by Bernadette Hopen and Tyler Varian
To simplify the counseling process, the WHS guidance department will be introducing several extensions to the Naviance program. Naviance helps students understand the qualifications that a specific college is looking for, based on previous WHS applicants. However, the program has many other features and the WHS guidance department is now taking advantage of them.
The first change WHS seeks to implement is the eDocs feature of Naviance. This is an electronic document submission system that will make sending transcripts to colleges more efficient and eco-friendly. Guidance Counselor Mr. Paul Valenzano said, “It will cut down on schools reaching out to us and saying they haven’t received certain transcripts and pieces of mail. It will all be right there electronically.”
The initiative began when counselors visited neighboring high schools and observed eDocs in use at other guidance departments. “When I saw it, I was very impressed with how much time it saved and how efficient it was,” added Valenzano.
Before the guidance department decided to move forward with the eDocs program, they wanted to see how well it functioned. Guidance Counselor Ms. Robyn Solomon said, “Each year we talked about moving online but heard there were still a few kinks in the eDocs process.” According to Solomon, the guidance department waited for updates that facilitated the program’s use.
Coordinator of Counseling Ms. Maureen Mazzarese explained change that will affect WHS students next year. “We are also introducing something called Course Planner that will allow the students to chart their sequence of courses for the four years,” said Mazzarese.
The Course Planner will also transform Naviance into a tool used by all grade levels. Starting freshman year, it will give students the ability to track which classes they have taken, what classes are available and the graduation requirements that they need to fulfill. “I think it will benefit the school...because it will be easier for everyone to plan their schedules as freshmen,” said junior Barrie Knapp.
Counselors recently attended a training session about eDocs and Course Planner. The guidance department hopes to use this year as a transition year before fully introducing these programs to the Class of 2013. Mazzarese said that these changes will not only streamline the college process, but also help transform the guidance department as a whole. “As counselors, one of the benefits is [that] it reduces paper time and gives us more people time, which is really where good work happens,” she said.