Career counselors work to get Valley’s high school students up to speed

Local career counselors are working to get high school students prepared for new Ohio graduation requirements

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – This year’s high school seniors have new guidelines to follow in order to graduate.

Several schools in the Mahoning Valley have career counselors whose focus it is to make sure all students reach that milestone.

Last year, the Mahoning Valley received the Prepared for Success Straight-A Fund. It helps to get students college and career ready.

That’s where the career counselor comes in.

READ: Ohio graduation requirements

Mary Valko is a career counselor at Columbiana High School and Mahoning County Career and Technical Center.

It’s not something that every school has. The Straight-A grant created four career counselors assigned to different participating districts.

“Basically, we assist the districts we’re assigned to with their Prepared for Success component of the State Report Card,” Valko said.

Being prepared for success doesn’t necessarily mean preparing high school students for college after graduation.

“Not all students are college ready, but we want them to either look at a career or maybe look at a 10-month adult education program or trade school, or maybe they’re getting some credentials through the Columbiana County Career Center,” Valko said.

She said Ohio’s new graduation requirements have created some confusion for students and parents. She said she and other career counselors meet with parents and students to go over those new requirements.

Valko is hopeful that with these changes, and the career counselor position, graduation rates will increase.

She recommends that parents are communicating with the school to understand where their child stands.

For all of the graduation requirements for seniors this year, including the alternative pathways on the Ohio Department of Education’s website. 

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