You are here

Home » FAQs » High School & Beyond

High School & Beyond

The High School and Beyond Plan is a state graduation requirement. Each student must have a High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP) to guide the student's high school experience and prepare the student for postsecondary education or training and career (RCW 28A.230.090 and WAC 180-51-220). Students start their plan in seventh or eighth grade and then continue to revise them throughout high school to accommodate changing interests or educational and career goals.

The High School and Beyond Plan may  provide students with the opportunity to explore their own skills and interests  and discover potential career and educational options. This personalized plan  helps to connect career interests with courses and courses with career pathways. The plan helps students identify the steps needed to reach  postsecondary goals. Students should be encouraged to take ownership over their  high school experience and choose coursework and activities that are relevant  to their goals. The High School and Beyond Plan also provides a means of  tracking requirements for graduation from high school and entry into  postsecondary programs and careers.

Whether a student's plan meets applicable requirements is determined at the district level (RCW 28A.230.090). A student's high school transcript must contain a notation as to whether the student met the High School and Beyond Plan requirement.

Over the past several years, the Washington Legislature has specified elements that all High School and Beyond Plans must contain. The required elements include the following:

  • an identification of career goals, aided by a skills and interest assessment;
  • an identification of educational goals;
  • a four-year plan for high school course-taking that fulfills state and local graduation requirements and aligns with the student's career, training, and educational goals;
  • options for satisfying state and local graduation requirements, taking into account academic acceleration (RCW 28A.320.195), dual credit courses, Career and Technical Education programs, and graduation pathway options;
  • evidence the student has received information on federal and state financial aid programs (including the College Bound Scholarship program) that pay for postsecondary programs;
  • and by the end of twelfth grade, a current resume or activity log that provides a written compilation of the student's education, any work experience, and any community service and how the school district recognized the community service.

In addition the High School and Beyond Plan must also:

  • be revised as necessary for changing interests, goals, and needs of the student.
  • be updated to inform junior year course taking.
  • identify available interventions and academic support, courses, or both, that enable students who have not met the high school graduation assessment standards to do so.
  • be advised for an 8th grade student who has not learned a Level 3 on middle school state assessment in math, the student must take a math course in both 9th and 10th grades.
  • for a student who takes a career and technical education (CTE) course that has been determined to be equivalent to an academic core course (a CTE course equivalency), include a record of a certificate of CTE course completion. The academic course is recorded on the students’ transcript and the record that the student completed a CTE course is part of the High School and Beyond Plan.
  • for students with an individualized education program (IEP), the HSBP must be updated in alignment with their school to postschool transition plan, and be updated in a similar manner and with similar school personnel as for all other students.

A High School and Beyond Plan must be initiated for each student during the seventh or eighth grade. In preparation for that initiation, each student must first be administered a career interest and skills inventory.

No-cost career interest inventory tools include:

After August 31, 2022, the HSBP will take the place of the Student Learning Plan. Until that section of law is phased out however, the implementation of the Student Learning Plan and  the High School and Beyond Plan is locally determined. They may be separate  plans or they may be combined, as long as the state-required elements of both  plans are included in the combined plan, including the requirement to notify  parents or guardians, and including any local required elements.

Student Learning Plans are required in law until that section of law expires on August 31, 2022. Student Learning Plans are “required for 8th grade students who were not successful on any or all of the content areas of the state assessments during the previous year or and who may not be on track to graduate due to credit deficiencies or absences.” (RCW 28A.655.061).

The 8th grade Student Learning Plan are specified in RCW 28A.655.061 and include:

  • the student’s results on the state assessment
  • if the student is in the transitional bilingual program, the score on his or her Washington language proficiency test II
  • any credit deficiencies
  • the student’s attendance rates over the previous two years.
  • the student’s progress toward meeting state and local graduation requirements.
  • the courses, competencies, and other steps needed to be taken by the student to meet state academic standards and stay on track for graduation.
  • remediation strategies and alternative education options available to students, including informing students of the option to continue to receive instructional services after grade twelve or until the age of twenty-one.
  • school district programs, high school courses, and career and technical education options available to students to meet graduation requirements.
  • available programs offered through skill centers or community and technical colleges, including the college high school diploma options under RCW 28B.50.535.

In addition, school districts must notify students and their parents or guardians about the information in the Student Learning Plan. To the extent possible, the plan should be translated into the primary language of the family.

The provisions of ESSHB 1599 (Chapter 252, Laws of 2019) concerning the High School and Beyond Plan are effective immediately, implemented for the 2019-2020 school year. 

Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, each school district must ensure that an electronic high school and beyond plan platform is available to all students. OSPI was instructed to create a list of available electronic platforms to assist school districts in this requirement. 

School districts are responsible for creating processes and procedures for students to develop, revise and complete individualized High School and Beyond Plans that meet requirements. School districts may also establish additional, local requirements for High School and Beyond Plan that serve the needs and interests of the district's students and for other specified purposes.

