The Making of a Comprehensive Plan

Article excerpt

Changing labor markets, extended life expectancy, the expectation of lifelong learning, divorce, single-parent families, blended families, suicide, substance abuse, sexual experimentation and peer pressure are not abstract issues. They are very real and they have substantial impact on the personal, social, career and educational development of students across the nation.

The Missouri Comprehensive Guidance Program was designed to actively address these and other important learning and life issues of secondary students. The program emphasizes student academic achievement, career and educational decision making and personal and social development.

At the elementary level, MCGP helps students master the skills and develop the attitudes necessary to be successful, such as decision making, exploration of educational and occupational possibilities, interpersonal communication and self-concept development.

In middle/junior high school, MCGP focuses on the rapidly changing needs of pre- and young adolescents. The program emphases begun in elementary school are adjusted to fit the special needs of the older students. In addition, students begin to consider the future beyond high school with a four-year plan that covers graduation requirements and takes into account students' interests and career plans.

In high school, the MCGP assists students to become responsible adults who can develop realistic and fulfilling life plans based on clear understandings of themselves and their needs, abilities, interests and skills. The four-year plan is reviewed and updated periodically in accordance with students' post-graduation goals.

MCGP is an integral part of a district's total educational program. It is organized and implemented by school counselors with the support of teachers, parents, administrators and the community. It contains three program elements: content, organizational framework and resources.

The content element contains the competencies students master during their participation in the program.

Each school has an organized framework for the MCGP that clearly spells out the definition and philosophy of the district's program, facilities, membership of the school/community advisory committee, resources needed, program staff and budget. Each program has a guidance curriculum, individual planning, responsive services and system support. …

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