In any other year, August’s arrival means students and parents start to eagerly gear up for the school year ahead. As the onset of the 2020-2021 school year looms, however, many are wondering how best to navigate a world still dominated by COVID-19. This uncertainty applies as much to early childhood learning as to post-secondary schools. Future Ready Collier is keeping an eye on school reopening plans and safety precautions being adopted.
A survey conducted in May 2020 by the Florida College Access Network begins to reveal some of the effects of COVID-19 on workforce and higher education. Most immediately relevant to Future Ready Collier, the pandemic is negatively impacting students’ post-high school plans. The data indicate that students already pursuing postsecondary education of some kind, and current or graduating high school students exploring their next steps, are being affected.
When Future Ready Collier was formalized, it was as a strategic offshoot of the Greater Naples Chamber’s Opportunity Naples initiative. This effort identified a need to assign resources to support students throughout their primary education. In the intervening years, the Chamber has retained a meaningful role in Future Ready Collier. Specifically, helping to steer conversations about work-based learning and facilitating transitions from school to career. Meaningfully, the Chamber’s board approved establishing a full-time staff position dedicated to exploring relevant partnerships with employers, and upholding schools in their efforts to deliver new meaningful work-related experiences for students.
A high level of uncertainty is unsettling, but doesn’t mean there aren’t options. High school seniors, especially, are wondering what’s next. There are questions like, what if I can’t attend college out-of-state next year, and what if my family’s finances have changed since I applied? For juniors, there are concerns about standardized testing, and what post-high school plan makes the most sense. There are resources available to help students and their families navigate each of these important topics.
This video tutorial helps walk high school students and their families through the step-by-step process of completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. Each year, FAFSA applications open on October 1. Students are encouraged to submit as soon as possible for the greatest access to available financial aid and scholarships. Students and their families may view this free, online tutorial as many times as needed.
Collier County County Public Schools (CCPS) is committed to supporting children and families in continuous learning. When the schools are closed for any reason, CCPS encourages parents and caregivers to have students engage in academic activities with a structured schedule. As such, the CCPS Curriculum and Instruction Division has developed lessons and resources to ensure learning is continuous.
A partner organization since Future Ready Collier’s founding, the Guadalupe Center has a 35-year history of, as their organizational mission decrees, using educational opportunity to help break the cycle of poverty for the children of Immokalee. Currently, Guadalupe is heavily involved in Future Ready Collier (FRC), intentionally encouraging and enabling their leadership and staff at all levels to support the initiative.