Pinellas school upgrading academic planning

Pinellas County public schools will utilize a newly created system next fall that will, school district officials hope, provide a better gauge of student progress.Counselor Connect is an interactive online academic planning system that is designed to help collectively guidance counselors, students and parents.According to a school district press release on the system's planned launch as part of the 2013-2014 school year, students will start using the program in the eighth grade.Counselor Connect also incorporates diploma designations that are in line with legislation approved earlier this year that seeks to improve students' preparation for either college or the workforce.Students will have the opportunity to choose an academically focused "Scholar" pathway, which provides preparation for the four-year university experience, or an industry certification-focused "Merit" pathway, which readies individuals for careers.Highlighted features of Counselor Connect include the ability of students to individually design and update academic plans for graduation and beyond and to project grade point averages based on performances in classes.Both guidance counselors and parents will be able to monitor students' progress with the online system."This valuable online resource will empower students to play a much greater role in determining their educational and career paths," Pinellas Schools Superintendent Michael Grego wrote in the release.Counselor Connect was developed by Lighthouse Guidance Systems. LGS, part of the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator at the University of South Florida, works toward "contributing to the advancement of modern educational tools," according to its website.v vIn other local school news, the district reported that two North Pinellas students won awards at the National History Day competition, held June 9-13 at the University of Maryland.Mia Radovanovic, 16, who will be a junior next year at Palm Harbor University High School, finished in third place in the Senior Individual Exhibit category for a project titled "Margaret Sanger: A Birth in Women's Control."Amy Pacskiewicz, who just completed eighth grade at Dunedin High Middle School, earned sixth place in the Junior Individual Website category for her project "Chairman Mao's Purgatory: The Impact of Communist Russia on China."
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