Carter County Schools (CCS) strives to provide a high-quality educational experience for all students within this southeastern Tennessee school district. One of the school district’s key initiatives is to increase equitable career technical education (CTE) and early postsecondary opportunities for all high school students.
To that extent, Carter County Schools has been a Kuder® partner in various capacities since 2003. Previously, CCS used Kuder systems through a statewide contract with Tennessee. Since then, Carter County Schools has adapted its needs with Kuder over the years as curriculum and goals have pivoted. When the pandemic hit and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) stimulus passed in Congress, Carter County Schools took advantage of the additional funds by expanding their postsecondary planning program to include additional Kuder products.
“I think the first and foremost thing is now we have a plan. We’re not just moving from guided standards and suggestions, but we now have a program with Kuder—which is a plan—that helps our teachers and our counselors. From the counselor perspective, they were having to use multiple resources, and it took so much time to get everything into one place that they needed to help students.”
CTE Director, Carter County Schools
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy, public health, state, and local governments received a federal stimulus bill (ESSER) to offer extra financial support to districts and schools across the country. When these funds became available to CCS, district leaders decided to obligate a portion of their available ESSER dollars toward additional Kuder system features to enhance the overall value of their college and career readiness program.
Carter County Schools has provided Kuder Navigator and its extensive suite of college and career readiness tools for almost two decades to thousands of middle and high school students within the district. It delivers a combination of education planning, career exploration, and workforce readiness resources directly to the district’s students in grades 6 through 12 within a single, easy-to-use platform.
This decision led to the successful approval and implementation of a three-year contract that will focus on leveraging all available Kuder products to reduce learning loss caused by the pandemic, increase administrative capacity, and prioritize social and emotional wellness among students, educators, and families within Carter County Schools.
The college access toolkit enables college-bound students at CCS to view side-by-side comparisons of prospective schools that meet their academic and financial goals, along with campus match scores and their likelihood of being admitted. With several streamlined integrations at work, students are able to quickly and easily request transcripts and recommendations directly within Navigator. This toolkit also contains standardized prep courses, practice tests and materials, AP course study guides, and more for students to complete, save, and review during their college entrance exam preparations.
Most recently in 2022, Carter County Schools implemented the addition of Pathways Link to their Kuder Navigator system solution. This powerful feature quickly connects students to localized CTE courses offered through Carter County Schools or other specialized programs of study by displaying relevant offerings alongside the student’s interest, skills, and work values assessment results. CCS has been impressed by the early success of Pathways Link, and is excited to see engagement increasing from students who are interested in continuing their education outside of a traditional college or university.
New to the district in 2021, Kuder Galaxy has already introduced hundreds of Carter County’s elementary school students (Pre-K through fifth grade) to career awareness and exploration, an increasingly important initiative for the district as they focus on lifelong learning. According to CTE Director Betsy Oliver, Galaxy is popular because of its simplicity. Counselors and parents find it easy to use as it doesn’t require in-depth training and its accessibility in multiple classrooms at multiple times allows for in-class teaching as well as at-home play.