High School and Beyond Plan: 101

Who am I? What can I become? How will I become that? These are questions many of us ask throughout our lives — starting at an early age and, often, continuing through adulthood. Here at Ready Washington, these are questions we urge students to consider frequently, with support from school counselors, teachers, family, and other caring adults. Our coalition provides resources and information to support students in planning their education-to-career paths — whichever paths they choose.

One main pathway planning effort in our state is the High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP), a graduation requirement and a tool that enables every student to plan for and pursue education or training and careers after high school. Students’ minds can change as they grow and develop new goals, and the Plan is designed to be flexible and adaptable.

In this blog post, we offer an introduction, or a 101 class, to the Plan. Many of us who work outside the classroom are eager to know what the HSBP is, how it’s implemented, and how it helps prepare students for success after high school.

If you have any additional questions or comments about HSBP, please contact us, and we will add in additional information as needed. Thank you for reading!

What is the High School and Beyond Plan?

The High School and Beyond Plan is a graduation requirement and a tool that supports students in exploring their interests, planning high school coursework that is aligned to those interests, keeping track of major assessment scores, and logging work, school activities, community service, and other relevant experience. The Plan is designed to be flexible as students’ goals and interests change over time, as well as enable students to successfully pursue education or training after they graduate high school.

What does the Plan look like?

The state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has templates available here. The plan was developed around three guiding questions: Who am I? What can I become? How do I become that? Here are the state’s required elements for the HSBP:

1. Identification of the student’s career goals using a career interest inventory.

2. Identification of the student’s educational goals.

3. A four-year course plan with an individualized personalized pathway that fulfills graduation requirements and aligns with the student’s career and educational goals, with information about dual credit programs and the College Bound Scholarship.

4. By the end of 12th grade, a current résumé or activity log.

5. If the student has not met standard on the state assessment, this plan must include interventions and academic supports, additional courses, or both that will enable the student to meet the high school graduation requirements.

When do students start working on the Plan?

Students should begin their Plans by eighth grade. Each school determines specific timing and activities that students will use to launch their Plans.

What if a student changes his or her mind?

That’s great! The HSBP is meant to be flexible and is expected to change throughout the student’s educational journey. Schools are encouraged to revisit the Plans with their students each year and to use students’ Plan information in ongoing conversations about their goals and coursework. As students’ career aspirations change or as they participate in internships, jobs, or extracurricular activities, the Plan should be updated.

Are students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) still required to fill out a High School and Beyond Plan?

Yes, students with IEPs must have a HSBP that is developed and updated in alignment with their IEP. The Plan must be developed in a similar manner and with similar personnel as for all other students.

I’m a parent. How should I be involved with my child’s Plan process?

Regularly reviewing and updating the Plan with your child throughout middle and high school is one step you can take. Check in with your student about their Plan regularly — consider asking if you can see it and what your child is doing now to meet their goals.

You can also ask your student’s teachers and counselor for more information. Many schools use an electronic portfolio to house the HSBP, which parents might be able to access independently.

I’m a teacher. What is my role with the High School and Beyond Plan?

You work hard every day to support students’ learning and enable them to become critical thinkers and problem solvers. All school staff can play a role in supporting students on their education-to-career path. Ask your students what they like to do and direct them to resources at your school about careers. If a student is really enjoying your class and/or engaging at high levels with your content, encourage the student to explore careers related to your class. Help students know how to get their questions answered and included in their Plans. Remind your students that you believe in them and their ability to achieve their dreams — the Plan is a concrete step along the way!

I’m a student. What can the High School and Beyond Plan do for me?

School is a busy time, and keeping track of everything can be overwhelming. The HSBP can help you choose classes and get involved in activities to discover and prepare for possible jobs that would be a good fit. Storing information on all your activities and academic progress will making applying for internships, jobs, college and/or scholarships easier later. Whether you want to become a teacher, an engineer, a nurse, an electrical line worker, or something else, a little planning in high school can go a long way toward getting you ready for a future career.

What state resources are available to assist students with development of the HSBP?

OSPI has resources about HSBP planning here.

The Washington State Board of Education describes a high-quality High School and Beyond Plan here.

Career Interest Inventory and Postsecondary Options can be found at careerbridge.wa.gov.

The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board has a helpful ‘Where Are You Going? Guide’ for download here.

What other pathway planning resources are available?

Ready Washington has videos for families, students, and educators about the Plan, as well as a website in English and Spanish that is always adding more resources.

Ready Set Grad has a workbook that students can use during high school to prepare for financial aid and college applications, available here.

The Washington Student Achievement Council has a free texting service called Otterbot, which is available to students 24/7 who have questions about financial aid for college and career education.

The College Knowledge project offers student-developed materials broken down by grade level to support students in preparing for college. The materials are available in five languages.

Core Plus Aerospace is a two-year high school manufacturing curriculum that is backed by industry and prepares students through hands-on learning. Learn more at coreplusaerospace.org.

GEAR UP has a Family Guide for parents to support their child as they transition to college.

Do you have any questions about the HSBP? Have you seen HSBP implemented successfully in your school? Please contact us, and let us know.