Transcription of the episode “Navigating college and career pathways: Self-knowledge, preparation, and parameters”

Jon M: 00:15 I’m Jon Moscow.

Amy H-L: 00:16 And I’m Amy Halpern-Laff. Welcome to Ethical Schools.

Jon M: 00:19 Our guest today is Maud Abeel. Maud’s an educational consultant both in New York City and nationally, working across the continuum from zero to the postsecondary years. She’s especially focused on college and career readiness for middle and high school students. Previously, among other positions, she was the Senior Director for College and Career Readiness at the Urban Assembly, Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships for National Postsecondary Success Initiatives at FHI 360, and Director of College Bound at New Visions for Public Schools. She helped to write and edit “Turning Points 2000: Educating Adolescents in the 21st Century” and was a senior program officer for Middle Start, FHI 360’s model for ensuring academic success and healthy development for middle grade students. Welcome, Maud!

Maud A: 01:08 Hi, thank you for having me.

Speaker 2: 01:11 Amy H-L You’ve been an advocate of the “fit and match” idea in advising high school students about colleges. What is “fit and match” and why is it so important?

Maud A: 01:20 Again, thank you for having me. It’s great to be talking with you both. Often match and fit are used interchangeably, but I do think it’s helpful to differentiate between the two. And I thought that the National College Access Network (NCAN) can provide a definition that I found helpful. So I’ll share that, which is basically that match is the degree to which a student’s academic credentials match the academic competitiveness and selectivity of the college or university or postsecondary institution at which they want to enroll. So it’s very objective. You either have the academic credentials that the school requires or you don’t. But then there’s fit and fit is sort of, on the other hand, literally everything else. So if you include distance from a student’s home, geographic location, campus atmosphere and degree of exclusivity, level of accommodation of services for first generation students, academic programs, and on and on. So this is a very expansive view of what fit is and it makes it hard to capture and codify, but that doesn’t diminish its importance. For example, whether it’s social, emotional, cultural fit can be quantified or sort of pinned down is one example of this challenge. And why I think it’s so important is that we know that increasingly students are going to college in the United States, but there really hasn’t been any dramatic corresponding increase in college completion or degree attainment. And we know that’s particularly true for low income students, students of color. And there’s basically three prominent barriers to completion. And the first is pretty well known, it’s academics. Second is financial. But the third is sort of a sense of belonging. And many students, and I was recently involved in a project, we’ve already able to do some focus groups with students. They worry and wonder whether they belong in college. It’s not just assumed that they should go to college for them. And so for many students, the sense of uncertainty exacerbates the challenges that they face as they prepare for or think about college. And I think match and fit helps to send an overall message that, you know, all students are entitled to a successful post secondary experience and that there is a good match and fit for every student no matter where they’re starting.

Jon M: 03:48 So as you’re saying, fit is much more subjective than match. How should or can counselors define this in a systematic way and how can it be brought to scale beyond the individual counselor?

