Washington Framework for Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling

Why “Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling”?

Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling programs are acknowledged by the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) as best practice for serving students’ needs.  Their sample policy (below) shows the state-wide commitment to delivering counseling services for students in a manner that maximizes the use of professional School Counselors.

WSSDA Recommended Guidance and Counseling Policy 2140, rev. 12/08:
“The ________board of directors recognizes that guidance and counseling is an important part of the district’s total program of instruction and is integral in achieving the district’s mission of academic excellence and success for all students. The district will provide counseling and guidance services in accordance with state laws and regulations, school improvement plans, ethical standards, and district policies and procedures.

The board believes school counselors serve a vital role in maximizing student achievement and supporting a safe, compassionate learning environment. In the __________district, the purpose and role of the school counselor is to plan, organize, and deliver a comprehensive school guidance and counseling program that personalizes education and supports, promotes, and enhances the academic, personal, social, and career development of all students, based on the national standards for school counseling programs of the American School Counselor Association.”


The Washington Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Framework and the ASCA National Model provide a system that encourages and promotes academic, career, and personal/social development in preparation for the challenges of the 21st century. All stakeholders share the benefits of this organizational structure. School counseling programs have a positive impact on students, parents or guardians, teachers, administrators, boards of education, school counselors, counselor educators, postsecondary institutions, and the community.

Benefits for Administrators

  • Aligns the school counseling program with the school’s academic mission
  • Provides a school counseling program promoting student success
  • Monitors data for school improvement
  • Provides a system for managing a school counseling program
  • Articulates a process for evaluating a school counseling program
  • Uses data to jointly develop school counseling program goals and school counselor responsibilities
  • Provides useful data for grant applications and funding sources
  • Provides a proactive school guidance curriculum addressing the students’ needs and enhancing school climate

Benefits for the Boards and Departments of Education

  • Provides a rationale based on data for implementing a school counseling program
  • Promotes equity and access to a quality school counseling program for every student
  • Demonstrates the need for appropriate levels of funding
  • Articulates appropriate credentials and staffing ratios
  • Informs the community about school counseling program success
  • Supports school-wide intervention programs

Benefits for Student Services Personnel

  • Defines the school counseling program
  • Encourages collaborative teaming to ensure individual student success
  • Uses school counseling program data to foster student development
  • Increases collaboration for utilizing school and community resources


The Role of the School Counselor

The ASCA National Model