Linking students and parents to the future

By on January 25, 2009

by Lynn Meredith

Kaneland Student Services has created—that is re-created—a webpage for parents and students to learn more about curriculum, college preparation and graduation. The page provides podcasts, career tests, PowerPoint presentations and links to the best information on topics related to life during and after high school.

The site also covers careers, financial aid, scholarships and college planning. It was designed by a former Kaneland student who went to Northern Illinois University, majoring in computers.

Guidance counselor Andy Franklin said the career development section is important for students. It’s called “Career Cruising,” and has students answer a series of questions about their strengths, weaknesses and preferences. Depending on the their answers, they are given more questions that enable them to narrow down their interest area within a career field.

“There are 16 career clusters. Students fall into one or two, maybe three areas. Then they do the research,” Franklin said. “I want them to really research their options. So if you want to be a doctor, which field of medicine do you want to be in?”

Once their career field is pinpointed, they can choose the right curriculum of courses that will prepare them for after they leave high school.

An area that is important for parents to explore is college planning. The site provides an application checklist and a PowerPoint presentation.

“The PowerPoint presentation has 35 to 40 slides that breaks down each year —freshman, sophomore, junior and senior—and what the student needs to do to get ready for college. It breaks it down by each month for the senior year,” Franklin said. “There are links galore for scholarships, financial aid, housing. I could go on and on.”

Franklin has done his homework to find the best sources of information in all categories.

“I have done a lot of research myself. I wanted to weed out all the nonsense and give parents the absolute best links that are research-based,” Franklin said.

Future topics the website will cover will be information on athletic scholarships, college preparation for students with special needs and social-emotional links for dealing with topics such as grief or divorce.

Franklin is planning a Parents Night some time in February or March for parents of freshman, sophomores and juniors. The event will talk about college planning and how student services can help in the process.

“The important thing is for parents to visit the site periodically as we add more information and not forget it’s there,” Franklin said.

To visit the site, go to