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School Counseling and Guidance, K-12

RIDE invites schools to join the 2019/2020 professional learning group (PLG) in an effort to continue to support districts in implementation of new or revised ILP programs, as spurred last by the updated Secondary School Regulations and PrepareRI Action Plan. The PLG is currently comprised of over 26 districts.  We invite new districts to join this great group of educators.  The PLG offers the forum for school teams to come together to customize, design implement and evaluate their ILP process.    

The next meeting date is on 5/1, to join please fill out this form. If you have any questions about the ILP PLG please contact onna.holland@ride.ri.gov


of High School students think they will graduate


of RI teachers expect their students to go to college

As a component of the Rhode Island Basic Education Program, "each LEA shall establish and maintain a Comprehensive School Counseling Guidance (CSC) Program, including guidance and counseling services, available to all students in grades K-12. Each LEA shall ensure that the CSC Guidance program shall:

  • Be developed and delivered in accordance with the Rhode Island Framework for Comprehensive K-12 School Counseling Programs;
  • Support each student in meeting the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) standards in the academic, career, and personal and social domains;
  • Be a coordinated effort among the professional counseling staff and the rest of the educational community; and
  • Include services to be provided to students at each developmental stage and specify how the services will be provided to all students.

Individual Learning Plans 

In Rhode Island, Individual Learning Plans can help coordinate and ensure all students are engaging in the school's comprehensive counseling system. Please see the information below to learn more about new resources for school ILP implementation. For questions, please contact the Office of College and Career Readiness at occr@ride.ri.gov

COVID - Re-opening Schools

As districts plan for students and staff to return to school it is important to address the social and emotional learning needs of our students and staff. The School Counseling Program Re-Opening Guidance [PDF, 273 KB] has been created to help school counselors facilitate the planning of programs in this ever changing environment. The guidance is a framework to help think about programs in an effort to support all students and the school community.

Please share your feedback on the guidance here or contact onna.holland@ride.ri.gov


  • The next ILP PLG meeting will be on May 1st at New England Tech (New England Tech Boulevard, East Greenwich, RI).

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Rhode Island FAFSA Initiative

The cost of college and career training can be a barrier for many students, so completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is essential for students to qualify for federal, state, and institutional funds.

Students can receive up to $6,195 per year in Federal Pell grants during the 2019/2020 cycle.

FAFSA dashboard for everyoneFAFSA toolkit for schools, families, and studentsFAFSA portal for administrators and counselors

  • The FAFSA Dashboard shows how many students are completing the FAFSA in each Rhode Island high school so we can track our progress.
  • The FAFSA Toolkit includes information and helpful resources for schools, families, and students.
  • The FAFSA Portal will allow qualified administrators and staff to access student-level completion data online. In order to access the portal, please make sure that your school team has submitted this Data-sharing agreement to FAFSA@riopc.edu as soon as possible (instructions here).

FAFSA Dashboard Check back weekly to see Rhode Island's completion rate!

The RI School Counseling Framework

The Rhode Island Framework for Comprehensive K-12 School Counseling Programs is the product of a broad collaborative effort by Providence College, the Rhode Island School Counselor Association, Rhode Island School-to-Career and the Rhode Island Department of Education. School counselors are critical players in systemic change. Their role as leaders, advocates, and collaborators allows them to be important contributors to positive educational change and to the success of students in three developmental domains: academic, personal/social and career. While continuing to serve as the primary conduit whereby the needs of students are addressed, counselors now develop and implement a program that is comprehensive in scope, preventative in design, developmental in nature, and data driven. Twenty-first century school counseling in Rhode Island ensures equitable access to educational and career exploration opportunities for all kids, promotes a rigorous academic curriculum for every student, provides strategies for closing the equity gaps, supports the development of skills to increase student success, and fosters advocacy for all students. The model encourages administrators and counselors to align school improvement strategies with school counseling by redefining and re-positioning the role of school counselor.

The Framework can be accessed here.

