Rollout of new career planning vehicle hasn’t been smooth
By Rachel Gergetz, Current Staff
The very tool meant to help students is causing them confusion.
Xello is an online platform that aims to assist students in career exploration, post-high school planning and successful future preparation. The West Bend High Schools began using this platform at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. Every Friday during resource time, students are expected to complete the “lessons” that Xello offers.
However, student complaints have risen since Xello’s debut at WBHS. Many students do not consider Xello to be worth their time, and believe that it should not be required that they use it.
“It mostly frustrates me because it tells me things I already know, so it’s basically a waste of time,” said Claire Young, a senior at East High. “I guess it really just depends on the person. For people who already know (what they’re doing) and are forced to do it, it’s really tedious. But for people who don’t know, it could be helpful.”
Other students are simply confused by a slew of varying information sources. Many students, especially seniors, are confused about whether doing Xello assignments will be a graduation requirement or not.
“I was told by a few teachers that in order to graduate this year we needed to complete the lessons from Xello,” said Alyssa Ortiz, a West High senior. “I didn’t see the reasoning behind that because we are seniors and most of us know what we want to do after high school.”
West principal Ralph Schlass says that while Xello is not a graduation requirement, students are expected to complete the necessary assignments on Xello.
“The honest answer is that we have an expectation that you will do the lessons that are assigned by the due date that you guys have,” Schlass said. “That way we can cross off the box that you have done your ACP (Academic and Career Planning) component. Will you not graduate if you don’t do the Xello assignments? The truth is, no. But they are for your benefit.”
Unbeknownst to many high school students, WBHS administration uses Xello to fulfill state law requirements.
“There is a requirement by law that students do academic and career planning in school,” Schlass said. “You have to show the state that you are giving students access to proper planning tools that exist so they can plan for their futures beyond high school.”
The administration believes Xello provides everything the students need as well as efficiently fulfilling state requirements.
“Xello, which used to be called Career Cruising, revamped itself and came up with some new lessons that are really focused on ACP requirements through the state as well as just being a little more modern and a little more attractive to high school students,” said Amy Richter, the WBHS College and Career Adviser.
WBHS does not plan on ending Xello use in the foreseeable future, and neither do other Wisconsin school districts.
“What we’ll do is send out a survey or two to the students asking for feedback because we want to maximize its potential,” Schlass said. “I don’t see us straying away from Xello anytime soon. In fact, I just got off the phone with the superintendent of Kewaskum, and he’s excited that we are using the program like they are up there. I know that other local districts, when we meet with their superintendents, they have the same desire to give students opportunities to learn about post-secondary opportunities.”