The Ohio Revised Code is requiring all school districts to adopt a local policy on career advising for students beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

The Ohio Revised Code is requiring all school districts to adopt a local policy on career advising for students beginning with the 2015-16 school year.

The South-Western school board approved its district policy earlier this month.

Most of the components required by the state, though, already were in place here as part of the district's college and career-readiness focus for students in grades 7-12, said South-Western Deputy Superintendent David Stewart, so the new mandate will not mean a big change.

"Our executive director of secondary schools has been working with guidance counselors at our middle schools and high schools for the last three or four years to develop our college and career-readiness plan," he said.

The district uses Naviance, a software provider that gives students college planning and career assessment tools, Stewart said.

Helping students to explore and determine their college and career interests has become a growing emphasis for school districts, he said.

Preparing students for their lives after high school "is a key part of what we do," Stewart said.

Previous generations of students did not receive that guidance, he said.

"That's one reason why so many students from my generation ended up going through multiple majors in college or taking a while to find their true career path," Stewart said.

Other tools used by South-Western in its career advising effort include Career-Based Intervention and Career-Tech identification.

CBI is a research-based program that provides intervention services for students who have been identified as being academically or economically at-risk, he said.

"It's for students who may have fallen behind," Stewart said, adding that it helps students with credit recovery, developing work skills and earning credit for work.

The Career-Tech program provides assistance for students who may be interested in technical careers.

The new state mandate requires districts to provide career advising to students in grades 6-12, Stewart said.

South-Western will be using Ohio Means Jobs to extend its career advising services to sixth-grade students, he said.

"It's very similar to what students will do on Naviance," Stewart said. "Ohio Means Jobs will allow students a chance to participate in interactive career exploration."

The district will also extend its intervention effort for at-risk students to the sixth-grade level, he said.