January Most Innovative Player: Tempe High School

January Most Innovative Player: Tempe High School

January 2023

The innovative Player award recognizes Arizona high schools throughout the school year for their innovative efforts and work in FAFSA completion. Read about the FAFSA best practices that have encouraged the seniors of Tempe High School to complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Themed FAFSA Nights: To make FAFSA steps more fun we created themed events 

  • Nov. 17th – “Get Your Piece of the Pie” THS FAFSA night – pie was served
  • Dec. 8th – TUHSD Community College Night @ THS with a THS FAFSA Night – “Get S’more Money” – smores were made!
  • Feb. 16th – THS Parent Teacher Conferences and THS “For the Love of Money” FAFSA Night – also 9 – 12 graders invited for College/ Career planning – cookies will be served

Community Partners– Partnerships and volunteers help make our events successful. College Connect Tempe, University/ community college representatives supported our events providing additional FAFSA experts and college tabling/information. College Connect Tempe also enters all student attendees into a $1000 scholarship drawing for attending workshops acting as an incentive for students. 

Parent Promotion– Events were promoted using Spanish and English flyers, email, text and phone. Personal phone calls were made by bilingual staff members at Tempe High School.

Promotion of partner events: It’s important to also promote other events especially local events that students can attend. College Connect Tempe offers virtual and in-person workshops and 1:1 appointment. Other TUHSD school also coordinate their own FAFSA and college events where all students in the district are invited to attend. For example: McClintock’s Dia de los Muertos FAFSA event was promoted to our students at Tempe High as well.

Targeted Outreach – A targeted outreach approach can be very useful. Our College Advisors sent passes out to students and invitations for 1:1 and group events based on data gathered from AZ College Connect FAFSA dashboard (partial matches, incompletes, not started), data from ASU, U of A, NAU, and GCU admit reports (FAFSA status), GPA lists (who should do FAFSA to meet university priority deadlines such as UA Assurance and ASU Obama). Our goal is to continue moving students through the college application process and to help students reach important scholarship deadlines.

Fall Senior Class Presentations: Counselors provide students with access to new and important college going tools. By making classroom visits students obtain the tools they need to start completing tasks like exploring colleges, careers, scheduling appointments with college representatives:

  • week of Aug. 29, 2022 – all senior English classes – first presentation (College Apps, FSA ID, Maia Learning tool)
  • Week of Sept. 26 – all senior English classes – 2nd presentation (College Apps, FSA ID, Maia Learning tool)
  • Oct. 17 and 18 – FAFSA days at THS – college and community partners on campus all day for 1:1 FAFSA follow ups
  • Week of Sept. 15 thru Sept. 22 – all Junior English class presentations – Maia Learning tool – pre-College and FAFSA

Thursdays – college T-shirt Spirit Day! We encourage staff and students to wear a college shirt on Thursdays.

Social media- Instagram is used to promote events, scholarships, opportunities and to connect with students. A combination of Instagram stories, posts featuring the school mascot are used. @tempe_high_counseling

College Knowing and Going partnership – student ambassadors serve as college-going role models and help with the marketing of student events (creating posters, posting on social media)

Remind: Using the Remind texting platform to invite students to event and to remind students of upcoming deadlines.

College Knowledge Lab and workshop invites: Lunch time and After School open labs are created for students completing any college/career going task (FAFSA, college applications, resumes…)

Other suggestions:

  • Student text messaging through College Connect Remind texting platform(?) to invite to events, remind of timeline, etc.
  • Partnered with ABOR, Ask Benji, College Connect Tempe- Advisor called students and parents over Winter Break who had not completed FAFSA, shared importance of completing, offered 1:1 assistance to complete if applicable.&
  • Lunch time or After School FAFSA Lab Sessions


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