I enjoyed an inspirational breakfast this morning and met a recruiter from the University of West Florida who agreed to do a College Hub Webinar for us. I also met one of the VPs for FAMU who agreed to do a webinar for us, so it was a very productive morning. One of the morning sessions today was on improving a culture of customer service in education. There was a distinguished panel from higher education and the K-12 world. That was really an eye opener. They do not know much about customer service, and from the comments in the audience the world of education has a long way to go. It helped me see just how far ahead FLVS is when it comes to Customer Service. Any FLVS employee could have told the audience much more about customer service than the distinguished panel. I left the session resolved to submit a proposal on customer service for the national forum next year. 3 of the elements of customer service are : the culture of the organization, the knowledge and expertise of the service provider, and how the individual customer is treated by the provider. Those are my thoughts, not from the panel.
We had a district administrator talking about a student who applied to 16 colleges. I wanted to interrupt and say that any student who applies to 16 colleges has comatose Guidance Counselor….but I didn’t. I did say that I felt it my job to help students find a good and reasonable fit for college and that amounted to limiting the applications to 3 or 4 at most, based on a variety of academic, social, and economic factors.
I am wondering what happens to students who take FLVS AP courses when they get to college. What kind of a completion rate do they have in college? I would love for someone to do a 5 year study on some of our AP students. Maybe someone can get a grant.
I have a small mountain of written information given me at the conference and will be perusing it over the next few days. I look forward to having more thoughts to share very soon. Now it is time to get ready to travel home.
Politics seemed to rule my day. I attended a session on legislative updates for the southern states. Nothing new that I did not already know. I did, however meet some interesting people. Maggie Zalamea is the new Director of State Government Relations for Florida. She will be a good contact for us in working togather with CollegeBoard on legsilative issues. Dr. Carlos Zalaquett is is one of the graduate professors training school counselors at USF. They would like to have us (FLVS Counselors) work more closely with them in training counselors for the on-line environment. Sounds like a good idea. Chile, his home country, has established a national Virtual School and is modeling it in part after FLVS.
On the AP Front, the big news is that in July CollegeBoard will go to on-line score reporting for the AP exams. Schools will receive more information in March, but from what I was hearing the only way this would help FLVS is if all of our students enter our 6 digit code when they take the exam. Maybe there is a way to get them to do this. I’ll have to research this some more when I get home. Also on AP – CollegeBoard has data showing that even students who score a 1 or 2 on the exam have a better 4 year college completion rate than students who take Dual enrollment courses. I believe that both AP and Dual Enrollment each have their place.
This morning I was presented with several alarming statistics. Currently only 40% of adults in the US have any type of post-secondary degree. In the population 40 and up the numbers are higher, but in the 25 to 35 age group the numbers are lower. This may be the first generation in America to be less educated than the generation before. If trends continue in the next 15 years only 29% of Americans will have any type of post secondary degree. CollegeBoard’s goal is for 55% of adults to have some type of post secondary degree. This is especially important because 80% to 90% of all new jobs being created require some sort of post-secondary training. Currently the United States ranks 10th in the world in percentage of people who complete college. We used to be number 1. All of this adds up to a scary scenario. I am thankful the CollegeBoard is actively work ing on initiatives to increase not only access to college but college completion rates. I am also thankful to be working for an organization that is making great strides towards better praparing students for college.
Here is a story to illustrate the point. when I first went away to Milligan College in Tennessee I was assigned a dorm room and had a room mate I had never met. He turned out to be a really nice guy who was very smart. His problem was that he had attended a small rural high school in Virginia that had few resources and few qualified teachers. When he got to Milligan he was overwhelmed. Most of the material I took for granted was material he had never seen. His intelligence kept him there for awhile but he eventually dropped out. He said that it was obvious he wa not college material. He was, of course, quite wrong. He just had not been prepared for college. I am glad that Florida Vrtual Schol is doing its part to make sure rural Florida students have access to some of the best teachers in the world.
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