What is Career Guidance Washington?
What are the Elements of a career guidance program?
Is career guidance based on standards?
How are career guidance lessons taught?
How do I access the curriculum?
What topics do the lessons cover?
How does career guidance help students focus on their future?
How do career guidance activities help organize student work?
Does career guidance help meet graduation requirements?
How does career guidance help students focus on academics?
How and why does career guidance focus on community?
How does career guidance focus on careers?
Career Guidance Washington utilizes Navigation 101 as a guidance and life planning program for students in Grades 6–12. It is designed to help students be what they dream. Specifically, career guidance activities have been designed to help students:
- Develop clear plans for what they would like to do with their lives after high school
- Learn what they need to accomplish today—while they are still in school—to reach those dreams
Career guidance operates on the premise that every student deserves help and attention, not just those who are high risk or high achieving. With career guidance activities, no student is invisible: every student has the support of a caring adult at school. The curriculum can be accessed from the OSPI website and is free to all public middle and high schools in our state.
A career guidance program is composed of Elements that work together to engage students, teachers, and families alike.
- Student Advisory
Students meet regularly in a small group with an educator-advisor (a teacher or other school staff member). Students typically stay with the same advisor and group until the transition to a new school or graduate. To keep advisories structured and easy to implement, the Washington State Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI) has developed a full curriculum for Grades 6–12 that is based on academic and guidance standards.
- Student Portfolio
Students in career guidance use lessons to develop a portfolio and they save samples of their work with their post-high school plans in electronic or paper portfolios. The portfolios help them reflect on their progress and make plans to improve. It is their High School and Beyond Plan and/or senior culminating project.
- Student-Led Conference
Each year, students share their achievements, dreams, and plans with their advisors and families at a conference the student leads. The conference is tied to course registration, involving families in their students’ academic plans.
- Student-Driven Scheduling
Students who take advanced, dual credit, or Career & Technical Education (CTE) courses in high school do better after graduation. Career guidance encourages students to take the challenging courses they need for their post-secondary plans, and then offers the resources to help them succeed.
- Data Collection
Schools can collect data on a number of different indicators to measure student success. Early results show that students who fully participate in a guidance curriculum program take more advanced courses, graduate at higher rates, and are more likely to pursue a college degree or industry certification.
- Program Management
Implementation of a career guidance program is central to the career and college readiness mission of the school and is recommended as a component of the school improvement plan (SIP). The program leadership team should include an administrator, counselor, and teacher(s) who meet on a regular basis to collaborate program planning and implementation using data analysis.
- Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling
Navigation 101 emerged from the efforts of a single school district to develop a comprehensive guidance and counseling program (CGCP). Such programs provide sound context for the development and management of this career guidance model.
Yes. Career Guidance is based on both academic and guidance standards. Each lesson plan is based on:
- Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) with Grade Level Expectation level of specificity
- American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model Standards in the areas of personal and social, career, and/or academic development
- Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for career and college readiness
Career guidance lessons have been designed to be taught in regular “advisory” sessions. Advisory sessions usually meet two or more times a month for 25–45 minutes. An advisory consists of a teacher or other school staff member and a small group of students. Students stay with the same advisory group until they transition to another school or graduate. Schools typically operate on an assembly schedule on advisory days to allow time for the advisory session. The Career Guidance Washington curriculum provides many lesson plans for each grade level from Grades 6–12. These lesson plans provide easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for advisory sessions. Each lesson packet includes:
- A one-page lesson plan, with lesson goals, a list of needed materials, a summary of classroom activities, and information about students’ work products
- Ready-to-copy student handout(s)
In addition, the Navigation 101 curriculum includes a Teacher’s Guide with Student Workbooks for each grade level. The lessons provide a complete Scope & Sequence for that year’s lessons, information on the outcomes students will achieve through the career guidance lessons, and suggestions for advisors on supplemental activities and resources for students and their families.
All public Washington middle and high schools have the opportunity for all career guidance lessons that can be accessed through the OSPI website.
Each advisory session is based around a theme. These themes repeat each year to help organize the curriculum and to help students retain and build on what they are learning. Typical themes include:
- Setting Goals. At the beginning of each school year, students are supported to set goals for themselves in three areas: for what they will achieve academically that year; for how they will make progress in exploring careers and their dreams for the future; and for how they will grow personally, as an involved member of their school and community.
- Improving Academically. Each year, students have a number of opportunities to review their academic performance, reflect on the factors that have affected their performance (for good or bad), and then make plans to improve. Students use their High School & Beyond Plan, a graduation requirement, to keep track of their progress and make a plan for graduation and post-secondary options.
- Building Community. Research shows that students who are engaged in school do better academically and are less likely to drop out. Therefore, guidance activities devote time to helping students exhibit citizenship by joining activities at school, participating in a volunteer service at school and in the community, and becoming leaders within their schools. The advisory group gives students a “home base” at school in which they can feel that people know and care about them.
- Planning for Life After High School. Students have a number of opportunities through advisories to assess their interests and skills and learn about careers that might be interesting to them. Developing their High School & Beyond Plan and/or the senior culminating project help students plan for their future, starting in middle school.
- Exploring Careers. Students learn about different careers and identify the career clusters that seem right for them. The curriculum is integrated with Career & Technical Education (CTE) courses and programs, so that students can learn about the resources and opportunities available in middle school and high school to help them prepare for the future.
- Using Money. One of the biggest reasons young people have to drop out of college is because they run out of money. Career guidance lessons helps middle and high school students learn the basics of managing money and how to develop a financial plan for how they will afford their college and career choices for life after high school.
- Planning for Next Year. Students in middle school start to create their High School Plan about what they hope to achieve during high school. Students who are already in high school create and update a Four-year Course Plan as a part of their High School & Beyond Plan each year to plan for the courses they should be take—focusing on advanced, dual credit, and CTE opportunities—to be prepared for their dream career.
As part of advisory classes, students are asked to develop a number of different plans for the future each year. By thinking carefully about different aspects of their goals for the future, students learn how to connect what they are doing now to what they hope to achieve and then have the incentive to do better in school. Career guidance plans include:
- Goals for each grade level, prepared at the beginning of the school year for the year ahead
- Plans for contributing citizenship by joining activities at school, exhibiting leadership at school, and participating in volunteer service opportunities
- An “academic inventory,” which is a plan for academic improvement, prepared after reviewing first quarter grades
- Post-secondary and career plans based on students’ goals and dreams
- Financial plans, focused on how to budget, use, and save money
- A course plan to help guide the student in terms of the classes they need to take in high school, and focused around high school graduation requirements and college admission requirements
- A High School & Beyond Plan which allows students to think carefully about what they will do after graduation. (Note that this plan is required to graduate from high school in Washington State and that the High School & Beyond Plan meets state graduation requirements, as well as the CTE Program of Study.)
Each advisory class session refers students to their portfolios, which help develop their plans and are records of their accomplishments and self-reflection in school. Portfolios can be paper or electronic collections of student work. They include samples of students’ work, grades, test and assessment results, educational and career plans, community service records, honors or awards they’ve received, and notes from their student-led conferences.
Each guidance lesson includes time for students to review and update their portfolios. To help students organize their work, the portfolio can have three sections:
- Academic Development. This section of the portfolio includes students’ grades and transcript information, test and assessment results, and samples of work from each of their classes. It also includes the plans students develop for their academic performance each year.
- Career Development. This section of the portfolio includes research students do on careers that interest them, as well as their resumes and information about any summer or part-time jobs they hold while they are in school.
- Personal and Social Development. This section documents students’ involvement in activities at school and their volunteer service at school and in the community. It includes information on school clubs and sports students are part of, volunteer service they have completed either individually or as part of a group, and other extracurricular activities, such as select sports teams, music or drama ensembles, or clubs. It also includes information about the student-led conference each student is asked to organize each year for his or her family and advisor.
Career guidance can help students meet the Washington State graduation requirements for graduation from high school. Students’ work throughout the years (and particularly during high school) will be saved and organized in their portfolios. The end result will help students meet their graduation requirements as follows:
- High School & Beyond Plan. Each year, as part of the guidance curriculum, students complete worksheets on their accomplishments to date and their plans for life after high school. These worksheets help students prepare a full High School & Beyond Plan during senior year. This plan, which is required for graduation, helps students think carefully about what they want to do after high school and what they are doing right now to prepare. By the time they are seniors, students’ High School & Beyond Plans are clear descriptions of their plans and include a financial plan, as well as an academic and career plan. The High School and Beyond Plan meets the State of Washington’s high school graduation requirements, as well as the CTE Program of Study requirements.
- Culminating Project. The lesson plans include everything seniors need to organize a culminating project based on their portfolios and a senior presentation. The culminating project/portfolio will meet Washington’s graduation requirements.
- Credit Requirements. The guidance lessons helps students regularly check their credits and plan the courses they must take—not just to meet the requirements to graduate from high school, but also to be prepared for the admissions requirements of their post-secondary choice.
A significant part of each year in career guidance programs is to help students focus on academics: keeping portfolios, reviewing grades and assessment results, developing plans for academic improvement, and a plan to take advanced, dual credit, and CTE courses in middle school, high school, and beyond. Career guidance helps students reflect on their academic performance and then plan for the future. Students are encouraged to improve their academic performance based on their strengths and weaknesses. They’re given information about the coursework required for four-year or community college and then urged to enroll in advanced, dual credit, and CTE courses that are vital to post-secondary success. And they’re frequently asked to make connections between what they’re currently learning and how they will use those skills after high school.
Career guidance programs help students focus on community-building by getting involved in sports, clubs, and leadership activities at school; engaging in volunteer service in the community; helping younger students; and participating in activities as a member of an advisory group. Becoming involved in a community, learning to be of service, and learning how to lead are all lifelong skills that will benefit students no matter what their chosen academic or career paths. In addition, research shows that students who are engaged in school activities do better academically and are less likely to drop out. The guidance curriculum helps students become involved in school activities and exhibit good citizenship at school and in the community.
The guidance curriculum is fully integrated with Career & Technical Education (CTE) and includes time each year to help students investigate career options. Each year, the curriculum features a number of advisory lessons that are focused on exploring careers. These sessions help students learn more about their interests and skills and then help them learn about career opportunities and the education and training they’ll need to pursue these opportunities. The lesson plans suggest that each student take an interest or skills assessment once a year. The lesson plans also suggest career interviews and job shadows for older students, to give them firsthand experience in a career area that interests them. Students also learn about the CTE courses and programs available at their school or within their district, including classes, skills centers, Tech Prep, Running Start for the Trades, and other opportunities.