Individual Learning Plans

The Individual Learning Plan (ILP) has been a requirement for all Rhode Island students in grades 6-12 since 2005 when it was incorporated into the state’s Secondary School and Graduation Requirement Regulations. ILPs are a student-directed planning and monitoring tool that customizes learning opportunities throughout students' secondary school experience, broadens their perspectives, and supports attainment of goals. The ILP documents students’ interests, needs, supports, course selections (including access to college level programming), transition placements and other learning experiences both in and out of school. This information produces a thoughtful program of study leading to proficiency for graduation and postsecondary experiences. A meaningful ILP for all Rhode Island students:

  • Begins no later than entry into sixth grade and is maintained through 12th grade.
  • Is revisited at least twice each school year, and at key transition periods for students.
  • Helps students identify and meet their goals in three domains: academic, career and personal/ social.
  • Coordinates with other support plans as appropriate. For example, individualized education programs (IEPs), Section 504 plans, Personal Literacy Plans, etc.

Both the Secondary School Regulations and the state's PrepareRI state action plan for career readiness identifies the ILP as the backbone of personalization and relevance of a student's education. By the 2020-2021 academic year, it is the expectation that all middle and high schools will have either adopted an ILP system from the state-vetted menu of developed their own ILP system and curriculum model that meets the state's expectations.

ILP System and Curriculum: Vendor Menu of Options

To help guide the renewed focus on ILPs, the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) convened a diverse working group of education, postsecondary, community, and industry stakeholders. This working group provided a key series of recommendations to help guide the revitalization of the ILP as a meaningful way to connect a student’s academic, career, and social/emotional goals and passions with their secondary school experiences.

These recommendations have led to the release of the Individual Learning Plan Adoption Toolkit, as well as the release of a menu of turn-key ILP system and curriculum solutions that is now available. In fall 2017, RIDE issued a request for proposals for vendors that could provide a comprehensive ILP system and curriculum. A review team, supported by a number of school and district staff serving as technical advisors, considered vendor proposals. The final menu of vendor options that schools and/or districts can choose from as they implement or revise the ILP programs for their students includes four different vendor options.

ILP Adoption Toolkit

RIDE has developed an Individual Learning Plan Adoption Toolkit to support decision-making and adoption of the ILP menu options. The following table of contents provide information about each tool’s focus and intent on how it may be used by different roles across a school system. Each document has been designed to be used in concert with one another but also as stand-alone resources.

Section ILP Toolkit Item Use Type Intent of Section
ALL Complete Toolkit [PDF] Systems-level decisions Complete ILP Adoption Toolkit to support decision-making and adoption of the ILP menu options.
A ILP Framework [PDF] Systems-level decisions This section explains the RI regulations requirements of an ILP. It identifies roles required for implementation and alignment to ASCA domains. This framework was revised in summer 2017 as a result of the ILP working group.
B ILP Vendor Overview [PDF] Systems-level decisions This section identifies the ILP System & Curriculum vendor menu, frequently asked information about each vendor, Master Price Agreement costs and implementation considerations.
C ILP Scope & Sequence and Curriculum Model [PDF] Program Integration and Implementation This section provides a RI ILP model scope and sequence, as well as a turnkey curriculum model with lesson plans aligned to vendors and vendor-specific features from the state-vetted menu.
D ILP School/ District Adoption Success Plan [DOCX] Systems-level decisions This section provides a template for schools and districts to document the current status of their ILP system & curriculum implementation and includes a brief section to indicate which vendor from the menu has been adopted or propose a model that is not on the menu.
E ILP District Decision Rubric Tool [XLSX] Systems-level decisions This section provides a rubric tool to help guide conversations about the ILP solutions that best meets local needs. Use the rubric as an adaptable template to evaluate ILP vendor options.

As districts begin to implement a new or revised ILP, RIDE will help support with implementation through continuing to develop toolkit resources, working directly with schools interested in state technical support and reporting on statewide common and best practice and best practices.

ILP Vendor Informational Sessions

To support in implementation, RIDE held a series of informational webinars between May 23, 2018 and June 6, 2018 for school and district staff to learn more about each of the state-vetted vendor options on the menu. All webinars covered the same content.  If you were unable to attend an informational webinar, a recording is available below.

