A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

From Where I Am Standing: Ludlow is transforming high school, helping students find way to success

By Rick Hulefeld
Special to NKyTribune

School districts across Northern Kentucky are developing innovative programs to enable their graduating seniors to be college or career ready.

For the first time, Kentucky is mandating that all school districts follow their graduating class of seniors for one year to determine how effective schools are in helping their graduates be successful. Ludlow Independent Schools is looking forward to the challenge.

Ludlow will track its graduates

Superintendent Mike Borchers is proud of the fact that 70% of the seniors at Ludlow are either taking dual credit classes in preparation for college or are working on career-related work experiences. Next year he hopes that 70% of Ludlow’s juniors and 90% of its seniors are spending at least half of their school day on their chosen career path.

How is Ludlow helping students figure out what they want to do when they graduate?

Superintendent Mike Borchers credits his staff. Many of them have stepped up over the last six years and used their skills to become coaches. They have been trained by NaviGo, a division of Learning Grove, to meet with the same small group twice a month, helping the students to believe in themselves, discover their strengths, and explore the many possible careers that are available to them.

Every student has had a coach for at least four years due to their dedicated teachers being willing to take on the extra role.

Borchers is also excited about a new tool that is helping students see that they have many more opportunities than they thought. Ludlow has adopted the tool, YouScience, which not only helps students think about different careers, it also measures the student’s aptitudes. YouScience then matches the student’s aptitudes with all the various careers that look for those aptitudes, along with detailed information on average salary, regional job demand, and educational requirements.

Click image to go to YouScience website

The student is now armed with a greatly expanded set of possible careers to discuss and explore. With the help of family, a NaviGo Coach and classmates in the small coaching group, the student will develop criteria for choosing among possible careers.

New this year, the Ludlow School District, working with other Northern Kentucky school districts, Gateway Community and Technical College, employers, and NaviGo, are providing an entirely new set of possibilities for students. This fall they opened two Career Hubs, Logistics and Computer Information Technology for juniors and seniors.

Students who are interested in exploring a career in either of these two fields spend half of their day, five days a week at Gateway’s Urban Metro Campus in Covington, working on nationally recognized certificates and receive both high school and postsecondary credit.

In the Logistic Hub, students will receive paid internships their second semester, giving them a real experience with their career choice.

Students who are involved in any off-campus program have Mrs. McMillen, Ludlow’s College and Career Readiness Coordinator, to assist them through the difficult path of navigating high school with a post-secondary program. Mrs. McMillen assists students with their scheduling, enrollment, guidance on their career paths and all financial aid applications during their junior and senior years. In addition to the Logistics and Computer Information Technology Programs, Ludlow offers an Early College Program, Auto Tech Program, Home Builders Program, Gateway Hybrid Program, and a Community Work Transition Program. All these options support the goal of ensuring students’ success beyond high school.

Rick Hulefeld

Superintendent Borchers is proud of all the opportunities that students have and all the support they receive from his staff. He is looking forward to tracking this year’s graduates and the success that they will experience.

Rick Hulefeld is founder and president of special projects of Children, Inc. and a long-time Covington resident. He was a 2018 recipient of the NKyTribune’s NewsMaker Award. His column, From Where I Am Standing, is a new, regular feature for the NKyTribune.

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