High School

High School: A Gateway to the Future

All students deserve an education that prepares them for higher education, rewarding careers and life. To ensure that every student leaves our schools ready to succeed as they take their next step, they need access to challenging academic study, lessons that are relevant in the real world, and effective teaching both in and out of the classroom.

Parents, family members and other influential adults in the community can help students achieve success and make more informed choices about their future. One of the decisions you can encourage is that students take Massachusetts’ challenging course of study, called MassCore. With this program, high school courses line up with the expectations that will be placed on students in college and in the workforce, so they’re better prepared for the future. In fact, taking demanding courses in high school is the single best predictor of how well students will do in higher education.

Start Now

It’s never too early or too late to know your options and start planning for the future. And sometimes creating a college and career plan is all it takes – so every student should have one by early high school. It’s important to keep in mind that these plans may change as a student moves through high school.

Plans can take many different forms – they can be found online, printed in traditional formats, and can be developed with help from many different people, like family members, counselors, teachers or mentors. There are free and low cost materials available, some of which can be found at http://www.doe.mass.edu/cd/plan/ or www.yourplanforthefuture.org.

You can help by taking an active role in:

  • Guiding or coaching students to make choices in high school that prepare them for college and careers such as taking a rigorous course of study (MassCore), participating in career development activities like job shadows, internships or senior/capstone projects and other extracurricular activities.
  • Inspiring your student with the idea that everyone can succeed academically and go to college.
  • Making a plan for college and a career.

Aim High

Taking challenging courses in high school is the single best predictor of how well students will do in higher education. Making sure to complete the MassCore rigorous course of study is essential even if your district doesn’t require MassCore as the minimum graduation requirement. Also, encourage your student to strive to take an advanced placement course in the subjects they hope to pursue after high school.

You can help by taking an active role in:

  • Expanding HorizonsEncourage your student to take on challenging opportunities like advanced placement courses, dual enrollment, online courses, and other activities such as jobs/internships, afterschool programs, athletics and clubs.
  • Finding SupportHelp your student get support so they can pass all their classes and maintain good attendance. Many schools and youth programs have tutoring, afterschool and summertime enrichment programs, and other activities to support academic achievement.
  • Enlisting Help Contact a teacher, counselor or principal for more information on how to help. You can find a directory of schools and contact information at www.profiles.doe.mass.edu.

Look Beyond

Learning from books and getting good grades aren’t enough to guarantee a successful future. Students also need to be exposed to the world of work and other “real life” experiences. This time outside the classroom will help your student build creative and critical thinking, work skills, professionalism, persistence and responsibility.

You can help by taking an active role in:

  • Promoting AwarenessEncourage students to investigate a variety of career options at: https://masscis.intocareers.org/materials/portal/home.html
  • Encouraging ExperienceHelp your student identify jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities and other career-focused activities so they can gain experience for the future.
  • Finding EnrichmentEncourage students to participate in activities such as athletics and clubs.