Maud A: 04:02 So the good news is that there really are a lot of excellent online resources that counselors use [inaudible].There are a number that are free. And so for example, in New York City, every single public high school student has a College Board account. It’s a requirement. It gives them access to PSAT and SAT pre-prep and other kinds of things that are helpful to them. And it also provides something called “create your roadmap.” And so it’s, it’s a way for students to, they can either, I, it’s actually interesting, I was looking at it today and they have some choices for students and one of them is, “I know what I want,” and that leads the student in a certain direction on the website. And then there’s another choice, “I’m not sure where to start.” And so it’s really trying to, you know, help students wherever they’re at and part of the process is getting to know yourself, kinds of thinking around what you enjoy doing, what don’t you like doing, but ultimately leading students to create a step by step plan that they can save as part of their account. So that’s a free one. There’s also one called My College Matches. I thought that was an interesting one because it really puts its emphasis on helping students look specifically at majors at different colleges and institutions and how they tie to career paths. Then there’s a whole bunch that cost money and one of the reasons they cost money is because they have sort of a higher level of sophistication. They’re very student-friendly. They’re very intuitive. They’re much more playful in some ways. One that’s gotten a lot of attention recently in New York City, is called Xello. It has a process where it helps students build self-knowledge and explore options, then to create a plan and then learn and reassess. And it’s really ideally meant to start with students, you know, by eighth or ninth grade and it follow them throughout their time in high school. So these online resources offer sort of very systematic approaches to get students to really understand what match and fit might mean for them. Otherwise, I think to make it more systematic is really just, the goal would be to start as early as possible. You know in the high school, ideally in ninth grade through age appropriate activities. So a lot of schools, they use advisory and that can often be actually using a curriculum that advisors lead students through. An example of one that I’ve gotten to know recently, one of my consulting clients Jobs for the Future, they have a curriculum that’s intended to meet needs and advise your afterschool quite possible futures and that helps students understand and learn skills for success like teamwork and communication. And then they also have another one that gives students opportunities to sort of explore lenses on the future. But I just think these age appropriate approaches and activities to help students sort of develop self knowledge and thoughts about the future, it can really help them get more out of their secondary school years. [inaudible] are bored or that school feels irrelevant, but it doesn’t have to be that way. And so that’s another sort of rationale for helping students to sort of see where they fit into this educational journey that they’re on and hopefully help them make more sense of why it matters and should be important to them

Amy H-L: 07:32 The National College Access Network talks about the tension that can exist between what a counselor thinks is the best fit and match and what the student and/or their family think is best. Have you seen counselors have to resolve this tension and what seems to you to be the best way to do it?

Maud A: 07:49 Well, I think this is a huge, huge part of the job in terms of having to acknowledge and deal with this kind of tension. So you know, even match is not completely straight forward because there’s an increasing number of test-optional schools and schools that deemphasize standardized tests, so in theory, that sort of school is setting up a lot of options for students that didn’t exist before. And so it makes the match piece a little less clear cut. So I think it’s a huge, huge factor. Ideally a counselor is able to [inaudible] talk to those students and their families. Obviously families are an important part of the equation all throughout a child’s educational journey. And you know, especially in some ways at this moment, some ways that a school can do that is have very predictable series of annual events targeted at each grade level. You’re in ninth grade having a ninth grade orientation that includes going over how the students will work with the counselor and sort of what the college process will mean for them each year. Having counselors work individually with students no later than 11th grade, so that when the rubber hits the road in 12th grade, you know, first semester, that there’s already a relationship there. And also I mentioned advisory. Sometimes, you know, especially because in general college counselors just have a really overload in terms of the ratio of students they’re required to support. An advisor might be the best person to liaison with the family. If that person knows the student best and sort of has more trust there. Um, and that there’s different forms of distributed counseling at schools and try and, and using advisors to help be that kind of family liaison around college and career readiness is a promising practice I guess. But you know, another thing I think is really important is communication and making sure that the counselor is on the same page as student’s family. And so that’s again where this idea of a postsecondary plan comes in. Again there are things like College Board and Xello where you can create that plan online and adapt it here. You know, and it follows the students. I’ve seen schools use Google docs to create post secondary plans with students and you know, if there’s no one right way to do it, but the idea is really sort of that a counselor and students are, can be on literally on the same page, they have a shared document.

Jon M: 10:14 So some researchers found that Latinex students are often pushed to attend less selective colleges than their academic records would predict, and that because these colleges may have fewer support systems, these students, they actually end up dropping out at a higher rate than they would from a more selective school. How can this be addressed on a systemic basis?

