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PEP sessions prepare students for successful futures

For thousands of Denison ISD students, successful futures in college, careers and the workplace don’t just happen. They’re carefully planned and orchestrated down to the last detail in a wide variety of programs that provide vital information and guidance for parents and students throughout their school careers. One of them is a program called PEP (short for Pre-Enrollment Planning) that has proved key to helping kids find success in high school, college and beyond.

The annual PEP sessions, mandatory for all eighth grade students and parents, are conducted by trained counselors, teachers and administrators each year at Scott Middle School for intense three-day periods in early spring. Amended for safety reasons during the pandemic, the in-person PEP sessions are now back in place and going strong.

“Our PEP sessions establish individualized and detailed plans for all four years of high school as well as two to four years beyond graduation in most cases,” said Carrie Boettger, Lead Counselor at Denison High School. “The kids are enrolled in a semester-long Investigating Careers course where they explore their talents, strengths, likes and dislikes, college and career interests, dreams, goals and affordability issues. Then we all gather to discuss how best to achieve those goals through a carefully planned high school curriculum that includes Advanced Placement and Dual Credit courses that can count as college credits. In some cases, the plan veers toward a two-year Associate Degree or various career, trade or vocational options. For others, it’s a 4-year college plan that might also include post graduate degrees. Budgets, scholarship availabilities, government assistance, opportunities for work-study programs and other financial issues are also factored into the discussions. It’s a very valuable process for everyone involved. It keeps us all on track and goal-oriented.”

SMS Principal John Parker had immense praise for Denison’s PEP program. “This kind of in-depth planning is paying big dividends for our students, both in terms of saving families money and giving students confidence in knowing where they’re headed and how they’ll get there. We have had many students graduate from Denison High School with a full two-year Associates Degree, thanks to careful planning that included a lot of AP and dual credit courses. We’re all glad to finally return to in-person PEP sessions. It puts a personal touch on something that’s incredibly valuable to the future success of our students.”

Families of all Denison ISD 8th graders began participating in mandatory PEP (Pre-Enrollment Planning) sessions at Scott Middle School during the last week in March. The purpose: to establish detailed and individualized course plans designed to foster success in high school, college, careers and the workplace.

Scott Middle School’s mandatory PEP (Pre-Enrollment Planning) sessions for all 8th graders require students and their parents to meet with DISD counselors, teachers and administrators to map out individualized course plans for high school and beyond -- according to each student’s interests, strengths, talents, and goals as well as family budgets.

Lance San Millan, Principal of DHS’s Pathways campus, helped an 8th grade student and parent design a goal-oriented educational plan for high school plus the two years following graduation during recent PEP (Pre-Enrollment Planning) sessions at Scott Middle School.

Smiles and positivity were front-center at Scott Middle School during the first in-person PEP (Pre-Enrollment Planning) sessions since the pandemic began in 2020. “We’re all glad to finally return to in-person PEP sessions to help our students and families plan for future success,” said SMS Principal John Parker. “It puts a personal touch on something that’s incredibly valuable to the future success of all our students.”


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