How Steilacoom High School Uses Xello to Get Students Future-Ready and Fulfill State-Mandated High School and Beyond Plan Requirements
Steilacoom Historical School District (SHSD) may be the oldest school district in the state of Washington, but they’re aiming to be one of the most progressive when it comes to preparing their students for the world beyond high school.
All students must follow the state-mandated High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP) to graduate in Washington. It’s a process for students, parents, and teachers to guide students through high school and think about their future. Plans are personalized and designed to help students set, visualize, and work to achieve goals.
The HSBP requires careful documentation and students need a place to learn, explore, and plan for the future. That’s where Xello comes in.
Steilacoom High School Assistant Principal and CTE Director Katherine Redman, who also oversees the CTE program at SHSD’s middle school, is passionate about ensuring all students are future ready when they leave high school.
She says one of the reasons SHSD chose Xello as a future readiness platform was because it could facilitate students’ personalized plans and help administrators keep track of every student’s progress.
When they initially rolled out Xello at Steilacoom High, Redman and her team focused on getting their high school seniors familiar with the platform. Part of their initial discoveries were the vibrant career profiles and assessments like the Career Matchmaker survey. And they created personal profiles in Xello to create a plan for their future.
“Our students used Xello to report back on their High School and Beyond Plan. That plan includes how you’re going to pay for college, what each student’s plans are after high school, what courses in high school inspired them to pick certain career paths and much more. Xello helps with all these various aspects,” said Redman.
Redman and her team also uploaded all available courses at Steilacoom High to Xello’s Course Planner, allowing students to develop a personalized four-year plan of courses aligned with their postsecondary plans. Redman says 8th grade students are also creating their four-year plan in Xello, in alignment with the HSBP.
“The course planner feature really helps with our registration process because it seamlessly integrates with Skyward, our student management system, which is very convenient,” she said.
In March 2020, COVID-19 shut down schools and set students home for remote learning. At Steilacoom High, students had a tool that allowed them to continue their HSBP independently—Xello.
“It really helped to have Xello during this time as students could easily log in from home and complete their work to help them with their HSBP and meet all the various components involved with it. With Xello, everything was organized in one place, which was really helpful,” said Redman.
The activities in Xello encouraged students to explore their learning styles, abilities, and career and education interests; set goals for the future; and compile school and community involvement throughout Grades 6-12 in an electronic portfolio.
According to Redman, this feature has been especially helpful during COVID-19, when students and parents were not able to physically visit college campuses.
“It’s really nice for kids to explore not just the various career options but also the different college options available on Xello. I love the feature where you can just place yourself on the map and see what it’s like to be on a specific college campus,” said Redman.
“It was extremely helpful to be able to virtually tour college campuses within Xello, especially because a lot of our students plan to attend colleges outside the state of Washington. It’s not only time consuming for parents and students to visit colleges, it’s also not cheap to travel far, so having this feature is fantastic.”
Redman says many of students have discovered future career options they never thought they’d be interested in by using the platform.
Advice for Districts Transitioning to Xello
If your district is planning a successful implementation of a future readiness program, Redman recommends setting up an advisory committee.
“Our advisory committee sat with me on a lot of meetings to learn about the program and understand how each staff member was going to use Xello. It’s important to have some staff members, such as a college and career coordinator, to become familiar with the program. These folks can also help you determine a roll-out plan moving forward,” she said.
When it came to implementation, Redman and her team looked for ways to make the process as simple and intuitive as possible. This included a single sign-in process.
“Our district partners with Clever, and so our kids just log in through Clever. They don’t need a separate log-in to get into Xello, which is really convenient,” she said.
She also recommends taking advantage of Xello’s customer support team and resources.
“Xello has so many helpful webinars and tutorials, and the team walks you through all aspects of the program in detail. All the sessions are recorded as well, so you can reference them later,” she said.
And even when you’ve implemented the components that were most pressing, continue to learn about all the features Xello offers.
“It’s great to discover different aspects of Xello. For example, their transcript request and letter of recommendation request features are so helpful for students and school administrators. Students can just request their transcript or letter of recommendation and our registrar can electronically send it to wherever it needs to go.”
Whether they’re learning remotely or in-personal, SHSD students will be prepared to fulfill their HSBP and create personalized plans for their future.
That was Steilacoom High School’s success story—now it’s time to write yours. Learn how Xello can help students at your district get college and career ready. Book My Demo