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Practices with Promise Workforce Outcomes eShowcase

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Practices with Promise Success Story

Submitted By: Diane Hollems, Santa Barbara City College

“Get Focused…Stay Focused” Gets High School Students College & Career Ready!

  • Type of Practice: Student Engagement and Career Awareness
  • Type(s) of Users Served: First-time Students
  • Sector(s): Advanced Manufacturing, Advanced Transportation & Renewable Energy, Agriculture, Water & Environmental Technologies, Energy, Construction & Utilities, Global Trade & Logistics, Health, Information & Communication Technologies (ICT)/Digital Media, Life Sciences/Biotech, Retail/Hospitality/Tourism, Small Business
  • Momentum Point(s) & Leading Indicators : MP 2, MP 3, MP 6a, MP 8, MP 12, LI 5 (click here for description)
  • Regions Involved: South Central Coast
  • Colleges Involved: Santa Barbara City College
  • Other Organizations: Santa Barbara Unified School District; Carpinteria Unified School District; Santa Barbara County Education Office; University of California Educational Evaluation Center at UCSB; Academic Innovations

The Challenge

Every matriculating student needs a personalized education plan. While the matriculation model assumes that students will define their educational objectives by meeting with a counselor, most students never actually see a counselor. High school students need to develop awareness of career pathways and the educational steps needed to pursue them early, so that their transition from high school to college is seamless.

The Solution

Santa Barbara City College developed the“Get Focused…Stay Focused!” (GFSF) initiative, which reaches all 9th graders with a semester-long career exploration and comprehensive guidance course that culminates with students creating an online 10-year career & education plan. Students update their plans in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades through three, 16-hour modules that provide students with a "touch-point" at each grade of high school to help them transition seamlessly to their post-secondary goal. The module content is in line with the new Common Core Standards and meets the recommendations of the California Community Colleges’ Student Success Task Force. This provides the opportunity for integration into academic courses.


Anecdotal data from participating GFSF schools shows reduced absenteeism, reduced suspensions and drop-out rates, increased A-G completion, and increased participation in AP and dual enrollment courses.

GFSF is currently collaborating with the University of California Educational Evaluation Center at UCSB on a longitudinal research study which surveys more than 7,000 high school students in the Santa Barbara and Carpinteria Unified School Districts each year.

The Data

A study of student outcomes is currently underway. However, anecdotal data is promising. For example, Carpinteria High School, since fall 2009, has required all 9th graders (as well as students who transfer in at any grade level) to take the GFSF Freshmen Seminar course and follow-up modules. Between 2009-2010 and 2012-2012, the percentage of A-G courses successfully completed increased from 24.2% to 47.6% at the school.

Due to the success of GFSF, one California community college district comprising three colleges and four other community colleges have adopted the GFSF model. Furthermore, two more colleges will be adopting the model in fall 2014 and many other colleges are hopeful to implement GFSF in the near future.

Supporting Information

Read more about “Get Focused…Stay Focused!” here

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Common Metrics

Leading Indicators

LI 1 Alignment of skillsets within a program (or set of courses) to a particular occupation and the needs of the labor market
LI 2 Regionalization of stackable certificates aligned with a particular occupation ladder
LI 3 Alignment of a certificate with state-, industry-, nationally-, and/or employer- recognized certification
LI 4 Creation of a credit certificate from non-credit certificate
LI 5 Curriculum articulation along a career or multi-career educational pathway
LI 6 Updating the skills of faculty, teachers, counselors, and/or “supporting staff to student” to reflect labor market needs
LI 7 Integration of small business creation and/or exporting modules into for-credit curriculum in other disciplines

Momentum Points

Middle School Cluster
MP 1Completed an individual career and skills awareness workshop in middle school that included a normed assessment process and was in a Doing What Matters priority or emerging sector
Transition from Middle School to High School
MP 2Completed a bridge program between middle school and high school and revised student career/education plan
MP 3Completed a student orientation and assessment program while in middle school or high school
High School Cluster
MP 4Completed one course in high school within a CTE pathway
MP 5Completed two or more courses in high school within a CTE pathway
MP 6Completed a CTE articulated course
MP 6aSuccessfully completed a CTE dual enrollment course or credit by exam, with receipt of transcripted credits
MP 7Completed a program in high school within a CTE pathway
Transition from High School to College Cluster
MP 8Completed a bridge program between high school and college in a CTE pathway
MP 9Completed college orientation and assessment as a first-time community college student who entered a community college CTE pathway
MP 10Transitioned from a high school CTE pathway to a similar community college CTE pathway
MP 11Transferred from a high school CTE pathway to a similar CSU, UC or private/independent university CTE pathway
MP 12Completed a counselor-approved college education plan, for first-time community college students who enter a CTE pathway
MP 13During high school, participated in an internship, work-based learning, mentoring, or job shadowing program in a CTE pathway
MP 14Percentage of community college students, who participated in a high school CTE pathway, whose first math or English course was below transfer-level
Community College Cluster
MP 15Completed two courses in the same CTE pathway
MP 16Retention rate between Fall and Spring within a CTE pathway
MP 17Completed a non-CCCCO-approved certificate within a CTE pathway
MP 18Completed a CCCCO-approved certificate within a CTE pathway
General Education and Transfer Progress Cluster
MP 19Completed a work readiness soft skills training program (either stand-alone or embedded) within a CTE pathway
MP 20Completed college level English and/or math, for students in a CTE pathway
MP 21Completed the CSU-GE or IGETC transfer track/certificate for students in a CTE pathway
MP 22Completed requirements in a CTE pathway, but did not receive a certificate or a degree
MP 23Completed an associate degree in a CTE major
MP 24Completed an associate degree in a major different from student’s college CTE pathway
MP 25Transferred from community college to a four-year university in the same CTE pathway
MP 26Transferred from community college to a four-year university in a major different from their CTE pathway
Community College Transition To Workforce Cluster
MP 27Participated in a college internship or workplace learning program within a CTE pathway
MP 28Attained a job placement in the same or similar field of study as CTE pathway
MP 29Acquired an industry-recognized, third-party credential
Workforce Progress Cluster
MP 30Attained a wage gain in a career in the same or similar CTE pathway
MP 31Attained wages equal to or greater than the median regional wage for that CTE pathway
MP 32Attained wages greater than the regional standard-of-living wage
MP 33Participated in incumbent worker training or contract education in a CTE pathway (for example training for layoff aversion, meeting heightened occupational credentialing requirement, transitioning employees whose occupations are being eliminated, or up-skilling existing employees)
MP 34Exception


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