Susan Hill: Owning the Responsibility

Redefining Ready is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community exploring innovative topics, ideas, strategies, and philosophies in the evolving world of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are leaders in their fields who constantly seek to learn from others, collaborate, and apply their own experiences to truly distill best practices in the world of college and career readiness.

Listen in as Susan Hill, Director of College and Career Readiness at the School District of University City (Missouri) joins the program to discuss the “to and through” culture that University City has built around college and career readiness. At every level, University City consciously designs their curriculum and counseling framework through the lens of postsecondary preparation. Susan believes it is the job of all educators to “own the responsibility” when it comes to exposing students to postsecondary pathways and helping students align their interests to a pathway of best fit. A racially and socioeconomically diverse district, University City’s commitment to their students does not end with graduation, and Susan and her team meticulously track student success six years out from high school - continually offering support and using the data to fine tune the district’s approach. At University City, they own the responsibility at every level, try and remove barriers that may stand between their students and ultimate life success, and then let students’ natural grit and resilience come to the fore and carry them through.

About Susan Hill

Susan Hill, Ed.S. has worked as an administrator in the School District of University City in the St. Louis Region for nine years. She served as an Assistant Principal and Principal at University City High School prior to her current role as the Director of Pk-12 College and Career Readiness in the School District of University City. Susan taught Social Sciences at Lindbergh High School for ten years before her time at University City. Susan also serves as Secretary on the St. Louis Region's NAF Advisory Board and is finishing her doctoral degree at Missouri Baptist University, where she is studying factors that influence postsecondary retention through the lens of student and family voice.

About The School District of University City

College and career readiness is our district's driving vision. It is at the heart of our work with students every day-to ensure they have the knowledge, skills and habits of mind needed to be successful in their postsecondary endeavors. At University City School District we are cultivating a "to and through" culture, developing students who will both attend and persevere through their postsecondary pathways.

College and career readiness starts in preschool and creating a love of learning and reading can even begin at birth. Reading to babies and through childhood everyday, in addition to keeping a home library with age appropriate books, are easy ways to ensure your child stays on track as they grow. As students matriculate through the district they will explore career options and learn about colleges and universities starting in elementary school. College visits will begin in Middle School and continue through High School so students are exposed to a variety of institutions. Career fairs are also held at the middle and high school level so that students are exposed to options that suit their strengths and interests.

College and career readiness becomes complex at the high school level. A good foundation is key for our ninth grade students so they can maintain a high GPA and earn a qualifying score on college and career readiness assessments. Exams like the ACT measure a student's growth and predict success in college. These scores are a result of cumulative learning and determine admission and scholarships. At the high school level a robust college and career readiness curriculum is delivered by classroom teachers to ensure that all students, including those who will be the first generation in their family to attend college, have the information they need to navigate the postsecondary education process.

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