- CFES is customizable – our Program Directors work with each school to make sure the program is tailored to support the college and career readiness goals of each.
- Rather than dictating program elements, CFES embraces a collaborative team approach. CFES staff, educators, students and others work together to create a plan that fits within the CFES framework.
- CFES works with K-12 students in both rural and urban schools.
- School leaders appreciate that the CFES approach aligns with existing learning standards and college and career readiness goals, and supports partnerships and district strategic plans.
- We bring schools together: CFES schools network with one another to share best practices, connect students of different backgrounds and celebrate success.
Because the CFES program is customized for each school, no two plans are alike. Some schools select a cohort of students to participate in the program, while others implement CFES school-wide. CFES can take the form of a class, can be built into advisory periods, support college counseling efforts or enhance other college and career readiness initiatives already in place. Ideally, CFES will become ingrained in your school culture, with activities taking place during or outside of the regular school day.
With guidance from their Program Director, members of the school CFES team identify Core Practice activities they would like to implement, and how often. For example, teams may determine their students would be best served by peer mentoring, and set a schedule for mentor pairs to meet weekly. Another school may recruit community mentors to meet monthly with students to work on the college application process. A third school may implement a teachers-as-mentors model wherein students “check in” on a regular basis. For each of the Core Practices, there are many different implementation strategies. We’ll help you determine the best approach for your school.
Although the CFES program looks different in each school, the following components are consistent throughout our network:
- Every CFES school appoints an official liaison to CFES on their school team. This person serves as the main point of contact.
- Each school is assigned a CFES Program Director who works with the liaison and team. Program Directors visit schools to deliver services such as mentor training or college and career pathway workshops. Between visits, directors offer remote support.
- Representatives of every school team are invited to attend our annual National Conference.
- CFES organizes fall planning and training workshops for each school team to strategize the year’s activities with support from their Program Director.
- School team members are invited to attend CFES professional development opportunities throughout the year.
- Curricular resources from our central office are distributed to school liaisons throughout the year.
Where can our school find funding sources to support our membership in CFES Brilliant Pathways?
Many CFES schools pay their membership fee by tapping into a variety of funding sources, including district funds, local grants, community organizations and foundations, area corporations and private donors. We work with our schools to meet any necessary funding requirements – for example, dividing the membership fee across multiple payments throughout the school year.
Which students should we select to take part in the CFES program?
Consideration should be given to those who will be the first in their family to go to college, but all students can benefit from increased awareness of college and career opportunities. Many schools choose to implement CFES school-wide, or across targeted grade levels.
Your school team should be a group of people who have access to students and can move the program forward. School teams range from three to fifteen members, depending on the school’s needs and capacity. Your school team can consist of any or all of the following:
- Community members
Your CFES Program Director is an extension of your school team. He or she will coordinate with your team’s liaison to schedule on-site visits to provide student workshops, professional development and support building partnerships. Your Program Director is accessible to your team through regular phone/email communication. Program Directors are invaluable when it comes to creating and implementing your school plan, evaluating existing initiatives and advising school teams on program effectiveness.
Professionals on the CFES central office staff:
- Create curricular resources that assist with program implementation.
- Distribute a college-and-career-readiness newsletters geared towards students.
- Coordinate regional and national events and programs.
- Run the School of Distinction Awards Program for our exemplary schools.
- Provide branding and PR support.
- Connect our schools with one another.
This professional development gathering gives your team space and time to get the year off to a good start. Teams come together to work on their annual plan, connect with their Program Director and network with teams from other CFES schools. It’s a time of sharing, strategizing and celebrating.
Our national professional development conference is the one time every year that representatives from all our schools gather to learn, share, be inspired by and collaborate with one another: Teachers, administrators, students, alumni, and college and corporate partners.