Career Counseling in Elementary Urban Schools. Liz DeBord. Rachel Libben. Katie Richardson. Mary Tassone. University of Cincinnati

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1 Career Counseling in Elementary Urban Schools Liz DeBord Rachel Libben Katie Richardson Mary Tassone University of Cincinnati

2 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 2 Mission Statement Students at Frederick Douglass Elementary School will receive the academic, career, and personal preparation necessary to make positive choices regarding their future and postsecondary options. The school motto that the school abides by is "Every child can learn." Mission Statement for Counseling Program The School Counseling Department will provide the resources, programs, and support system necessary to meet the needs and goals of the students regarding their preparation for the future. Goal The goal of Frederick Douglass' career program is to provide the elementary students with diverse perspectives regarding future career options, including post-secondary education. Objectives 1. All students will apply knowledge of aptitudes and interests to goal setting. 2. All students will be able to identify career information and options. 3. All students will create career goals. 4. All students will use problem-solving and decision-making skills to assess progress toward educational goals. 5. Child-guardians will have increased awareness of the importance of career education. Rationale for Group Program The urban population of students is one that has been greatly under served in the past. Research indicates that specifically in schools, students experience a lack of encouragement and low expectations from the professionals with whom they come into contact (Cross & Burney, 2005 as cited in Gloster, 2009). In career development and life planning, the urban student population is negatively affected by the low standards and discouragement they receive in their

3 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 3 schools. There are lower rates of school graduation and less focus on academic achievement (Cross & Burney, 2005). It is the school counselor s duty to provide equal opportunities to students regardless of their socio-economic status (SES) (Gloster, 2009). School counseling programs that are comprehensive, and specifically include career-planning components, combat the negative affects often associated with low SES (Drier, 2000). The programs benefit urban students in a variety of ways. First, career guidance that also fosters academic achievement through promoting goal setting and problem-solving skills increases resiliency in an otherwise at risk population (Gloster, 2009). Second, career counseling that encourages students to research a wide variety of postsecondary options connects the importance of academic achievement to life outside of school (Benning, Bergt, & Sausaman, 2003). These benefits contribute to increases in graduation and retention rates, as well as better well-rounded students, and they are the prevention efforts that are most likely to succeed. (Benning, