School Counseling

Information on labor market needs to be shared with high school students by November 1. See the Critical Need/Shortage Occupations drop-down on this page.

The vision of the School Counseling Staff is to work with schools to help ensure that each school has a fully implemented comprehensive school counseling program that supports the academic, career, and social/emotional development of all students through the delivery of counseling curriculum, individual student planning, and responsive services. The program is managed and evaluated through system support activities that also support the on-going mission of the school.

Effective comprehensive school counseling programs are vital to the school climate and a critical element in the development of success ready students. Comprehensive school counseling programs have a positive impact on students, parents, schools and communities.



Missouri Connections

Missouri Connections is a comprehensive, online, career development and planning program that is provided free of charge to all Missouri citizens. The platform promotes lifelong learning and includes assessment, career and college planning and financial aid resources. It is appropriate for middle schools, high schools, post-secondary institutions, as well as for agencies serving adult populations, such as employment offices, vocational rehabilitation programs and correctional facilities.

Funded by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, this program supports the career development efforts of schools, community organizations, and adult job seeker programs. Missouri Connections helps individuals learn about their talents, skills, and interests and makes the connection between planning for continued education and the work world.

Per House Bill 1606:

  • Access to assessments and interest inventories that provide insight into the types of careers that would be suitable for students
  • Resources that describe the types of skills and occupations most in demand in the current job market and those skills and occupations likely to be in high demand in future years
  • Resources that describe the typical salaries for occupations and salary trends
  • Information on how to obtain financial assistance for postsecondary education
  • Information on how to choose a college, school, or apprenticeship that aligns with the student’s career goals and values
  • Information on self-employment  
  • Resources related to creating a resume, interviewing, networking, and finding job opportunities
  • Information on the skills and traits necessary to succeed in various careers.
  • An alternative certification with no, or one year of school counseling experience
  • Recent graduation from a school counseling master's program and 0-1 years of counseling experience
  • No public school experience

Public Comment for Proposed Updated K-12 School Counseling Standards

In June, DESE sought input on the recently updated K-12 Missouri Comprehensive School Counseling Standards. The results of this comment period will be shared at a future State Board of Education meeting.


Gysbers Missouri Comprehensive School Counseling Program Award

The Gysbers Missouri Comprehensive School Counseling Program Award recognizes Missouri school buildings that have demonstrated the commitment to be fully implemented. This prestigious award is a five year distinction. Buildings may reapply after five years.

Due Date: September 1

Applications will be scored by a panel of five trained reviewers comprised of a counselor educator, MSCA representative, elementary counselor, middle school counselor, and high school counselor. A K-12 counselor can be chosen to serve as one of the school counseling positions. An application must receive a score of 54 (90% or higher) to achieve the designation. Successful applicants will be notified no later than the last Friday in September. Applications should be sent to

For more information contact Cierra Griffin, at 573-751-4383 or

Gysbers Missouri Comprehensive School Counseling Program Award Application

Gysbers Templates:

The Word Document format can be uploaded to a shared platform in order for multiple building counselors to see and use. Only one copy of the form will be submitted for the award. 

Missouri Gysbers (House Bill 1606) Award Winning Schools 


Missouri RAMP Schools

RAMP Schools

History of Dr. Norman C. Gysbers Nationally Recognized Missouri Program Award (NRM)

NRM information can be viewed here.

  1. Park Hill South High School, Park Hill School District (2019)
  2. Indian Trails Elementary, Fort Osage School District (2019)
  3. Mesiner Primary School, Affton School District (2020)
  4. Mason Elementary School, Lee's Summit School District (2020)
  5. Adrian Elementary School, Adrian R-III School District (2021)
  6. Congress Middle School, Park Hill School District (2021)
  7. Platte County High School, Platte County R-III School District (2021)
  8. Walden Middle School, Park Hill School District (2021)
Career Advisors

The regional Career Advisors work with school districts, area career centers, military, and post-secondary institutions to ensure that Missouri students will have the knowledge, skills and experiences to make successful transitions to post-secondary options based on their educational and career goals.

  • Work collaboratively with school districts to develop and enhance career pathways programs/processes
  • Assist school counselors in the development and implementation of a rigorous and relevant Individual Career and Academic Plan
  • Support schools with the implementation and integration of Missouri Connections
  • Coordinate regional Missouri Connections training and support
  • Collaborate on regular basis with DESE School Counseling section staff and DESE CTE program staff, to ensure regional and state programs are aligned and complementary  (coordinated through the DESE School Counseling Director and Missouri Career Pathways Manager)
  • Collaborate with the Missouri Pathways Regional Consultants
  • Provide assistance to comprehensive high schools, area career centers and community/technical colleges regarding strategies to improve nontraditional participation and completion in career and technical education programs
  • Assist with career planning opportunities such as a statewide Nontraditional event(s) featuring Nontraditional Careers. 