Maud A: 10:37 Well, this is a huge question and I’m certainly no expert in this area. I will say there’s, you know, I mentioned two very promising practices that in general works for all students, but I think can be really helpful to Latinx students and all students who are underrepresented in higher ed. One is college bridge programs.Those are programs where after you graduate from high school, you enter a program that’s like a bridge to college. And usually these programs feature near peer mentoring. So you actually have college students mentoring the recent high school graduates and sort of helping them prepare academically and social emotionally for what they’re going to start to encounter when they get to college. And often it just helps with a lot of the logistics and paperwork of getting ready for college. The college bridge programs are really, I think, helpful and I wish that was just sort of mandatory. And then there’s also the educational opportunity program. And you know, the counselors that I’ve worked with since my days at New Vision have often called these the “golden ticket” for their students because they provide those pretty intensive academic and financial support. But they also bring students into the institution as a cohort. So you kind of come in with a built in sort of group of peers and friends, which is often really hard to develop in that first year. This from a more national perspective, you know there’s some really [inaudible] organizations working on this that I think are doing a great job in trying to sort of lead the way on improving outcomes for Latinx students. One is Excellence in Education and I know they’ve collaborated with the US Department of Education around some Hispanic-serving institutions or HSIs, and these are institutions that tend to have 25% more or more of their students who identify as Latinx but also have made it a very specific part of their mission to help Latinx students succeed. The Hispanic Federation does some really cool work around working with campuses in New York City but all over the country to provide students with peer mentorship. Again, that’s been a very promising practice in a lot of different areas that also help students with career mentorships and internships and then a big one is making sure they’re connected and don’t have interrupted services in the social service area. I can tell you one quick anecdote if you want about some work that I did in Miami. So Miami Dade Community College is a Hispanic-serving institution or HSI and sort of like CUNY in New York City. They are the recipient of the majority of Miami Dade public school students, particularly those of color. And so I, I was part of initiative there where they were working with the school district to really address what had become a major barrier for students, which was math. You know, students were coming into maybe nine community colleges having to take remedial math and you know, not being able to get out of remedial math. They actually sat down with the data together. So they started to work together and they actually brought in a couple of other local higher ed institutions to develop a math for college readiness course that could be taught that senior year of high school. And really it wasn’t necessarily very high level sophisticated math. It was kind of almost a refresher on all the basics that a student would need coming into college level math. We don’t go into college level math and have to take trigonometry. You need really solid basic mathematical facility. So they developed this course together as a way to both help high schools better prepare their students in math, but also to sort of smooth that entry for the students. And it really was powerful and just a really great collaboration in terms of the high school math, math teachers and the college professors working together and listening to each other and understanding how each of their institutions or systems work and trying to come together around supporting students’ success.

Jon M: 15:05 Well, that’s exciting especially because institutions so often find it hard to collaborate just structurally and otherwise. Is that continuing as far as you know?

Maud A: 15:15 As far as I know. Yes. And I think the idea also just has grown beyond Miami Dade, which is around acknowledging math is one of those major barrier areas and really trying to figure out how to address that and work with across the system.

Jon M: 15:32 And I’m just curious, we interviewed Kate Belin from Fannie Lou Hamer High School, talking about the Algebra Project. And we’re going to be talking with Bob Moses who was the founder of it, of course. And I was just curious whether in any of your work, especially around math, you’ve worked with any schools or districts that have been using the Algebra Project and if so whether that’s sort of helped with some of the stuff that you’re talking about.

Maud A: 15:57 I have not personally worked with any that were doing the Algebra Project, but I know even in New York City they have part of the mayor’s excellence and equity agenda is algebra for all. So the goal is to have all eighth grade students in New York City passing, at least an intro to algebra type course so it doesn’t become a barrier. I mean, really, what happens between eighth and ninth grade is a mirror than what happens for graduating seniors entering first year college. Math is also a barrier at that, at the eighth grade, ninth grade level as well. But I’ve heard wonderful things about about the Algebra Project and I know it’s, it’s a long standing program that’s been around and when a program’s survived, that usually is a testament that it’s making a difference.

