Schools should develop individual study plans

1/16/2014

TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas State Board of Education is recommending — but not requiring — that the state's schools develop individual plans of study for every high school student.

TOPEKA (AP) — The Kansas State Board of Education is recommending — but not requiring — that the state's schools develop individual plans of study for every high school student.

The board on Tuesday approved a motion "strongly recommending" the plans, known as ISPs, to help guide Kansas high school students as they choose careers. Board members said they wouldn't require the plans, noting that many schools doon't have enough guidance counselors to develop ISPs for each student, The Lawrence Journal-World reported.

Currently, ISPs are used mostly for students in career and technical education programs. The students take a survey on career interests in eighth grade and then work with counselors to choose appropriate high school classes for that career.

In 2011, Kansas lawmakers passed a law expanding career and technical education, which included asking the state board to study the feasibility of requiring ISPs for all students and to report its decision at the start of the this year's session.

A Department of Education survey found that about 88 percent of school districts offer students a chance to develop an ISP, but only about half prepare them for all high school students. Most districts that don't offer ISPs said they didn't have enough counselors, didn't offer enough elective courses or had other time and financial priorities.

Diann Faflick, a counselor in Wichita, said her district has only one counselor for every 380 students.

Board member Kathy Busch, also of Wichita, said that was only part of the problem.

"When you talk about one counselor to 360 to 380 kids, I know enough to know in some schools that means one to 800, and in some schools that means a little better ratio," Busch said.

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