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High School and Beyond Plan

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The High School and Beyond Plan is a graduation requirement for every student. It's a process for students, parents, and teachers to guide students through high school and think about their future. Plans are personalized and designed to help students set, visualize, and work to achieve goals. A High School and Beyond Plan is one of the three components, along with Credit and Subject Area Requirements, and Graduation Pathway Options, that Washington students must complete to achieve a high school diploma.

SBE’s vision for the High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP) aligns with the Mastery-based Learning Work Group’s recent report, which states: “The High School and Beyond Plan should not just focus on the student’s goals for after high school but should help students take ownership over their learning during high school while exploring their values, strengths, passions, and long-term goals. It should also be used to help students ensure they are learning the skills necessary to reach their post-high school goals. In short, the HSBP is the map to get a student from where they are to where they want to be, both academically and in life.”

Requirements | Plan Process | Additional Resources

Required Elements of the High School and Beyond Plan

The requirements of the High School and Beyond Plan are described in RCW 28A.230.090 and in WAC 180-51-220.  Decisions about whether a student has met the requirements for the High School and Beyond Plan are made locally per RCW 28A.230.080. The HSBP helps to bridge the other two components of the Washington diploma: it helps to guide selection of the individual student’s courses and graduation pathway option, based on the career and education goals identified in the individual student’s plan. 

  • Identification of career goals aided by a skills and interest assessment.
  • Identification of educational goals.
  • A four-year plan for courses taken in high school that satisfies state and local graduation requirements and aligns with students' secondary and postsecondary goals that may include education, training, and careers.
  • 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. 
  • Resume or activity log, that includes the student’s education, work experience, community service, including how districts recognize community service (RCW 28A.320.193)
  • Evidence that the student has received information on federal and state financial aid programs that help pay for postsecondary programs, including evidence that the student has received the following information:
    • Documentation necessary for completing financial aid applications, information provided on the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) website about the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and WASFA (Washington Application for State Financial Aid)
    • Application timeliness and submission deadlines, and the importance of submitting applications early
    • Information specific to students: 1.) who have been in foster care, 2.) who are, or are at risk of, being homeless, or 3.) whose family member or guardians will be required to provide financial and tax information necessary to complete applications
    • Opportunities to participate in sessions that assist students and, when necessary, their family members or guardians, in filling out financial aid applications. 
    • Information on the College Bound Scholarship application and eligibility
    • If a student completes a Career and Technical Education (CTE) equivalency course that is transcribed as a core subject area course to meet graduation requirements (RCW 28A.230.097), then a record showing that the CTE course was used to meet a core course must be retained in the student's high school and beyond plan. This record may be useful if the student pursues education, training, or a career in the same or related field as the CTE course.

High School and Beyond Plan and Process

Each school district in Washington approaches the High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP) process in different ways. Some schools or districts choose to award an elective credit for the HSBP when students complete HSBP activities through an advisory course, and several districts award credit in core subject areas (e.g. English Language Arts) when students are meeting state learning standards through their HSBP activities.

Districts and schools must create processes for High School and Beyond Planning that support the following:

Middle School

  • Start the plan by the end of 8th grade, with a career interest and skills inventory that will help inform high school course-taking and help the student initially identify education and career goals. 
  • Involve parents and guardians in the process of developing and updating the high school and beyond plan. The plan must be provided to the student's 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. Districts are also encouraged to provide plans to parents and guardians in additional languages as needed, to the extent feasible.
  • Inform 7th and 8th grade students of the college bound scholarship program established in chapter 28B.118 RCW.

High School

  • Update the plan periodically, at minimum to address:
    • High school assessment results informing course-taking in junior and senior year
    • A student’s changing interests, goals, and needs, including identifying the graduation pathway option or options the student will pursue.
    • Interventions, academic supports, and courses that will enable the student to graduate high school.
  • Students in foster care, students who are dependents of the state and ninth grade students who may be eligible must also be provided with information on the program. Students in the college bound scholarship program should be reminded about program requirements to remain eligible and provided with information about filling out a financial aid application in their senior year.
  • The student’s High School and Beyond Plan should be used to guide the choice of a third credit of both math and science, based on the student’s individual goals. 
  • For students who have not earned a score of level 3 or level 4 on the middle school math state assessment, the plan must include taking math courses in ninth and tenth grade. The math courses may include career and technical education equivalencies in math, established in RCW 28A.230.097. For students who have not earned a level 3 or level 4 on their middle school English language arts exam or their middle school science exam, districts are encouraged to inform students of supports and courses that will address the students' learning needs and be considered in the students' course-taking plans.
  • For a student with an individualized education program (IEP), the student's IEP and high school and beyond plans must align. Students with an IEP transition plan, which begins during the school year in which they turn sixteen, may use their transition plan in support of, but not as a replacement for, their high school and beyond plan. The process for developing and updating the student's HSBP must be similar to and conducted with similar school personnel as for all other students. The student's HSBP must be updated in alignment with the student's school to postschool transition plan.

Page last updated: January 2021.

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