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California State Board of Education

Policy Statement

Adopted: 6/80, revised 6/9/95



It is the policy of the State Board of Education that all students attending public schools in California are entitled to receive the benefits of effective guidance and counseling programs and services designed to meet their educational, academic, career, vocational, personal, and social needs at all levels of development.

It is also the policy of the State Board of Education that the benefits students derive as a result of effective guidance and counseling programs justify a high priority and commitment of resources by the State Department of Education, county offices of education, and local education agencies. These resources include both state operations funds, appropriate categorical funds, and district general program funds.

All state plans, guidelines, handbooks, and frameworks should include guidance and counseling as a high-priority component, even where funding is not a factor.

Program Emphasis

The State Board of Education believes that an effective guidance program consists of a planned sequence of activities, based on the needs of students, that result in specific student outcomes in terms of demonstrable knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the areas of educational, career, personal, and social development. The program should be developmental in nature, from kindergarten through adult education, emphasizing attainable objectives and expected student competencies in such areas as the following:

  • Developing self-knowledge
  • Establishing and implementing educational plans
  • Involving parents in decision-making and planning
  • Achieving academic proficiency standards
  • Completing appropriate curriculum requirements
  • Exploring educational and occupational options
  • Planning for future careers
  • Forming realistic perceptions of the world of work
  • Developing effective personal and social skills
  • Improving interpersonal relationships

The major focus of the program should be preventive rather than remedial, but would include provisions for resolving recurrent problems related to current issues, such as social unrest, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, racial conflict, truancy, dropouts, under-representation of special populations in higher education; and crucial crisis situations related to gang activity, school violence, potential suicides, antisocial behavior, and school discipline.

Special consideration should be given to the role of counseling and guidance in supporting school reform efforts, as outlined in It's Elementary!, Caught in the Middle, and Second to None. For example, district and school plans could include strategies and activities promoting character education, positive learning environments, student performance standards, student-centered learning, advisory programs, instructional technology, partnerships with business and industry, and school-to-career transition.

Program Plans

The State Board also believes that a beginning first step toward providing quality programs and services to students is the development of a comprehensive guidance and counseling plan, as an integral part of a total educational plan.

Every public school and school district in California should develop a comprehensive plan for meeting the guidance and counseling needs of students. It is the intent of the State Board that guidance plans and programs will be developed as part of other district or school planning efforts, such as school involvement planning. Credentialed school counselors should facilitate all phases of program planning, implementation, and evaluation. Students, parents, representatives of community and government agencies, and existing advisory committees or councils should collaborate with counselors, teachers and other school personnel in the development of the plans.

Guidance and counseling plans should be included as a critical need within all appropriate local assistance funding proposals, both state and local.

  1. As assessment of student guidance needs, based on input from students, parents, school staff, and community representatives, as appropriate.
  2. A statement of goals and objectives for meeting students' needs, particularly the needs unique to such special populations as disadvantaged, handicapped, gifted and talented, limited English-proficient and non-English proficient students, young women, truants, potential dropouts, and other at-risk groups.
  3. A description of implementation strategies and activities for achieving the stated goals and objectives.
  4. A description of expected student outcomes to be attained as a result of the guidance and counseling program.
  5. A means to evaluate the extent to which program objectives and student outcomes have been achieved.
  6. A description of appropriate responsibilities of administrators, teachers, supervised paraprofessionals, credentialed school counselors, and other staff members to enable them to work cooperatively to carry out the plan.
  7. Provisions for appropriate staff development and in-service education.
  8. The identification and use of appropriate community resources.
  9. A description of the fiscal resources identified to implement the plan.
Program Delivery

The State Board further believes that delivering the guidance program should be the responsibility of the entire school staff, through both the guidance curriculum and counseling and guidance services. Plans should include specific roles for credentialed school counselors, teachers, administrators, and supervised paraprofessionals. Appropriate community resources should be included wherever possible.

Counseling programs, along with psychological services, should be an integral component of each school's comprehensive school health system, as recommended in the state Health Framework. School counselors, in collaboration with health educators and physical education staff, could also serve as valuable resources to help students realize some of the expectations described in the Physical Education Framework related to self-image and personal and social development.

The California Department of Education should serve as a resource to schools and districts in planning and implementing effective guidance and counseling programs, to the extent that available funding allows.

For further information contact George Montgomery, in the Counseling and Student Support Office, California Department of Education at 916-319-0540, or e-mail: [Note this information is no longer valid. For further information visit the Counseling and Student Support Web page.]

Questions:   State Board of Education | 916-319-0827
Last Reviewed: Thursday, July 21, 2016