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Peoria Public Schools utilizing new software to track college and career readiness

Mike Rundle

Peoria Public Schools is implementing a new system to help students plan their lives after graduation.

At Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, Peoria Public Schools Innovation and Grants Officer Dr. Susan Grzanich presented a new software called SchooLinks that will assist in keeping District 150 students in-line with the State of Illinois’ Postsecondary and Career Expectation (PaCE) requirements.

School districts statewide are required to introduce PaCE guidelines beginning July 1 and, according to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, must include initiatives around “career exploration and development, postsecondary education exploration, preparation, and selection, and financial aid and literacy.”

Among a wide array of functionalities, the SchooLinks software includes a course planning tool, social-emotional check-ins, and messaging systems between students and guidance counselors. Additionally, a dedicated college search function allows students to filter results by a variety of factors, from available areas of study to each institution’s standing as a historically Black college or university.

Grzanich also says the software could eventually inform the District’s course offerings based on the personalized plans they build for themselves.

“Our students can actually go in, they can select their courses over the next several years—and of course adjust those—but that does two things,” said Grzanich. “It helps them project out what they would like to accomplish, but also gives us an indication of predicting what courses to offer students, which is always nice as well.”

Another perk of the software is that students can hold “alumni accounts” that will remain accessible after graduating from District 150.

“Students will still be able to use the system outside of high school, coming back and pulling out documents that they had at that time,” said Grzanich. “And [the software] will help us track how our students are doing after high school should they choose to engage because it’s got some really nice communication features in it.”

The software will be rolled out amongst administrators and staff this summer and will be available for student use for the 2023-24 school year.

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Mike Rundle is a correspondent at WCBU. He joined the station in 2020.