Zoey Haines became our first Career & College Center (CCC) coordinator at Central High School last fall when we expanded into Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS). Now after working one-on-one with students in her busy college and career resource center, she's collaborating with the Central team to provide remote support and guidance to students in this challenging time.
“COVID-19 hit right after the end of the Saint Paul teacher’s strike, so we’ve been apart from our students now for eight weeks,” Zoey says. “From the very start, we’ve been partnering with our counseling team, college network partners and district leaders to put students first and support them in the best ways we can."
Zoey is working hard to help seniors stay on track with their college planning and support juniors as they get ready to start college visits and applications next fall. She stays in touch with students through her weekly newsletter, which is full of details on virtual college visits, scholarship opportunities, webinars with professionals in specific fields, ACT and ACCUPLACER updates and job opportunities. She’s also continuing her weekly gift card drawing for students who have completed the FAFSA. And she encourages students to sign up for one-on-one virtual appointments via her on-line calendar, which fills up quickly.
“Today I spoke with a student who was selected for FAFSA verification, and walked him through this process step-by-step,” she says. “I also talked with a senior who is planning to join the military after graduation, and a junior who just received their ACT score and wants to know how to start the college process. Many students are worried about missing deadlines, so I spend a lot of time providing information and reassurance.” Zoey is also working with external partners like Saint Paul College to make sure that students who have expressed interest in the school have completed the application process.
Zoey and our other two Saint Paul CCC coordinators, Doyen Kulee and Leedra Yang, also collaborated on a career and college readiness PowerPoint presentation for SPPS high school counseling teams to share out with students. The presentation provides unified messaging for the district on basic steps and resources for career and college exploration, as well as upcoming opportunities such as virtual college visits.
“We’re all going beyond our usual areas of work to do the extra things that make a difference for students right now,” says Zoey. “I’ve worked with teachers and staff to help deliver food to students and their families, send out birthday messages to students and participate in a really fun weekly trivia contest with over 100 students and teachers that keeps us all engaged and connected.”
“I’m excited to see the whole district come together. We’ve built really strong relationships and support systems for students, and now we’re seeing the power of this collaboration.”
Learn more about our Career & College Centers.