Students Tell Global Conference About Razor COACH Program

Heather Spickard, Whitney Farrar, Rhiannon McKee, Brittany Chunn, Taylor Scott
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Heather Spickard, Whitney Farrar, Rhiannon McKee, Brittany Chunn, Taylor Scott

Five University of Arkansas graduate students presented information about the Razor C.O.A.C.H. program to an international conference in Boston in July.

Brittany Chunn, Whitney Farrar, Rhiannon McKee, Taylor Scott and Heather Spickard are graduate students in the counselor education program who work as career coaches at Northwest Arkansas high schools. They attended the National Career Development Association's Global Conference.

The students were joined in the presentation of "The Razor C.O.A.C.H. Program: A Career and College Coaching Partnership Between a University and Community School Districts" by faculty members Kristin Higgins, an assistant professor of counselor education, and Dan Kissinger, an associate professor of counselor education, and by Josh Raney, program director.

Higgins is principal investigator and Kissinger is co-investigator of the project funded by the Walton Family Foundation and based in the College of Education and Health Professions.

The Razor C.O.A.C.H. program partners with 16 high schools in Northwest Arkansas with the aim of Creating Opportunities for Young Arkansans' Career Hopes, which is where the acronym in the name comes from.

By providing college and career planning services to at-risk students in grades 10-12, the program motivates and supports these students to increase their knowledge of and access to career and educational opportunities beyond high school.

Razor C.O.A.C.H. interventions focus on facilitating development of pro-academic behaviors, increasing self-awareness, exploring career and college options, and establishing future goals. The ultimate goal is to increase graduation rates, increase post-secondary enrollment, and improve the quality of the Northwest Arkansas workforce.

The presentation at the Boston conference provided an overview of the program, information about how it was implemented in area high schools and preliminary results of first-year outcome data. Attendees to the presentation included representatives from a number of institutions across the nation who wanted to gain insight on creating similar programs in their regions of the country. With the program recently completing its first year, this was the first opportunity for it to be presented on a global level.  

In addition to giving the presentation, the coaches had an opportunity to participate in a number of workshops and events related to college and career planning.

"The conference was a great experience that provided insight into what the nation is doing in regard to career development," McKee said. 

In its first year, the program served 362 students in Northwest Arkansas and anticipates increased application numbers for the coming year. The program kicks off its second year in August with a meeting to allow the schools and coaches to begin planning for recruitment and will distribute applications in early September.



Josh Raney, Director - Razor COACH


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