K-12 Guidance Plan Approved

The board approved the Central Bucks K-12 Guidance Plan (Chapter 339 Plan) during their virtual meeting on April 28 (a draft of the plan was presented to the board's curriculum committee in February). The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requires all school districts to have a K-12 School Counseling Plan as part of Chapter 339 of the Pennsylvania School Code.

Chapter 339 outlines the requirement that Pennsylvania school districts have a plan of comprehensive school counseling services for all students. The plan documents the mission, stakeholders, counselor roles, goals, curriculum and delivery system of the school counseling program. In addition, the plan focuses on career readiness and includes a career plan, portfolio and strategies to engage with the local career and technical center. Read more about the requirements of Chapter 339 on PDE's website.

Beginning in the Spring of 2018, a committee of over twenty school counselors made a two-year long commitment volunteering their time and efforts to develop this comprehensive counseling plan for the Central Bucks School District. This group of dedicated professionals attended state-sponsored training sessions, participated in committee meetings and work sessions, and compiled extensive data detailing the role of a counselor and the many, many activities and programs supported by the counseling staff in each of Central Bucks' 23 schools.

Assistant Superintendent for Assessment, Professional Development, and Educational Services Dr. Alexis McGloin and Ginny Barrett led the committee of school counselors who prepared the plan. Ginny Barrett guided the board through a detailed presentation of the plan's components, preparation, goals, and long-term objectives.

Essentially, the plan is intended to serve the academic, social emotional, and career development needs of students by providing for the necessary education and personal development in these areas. PDE outlines and clearly dictates what is to be included in the plan.

Central Bucks' plan was also essential in outlining a number of ways to address the social and emotional wellness needs of the district, such as the addition of two social workers, as approved by the board this year. The plan suggests areas of growth, including pushing the district's "Student Success Plan" down to seventh and eighth grade, and the use of "alumni tracker" component of the Naviance software, in order to gather valuable data on graduates after they leave CBSD.

Career education is a primary focus. Ms. Barrett mentioned several goals in this area, including a focus on "pathway identification," in course selection aimed at helping students choose long-term goal-oriented courses, and career education at the elementary level. Ideally, she explained, these activities will be integrated across the curriculum, including a shared delivery of lessons by teachers and counselors in order to help students achieve career readiness goals. The plan includes methods to provide evidence that the district is making progress, including digital images of student career portfolios. Career and technical standards and study are also key to the plan, and Central Bucks has established goals to create opportunities for students to explore career and technical study earlier in their school careers.

“Research shows that if a student early on learns where their interests are, what they like to do and what gives them joy, what gives them happiness, and they are supported in that, then this helps their mental health perspective,” Ms. Barrett explained, “They can find their group, their niche that they can pursue and it gives them some focus.”

In developing the plan, the committee also engaged representatives from five stakeholder groups: students, parents, educators, business and community, and post-secondary. This K-12 Plan Advisory Council will meet twice per year in order to share ideas and gather ongoing input. Several components of the plan will be subjected to revision annually. The plan will also be subjected to audit by PDE.