OSPI Explains: What Is the High School and Beyond Plan?

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Katy Payne she/her

Washington’s public school students have a wide variety of pathways available to them once they complete high school. To help them plan for those pathways, students complete their High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP).

The HSBP is a high school graduation requirement designed to support students in exploring options for higher education and careers, and align their courses to their interests. Students update and revise their plan throughout middle and high school to ensure their plan remains in alignment with their goals.

School districts use electronic platforms to make the HSBP available to students, but because districts use different platforms, a student’s HSBP may not follow them if they move. In 2023, the Legislature passed a bill requiring the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to facilitate a transition to a statewide universal online HSBP platform. Below, OSPI provides more information about the HSBP, how students use it, and the project to transition to a new universal platform.

What is the High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP)?

The HSBP is a personalized plan that helps students connect their high school courses to their postsecondary education and/or career interests. It details graduation requirements, supporting students in identifying the steps they need to take to reach their postsecondary goals.

What are the elements of the HSBP?

The required elements of HSBP are listed in state law (RCW 28A.230.212). There are five elements for all HSBPs:

  • Identification of a student’s career goals and interests, aided by the results of a career interest and skills inventory that students complete in 7th grade.
  • Identification of a student’s secondary and postsecondary education and training goals.
  • A four-year plan for course-taking that fulfills graduation requirements.
  • Completion of a résumé or activity log by the end of 12th grade.
  • Evidence that the student has received information about federal and state financial aid programs that could help pay for postsecondary programs.

As part of a student’s course-taking plan, the HSBP should also identify advanced courses that are available in their school district, career and technical education (CTE) course equivalencies that satisfy graduation requirements, and supports for students facing barriers to graduating from high school in four years.

When do students complete their HSBP?

Students start their HSBP in 7th grade and continue updating and revising their plans at least annually throughout middle and high school. The HSBP is designed to accommodate students’ changing interests.

How are schools currently working with students and their families on HSBPs?

Beginning in the 2020–21 school year, school districts were required to provide an electronic platform for the HSBP.

Legislation charged OSPI with providing a list of available electronic platforms for school districts to choose from. These platforms had to meet certain requirements, including allowing students to create and revise their HSBP, granting families and school personnel appropriate access to students’ HSBPs, and allowing for transferability between platforms for students that move to a different school district.

However, with different platforms come different levels of access and usability. During the 2023 Legislative Session, OSPI proposed transitioning to a universal platform so that all Washington students would have equitable and consistent access to the HSBP.

How is the state ensuring students have equitable access to the HSBP?

In 2023, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 5243, requiring OSPI to transition to a universal online platform for the HSBP. Having a universal platform will:

  • Provide students with equitable access to the HSBP;
  • Provide families and approved community partners with greater access to the HSBP so that they can support student progress toward their postsecondary goals;
  • Allow for translations to other languages to serve families that don’t speak English; and
  • Allow for students to connect with potential employers to learn about career opportunities and any necessary education and training requirements.

What’s the timeline for implementing a universal platform for the HSBP?

From fall 2023 through early winter 2024, OSPI reviewed proposals from vendors that can offer or develop a universal online platform for the HSBP. OSPI identified seven finalists in a report to the Legislature.

Starting this month, OSPI will be seeking feedback from a variety of stakeholders on the features and functions that should be included in the new universal platform. Students, families, educators, and community partners are invited to provide feedback in an online survey.

OSPI must select the vendor by June 2024, and must develop an implementation plan by October 2024. This plan will include a phased transition plan for school districts, technical assistance, professional development, and additional training and resources offered through OSPI’s partnership with the vendor.

When will we be able to access the new platform?

The timing for using the new platform will depend on the vendor that OSPI selects. As the process moves forward, OSPI will continue to provide updates to school counselors and other educators.

How can I provide feedback on the HSBP?

Students, families, educators, and community partners are encouraged to complete this 15–20-minute survey. The survey is available until March 8.

This story was written by Chelsea Embree, Director of Publications and Engagement Strategy at OSPI. You can contact the Communications Team at commteam@k12.wa.us.

Chelsea Embree