Amy H-L: 16:49 There’s been a lot of discussion recently about whether ” college for all” is actually a desirable goal. Can and should fit and match to be applied to situations in which students are not interested in college?

Maud A: 17:02 Yes. This is such a wonderful question. I mean really it’s inherent to fit and match that college is not for all, that fit and match is about finding out what is the right post secondary option for students. And that may be college and it may not be college. You know, I think it’s interesting that in a lot of cities, including New York City, the office that they have looking at this work or you know, here it’s called the Office of Post-Secondary Readiness. I mean just in naming it that there’s an acknowledgement that we’re not just talking about college and you know, I tend to think of the secondary education in a very broad sense, two or four year colleges, specialized technical schools, apprenticeships or certificate programs, AmeriCorps type programs such as City Year and also, of course the military. But I do think the match and fit in some ways it just was the idea, the concept is made to recognize the idea that college is not necessary for all students, as you said, immediately after high school. I think that, you know, one [inaudible] for a lot of people working in high school is that there is research that shows that students who go to college directly the semester directly after graduating from high school tend to do better than students who take time off. So that’s something to wrestle with. But I will give you, you know, I do think a lot more training is needed for schools to be able to advise students on these not, you know, college alternative pathways. More experts are needed to really kind of, I understand how best to help families and students consider these different options because there’s high stakes in making that decision. And I’ll give you a positive sample. In New York City, there’s a an organization called Goddard Riverside Center and they have something called the Options Institute and they’ve been partnering for a long time with New York City Department of Education, particularly the Office of Post-Secondary Readiness. And they basically are responsible for training all of the Department of Ed counselors, college counselors in the city. But just this year, they’re now offering another training around educational and work related alternatives to college. So I think yeah, there’s just growing acknowledgement that we’re not serving our students well by taking the college access for all literally. It’s really access to post secondary for all.

Jon M: 19:28 So how does Career and Technical Education (CTE) fit into these discussions and how is today’s CTE different from the older vocational education programs?

Maud A: 19:39 Yeah, so CTE is, it’s different from the older vocational programs in a couple of really key ways. One is that they are intended to be as academically rigorous as any other school’s program. So they’re not aimed at students who are non-academic students. And in a lot of cases they do have very active, rigorous academic components. Also, I think this is a really great thing is that they all, regardless of what career technical area the school is focused on, they all are required to teach a year long course on career and financial management. And so that’s a course where students really learn about the concept of from your pathway and that career pathways don’t have to be linear. In fact, they often are not, it can include a total career change. That concept around [inaudible] is that everyone has agency to determine their career pathways and, and then the financial management piece is really important too because it gets into a lot of sort of financial literacy. So it’s really about helping students sort of have some of the skills they’ll need going forward regardless of whether they go to college or [inaudible] I mean, I just think it’s one of those things where I think in the past, this is the other point I was going to make, is that there’s really a commitment of these schools, especially the ones that I’ve talked to, to . not counsel students directly into a career pipeline. That’s just an option. And in fact, a lot of the counselors and teachers I’ve talked to at CTE schools say, the students are kind of realizing by being at the school for four years that they don’t want to go into this career area at all. And, and that’s obviously an invaluable realization. I think some of us have had that situation where you do a job and you’re like, Oh my God, it’s just not what I thought it was and I don’t want to do this. So the point of of CTE high school as opposed to [inaudible] it does not seal your fate, but it just gets you started on having an informed and intentional journey that has realistic parameters.

Amy H-L: 21:49 A recent guest, Carla Shedd, talks about the carceral continuum, the way institutionalized racism pushes low income youth of color towards jail or early death from very early ages. Especially in cities like New York, where systems of school choice that can determine children’s entire lives can start as early as elementary school, what can counselors do to interrupt and disrupt the carceral continuum?

