Comprehensive K-12 School Counseling Framework

Section 2.1: Define

Comprehensive School Counseling Framework for Connecticut Schools

Key Concepts

  • Three Sets of School Counseling Framework Standards


  • Foundation builder: learning goals for what students should know.
  • Self-assess the school counselor’s knowledge, skills and habits of mind
    regarding professional practice.
  • Respect the rights and dignity of students and families by exhibiting ethical behavior to ensure professional conduct and integrity.

Making the CT Framework Work: Checklist for this Section

  • Student Standards
  • Connecticut Student 18 Standards
  • ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success: K–12 College and
    Career Readiness for Every Student
  • Professional Standards
  • Connecticut School Counselor Professional Practice Standards
  • ASCA School Counselor Professional Standards and Competences
  • ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors


Define is the first component of the school counseling framework and the cornerstone for accountability. Define drives and supports the development of the entire framework that is grounded in standards and competencies. The standards support school counselors to cultivate, apply, implement, and assess performance and to build a sustainable support system. The competencies address the essential knowledge, skills, behaviors, and abilities required to achieve a level of performance.

Student Standards

The Connecticut Student Standards (CSS) and the ASCA Mindsets and Behavior: K–12 College and Career Readiness Standards for Student Success represent the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and abilities necessary for every student. The CSS are aligned to the Connecticut Core Standards. School counselors use the student standards to assess student growth and development in the three domains: academic, social-emotional, and career development. The standards are used to develop competencies and to measure growth over time. School counselors operationalize the standards through the use of data, the development of school counseling curriculum and lesson plans, small groups, individual counseling, and evidence-based program activities to support students’ developmental needs.

Each student standard is broken down into a set of measurable competencies. Student competencies are selected based on the completion of a needs assessment of the school, district, and community stakeholders to determine which standards are important for students to obtain. This allows school counselors in Connecticut to customize their comprehensive framework to meet the specific needs of the student population in their school(s).

Connecticut Student Standards

Academic Development

Career Development

Social-Emotional Development

Student Standard A1
Demonstrate skills for effective learning and achieving school success

Student Standard A2
Demonstrate ability to plan a challenging program of studies to prepare for a variety of options after graduation.

Student Standard A3
Demonstrate an understanding of the habits of mind of an engaged student in relation to all aspects of their lives.

Student Standard A4
Demonstrate the ability to integrate technology to enhance learning and to solve problems.

Student Standard A5
Demonstrate the ability to use creativity and outside experiences to enrich the learning process

Student Standard A6
Demonstrate the ability to set goals based on reflective evaluation of current performance.

Student Standard C1
Identify personal values, personality, abilities, and interests in relation to career options and the world of work.

Student Standard C2
Demonstrate the skills and abilities to research, identify career options, and make the necessary steps to obtain employment.

Student Standard C3
Demonstrate effective workplace habits and the ability to transfer employability skills to future career success and from job-to-job across the lifespan.

Student Standard C4
Demonstrate an understanding of work/life balance and how it impacts quality of life, personal and financial well-being, and lifestyle choices.

Student Standard C5
Identify a plan to make a successful transition from school to postsecondary education and/or the world of work.

Student Standard C6
Demonstrate an understanding of technology in the workplace.

Student Standard S/E 1
Demonstrate an understanding of how individual actions can impact relationships, environments, and influence other people.

Student Standard S/E 2
Demonstrate cultural awareness when collaborating with others and taking steps to be inclusive.

Student Standard S/E 3
Demonstrate the ability to make decisions, think divergently, and take steps to achieve desired outcomes. Able to overcome challenges and obstacles and develop positive coping strategies and build resilience.

Student Standard S/E 4
Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between practicing self-care, healthy sense of self, and personal well-being.

Student Standard S/E 5
Demonstrate understanding and practice of personal safety skills.

Student Standard S/E 6
Demonstrate an understanding of the risks and responsible use of technology.

Connecticut School Counselor Professional Standards

School counselors in Connecticut are held to a set of professional standards that are aligned with the ASCA Ethical Standards for School Counselors and the ASCA Professional Standards and Competencies for School Counselors. The Connecticut School Counselor Professional Standards (CSCPS) define knowledge, skills, and habits of mind that school counselors should demonstrate to be effective in their role. School Counselors are evaluated using the Student and Educator Support Specialists (SESS) rubric and the School Counselor Evidence Guide for best practices, which measures proficiency on the performance of the professional standards. Additionally, the professional standards inform the recruitment and selection process (See Appendix E), and the standards can support the design and implementation of professional development plans and for self-evaluation.

Connecticut School Counselor Professional Standards
The school counselor is expected to:


Standard 1

Articulate and demonstrate an understanding of individual counseling theories, group counseling, and classroom lessons ensuring equitable student access to resources that promote:

  • academic achievement
  • social-emotional development
  • college/career readiness 

Standard 2

Act as a student advocate, leader, collaborator, and systems change agent to create an environment promoting and supporting student success to:

  • ensure all students are achieving at the highest levels
  • include families, teachers, administrators, community leaders, and other stakeholders
  • identify obstacles faced by student populations and ensure equity and access for all students
  • ensure cultural sensitivity and responsiveness
  • foster a safe and supportive school climate

Standard 3

Plan, design, and deliver a comprehensive, developmental school counseling program to:

  • address the social, environmental, and developmental needs of all students while supporting the school and district core values and beliefs
  • support learning and close the achievement gap
  • incorporate social and emotional learning and employability skills, including current technology

Standard 4

Implement the Individual Student Planning and Responsive Services Components in collaboration with all stakeholders to:

  • address students’ identified needs and concerns individually and/or in small-group counseling
  • create individual Student Success Plans
  • promote college/career readiness for students, individually and in groups

Standard 5

Collect, examine, and communicate school, student, and program data to:

  • annually evaluate school counseling program results and ensure equity in access and delivery
  • establish goals and services that work to close the student gaps
  • monitor individual student progress to ensure that students are taking appropriate, yet rigorous, courses
  • measure results and disseminate outcome information

Standard 6

Manage and use time effectively to:

  • develop a master calendar for program implementation
  • ensure timely communication of service delivery for students, families, administrators, and teachers
  • maximize the use of counselors’ time

Standard 7

Collaborate with school advisory committees, families, school staff, community members and other stakeholders to:

  • identify the needs and concerns of students and provide or recommend professional learning for school staff and families
  • gain support for school counseling goals and support the goals of others
  • obtain input from school administrators and staff in developing the counseling framework

Standard 8

Fulfill responsibilities for his/her professional growth and the growth of the school counseling profession, including:

  • participating in professional organizations
  • engaging in continuous professional learning and development
  • following the profession’s ethical and legal guidelines