An ECAP reflects a student’s current plan of coursework, career aspirations, and learning opportunities in order to develop the student’s individual academic and career goals. It is ideally started during middle school and updated every year throughout high school. It helps to personalize education and to maximize the opportunities available after high school graduation.
Students, parents, and school personnel must be involved in the process. When everyone understands the student’s goals, supporting the student becomes easier and more effective. The plan must be reviewed with the student and parent annually. Signatures of participants validate this process.
Personalized planning helps students reach their academic and career goals and can positively impact their achievement. Students learn how to set and achieve goals. It helps them to understand how their education is relevant in achieving their career goals. It helps them to create a vision for their future and ultimately helps them assume responsibility for their own learning.
There is no fixed cost to implementing ECAP. ADE provides a variety of resources free to all schools. One of the online career and college planning resources is the Arizona Career Information System (AZCIS) which is supported through the Career and Technical Education Department and community partnerships. Through this electronic system, students are able to assess and research their education and career interests, maintain a personal portfolio and design academic programs tailored to their needs. Some schools invest in special programs to supplement the AZCIS resources, so please check with your school.
Student academic achievement is positively linked to extracurricular involvement in clubs, activities, sports, community service, fine arts opportunities, and employment. These opportunities provide the chance for students to test their interests, develop team work and leadership skills, and to become involved citizens in their local communities. These experiences enhance college applications and scholarship opportunities. Potential employers also value these life experiences.
The State Board of Education did not specify a format for the ECAP document. It is up to each district to determine how they will capture the required attributes. There are many examples of the documentation currently in use around the state. These can be found under the ECAP Counselor and Educator tab.
Like a student transcript, the student ECAP should follow that student to the new school of attendance. It is important that the work completed at one school is not lost. It should be a valuable tool for registering an entering student. At a minimum, the student’s career choice and academic plan should be reflected. If the student work is on the AZCIS system it is important that the student can access the information through the password process.