PrepareRI logoThe updated ILP system is part of PrepareRI, a statewide initiative to build career pathways for all Rhode Island youth. Learn more about PrepareRI at www.prepare-ri.org.

Standards & Competencies

Comprehensive School Counseling address a broad array of learning for students. Rhode Island has adopted both national and state-specific standards that support schools and counselors in developing robust programs. 

Further, a group of approximately 100 practitioners known as the Rhode Island Learning Champions have met over the past year to develop rubrics for assessing student competencies with applied learning skills: communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, research, reflection and evaluation, and collaboration, among other content areas. Visit RIDE's Proficiency Based Learning page for more information.

Rhode Island School Competencies for Students

The Rhode Island School Counseling Competencies for Students were developed in May 2020 as a supplement to the Individual Learning Plan guidance. The competencies should serve as the foundation for building a K-12 comprehensive school counseling program of which the Individual Learning Plan should be a component. The information in this document is designed as the framework for each district’s written curriculum and is not necessarily all-inclusive. 

The competencies cover three domains: academic, career, and social/emotional development, align with the ASCA Mindsets and Standards, and are broken into grade-span expectations based on what a student should be developmentally able to demonstrate at the end of each span. All members of the school community should be engaged in exposing students to the information and encouraging growth in all three of these areas. 

The goal in writing this document was to answer the question: “What do all students in Rhode Island need to know in order to be lifelong learners and productive citizens in an ever-changing global society?” This is the first draft of the document. We are seeking feedback and suggestions from counselors and educators on the competencies along with resources that can connect to each competency. Please utilize this form to share your feedback.

ILP Professional Learning Group

RIDE invites schools to join the 2019/2020 professional learning group (PLG) in an effort to continue to support districts in implementation of new or revised ILP programs, as spurred last by the updated Secondary School Regulations and PrepareRI Action Plan. The PLG is currently comprised of over 26 districts. We invite new districts to join this great group of educators. The PLG offers the forum for school teams to come together to customize, design implement and evaluate their ILP process.

This next step follows the recommendations of a Spring 2017 committee which led to the release of a menu of ILP vendor options and implementation toolkit in Spring 2018. As outlined with the release, the focus of RIDE efforts will now be to assist schools and districts in selecting appropriate vendor models for their students and support quality, integrated implementation.

Opportunity: As part of the PLG, schools can expect to discuss and learn from each other’s successes and get feedback on how to address the obstacles they face, including: sharing of best practices; identifying and beginning implementation of a platform; identifying classes or logistics for working with students to create and update their ILP; and/or, identifying and planning related curriculum.

Commitment: The PLG will meet quarterly and there will be at least one on-site visit to the school/district by PLG coordinators. PLG Teams should consist of district and school leadership along with school counselors (or other appropriate staff responsible for ILPs) who will be responsible for the implementation of the ILP program. Districts are encouraged to select team members from both the middle and high school levels.

When: The ILP PLG dates for the 2019-2020 school year are 12/2/19, 2/5/19, 3/23/20, 5/1 (The meetings are starting later in the year so that schools can attend the 9/23-9/25 ILP Career Exploration PD.

Next Steps: If you are interested in joining or learning more about the ILP PLG, please complete this form. Current members of the ILP PLG do not need to fill out the form. Questions regarding the ILP and ILP PLG can be directed to Onna Holland, School Counseling Fellow at Onna.Holland@ride.ri.gov.

Becoming a School Counselor

School Counselor Credential Requirements

Educator Quality is essential to improving student achievement. Educator Quality begins with clear standards for educator practice. Improvement of achievement requires implementing strong practices in recruiting, developing, recognizing, and retaining talented and demonstrably successful staff in LEAs.

Individuals seeking to become a school counselor in Rhode Island should work with RIDE's Office of Educator Excellence and Certification Services: email (EQAC@ride.ri.gov) or phone (401-222-8893).