social Security number, the system tracks graduates for up to eight years in their college and career paths and will help South-Western measure the effectiveness of its college/career readiness program by how successful students are post-high school.

With Naviance, every student success plan is data-driven and customizable to the district, school and student, Shuey said.

The system provides a central location for students and their parents to access college and career research and planning tools, he said.

Counselors, teachers and administrators also will be able to use data in Naviance to gain information about their students beyond traditional measures and help better prepare them for success, Shuey said.

The program also will help increase efficient communication with students and their families, he said.

Turner said she is excited about how Naviance will help students and parents communicate with each other about the students' post-secondary goals.

Several other central Ohio school districts, including Dublin, New Albany, Pickerington and Upper Arlington, use the Naviance system, Shuey said.