School Counseling and K-12 Supports
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School Counseling and K-12 Supports

Welcome to Guidance and Counseling at OSPI! We have gathered the information, policy, regulation and school-level resources every school needs to build a powerful and comprehensive guidance and counseling program.

School counselors design and deliver school counseling programs that promote student achievement. These programs are comprehensive in scope, preventive in design and developmental by nature. A comprehensive school counseling program is an integral component of the school’s academic mission. Comprehensive school counseling programs respond quickly and effectively to student data, and rely on standards that benchmark academic, career and personal/social development.

What You Need to Know Now

  • Watch for our Counselor Newsletter and CGCP news. Go to Email Updates and subscribe to News and More for School Counselors. This is a quick and easy way for us to share information and connect school counselors with resources that support guidance and counseling programs. To access School Counseling & K-12 Supports Newsletters (SC&K12S).
  • Career Guidance Washington lessons align with the Common Core State Standards — customized to the graduation and course admission requirements of Washington state schools.
  • Class of 2016 graduation requirements are outlined on this State Board of Education web page, along with school years up to 2019 and back to 2013.

Professional DevelopmentCommunicationSchool Counselor EssentialsSupport for School CounselorsProfessional Development and CertificationPartners, Programs and Resources


School Counselor Essentials
We help districts set up and operate effective, comprehensive guidance and counseling programs in the elementary, middle and high school grades. The best way to structure your program is to focus on three essential components — academic, career and personal/social development.

Academic Development
American School Counselor Association (ASCA) sets the standards for school counselors — ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success. These standards promote strategies and activities that optimize the learning potential of each learner, and support the relationship between academic development and readiness for career, college and life.

Career Development
American School Counselor Association (ASCA) sets the standards for school counselors — ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success. These standards guide school counselors as they help students make the critical connections between their High School and Beyond Plan and the transition they must make to post-secondary life.

    College and Career-ready. Find easy-to-use lesson plans and curriculum maps for grades 6 through 12 on the Career and College Readiness site. Consolidated into a 20-lessons-per-grade sequence, advisors and counselors can help teachers take advantage of content customized to the graduation and course admission requirements of Washington State.

    High School and Beyond Plan. Required by the Washington State Board of Education (SBE), each student must create a High School and Beyond Plan that guides their high school career, and helps to set, visualize and work toward personal and academic goals. Find requirements, characteristics of high-quality plans and resources on the SBE website.

    Washington Career Bridge. Students can explore careers and find out what education and training will lead to specific occupations. Encourage students to take a survey that connects subjects and activities they like to do with potential career paths. Lots of useful information on occupations, job trends, and education/training — well indexed and easy to navigate on Washington Career Bridge.

Personal and Social Development
American School Counselor Association (ASCA) sets the standards for school counselors — ASCA Mindsets & Behaviors for Student Success. These standards provide a proven foundation for personal and social growth that helps students manage their emotions and develop effective interpersonal skills.

Student Support at OSPI. Get familiar with this robust compilation of services and programs that support all students but have special focus on those who are vulnerable and at-risk. Visit Student Support and explore a wide range of programs important to a positive K-12 educational experience.

Academic 21st Century Community Learning CentersPrivate Education and Home-Based Education

At-risk and Vulnerable Youth Children of Incarcerated ParentsHomeless Education: McKinney-VentoInstitutional Education

Behavior and School Culture Compassionate SchoolsPositive Behavior and Intervention Supports (PBIS)

Dropout Building Bridges: Dropout Prevention, Intervention and Retrieval

Foster Care Foster Care Youth

Health and Well-being Coordinated School HealthHealth Services: School Nurse Corps, Home/Hospital InstructionHealthiest Next GenerationMental Health and Schools

Military Military Kids

The School Safety Center at OSPI promotes the development of effective emergency operation/safety plans. Safety plans prevent, protect, mitigate and respond to emergency situations. Post-crisis, a school safety plan is an essential guide for recovery.

Support for School Counselors
Washington Framework for Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling. Get familiar with this well-designed conceptual framework that visualizes and explains how a school counselor can make a difference in student achievement at school and post graduation. Start with understand the framework and program essentials. Developed by the Washington School Counselor Association (WSCA).

    Washington State Student Achievement Council. Dedicates expertise and programmatic support to the transition students must make from secondary to post-secondary education and training. Ready, Set, Grad is a student-friendly tool that guides education planning, encourages high-value extracurricular activities, and connects young people with college-planning events, mentors, and what they need to know to gain admission, pay for and complete college.  

    Graduation Coach — Policy Model. Graduation coaches work with school counselors to make sure students get the support they need to graduate. In the OSPI Model Graduation Coach Policy, 2013, find a model policy that defines the skill sets and responsibilities that shape the role and responsibilities of a graduation coach within a Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Program (CGCP).

    American School Counselor Association (ASCA). Support, connection and advocacy for school counselors around the world. Find many opportunities for professional learning, informative periodicals, publications and research on the ASCA website.

    Building Bridges. Schools use their Building Bridges grants to build capacity for comprehensive dropout prevention, intervention and reengagement systems. These systems use data-informed approaches to identify at-risk students, provide timely interventions and supports and reengage students who have dropped out.

    Learning by Choice. This booklet presents answers to commonly asked questions about the Learning by Choice law, options created by the NCLB Act, and other enrollment options available to students in public, private, and home-based instruction. Download Learning by Choice, Student Enrollment Options in Washington. Opciones de inscripción para estudiantes de Washington (Learning by Choice)

    WA Core to College Project. Promotes long-term collaborations between higher education and K-12 entities that will improve college readiness and increase enrollment and graduation. WA Core to College uses the Common Core State Standards and assessments to establish a common definition of college readiness.

Professional Development and Certification

   Updated 9/9/2016

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