Before Applying to RAMP: 5 Things You Need to Know to Kickstart the Process

Our school is officially a RAMP (Recognized ASCA Model Program) school, and it feels SO good! This is such an important designation and something you can advocate for in your school counseling program. Read on to discover how to help your school become a RAMP school.


1- Have your principal’s support in becoming a RAMP school

I cannot express how valuable this was for our team. First of all, our principal understood what RAMP was and wanted us to be the first high school in our county to receive this recognition. (This took time, education, and advocacy. Start with a presentation like this one!) Once he was on board in this way, he asked us what we needed from him.

He took away testing. This was already a push from our district, but I think he was even more on board once we were freed up to do more things like small groups, crisis response, and attendance interventions all producing data (talk your admin’s language!). Read everything you need to know about data in this blog post!

Our principal supported going off campus for a day as we finalized our application. The school didn’t burn down without us there for one day, and it was so important to have that uninterrupted time. We went to a “co-work” space that a friend of mine graciously lent us with wireless internet and an expo marker board. It was probably our most productive day making progress towards submitting our RAMP application.

2- Purchase the book “ASCA National Model: 4th Edition” to help with RAMP

This will be a lifesaver as you work through each of the 12 sections of RAMP. It will tell you common pitfalls and DOs and DON’Ts. We had this with us EVERY time we worked on our pieces as a group, and it definitely got passed along to each counselor throughout the process. This book was invaluable as we used it before, during, and after the RAMP process.

3- Be sure your whole team is on board with the RAMP process

You cannot do this alone. (I guess unless you’re a one-man/woman team… then I’m sorry— I guess you’re doing it alone.) It’s a lot of work. You can really play up your team’s individual strengths here. We each were leaders of sections we were most confident in, and everyone fell in line behind the leader.

Half of the battle of the entire process is understanding what each section is asking you for. (This is sort of a combined #2 and #3.) When you all go in blindly, no one knows what’s going on. We found we wasted a lot of time just trying to figure out what was going on! The leader of the section can study up and do research on WHAT you’re supposed to be doing/answering and make it make sense to everyone else.

When it comes to counseling coworkers, teamwork truly does make the dream work. Check out this podcast episode on how to advocate for unity and teamwork with other counselors in your department.

4- Google Drive will be your best friend when applying for RAMP

We stored templates, documents, links, PDFs, videos, pictures, and written narratives here. When we would sit down to work together or edit, we would all open up the same page. Someone would read aloud, someone would edit, and we would all give our critiques and feedback. It was a very helpful system especially because the whole RAMP application is online in a digital format. Once we were ready to submit, we were able to copy and paste from our Google Drive documents.

5- Give yourself time to submit the RAMP application at the end

There are so many pieces to upload! We really did work until the last minute, and we stayed much later at school on the evening we actually submitted than we imagined we would. Look at the application online ahead of time before your submission day so you don’t miss anything big and cause the need for panic.

We really bettered our school counseling program through our application process, and I think we are thankful for the time we spent doing it. (Honestly, probably more thankful for the final pat on the back at the end!) I will probably have more reflection in the coming months, but this is my initial reaction to the process as I think back to what helped make us successful through it all. Good luck to those who have been working this year and who will apply this year! 

For more high school counseling advocacy tips, listen to this curated Spotify playlist of High School Counseling Convesations episodes!


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