College and Career Planning in K-12
Students begin academic planning prior to entering high school. The Alabama Department of Education’s Counseling and Guidance Office is situated within the larger Office of Career and Technical Education. The Counseling and Guidance office was recently restructured to reflect its significant role in the state’s “student support systems”— one of the four pillars of Alabama 2020, the state’s strategic plan.
In 2010, Alabama launched the REACH Initiative, a research- and standards-based advisement model for students in grades 6 through 12. REACH provides implantation tools and lesson plans to help teachers, advisors and counselors enhance the career, academic and personal development of students. Specially trained career coaches serve every high school at least once a week, assisting students with career planning and college admission. Alabama also implemented an electronic graduation tracking system that allows local districts, in conjunction with each school’s Response to Instruction team, to use data on achievement, attendance and behavior to identify students who may need additional support services.