To see the process broken down by middle school and high school grade levels, please see our High School and Beyond Plan page. OSPI also has resources and sample lesson plans available on their High School and Beyond Plan web page.

The 24-credit graduation requirements (WAC 180-51-068 and WAC 180-51-210) and graduation pathway options (WAC 180-51-230) place a greater emphasis on the role of the High School and Beyond Plan in student course selection. The plan will guide a student's choice for the third credit of math and third credit of science, with parent/guardian approval (RCW 28A.230.090), the identification of personalized pathway credits (classes selected that will help a student develop skills or meet requirements associated with a student's postsecondary goals), and the identification of graduation pathway options.

The student’s postsecondary goals, as articulated in their HSBP, should guide the student’s choice of graduation pathway option (WAC 180-51-230). New requirements for academic interventions and supports were established by ESHB 2224 (Chapter 31, Laws of 2017). School districts must provide students who have not met standard before the beginning of eleventh grade with the opportunity to access interventions and academic supports, courses, or both, designed to the enable students to meet the high school graduation standard. The interventions, supports, or courses must be rigorous and consistent with the student's educational and career goals identified in his or her High School and Beyond Plan, and may include Career and Technical Education equivalencies in English Language Arts or mathematics. In addition, school districts must update the High School and Beyond Plan for each student who has not earned a level 3 or 4 score on the middle school mathematics assessment by the ninth grade. The purpose of this update is to ensure that the student takes a mathematics course in the ninth and tenth grades. These courses may include Career and Technical Education equivalencies in mathematics.

Local school districts have decision-making authority for implementation of interventions, supports and the High School and Beyond Plan. Best practices utilize school counselors and teachers in an advisory program or designated class for developing and completing student High School and Beyond Plans.

The High School and Beyond Plan must be updated  to reflect high school assessments, review transcripts, and assess progress  toward identified goals. The High School and Beyond Plan must be revised as  necessary for changing interests, goals, and needs, and must identify  available interventions and academic  support, courses, or both, that enable students who have not met the high  school graduation standard to do so. Priority for changing student schedules,  providing mentoring, and academic counseling are included in this work. Students  should be provided guidance on all graduation pathway options. High school  transition courses, Senior Year Bridge to College courses and their associated  assessments, are a great option for students who have not met the high school graduation standard but want to attend college after graduation.

Each student shall have a high school and beyond plan to guide his or her high school experience, including plans for post-secondary education or training and career. School districts are encouraged to involve parents and guardians in the process and development and updating the High School and Beyond Plan. A best practice would be to update the plan at least once a year, with the involvement of the parents or guardians.

Per WAC 180-51-220:

  • The plan must be provided to the students’ parents or guardians in their native language if that language is one of the two most frequently spoken non-English languages of students in the district.
  • School districts are encouraged to involve parents and guardians in the process of developing and updating the High School and Beyond Plan.
  • The content of the third credit of mathematics and the content of the third credit of science must be chosen by the student based on the student's interest and high school and beyond plan with agreement of the student's parents or guardian or agreement of the school counselor or principal.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has resources about graduation requirements at Career Guidance WA at has a series of guidance curriculum for grades 6-12 with templates and planning tools for developing a school-wide career and college readiness program. Templates for the High School and Beyond Plan are included. 

A no or low-cost digital tool developed by WSIPC's My School Data is available through school district student information systems. The electronic platform  used the format in the OSPI Career Guidance WA High School and Beyond Plan template to provide career interest inventory, postsecondary choices, pre-populated 4-year course plan with state assessments, and captures activities, experiences, resume, and academic plans, with the ability to upload other  documents. Parent access and school counselor tracking tools are also a part of this digital format. This digital plan can follow students who transfer to other middle and high schools in our state.

See OSPI’s web page on Secondary Transition, Guidelines for Aligning High School and Beyond Plans and IEP Transition Plans.

If a student has completed a CTE course for equivalency credit, the certificate of completion of the CTE course must be included in the student's High School and Beyond Plan (RCW 28A.230.097). A CTE course equivalency is when a CTE course is recognized as equivalent to a core academic course. A student may earn a core academic credit and meet a core subject area graduation requirement and a CADR (College Academic Distribution Requirement, an admission requirement for state 4-year postsecondary institutions) upon completion of the class. The core academic credit is noted on the student transcript and the CTE course completion is included in the student's High School and Beyond Plan.

Local school districts determine how the High School and Beyond Plan is verified. High School and Beyond Plan completion must be noted on the student transcript as "Met"or "Not Met"under Additional State Requirements in the milestone section.

OSPI has templates for the HSBP available in different languages.

Ready Washington also has HSBP materials available for parents and students in Spanish.

The WSIPC HSBP tool is available in multiple languages.

Page last updated: December 2020