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New program aims to boost postsecondary outcomes for rural students

October 27,2021- The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and rootED Alliance have partnered to launch a statewide initiative that will place trained professionals into rural high schools alongside school counselors to help give extra college and career support.

The Missouri Postsecondary Advising Initiative plans to reach 135 rural schools over the next 3 years helping over 10,000 students achieve success following graduation.

“As we continue to navigate the impact of the pandemic on our workforce, now more than ever, it is critical to support our students to build a bridge from high school to lifelong success" said Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven. "Placing dedicated college and career advisors in rural high schools provides students in rural communities exposure and access to a variety of postsecondary opportunities. The Missouri Postsecondary Advising Initiative is an achievable, scalable solution.”

Schools must be selected for the program as applications for the 2021-22 school year are now available. Schools will be selected based on school and community need and based on location.

Selected schools will hire and place dedicated college and career advisors in high schools to support students’ postsecondary pursuits by:

  • Developing and implementing individualized plans for postsecondary education and training;

  • Identifying opportunities to secure financial aid, including completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);

  • Supporting students as they work to enroll in college, earn a workplace credential, and/or enlist in the armed services; and

  • Coaching students through the transition from high school to lifelong success.

“It is estimated that 65 percent of Missouri’s jobs will require some level of training or education beyond high school by 2028—and only 47 percent of the state’s working age population currently has any postsecondary credential,” said rootEd Alliance President Noa Meyer. “The rootEd model is helping to narrow this gap by ensuring Missouri high school students—particularly those in rural communities who face unique barriers to postsecondary options—graduate on a path toward prosperity. We’re excited that more rural communities will benefit from the rootEd model.”

With these new resources in place, DESE and rootED hope to get students who are situated in rural communities better prepared for the next level.



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