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ICAP Toolkit (2014)

Implementation guide from 2014:

How to Use the Toolkit

School counselors, teachers, SpEd/transition representatives, school leaders, businesses and pre-collegiate and postsecondary partners can use this toolkit to help guide students (of all ages) on their ICAP journey and to assess and strengthen schools/districts/institutions’ ICAP processes.

  1. The ICAP guiding questions give context to the ICAP Process.
  2. The ICAP program readiness and development tool is designed to guide ICAP teams and professionals with sequential prompts and categories to consider when beginning and refining their ICAP process.
  3. Middle and high school ICAP quality indicators define eight areas that students should explore, experience and use to apply their knowledge, skills, aptitudes, abilities and awareness to be career and college ready.
  4. These quality Indicators can be evaluated with an ICAP quality indicator growth scale to ensure the successful continuum of ICAP processes. Levels include: basic, approaching and accomplished.
  5. The process tools include crosswalks with academic and CTE standards, PWR, IEP, ALP, ASCA, Colorado statute and Legislation, process and planning tools, an evaluation rubric and promising practices from across the state.

How to Get Started

Assemble your ICAP implementation team. Meaningful and successful ICAP implementation begins with leaders who meet regularly and who promote and integrate ICAP into every part of the community. Consider including:

Leadership Team (GUIDES)

  • School leaders and administrators
  • School counselor(s)
  • CTE instructor(s)
  • SpEd/transition specialist(s)

Contributing Members (CLIMBERS)

  • Content area teachers
  • Coaches
  • Other support staff

Village (MOUNTAIN)

  • Students and families
  • Community members
  • Businesses

Mountain and sunset, representing the village (mountain) part of the ICAP implementation team. These consist of students and families, community members, and businesses.

Guiding Questions

Once your team is assembled, review the questions below. This will help you set the stage as you think about your school/district’s current ICAP process. As you discuss each of the categories, describe where you are and where you would like to be. Once you have completed the ICAP readiness tool (which you will find on the ICAP website) look at the areas that you need to develop and create an action plan for improving the process.

Postsecondary & Workforce Ready Policy and Best Practice Awareness

Do you have background knowledge/information to understand current legislation and postsecondary and workforce ready practices?

Stakeholder Buy-in and Support Structures

Do you have buy-in and support from the necessary stakeholders, especially the PWR team - CTE, school administration, school counselors and special education personnel?

Communication/Messaging – Clear Goals Established

Is there a clear goal for the program and is there clear messaging and a plan for communication?

Personnel and Logistics

Who will manage, plan and lead the process? Have you allocated space, time, location and technology?

Formal/Informal Curriculum

Has a developmentally appropriate scope and sequence been created?

Alignment & Coordination

Have all plans been aligned including: IEPs, ALPs and CTE plans of study?

Accountability, Reporting and Evaluation

Who are your internal (school/district) and external (businesses, community members) partners?

Students Actualizing and Evidence

How will you evaluate the success of your program?


What are the things we should stop and start doing to identify a meaningful ICAP process?


It takes a village to support students in the creation of their individual career and academic plans. Many people contribute to students' efforts to develop a meaningful and relevant postsecondary plan.

Students who are active and accountable participants in the direction and development of their individual career and academic plans will benefit the most from their plans.

Parents and guardians are the primary advocates for their students' participation in the ICAP process. The support, insights and encouragement that parents and guardians provide to their students as they develop their individual career and academic plans is invaluable to the success and efficacy of their students' plans.

School-based ICAP village members include:

  • Building administrators (principals and assistant principals) who are leaders of postsecondary planning;
  • Secondary school staff (especially teachers) who promote informed postsecondary opportunities; and
  • School counselors who are specialists in the healthy career, academic and social/emotional development of high school students.

The community at-large can also be a valuable member of the ICAP village, by promoting opportunities for students in the area of career exploration through internships, community service and employment.

- Cheyenne Mountain High School Philosophy

Readiness and Development

Process Tools

ICAP Quality Indicators

These developmentally appropriate ICAP elements have been sculpted by research and evidence-based practices. (See Crosswalks section.) Students can use these ICAP quality indicators to explore self-awareness, careers and postsecondary pathways. ICAP teams can use these them to help define and refine their ICAP practices.

The indicators are also modified for developmental levels – based on middle and high school.

  • Self-Awareness: Understand how one’s unique interests, talents and aspirations play a role in decision-making and interpersonal relationships and how individual thoughts and feelings get students excited about life and learning.
  • Career Awareness: Know the difference between jobs, occupations and careers. Articulate a wide range local regional of local regional, national and global career pathways and opportunities. Consider economic and cultural influences and the impact of stereotypes on career choice.
  • Postsecondary Aspirations: Participate in career exploration activities centered on students’ passions, interests, dreams and visions of their future self and perceived options.
  • Postsecondary Options: Be aware of and participate in a variety of postsecondary and career opportunities. Use tools such as career clusters, personality assessments and learning style inventories to highlight individual strengths and capabilities.
  • Environmental Expectations: Consider how school, family, community, culture and world view might influence the students' career development and postsecondary plans.
  • Academic Planning: Apply the skills and knowledge necessary to map out and pass the academic courses required to achieve postsecondary goals.
  • Employability Skills: Define, develop and hone skills that increase the likelihood of becoming and remaining successfully employed and civically responsible citizens.
  • Financial Literacy: Recognize personal financial literacy and financial aid topics and vocabulary and know what options are available to pay for postsecondary. Understand and articulate personal financial literacy concepts, the cost of postsecondary options and apply this awareness to the postsecondary career and academic planning process.

ICAP Quality Indicator Growth Scale

This scale assists ICAP teams in assessing the level of their current process, and the pathway to their future process can become.

Recommendations ensure that practitioners know the minimum expectations, as well as the exemplar elements, to reach for and achieve universally meaningful ICAPs for our students. We strive for exemplary practices.

Each district and ICAP team can decide HOW the students will demonstrate knowledge of the quality indicator and elements:

4 clouds at varying heights, from bottom to top and labeled Basic, Approaching, Accomplished and Exemplary. A ladder stretches from the bottom of the image to the Exemplary cloud. It represents the ICAP Quality Indicator Growth Scale and striving for exemplary practices.

Career Awareness, as an example

Know the difference between jobs, occupations and careers. Understand how the choice might impact career satisfaction, and a wide range local regional of local regional, national and global career pathways and opportunities. Consider economic and cultural influences and the impact of stereotypes on career choice.


Student demonstrates knowledge of career awareness


Student demonstrates a deeper knowledge and understanding of career awareness:

  • Students will demonstrate knowledge, understanding and personal awareness about career pathways available in local, regional, national and global arenas.


Student demonstrates an accomplished level of knowledge of career awareness:

  • Students will identify career pathways that they are interested in, recognizing local, regional, national and global implications for that career field.
  • Students will identify three career pathways they are interested in, as identified by the Colorado Career Cluster model.


Student demonstrates knowledge and skills for all levels of career awareness and will apply those skills in and out of school and will model work for others.


Scope and Sequence

Promising Practices

PWR-Minded Questions

Key Messages and Talking Points


Robin Russel 
Graduation Guidelines Manager