Maud A: 22:15 So this is such a big area as well. And I’m not an expert in this area at all, but to tie it into sort of the theme of this podcast around match and fit, I think that it’s actually sort of points even more to the need for hopefully for counselors to sort of advocate for maps as early as elementary school. And so parent coordinators are positioned in every single year to a public school. It’s a full time position and they, especially in elementary school, can play a really important role in helping families figure out sort of what are the best educational transitions for their child to do both in elementary and middle school. You know, there’s lots of students who will be fine at any middle school and then there’s a lot of students who will only sort of thrive in, in a more particular kind of situation. And parent coordinators are a main part of their job in elementary school is to sort of lead parents through that process and connect them with other parents who have students at various schools. So I think that’s something that is really important part of this. There’s also something called Inside Schools, and [inaudible] familiar with that, and that’s just a really amazing tool. It’s online free and it allows parents to look at school profiles, you know, that very accessibly written. It gives them some statistics on the schools in terms of achievement levels, but it also just sort of gives an overall idea of what school is like the allows for people who have attended the school or a new thing that’s going to comment on it. And it also just recently added a high school matching tool, which is not super sophisticated, but it does help you sort of winnow down like, do you want to stay in a certain borough? Do you want a career in technical education school? You know, it helps you sort of put in some filters to sort of try and make sense of the, the huge, overwhelming number of choices from a bigger perspective. I mean, I think it’s been exciting. New York City, it’s just, I was just talking about this the other day, it’s just shocking that it’s the most segregated school system in the country. It’s just that the stone cold facts, crazy, right? But I do think there’s some promising practices around diversity, equity and inclusion and some of them are being piloted, in District 1, District 3 and District 15, not without controversy, but there is, you know, it’s, it’s an acknowledgement that especially in the middle schools, certain middle schools are really being taken over by white, more affluent people, whereas certain schools have then become dumping grounds for lower income students and that that’s not what middle school choice was intended to bring about. So it’s kind of taking middle school choice and putting some parameters on it so that schools get a more balanced group of students. And so I think it’s, you know, just, I don’t know what’s going to work, but I think it’s something to be aware of and to think about and hopefully advocate for. I will also say that that New York City has a lot of free afterschool program and I feel like those go a little bit unsung or unnoticed. But basically in New York city for elementary and middle school years, you can have free afterschool for your child’s entire time in elementary and middle school. Now that being said, there is an issue of quality control with some of these afterschool programs and that’s definitely something I’m aware that the city is trying to address that as a high priority. And if you want, I can give you an example of that regarding the Summer Youth Employment Program, which has been around since the 50s? It’s been around a long time and it really kind of grew, there’s been a lot of support for it. But the way it grew was without much quality control. And only about two years ago what was happening was, is a lottery system. So a student just was randomly assigned a summer youth employment opportunity. It didn’t matter what they were interested in, it didn’t matter where they live, you know, none of those fit and match thinking into it. And so the city, working with Department of Ed and a lot of the providers that are involved with this work on doing something called school dates X, Y, Z. And the idea that the schools get involved with helping students to apply and make choices about what kind of employment opportunities, summer employment opportunities they want and would be a good fit for them. And then ideally the schools also host some initial kind of trainings for students before they go off to their summer youth employment around, just getting used to the work environment. Some of those soft skills and employers say are gravely missing from their incoming employees – communication, initiative, time management, those things. So they’re taking that and really trying to continue to serve as many students as they can but, but address some of the quality issues. I think that’s a really promising direction.

Jon M: 27:44 Yeah, I definitely think that the more intentionality there can be for students in programs like the Summer Youth Employment Program and the more that the Department of Youth and Community Development can do to support afterschool programs and provide professional development. We do some professional development for some of the afterschool programs and staff members who are just incredible but come without a whole lot of formal training. And a lot of times the training that they get is just real basic kind of stuff. So, and of course you’re, you’re also talking about doing it in a part time situation and so on. But it’s a critical area because afterschool and out of school time can be so incredibly valuable.

