Seattle Public Schools


High School and Beyond Plan

SPS High School and Beyond Plan

All students have the right to dream, aspire, and thrive. We envision that every student is equipped with the knowledge, skills, & beliefs to set meaningful goals, explore diverse pathways, and exercise agency in shaping their career and future.  We are incorporating the Science of Hope as a key to the process of High School and Beyond Planning which acts as a catalyst that propels our students towards their future.  

Hope is something we can teach. It isn’t a feeling.  Hope is the vehicle we use to inspire, nurture resilience, overcome obstacles.  And instruct students in how to make informed decisions and long-term plans.  We believe that the High School and Beyond Plan is about more than just picking courses.  It is a literal pathway to the future, a plan for their journey and belief that they have the agency and willpower to make it happen.  Hope is much more than wishful thinking. Science tells us that it is the most predictive indicator of well-being in a person’s life. Hope is measurable. And it changes lives. Hope is a cognitive process and psychological strength (Hellman & Gwinn, 2019) it requires both pathways and agency.  

High School and Beyond Planning is not a checklist, or a worksheet. It is a process where students learn how to set goals, problem solve, make long term plans, evaluate post-high school costs and how to make informed decisions for selecting a program that supports their career goals. Students are encouraged to change their goals and plans as they move towards graduation to include new interests and knowledge. This in combination with the Annual High School Financial Aid Day support students creating a wholistic future plan and life long skills.

Skills Incorporated into High School and Beyond Planning:

  • Decision Making
  • Problem Solving
  • Goal Setting
  • Resilience and Agency
  • Career Ready Course Planning and Resume
  • College Ready Course Planning and Resume
  • Determining Career Fit
  • Determining Post-High School Program Fit

High School and Beyond Plan Lessons

Grade Lesson Title Objective
6Explore Roadtrip Nation Students learn about career pathways of interest from people in the field. They reflect upon how these interviews affect their post-secondary goals or other thematic elements.
6On a BudgetStudents learn basic financial literacy vocabulary, and practice creating a budget that includes savings and expenses.
Complete Career Key
Students learn about Holland based personality types and how their various interests connect to career options. Students explore careers and consider how their interests might help them identify career goals.
7Financial Aid Vocabulary & Scholarship SearchStudents learn that they can collect scholarships at any age so that they have many scholarships when they reach 12th grade, how to search for Scholarships in Naviance using the scholarship search tool, and learn Financial Aid Vocabulary.
8Course PlannerStudents learn about graduation requirements and how to plan courses that will help them reach the goal of graduation.
8Who Ate My PaycheckStudents learn to read a paystub and basic payroll related concepts and vocabulary as well as possible future job earning based on workforce demand.
9How to Bounce Back: Strengths ExplorerStudents gain understanding of their personal strengths and how they can be used to accomplish their goals and explore careers related to their strengths, and how they can use their strengths when they encounter challenges.
9Admissions Requirements & Course PlanningStudents learn about admissions requirements for Apprenticeships, 2 and 4 year colleges and how to plan to include those requirements in their course taking. Students evaluate previous course taking and career goals.
10Make a Decision, Make a PlanStudents Learn about goal setting and making intentional plans to reach their goals.
10 Build a ResumeStudents learn the basic components of a resume and the various reasons they will need them. Students create a basic resume they can use for job searches, scholarships or for other applications.
11SuperMatch: Informed-Decision MakingStudents learn about weighted decision making, identifying their values and priorities and how to use those pieces as factors to evaluate colleges to determine if the college has what they need, and favorite colleges that do. Students then discuss how to use this process for other decisions, such as car buying, career choices, and other post-high school program planning.
11My Life, My Decision: Evaluating Post-High School CostsStudents learn about compound interest and compare the overall post-high school costs to salary for their stated career goals. Students are prompted to examine how these costs might impact their cost of living and other goals, such as travel, car buying etc. Students are encourage to share their discovery with their families to help make informed decisions about their after high school plans. Teachers are encouraged to watch Borrowed Future with students after the lesson.
11Resume & Application PreparationStudents update their resumes and learn how resumes and applications are similar. Students learn about the various post-high school applications timelines in preparation for senior year.
12Optional: Add at least two colleges or other applicable activities to application listStudents review after high school application and transcript request process. Students discuss and explore post-secondary options.
12Complete the Senior Exit SurveyStudents evaluate their school experience, complete the SPS Graduation Survey and write thank you notes to people who have supported them. It provides evidence of all students having a post-secondary plan.
Families can read the answers to students survey questions through your parent account!

How to Support Your Students’ Post-High School Planning

  • Help your student identify what matters most to them in a career and define which careers with help them reach those goals, then begin searching for programs and colleges that will help them reach their career goal.
    • Many colleges also have tools to help you identify which majors align to career goals.
  • Discuss your students survey answers and the High School and Beyond Plan lessons with them.
  • Try using internet search tools to find answers to questions you may have from sources you trust.
  • Collect reference letters from mentors, internship supervisors, coaches and others who know them well for scholarships and post-high school applications. Keep copies for use for the various applications.
  • Discuss Pros and Cons using Common or Coalition sites
    • Data mine and sell your information to third parties
    • One stop application shopping
    • Less specific to college requirements, may require more essays or recommendations that applying directly to the college.
    • May offer free application fees to encourage more students to apply during certain times of year
    • Request school staff to provide information not required directly from colleges and time with data entry
  • Discuss the 5 ways you can pay for post-high school programs and your values on career, college, apprenticeships and costs, and how you might save money.
    • Scholarships
    • Grants
    • Saving
    • Loans
    • Work
  • Way to Save
    • Living at home, not paying for meal packages, working part-time, compare college costs and career placement and entry level salary and wages.
    • Explore alternative programs which have less cost – Apprenticeships, Trades, Certifications and Workforce trends