The School Counts! program, an initiative adopted by The Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce, encourages employers to use high school performance records as one of the criteria for evaluating high school job applicants. The program also demonstrates to students the importance of building a strong work ethic in high school, as it will directly affect their future employment.
Students can earn a School Counts! Certificate for each year of high school by meeting the following requirements:
• Obtain a “C” or better in every class.
• Achieve at least a 95% attendance and punctuality rate.
• Take more than the minimum number of required credits
• Demonstrate positive behavior with no out of school suspensions.
A graduating senior can earn a Master Certificate for achieving the above requirements for all four years of high school in addition to completing high school within 8 consecutive semesters.
Students can use the School Counts! certificate for job applications and college applications.
Employers want employees that report to work on time, are not chronically absent, have a strong work ethic, persist and finish what is started, and exert extra effort. Throughout this region, businesses support School Counts! and give special consideration to an individual who has a certificate.
The Chamber Foundation also awards $100 scholarships to graduating seniors, chosen at random from School Counts! credential earners, from each area high school. The 2017 scholarship winners include:
Benton High School
Berwick High School
Bloomsburg High School
Central Columbia High School
Columbia Montour Vo-Tech
Danville High School
Millville High School
Southern Columbia High School
How do I earn a School Counts! certificate?
You are eligible to earn a School Counts! certificate for each school year from grade nine through twelve. If you earn a certificate for each of those four years, you will also earn a School Counts! master certificate.
At the end of each school year, your guidance office will check your records to see if you qualify for a certificate. If you do, you will receive a certificate for that school year. If you do not meet the critieria, you won’t receive a certificate, but you won’t be penalized either.
Criteria for earning a School Counts! certificate
• Obtain a “C” or better in every class
• Achieve at least a 95% attendance & punctuality rate (For a 180 day school year, that means no more than 9 absences and 5 tardies)
• Take more than the minimum number of required credits
• Demonstrate positive behavior with no out of school suspensions
• Graduate high school in 8 consecutive semesters (for a master certificate)
Understanding why School Counts!
At some point you will be looking for a job, either during high school, right after high school, or after college. Earning the School Counts! credential will show potential employers that you have the qualities that they want in an employee.
Employers want employees who:
• Report to work on time
• Are not chronically absent
• Have a strong work ethic
• Persist and finish what is started
• Exert extra effort
How can the School Counts! program benefit me?
Your School Counts! certificate can be used as part of your application for a part time position during high school, or as part of a career portfolio.
You may include your certificate in applications for college and other post secondary education opportunities. Businesses through the region support the School Counts! program and will give special consideration to an individual who has a certificate.
How do I sign up?
Participation is completely voluntary. Your high school will kick off the year’s School Counts! program shortly after the school year begins. You may learn about the program during a school assembly or lunch period, or during an open house or new student orientation. You may also find out about the program by contacting your school’s School Counts! coordinator, which is usually someone in the guidance office.
You’ll need to sign a School Counts! pledge form for each school year you wish to participate in the program. So, if you signed up last year, you still need to sign up again this year. Then give your completed pledge form to your school’s School Counts! coordinator.
As a School Counts! school, your responsibilities include the following:
1) Sign Ups – Schools need to sign up students during the first few weeks of school. Lunch time and homeroom are good times to encourage students to sign pledge cards. A new student orientation, meet the teacher night, or open house may be another opportunity. Also, a pledge card and letter may be mailed out to students prior to the beginning of school, as part of the packet of information that schools generally mail out to incoming students. A sample pledge card and letter are on this website. You can also contact the Chamber Foundation for more pledge cards at the beginning of the school year. If your school needs help with sign ups, the Foundation can send a volunteer to help during lunch period.
2) Create a spreadsheet – All pledge cards must be entered on to a spreadsheet that will allow you to track grades, attendance, behavior and credits taken for each student that signed up. All these categories should be checked at the end of the school year.
3) Distribute Certificates – Once School Counts! certificate earners have been identified at the end of the school year, it’s time to print out certificates and distribute them to the students. You can contact the Chamber Foundation for the blank certificates or you can print your own using the templates provided on this website.
4) Scholarships – The Chamber Foundation provides two $100 scholarships to School Counts! students at the senior awards ceremony. Two names should be drawn at random from the master certificate winners. If you do not have master certificate winners yet at your school, draw the names from the senior class School Counts! certificates. Let the Chamber Foundation know the date/time/location of your senior awards ceremony so that a Foundation board member can be appointed to attend and to hand out the scholarships.
Contact the Foundation directly for School Counts! certificate templates.
Businesses in Columbia and Montour counties who have not yet signed up to be School Counts! supporters can do so by contacting The Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce at [email protected] you are a current School Counts! business, be sure to promote the program by asking high school students and recent graduates for their School Counts! certificate during the interview process. You can also include a line item for the School Counts! credential on job applications. Finally, display your School Counts! decal in a prominent location and encourage other businesses to support the program.
Once you are signed up as a School Counts! business, your company name will be listed on Penn Tech’s website as well as on The Foundation of the Columbia Montour Chamber of Commerce’s website.