Maud A: 28:33 Especially for students who are at risk of incarceration or that have things in there that, you know, they need these extra sort of safe spaces, positive spaces for them to be able to access. So yeah, I think it’s a really, really important area that, you know, I think people overlook it a lot.

Jon M: 28:54 Yeah. And, and also I just wanted to add to your shout out to Inside Schools, which I think the website is I think it’s really valuable because one of the nice things about it is that it’s not an official Department of Ed website so that people can actually give their individual impressions. It’s not like somehow having pressure that you’ve got to, you know, with the best of intentions be following kind of a party line on, on a school. So,

Maud A: 29:25 No they’re pretty frank and they divide every profile I think into the upside and the downside. So they definitely want to make clear what the school is doing well and then what the school may not be doing so well.

Jon M: 29:40 So going back to, you know, you just made reference to sort of inevitably, or maybe not inevitably, but in a lot of cases there end up being schools that are “dumping grounds,” in quotes. Yeah. So obviously helping, you know, for the individual counselor working with the individual student, their job is to help that student get the best match and fit that they possibly can. But if there are fundamentally still insufficient numbers of quote, “good” middle schools or high schools, this is a larger question than counselors, but what role do you see counselors since they’re, you know, right, doing it on the front line if you will, and also other professionals? What can counselors, is there an ethical obligation basically for all professionals dealing with schools to be adding to the pressure both to integrate the schools and that there should not be any bad schools? You know, I worked for Tony Alvarado in District 2 years ago and he was a supporter of school choice, but his argument was that parents or students should be able to choose based on sort of the kind of classrooms that they wanted to be in, not whether they want it to be in a good classroom or a bad classroom, that all schools should be good. And then if you prefer sort of a first name basis with your teachers, that’s one thing. If you prefer, you know, a more strict and formal situation, that’s another thing. But it shouldn’t be like, “Am I going to learn to read,” or “Am I going to learn to do math?” So what do you see as kind of the civic obligation that comes with all of this for counselors and teachers and principals and everybody else?

Maud A: 31:19 Well, I will say that I think all New Yorkers have an ethical obligation to advocate for a system of good schools. If our students in our, our public talent pipeline, because that’s what our public school system is. If our students are successful, it benefits the entire city’s economy and safety. I mean, there’s just such a strong argument, in addition to an ethical argument, so I do think there’s something. So you could say, “I don’t have kids in the system,” or “I send my kids to private school,” or whatever, but you’re still part of the city. And when students are not doing well in school and growing into their adulthood, having had the educational system fail them, that is going to come back on in ways that are very costly and painful. So I just think it’s, it’s sort of universal obligation for all New Yorkers. I mean, counselors and educators today have some of the hardest jobs in the world, literally. And they, you know, they’ve worked so hard and I know it’s hard for them to fit in yet another anything into their lives in addition to having to come out there, you know, leading calls for change But I do think by choosing to do, to do the work in ways that they know are effective for one and speaking up when they’re in situations where it’s just untenable. So they, they have, you know, over 300 students to one counselor ratios, not just being complacent about that and saying, well, I’ll just do the best they can and some students will win and some will lose. That’s the way it goes. You know, really trying to change that within their own schools. Ask for help, advocate for things like advisory, distributed counseling. There’s a ton of CBOs in the city that offer high quality college access and success programs that will partner with schools and that can be paid for through public funding. So I would just say not being complacent is an important thing for counselors and professionals do, especially if they don’t have other things that they can do in a more sort of citywide like public way. At least sort of be focused on what they can do in the, in the situation that they’re in.

Amy H-L: 33:51 Some counselors may have strong ethical qualms about choices such as the military. Others may be influenced by organizations like 80,000 hours, which urge young people to think about the societal impact of their career choices beyond just individual success or fulfillment. To what degree is it appropriate for counselors to raise these questions?

