The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the University of Kansas Research Collaboration partnered to offer the Missouri Post-Secondary Success Project, inviting interdisciplinary teams of educational professionals from middle and high schools throughout the state to participate in a two-year professional development initiative. The Missouri Post-Secondary Success Project aims to support Missouri schools in implementing the College and Career Competency Framework (Gaumer Erickson, Noonan, & Soukup, 2013). The College and Career Competency Framework articulates the instructional practices and implementation elements necessary to provide instruction on the research-based, teachable, transferable skills under three domains: intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cognitive. The project helps to equip all students with competencies they need to become career-equipped, lifelong learners who are socially and emotionally engaged.

In Missouri Post-Secondary Success (MO PSS), we provide coaching and training to interdisciplinary school teams to systematically embed college and career competency development into core content (addressing standards and competencies simultaneously) with consistent, meaningful, research-backed methods.

The project is not a separate initiative, standalone course/curriculum, or add-on; rather it aims to provide coaching, resources, and other supports to help schools build a sustainable culture of college and career readiness (and as such, can be easily integrated with other initiatives/priorities). The project emphasizes three elements for success:

  • Collaboration between all stakeholders (e.g., administrators, general and special educators, counselors, service providers, families, community, etc.)

  • Multi-tiered instruction and interventions

  • Effective use of data to inform decision making at multiple levels

Through both face-to-face and virtual supports, MO PSS provides evidence-based research on the competencies, as well as coaching and support for teams to collaboratively create plans; identify, collect, and analyze relevant data; assess impact; and make adjustments to instruction as they embed competency development in their general education curriculum. Participating schools have noted a number of positive impacts of the program, including students’ increased awareness and understanding of the competencies, students’ and teachers’ increased acknowledgement of the importance of the competencies for success in college and careers, and students’ increased application of and proficiency in the competencies. A brief summary of the overall project trajectory is provided below.


Year 1:
Exploration and Installation


  • Develop an interdisciplinary team that consistently attends trainings together, meets regularly outside of training, and works collaboratively to implement college and career competencies.
  • Understand the College and Career Competency Framework, including its basis in research, and how it aligns with current initiatives/priorities.
  • Understand that competencies can be taught over time in general education curriculum, as well as applied and reinforced across contexts (i.e., office, extracurricular activities, etc.), and develop strategies for doing so.
  • Each team member embeds competency instruction into their course content or educational context, including providing instruction, facilitating students' practice with feedback, and building in opportunities for students to reflect on their efforts.
  • Teams collect and analyze student data sources (e.g., formative assessment data, homework submission, attendance, etc.) to determine the impact of instruction and potential adjustments to make, and follow through with identified adjustments.
  • Disseminate information about the College and Career Competency Framework to school staff to build awareness and buy-in.
  • Teams decide how they will expand instruction past their core team (e.g., grade level, content area, school-wide) and make a plan for their next steps.

Year 2:
Initial Implementation


  • Build buy-in with the expanded group of teachers and create a shared vision for how you will continue providing and reinforcing competency instruction.
  • Provide training for all teachers in the expanded group on how to infuse selected competencies into curriculum.
  • Implement competency instruction across a grade level / content area by providing initial instruction, facilitating students' practice with feedback, and building in opportunities for students to reflect on their efforts. Also work to include competency instruction and practice across settings (e.g., academics, extracurricular activities, counseling, lunch, recess, etc.) whenever possible.
  • Collect and analyze student data sources across a grade level / content area to determine the impact of instruction and potential adjustments to make, and follow through with identified adjustments.
  • Communicate with families about students' competency development (i.e., importance, ways to support development, etc.).
  • Celebrate and share accomplishments with stakeholders (e.g., district leadership, colleagues, students, families, community).