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Academic and Career Planning

To ensure our graduates are college and career ready, all 6-12 students wil create an academic and career plan (ACP)

Career readiness is the process of preparing students of any age with the essential skills they need to find, acquire, maintain, and grow within a job, as defined by Applied Educational Skills.

Preparing students for life after school also includes both in-class instruction and apprenticeships, internships, externships, and co-ops, which encourage students to put their newly acquired skills to practice and even pick up new real-world skills they can’t necessarily acquire from inside a classroom.

Career readiness education is critical in schools because it prepares students for life after college as they begin their careers, equipping them with the skills necessary to navigate the workforce. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, career readiness skills, or what they refer to as transferable or employability skills, “provide students with a competitive edge during interviews and internships for current and future careers” and “can differentiate a good employee from a great one.” These critical skills, not often made a priority in schools, give students the edge they need to land jobs.

What is ACP?


Academic and Career Planning, or ACP, is a student-driven, adult-supported process in which students create and cultivate their own unique and information-based visions for post-secondary success, obtained through self-exploration, career exploration, and the development of career management and planning skills.

Why ACP?

Education for Employment was established in 1985 in response to the growing concern over the number of youth who failed to make a successful transition from school to postsecondary endeavors. s. 121.02 (1)(m), Wis. Stats., states that every school board shall provide access to an Education for Employment program. Chapter PI 26, the administrative rule for this program, was revised and became effective on July 1, 2004. On June 30, 2013, Wisconsin Statute 115.28(59) was signed to require implementation of academic and career planning (ACP) statewide beginning in 2017-18 for pupils enrolled in grades 6 to 12 in a school district.

It was determined that rather than creating a new rule addressing ACP, the current PI26 would be updated and revised to include the required ACP components.

The ACP Model Know-Explore-Plan-Go aligns Wisconsin ACP required components with research-based recommendations for incorporating career development throughout K12 for self-exploration, career exploration, and career planning and management.

Self Awareness (KNOW)

  • Periodic self-assessment of interests and strengths
  • Reflection and goal-setting
  • Financial knowledge & understanding of resources
  • Academic courses & skill preparation
  • Behavioral & employability skill preparation

Career Exploration(EXPLORE)

  • Middle School career exploration activities and opportunities
  • High School career exploration activities and opportunities
  • World of work and labor market needs
  • Understanding and comparing different postsecondary education & training Career Planning (PLAN)
  • Planning skills
  • The Middle School plan
  • The High School plan Career Management (GO)
  • Executing the plan
  • Updating the plan with new information & artifacts
  • Conferencing & mentoring
  • Transitioning ACP Components

College- and career-ready standards are becoming more popular both at the national and state level. The U.S. Department of Education says that “students need to be prepared to compete in a world that demands more than just basic skills” – skills that students can use to think critically, solve problems, and be successful in the real world – and that starts with establishing nationwide academic standards and assessments that states can easily follow and implement. According to the Department of Education, many states have begun to develop their own standards in line with national standards in an effort to ensure college and career readiness in their students.

In 2009, the Common Core State Standards Initiative was established in an effort to outline standards for what students should know at the end of each grade and to ensure students are equipped with the skills necessary to succeed in college, work, and life, according to the official website. The standards were designed with college and career readiness in mind, emphasizing college and career expectations, higher-order thinking skills, and student success in the global economy and society.

“College readiness” refers to the level of preparedness for academic work beyond high school.

This definition broadly encompasses all post-secondary education or training, including career certificates and two-year associate’s degrees through community colleges, as well as bachelor’s degrees from colleges and universities.

College readiness goes far beyond simply being able to acquire subject matter knowledge. Learning skills and cognitive strategies are also important, according to University of Oregon professor David T. Conley, Ph.D., and author of College and Career Ready: Helping All Students Succeed beyond High School.

Conley says:

  • Key cognitive strategies include: problem solving strategies, conducting research, interpreting results, speaking and listening skills, writing in a variety of genres, mathematical reasoning, precision and accuracy.The ability to learn academic content / subject matter knowledge (whether in core school subjects like English, math, and science, or career-related information) requires cognitive skills. Therefore, Conley says that cognitive skills are equally important to subject matter knowledge.

  • Key learning skills and techniques include: time management, study skills, note taking, retaining information, strategic reading, collaborative learning, goal setting, self-awareness, persistence, and student ownership of learning. The ease with which knowledge is acquired increases with strong learning skills and techniques.

Conley also stresses the importance of post-secondary aspirations and career awareness.

Academic preparation should align with career goals

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

To best prepare students for successful college and career experiences, CTE needs to:

  1. Be assessable to all students
  2. Be aligned with the needs of the workforce
  3. Be linked to real-life learning and career experiences

Career readiness includes such important topics as

  • communication
  • critical thinking
  • emotional intelligence
  • financial literacy
  • time management
  • stress management

If students can not think of an actual job that they may like to do, try answering some of the following questions:

  • What world/community problem would you like to solve some day?
  • What is interesting to you? What are your hobbies? Look at the skills and interest in these areas and how that could relate to possible future jobs?
  • What are your favorite subjects in school? Could you see yourself doing something in that area in the future?
  • What motivates you? What inspires you?

DPI Academic & Career Panning (ACP)

Academic & Career Planning (ACP)

ACP is intended to equip students and their families with the tools necessary to make more informed choices about postsecondary education, training, careers for life after high school. It is part of DPI's overall vision for every student to graduate high school academically, socially, emotionally, and life ready.

Steps to Get Your Schools Started with ACP

  • PLAN: ACP Guide, ACP plan-guiding questions
  • DO: ACP components and infrastructure rubrics, ACP quality reports, CESA ACP coordinators
  • STUDY: Continuous School Improvement Process, ACP data tools
  • LEAD to ACT: Develop a school-wide culture of support for student transition to adulthood!

Academic Readiness

  • Relevant academics
  • Connected sequence of courses
  • College credit rigor

College and Career Readiness

  • CTE student organizations
  • Career-based learning
  • Work-based learning
  • Industry-recognized certifications

Social/Emotional Readiness

  • Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and employability skills are intertwined.
  • In the classroom, workplace, and out-of-school-time programs through free-standing lessons, general teaching practices, integration of skill instruction, and guidance to adult stakeholders
  • Career-based and work-based learning experiences

Academic and Career Planning and PI-26

Academic and Career Planning (ACP) is a comprehensive process that engages families and our community to inspire, educate, and support each student in developing interests and creating his or her own plan. Starting in the 2017-18 school year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (http://dpi.wilgov/acp) in the PI-26 legislation requires all public school districts in the state of Wisconsin to provide academic and career planning services to students in grades 6-12.

PI-26 legislation requires the implementation of Academic and Career Planning in all public schools in the State of Wisconsin and each school district is required to provide evidence of this implementation.  This document defines how the School District of Janesville is implementing the ACP legislation and its guiding questions.

The School District of Janesville frequently partner with businesses and corporations as part of our Academic and Career Planning. We not only work with individual businesses to schedule job shadowing, internships, site visits, but also with the community as a whole by planning job fairs, post secondary site visits and guest speakers. Working together with the Janesville community will help strengthen the school and the community as a whole.