How Spokane Public Schools is Getting Creative about Pathway Planning for Students

Filed Under: Blog

One click. Ten questions. Submit.

That’s the start of the High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP) process for students in Spokane Public Schools.

The HSBP is a graduation requirement and a process 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 and other relevant experience. The Plan is designed to enable students to successfully pursue education or training after they graduate high school.

Spokane’s Director of College and Career Readiness, Scott Kerwien, is working to streamline the HSBP experience for students and staff, to make the process both user-friendly and meaningful.

He has created a Google form that captures key information about students’ current career interests, related plans for education after high school, and aligned course scheduling. Students complete the survey once per year, starting in middle school, informing course selection and ongoing career exploration activities.

“The High School and Beyond Plan process should create a rich experience for students to plan their courses and explore potential careers with support from school staff,” Kerwien said. “The Google form and resulting data are meant to facilitate such an experience.”

Information from the form is collected in a spreadsheet that is easily searchable (and stored securely and privately), so school staff can see which students are interested in various career paths and connect them with relevant courses and external learning opportunities. Staff can also more easily keep track of students’ personalized pathway choices, which Kerwien says is a major challenge for counselors that the Google form should help ease.

After they fill out the form, students receive a PDF of a narrative populated with their information – tangible documentation of their goals and career aspirations at the time.

The result is a process that is easy for everyone to use and is intended to encourage personalized opportunities for students to explore their education-to-career pathways.

From Kerwien’s perspective, the Google form process means the HSBP is easier to deliver (teachers, counselors, or other staff can send students the link), and the resulting data are easier to store and put into action to support students with meaningful course selection and other career exploration opportunities.

The form also meets the state requirements for the HSBP process and is designed to align smoothly with each school’s existing culture around readying students for education and training after high school.

The HSBP process is one element of the district’s “T-2-4” goal: “preparing students to successfully complete some form of higher education: technical, two-year, or four-year.”

“We want students to start thinking in middle school about their interests, and to continue reflecting on and refining those interests as they plan classes and activities in high school. The HSBP process plays a critical role for students, in part because it provides school staff with important information to support students on whatever path they choose,” Kerwien said.