Meet your Regional Career Advisor

RegionName Biography and Information

List of approved programs

Career Certification Information


Evaluation: Program + Personnel = Results

This page is designed to provide you with information and resources to more effectively evaluate a comprehensive school counseling program. PowerPoint presentations videos, sample templates, and summaries of action based projects conducted by practicing school counselors are available to assist you in developing your own evaluation plan as required by MSIP.  

This presentation provides you with an overview of the evaluation process for comprehensive school counseling programs--a process that includes program evaluation, personnel evaluation and results evaluation.

Evidence of Impact (narrated Powerpoint) 

Program Evaluation: Determining the Level of Implementation

The first aspect of evaluation asks the question, "To what extent is the school counseling program fully implemented?"  MSIP5 Standard 6.9 begins to address this question by outlining the necessary and essential components of a school counseling program that is integral to the total educational process.

School counselors and administrators should first determine if the components are in place.


Time Task Analysis

Once it is determined that the program components are in place, it is important to determine the degree of implementation. For example, there may be a school counseling curriculum in place, but to what extent is it being delivered to students? The "Internal Improvement Review (IIR)" allows you to take an open and honest look at the degree to which your comprehensive school counseling program is being implemented. The links below provide access to the IIR and to a presentation that guides you through the IIR process. The end result is an action plan for you to follow that will lead you toward a more fully implemented comprehensive school counseling program.

The Time on Task Analysis is a survey of the school counselors’ time spent on performing the tasks that have been assigned in the program as it currently exists. The results of this initial analysis will provide baseline data for comparing the time and tasks involved in the current program to the time on tasks chosen for the desired district’s comprehensive school counseling program. A district may conduct the Time on Task Analysis using 15 or 30 minute time intervals.


Student Learning Objectives (SLO)

Personnel Evaluation Documents

The following materials for the School Counselor Evaluation Process are aligned with the Missouri Educator Evaluation System.  As with all school counseling materials, districts are free to use and/or customize.  School Counselors should be provided support and evaluated using tools designed for school counselors. 

New Counselor Evaluation Documents

New Counselor


DESE and MSCA collaborated on a statewide two year mentoring program for school counselors who are new to the profession.  To upgrade from an Initial Student Services (ISS) certification to a Career Student Services (CSS) certification a school counselor must participate in a two year mentoring program (in addition to other criteria). After completion of this two year program, mentees will be issued a DESE certificate that can be used in the upgrade process. The DESE mentor program is specifically designed for participants who register into the DESE mentoring program the first year. Registration is now open!

*All participants who register will begin the first year of the two year mentoring program.

For more information contact Cierra Griffin via email or phone 573-751-4383.

  • Registration is now open!
  • Required to attend mentoring program training.
  • Complete a two-year obligation of school counseling "experiences" with mentor coaching to earn a DESE mentoring completion certificate.
  • Contact logs will contain reflections about topics by both mentee and mentor. Must be submitted to obtain a certificate of completion.
  • Registration is now open!
  • Required to attend mentoring program training.
  • Complete a two-year obligation as a mentor to provide feedback on essential experiences and skills a beginning counselor needs.
  • Contact logs will contain reflections and feedback from a mentor. Must be submitted to receive a stipend.

New School Counselor Institute (NSCI)


Dates: July 1-3, 2024

Location: Holiday-Inn Executive Center in Columbia, Missouri

We are excited to announce the New School Counselor Institute will be in person this year. 

NSCI is designed for those entering school counseling positions with:

  • An alternative certification with no, or one year of school counseling experience
  • Recent graduation from a school counseling master's program and 0-1 years of counseling experience
  • No public school experience

Space is limited so apply as soon as possible. Priorities for acceptance will be based on the bulleted list above and date registration is received. All attendees must submit a local administrator approval letter to attend the NSCI conference. Please download approval letter below and submit to your registration application. No purchase orders accepted. 

Contact Cierra Griffin at 573-751-4383 for any questions related to NSCI. 

ICAP and Programs of Study

The Individual Career & Academic Plan (ICAP), is a plan of study to guide students through the coursework and activities for achieving personal career goals, post-secondary planning and providing individual pathway options.   An ICAP is a multi-year process, beginning no later than the eighth grade, that intentionally guides students and families in the exploration of career, academic and multiple post-secondary opportunities to include *direct access to the workforce *military *tech school/area career center *vocational training (apprenticeship), *2 year college and *4 year college.  An ICAP is a “roadmap” to help students develop the awareness, knowledge, attitudes, and skills to create their own meaningful pathways to be success ready graduates.

ICAP (Personal Plan of Study) legislative requirements begin on Section 167.903 of Senate Bill 638 (page 45)