Counselors tout course, career planning benefits of Xello

As the end of the school year approaches, so does graduation and scheduling for next year’s classes. In this time counselors try to urge students to use Xello to plan out their schedules for the next school year and also help students find a career path that they truly are invested and interested in.

Counselor Erin Gardner has been a CFHS counselor here at the high school for 13 years and has been working in the Cedar Falls School District for 15 years. She is the counselor for students with the last names starting with the letters A-F.

Counselor Andrew Eisenman has been a CFHS counselor for four years, but was a counselor for a different school and school district previously. Eisenman is the counselor for the students with the last names starting with the letters G-L.

T district has been using Xello for five-six years. Gardner said, “Before Xello, we used I Have A Plan Iowa. It was put on by the state of Iowa. When they got rid of that, that’s when we used Xello.”

Eisenman wasn’t here during the time that the school district had used ‘I Have A Plan Iowa’; “At my old school we didn’t have anything like Xello, so we’d have a place with information for students and families to go to,” he said. “We didn’t have computers or anything like that for students.”

Gardner said she thinks that most students don’t use Xello enough for it to help them. “If students got on and actually used it the way it should be used then it could benefit in a lot of ways, just because I think there’s a lot of career exploration with Xello, but it takes time.”

She said, “There’s some students who do use it. Like, there have been students who go to college, and I’m like, ‘Where is that? How did you find that?’ and they’re like, ‘Xello.’”

Eisenmen has found very similar experiences as Gardner. He said it “depends on how much time students put into Xello. As a software, Xello is great. It has a ton of information about careers and education you need to do to get those careers, but you get out of it what you put into it. If you don’t put the time in then you get really nothing out of it.”

Gardner said that because of how in-depth and widespread Xello is that it could truly help students, “You can dig really deep into careers. You can look at the outlook of the job, is the career even worth looking into, is there going to be a job in five years? The income of the job, what type of education and/or training you need. You can see the majors and what colleges have these majors for the job.”

Eisenmen said he doesn’t know how many students actually log onto Xello when thinking of making plans, applying plans, and writing those plans. Luckily, “The ‘plan feature’ for careers, colleges and education is new this year. It’s starting to help students make those plans, so it’ll be interesting to see what it looks like in a year or two.”

The counselors can also see what you write in the new feature for Xello. Eisenman said, “So, on the backend, from our screen, we can see students who want to go to colleges, and we can see students who sent their transcripts to those colleges.”

Gardner said she wishes “there was a chance for students to have more classroom time, or ‘career blip’ for students to use it during the school day.”

Eisenmen said, “I wish that Xello and PowerSchool would kind of talk to each other, so that when we put the classes onto Xello, it sends them over to PowerSchool.”

Both said they enjoy using Xello equally as much.

Gardner enjoys using Xello because “it’s just a great product and a great way for students to explore careers, schools and more.”

Eisenmen said he is always excited to use and help students with Xello. “We’re very lucky to have Xello here because not every school has it,” he said. “In the state of Iowa all schools have to use something (a career planner). There are free options, and then there is Xello, which we pay for. We’re lucky that we’re able to pay for Xello.”

With the end of the school year being nearly three months from now, scheduling for next year has already started, and according to Eisenmen, using Xello would help students make informed choices in the scheduling.

This year’s ninth graders had scheduling on Tuesday. Jan. 31 and Wednesday, Feb. 1. This year’s sophomores and juniors will be scheduling in their classes on Feb. 7 and 8.

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