Academic Innovations
Academic Innovations

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Get Focused...Stay Focused!® (GFSF): What is It?

Get Focused...Stay Focused!® (GFSF) is a scalable, cost-efficient program that promotes high school graduation, post-secondary completion, and successful, skilled entry into the workforce.

Get Focused…Stay Focused!® (GFSF) is a public/private partnership between the non-profit Get Focused Stay Focused National Resource Center (the program developer and technical assistance provider) and Academic Innovations (the curriculum partner).

The Curriculum

A cornerstone to the GFSF program methodology is the Career Choices series curriculum. These comprehensive guidance course materials, delivered in either a hybrid or online format, take students through an in-depth decision-making process in each year of high school. The result is that students graduate with an informed pathway to secondary training and/or education and the skills to be employable.

Once students develop their online 10-year Plans with the Career Choices series, targeted lessons in three consecutive Get Focused...Stay Focused!® Follow-Up Modules ensure students stay focused on their goals. Each 16-lesson module provides students with an important “touch-point” as they move through high school, preparing them to transition seamlessly to their post-secondary goal. And the GFSF program can begin as early as middle school with Building a Bridge to Your Future, an innovative workbook designed to give students the skills, attitudes, and emotional resiliency that will propel them to success as they transition to high school.

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World-Class Support and Technical Assistance

Whether it is online self-directed study or in-person coaching and professional development, this whole-school initiative can be efficiently launched and sustained with the support of the Get Focused Stay Focused National Resource Center. No other educational program model has the depth of professional development provided by the GFSF staff, volunteers, and funders.

Proven, Practical, and Cost-Efficient

“Career Choices received a Promising Intervention Award from the U.S. Department of Education in recognition of its effectiveness in reducing dropout rates and supporting higher achievement in reading and math.”

Association of Career and Technical Education’s Techniques magazine


students impacted
and counting...

Since 2009, students across the country have experienced the power of the sophisticated and highly developed GFSF program.

The Get Focused...Stay Focused!® Dual Enrollment program contributed to Santa Barbara City College being recognized by the Aspen Institute in 2013 as the #1 Community College in the United States.

In 2015, the United States Congress awarded Career Choices author Mindy Bingham a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for Innovative Approaches to Curricula.

“We wanted to do something about the school’s academic culture starting with the freshman class. In our second year, we had a 38% drop in freshmen with three or more Fs, and GPAs went up 15%.”

Rudy Ramirez, Principal (1992-2016)
Indio High School, Indio, CA

“We’ve seen some very remarkable results. Our 2009 graduation rate hovered around 53%...The second cohort that was exposed to the Career Choices program, which graduated 2011‐2012 school year, had an 83% graduation rate.”

Lynnette Williams, Lead Teacher
Poughkeepsie High School, Poughkeepsie, NY

What Makes GFSF Unique Among College and Career Readiness Programs?

Early College through Dual Enrollment

Exemplary Model – KCCD Data Flyer

The California Community College Chancellor’s has issued a call action: to enroll every 9th grade student in a dual enrollment college course. Since 2009, the Get Focused course has been successful in providing high school freshmen across California with their first taste of college through dual enrollment. The Kern Community College District reports a 30% increase since they began implementing the 9th grade Get Focused dual enrollment strategy in 2016, and school districts across California have partnered with their community colleges to offer students a dual enrollment course that launches them on a path to postsecondary education and training success.


Students quickly discover their path to success through the classroom-based experiences provided by the Career Choices series and GFSF course materials. The resulting focused energy radiates throughout the campus. When all students on your campus have a vision and plan for a productive future, you’ll watch a positive dynamism develop that will change the culture of your school.

Increases Motivation

How is the GFSF program different? Every student creates an online 10-year Plan as they enter their freshman year, and that plan is revisited and updated in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. This sustained focus across the continuum of the high school experience validates students’ goals and plans and feeds their self-efficacy regarding their ability to accomplish those goals.


For too long our society has gotten the college decision-making process backwards.

Guided by key recommendations from research on college/post-secondary completion, the GFSF program empowers students with the information they need to make wise and affordable choices about their next steps. Students exit high school with an identified college or post-secondary training path that includes an informed major and the plan to transition into productive employment.

Increases Employable Skills

Today, the college educational experience is going through a major transformation. Students can now effectively self-advocate and map their own plan for acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to achieve their own personal level of success.

More than simply a traditional Student Education Plan, the GFSF experience arms your students with a Skills-Based Education Plan—a powerful tool for directing their own learning, whether in the classroom or in the workplace. This knowledge ensures students complete their formal education with the skills to be employable in the career/industry of their choice.

A Whole-School Initiative

When all students on your campus have an online 10-year Plan, then every instructor, counselor, and advisor has access to their hopes, dreams, and goals. As a result, academic coaching and counseling can be personalized for each student—a strategy that research shows is vital to student success.

Highest Standards of Support

Research confirms that ongoing professional development provides the best level of learning. With the online professional development tools and the technical assistance expertise of the Get Focused Stay Focused National Resource Center, you can launch and sustain a program that will change the lives of your students and the professional satisfaction of your teaching and counseling staff.

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