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SPS and OTC partner to support HHS students

Ozarks Technical Community College and Springfield Public Schools entered into an agreement to place a student success advisor at Hillcrest High School. The advisor will counsel and instruct Hillcrest students on their post-secondary options, including college, vocational training and military service. The Memorandum of Understanding between SPS and OTC was approved by the Springfield Board of Education on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

The Hillcrest student success advisor will be similar to the model OTC has at rural high schools in southern Missouri. Advisors in those schools encourage students to take the ACT and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid along with other behaviors that lead to college enrollment. Since the implementation of the program in the 2019-2020 school year, the four high schools have seen positive results, including:

  • An increase in FAFSA completion as high as 29%.
  • An increase in college enrollment as high as 10%.

"The student success advisor will complement the Hillcrest counseling staff and focus solely on helping students develop a successful plan for their lives after high school," said Dr. Grenita Lathan, Springfield Public Schools superintendent. “We’re excited for this partnership and the positive impact it will have on the Hillcrest community.”

OTC will hire, train, supervise, and pay the salary and benefits for the advisor, but they will have an office at Hillcrest and integrate into the culture of the high school. The college approached SPS about the idea of an embedded advisor in the high school given the model's success at the other high schools in the state and to improve the post-secondary outcomes for Hillcrest students.

"We see this as part of our mission," said Dr. Hal Higdon, OTC chancellor. "Whether Hillcrest students go to college, enter an apprenticeship program or serve our country, we want to help them become productive and prosperous citizens.”

OTC and SPS hope to have the advisor in place at Hillcrest sometime during the fall 2021 semester.