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Office of College, Career and Technical Education

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.

Massachusetts Definition of College and Career Readiness

In winter/spring 2013, The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) approved the state's new college and career readiness definition. Voting on the definition marks the first time that the two boards overseeing the state's K—12 schools and public colleges and universities have partnered in formal agreement on what it means to be prepared for success in college and in the workplace. The definition sends a clear, unified message to educators, students, parents, and employers about our expectations and the level of preparation and performance that signals a student's readiness for college and career.

This definition was further updated in to include civic preparation in February 2016.

The unified definition will provide a solid foundation for continued collaboration between the K-12 and higher education sectors.

My Career and Academic Plan (MyCAP)

What Is My Career and Academic Plan?

My Career and Academic Plan (MyCAP) is a student-centered, multi-year planning tool designed to provide students with ongoing opportunities to plan for their academic, personal/social and career success. Because the primary author of MyCAP is the student with guidance from at least one identified caring adult in the school setting and in consultation with parents/guardians, students are empowered to seek out learning opportunities that align with their individual career interests and self-defined goals. Through identification of interests and goals along with an acknowledgement of any barriers to success and supports necessary to overcome those barriers, MyCAP maps the academic plan, personal/social skill attainment, and workplace readiness activities required for postsecondary success. As the student comes to own his/her choices and future planning, MyCAP may also improve student engagement.

MyCAP implementation supports district and school goals such as: completion of MassCore (MA recommended program of high school study); increasing the number of students who take and pass Advanced Placement (AP) and college level academic courses; increasing student attendance and engagement; increasing high school graduation rates; and increasing the number of students enrolling, persisting and attaining a postsecondary credential.

MyCAP is intended for ALL students beginning as early as sixth grade. The MyCAP tool consists of both a process and an electronic platform. The electronic platform provides a place to organize and record progress related to academic achievement, personal/social skill development, and career development information that leads to workplace readiness. However, it is within the process that students: set attainable goals based on individual interests and strengths; engage in activities that promote academic achievement, personal social skill development and career development education; promote communication between students, school staff, parents, and other influential adults; and support school and district improvement efforts that are responsive to students' interests and needs.

For more information, please go to My Career and Academic Plan (MyCAP) webpage.

Introduction to the Massachusetts Model for School Counseling

Detailed information about the Massachusetts Model for School Counseling is available at the Massachusetts School Counselor's Association (MASCA) website.

The Massachusetts Model for Comprehensive School Counseling (Model) is a programmatic, organizational tool that links school counseling programs to supporting college and career readiness. The Model provides a framework for program implementation designed to transform the way that school counselors work. Program goals and outcomes are proactive rather than reactive. Program delivery is done equitably, moving away from traditional over-reliance on one-to-one counseling to a balanced mix of classroom-based content and individual guidance, advising and counseling. School counselors develop and use data and evaluation methods to measure the impact of their programs and coordinate efforts to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the requisite academic/technical, workplace readiness and personal/social knowledge skills and attitudes for college and career success.

The Model is designed to ensure that all students benefit from the school's guidance counseling program by providing consistent, classroom-based, prevention-oriented, evidence-based programming for all students as well as targeted small group and individual interventions for students identified as at risk.

Educator Evaluation and School Counseling

  • Massachusetts Educator Evaluation Website

  • The Massachusetts Model System for Educator Evaluation
    The Model System is a comprehensive educator evaluation system designed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), pursuant to the new educator evaluation regulation, 603 CMR 35.00. This includes a rubric specific to Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) which includes school counselors.

  • MASCA Role-Specific Indicators for School Counselors

  • Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) Rubric
    The SISP Rubric describes practice that is common across educators in professional support roles such as school counselors, school psychologists, school nurses, and others defined in the recognition clause of the appropriate collective bargaining agreement. It is intended to be used throughout the 5-step evaluation cycle for educators who provide direct services such as education, therapy, counseling, assessment, and diagnosis to a caseload of students, as well as educators who may provide indirect support to students through consultation to and collaboration with teachers, administrators, and other colleagues.

Last Updated: January 10, 2023

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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