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Future Ready Logo

College and Career Readiness

Additional College and Career Readiness Supports and Initiatives

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EarlyCollege Designs
Early College Designs includes a number of collaborative initiatives to encourage simultaneous enrollment in post-secondary and secondary education through initiatives such as the Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program, Early College High Schools, the Gateway to College program, concurrent enrollment and individual district-higher education articulation agreements. The effort also includes support of STEM Early College High Schools funded from the Massachusetts Race to the Top (RTTT) federal grant award. This report Download PDF DocumentDownload PDF Document
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provides more information about the early college design landscape in Massachusetts.


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Individual Learning Plans (ILP)
The Individual Learning Plan (ILP) is a student-directed, dynamic, multi-year planning tool designed to increase students' understanding of the connections and relevance of what they do now to their future success. The ILP maps academic plans, personal/social growth, and career development activities while taking into account the student's unique, self-defined interests, needs, and goals for the attainment of post-secondary success. While ILP implementation is not required in Massachusetts, an increasing number of schools and districts across the Commonwealth are implementing ILPs to support the college and career readiness of their students. The Department published a guide for implementing ILPs in fall 2014.
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Your Plan for the Future
YourPlanForTheFuture (YPFF) is an initiative of MEFA (the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority), in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

YourPlanForTheFuture allows students to create a secure personal portfolio, search for college and career information, apply to colleges and universities online and have a solid college and career plan. If you are interested in getting your school or student involved please visit View External Link YourPlanForTheFuture.org


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MCAS, Educational Proficiency Plan and the Competency Determination
Students in the class of 2010 and beyond now need to either reach proficiency, or demonstrate through an Educational Proficiency Plan (EPP) that they have taken steps to get there, before earning their Competency Determination (CD) required for high school graduation.

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Alternative Education Pathways
Alternative Education is an instructional approach under the control of a school committee that is offered to "at-risk" students in a nontraditional setting. "At-risk" students may include those who are pregnant/parenting teens, truant students, and suspended or expelled students, returned dropouts, delinquent youth, or other students who are not meeting local promotional requirements.

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Pre-AP
The intent of this Race To The Top project is to provide training and technical assistance for middle and high school teacher teams, thus promoting equitable access to Advanced Placement (AP) and other college level coursework for all students and increasing the number of high school graduates prepared to enroll and succeed in credit-bearing coursework in college.

This pre-AP teacher training is high quality professional development designed to assist vertical teams of teachers in developing curricula, instruction, and performance expectations that prepare students for AP coursework. Vertical teams of teachers in a content area will have the ability to vertically align curriculum, and create more rigorous, standards-based curriculum.


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Career Vocational and Technical Education (CVTE)
The Office for Career/Vocational Technical Education administers Commonwealth of Massachusetts' General Law (M.G.L.) Chapter 74 governing vocational technical education programs in public school districts. The Office also administers the federal Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 P.L. 109-270 (Perkins IV), and the federal Guidelines for Eliminating Discrimination and Denial of Services on the Basis of Race, Color, National Origin, Sex, and Handicap in Vocational Education Programs 34 CFR, Part 100, Appendix B (Civil Rights Guidelines).

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Dropout Reduction/Prevention
Dropout reduction and prevention involves Prevention, Intervention, and Recovery. The Department recognizes that dropout reduction is not about one single program or initiative. Dropout reduction is very complex and does not lend itself to easy or quick fixes. Effective dropout prevention, intervention, and recovery must be seen as an adaptable and ongoing process. Significantly reducing the number of students who drop out of school takes a combination of systemic efforts at the community, district, school, classroom, and individual student levels.

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School Counseling and College and Career Readiness
The work of school counselors is essential to meet all the Commonwealth's goals for preparing more students to be college and career ready. Part of this work includes a partnership with the Massachusetts School Counselors Association (MASCA). Among our goals is to collaborate with MASCA to support and expand the use of the Mass Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Programs in order to repurpose the role of school counselors and position them as a primary resource to lead students in college and career readiness. This partnership is designed around the Massachusetts Definition of College and Career Readiness.

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Integration of College and Career Readiness (ICCR) Demonstration Sites
The ICCR Demonstration Site initiative grew out of the ICCR Task Force's recommendation to "incentivize schools to create and demonstrate comprehensive career readiness strategies." In response to this recommendation, the Department funded five districts –Chicopee, Gill-Montague, Hampden-Wilbraham, Northbridge, and Weymouth –to serve as demonstration sites, by creating and integrating activities for students in grades 7-12 that mutually support both academic and workplace readiness goals. The grant supported districts in their work to promote student engagement, enhance academic achievement, support social-emotional development, and provide workplace readiness skills that will lead to more students graduating from high school who are ready for career and postsecondary success.

District Report Outs: March 31, 2015

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The ICCR Demonstration Site initiative led to significant innovation by the five participating districts in ways to scale up strategies for College and Career Readiness for all students, with key impacts on students and school personnel. As indicated in the Issue Brief by University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, the evaluator of the initiative, there were four leading strategies used by all five: expansion of Career Development Education, development of processes for implementing students' Individual Learning Plans, increased collaboration with community partners, and expansion of the role of guidance counselors in the provision of College and Career Readiness services.

Among the important impacts of the project, students demonstrated the following attitudinal changes:
For a more detailed look at the outcomes of the initiative, read the ICCR Demonstration Site Issue Brief Download PDF Document  Download Word Document.

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The Massachusetts Creativity/Innovation Initiative
The purpose of this state-funded opportunity is to foster students' creativity and capacity for innovation, critical for success in a 21st century economy. More specifically, this funding opportunity will support the review, design, and implementation of middle and/or high school curricula that promote these essential skills of creativity and innovation while improving students' academic achievement and engagement.

The projects are anchored in the definition of college and career readiness and specifically address the three domains (academic, personal/social and career readiness). Through this focus, students will build creativity and innovation skills to better prepare them for successful futures.

Creativity and innovation cannot be developed through passive learning. Curriculum and instructional methods developed or refined in this program actively engage students in project-based learning aligned with grade-level standards in any of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.

Work undertaken through this funding integrates several educational initiatives, including: 1) supporting creativity and innovation skill acquisition; 2) preparing students for college and career; 3) integrating the use of new tools and technologies in the classroom; 4) partnering with community resources; and 5) implementing standards-based education. Inter-disciplinary work is strongly encouraged.

Creativity and Innovation Booklet

Additional information about the district level initiatives i can be found in the the booklets below

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2015 -2016 Creativity and Innovation Booklet
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2014 -2015 Creativity and Innovation Booklet

Additional information concerning the Creativity and Innovation Initiative is available at the Contextual Learning Portal.


February 26, 2015 Convening

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Massachusetts New Skills for Youth
Massachusetts is among 24 states and the District of Columbia that secured grants for this work through phase one of the New Skills for Youth grant opportunity. The grants are one piece of a $75 million, five-year initiative that JP Morgan Chase developed in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and Advance CTE. The initiative is aimed at increasing economic opportunity for young people by strengthening career-focused education starting in high school and ending with postsecondary degrees or credentials aligned with business needs.

Massachusetts' proposal is posted at College and Career Readiness.


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Last Updated: July 1, 2016
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