FLINT TWP. — A College Fair was part of the High School and Beyond presentation last week at Carman-Ainsworth Middle School.
The annual event is designed to help eighth-graders and their parents to begin planning for high school and after graduation whether attending college, learning a trade or seeking other livelihoods.
Presenters were Debbie Davis, C-A data tech coordinator, Karen Stong, a GISD consultant, Pamela Boyle, of Mott Community College student financial services and Kevin Summey, CAMS principal.
Davis explained high school classes students will need to take to graduate and also discussed changes in assessments next year that will mark the end of MEAP tests and the start of Smarter Balanced testing.
Smarter Balanced is a state-led consortium that has developed testing aligned to the new Common Core State Standards.
Davis said that pilot testing of Smarter Balanced will be conducted in the spring.
Summey added that students should prepare for assessment testing introduced next year to be done in one day instead of over several days as MEAP testing is done now.
Davis also strongly emphasized taking ACT testing available at each grade level in addition to the free test paid for by the state for 11th graders. The more times students take ACT tests the better chance of improving their score by the time they take the one that colleges count in the eleventh grade, she said.
Stong works with middle and high school staff and students on career planning.
“We are hoping to emphasize to the students that their academic achievement starts now,” she said. “It stays with you forever, you can’t really erase some of those things that start in 9th grade.”
She presented a brief walk-through of Career Cruising, a software program the GISD provides to help in career planning.
Stong encouraged students and parents to visit the website at www.careercruising.com to get an overview of what the program offers such as resume building and customized grade-bygrade career guidance based on test scores, student interests and other factors including geographic location.
Boyle talked about various ways to pay for college including scholarship, student loans and grants and work study programs.
She stressed starting the search early for available scholarship funds. She also recommended the website at www.fastweb.com to search for funding opportunities.
After the presentation, students and their parents spent time at the College Fair with representatives from the University of Michigan- Flint, Baker College, Central Michigan University, Mott Community College and ITT Technical Institute in Swartz Creek.