Maud A: 34:13 I think this is a really great question. That comes back to that tension question of what counselors are going to have to address certain things that where there’s no easy answers and there’s no one right answer. So I mean, from my perspective, I think it’s important to provide the pros and cons of all options. And I do think counselors, you know, part of building trust with students and families is for counselors to talk from their own experiences. So if counselors can state their opinions and base them on facts or experiences in your own life or with previous students, I think that’s important to share, you know, all the while emphasizing this is ultimately the student’s journey, not theirs. I do think that it’s naive though to think that counselors have the strongest sort of sway on students. In one of the focuses they did last spring I was mentioning with 11th grade public school students, the students said that they were really most influenced by older siblings, by peers and by favorite teachers, in some cases because they just didn’t have a lot of opportunities to meet with the counselor. So I think sort of knowing that students are going to get, you know, different points of view from, and obviously from social media and from other places is important to take into account. So if you are just providing another kind of source of information and advice and I think you know, you have to be to yourself as counselor, especially if you know a student well and they’re considering an option that you think they should be aware of the different pros and cons.

Jon M: 35:47 So you mentioned obviously the tremendous low caseload, if you will, the counselors have in New York City and in a lot of other cities and rurally as well, I suspect. What would you say, including this or in addition to this, what do you think the biggest obstacles for counselors in New York City are to do their jobs effectively? And are there things that our audience for example, can do to try to help them overcome these obstacles?

Maud A: 36:16 That’s a good question. I mean not to be a broken record. I do think that the ratio of students to counselors is one of those universally acknowledged problems all over the country, frankly. And it’s just one that doesn’t seem to have political will around the solution. I’m working with an initiative called Career Ready NYC. It comes out of the Center for Youth Employment. And you know in there there’s ideas being floated around, you know, could there be career counselors that are shared among clusters of schools or CTE schools, going back to them. In each CTE school and you have to have a work-based learning coordinator and that person plays a very big role in counseling students about what kinds of career options they’re interested in and then particularly what kind of work-based learning opportunities they want to do and matching them with internships and things like that. And those work-based grant coordinators are for some strange reason required also to be a classroom teacher. So they are juggling just an impossible load. And in some cases CTE schools are able to, CTE schools will sometimes form sort of a a council and that they bring employers on to sort of lighten the load of a workplace when a counselor coordinator having to find employers who are willing to take students where they try to set up agreements with larger institutions, for example, a hospital, so that they don’t have to go to multiple places to find places for students to do job shadows or get a career mentor. But addressing that ratio, that problem of the overload of work [inaudible] and CTE schools is really important. And that’s something that this Career Ready NYC initiative is, is looking to advocate for. So I think that again, it’s just each student has a unique path that they’re going to follow and students that are coming from low income communities need sometimes more supports and more services to make their pathways viable. And so I guess it’s just need more adults who can advise and counsel students in those ways. I do think that again, I mean it might not feel very impactful. But I do find as a parent myself of students in the public school system, elementary and middle right now, that I am, I try to ask questions, you know, why don’t we have the, why don’t we do this? If I see something that I feel like is really being overlooked I don’t, it doesn’t always lead to change or you don’t always get the answer that you want, but at least ask some questions. Again, you can often a good advocate, see the parent coordinator in your school. It also can be something that you can bring, raise to the PTA or the PA level. And you know, even if you can’t, don’t have time to be part of the PTA or PA, those are bodies that sometimes can navigate and push for things. It’s powerful because it’s coming from parents. But I do think, you know, frankly more money in school, sometimes people say money doesn’t matter, but it does matter. It definitely matters, matters to bring down the size of the classrooms. And it matters for technology and it matters for ratio of adults to students.

Amy H-L: 40:00 Thank you so much, Maud Abeel.

Jon M: 40:03 And thank you listeners for joining us. Check out our website for episodes and blogs, or contact us at We’ve begun to post annotated transcripts of our interviews and we offer professional development on social emotional learning and ethics in the New York City area, and we’re on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and our editor and social media manager is Amanda Denti. Till next week.

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