Jordan Wesley is CDI’s Site Director at HPHS. She and her team of five college and career advisors and interns prepare HPHS’s 1,700 students for life after high school. “I’m a bridge between CDI and the school,” she says. “This is CDI’s third year at HPHS and it’s really the first year that we’re at full steam, so it’s great to be able to concentrate on our programs and on integrating more with the school. It’s an exciting time!”
Calm before the storm: Mornings are pretty quiet around here so that’s when I plan out the day, attend meetings, and get my bearings. I also use the morning to prepare for the College and Career Readiness Class that the college and career staff co-teach twice a week. In that class we work with students who are off-track and close to not graduating. We teach specific skills like professionalism and résumé building, but the larger idea is to use students’ aspirations to get them excited about their future and take action now.
Rush hour: By noon every inch of our office is packed with students looking to find a job, get help writing a résumé or brush up on interview skills. We are always strategizing how to reach the students who are falling off the map. This year, I am looking closely at what is working and what isn’t. For example, we shifted hosting small events like career panels and workshops from afternoons to earlier in the day when more students are free. I also attend the weekly school guidance meetings where we exchange information and brainstorm how to solve specific student issues, and where I get a chance to update the advisors and Principal Robert Gentile.
A very good day: After classes have ended it’s time for emailing, entering data, reading through curricula and more planning. It’s also when my staff come together to talk about the students we’re concerned about and throw around ideas for how best to handle the situation. Sometimes it just takes time. There was one student who liked to hang out and chat, but he wasn’t too interested in thinking about his future. One day the reality of graduation hit home and he came to me and said: “Miss, I gotta get my life together. What do I do?” Since then we’ve worked with him on his college and financial aid applications, he’s doing better in school, he follows up on appointments and he’s making plans for his life. When we can show a student that they hold the key to their future and that we are here to give guidance and support, that’s a very good day.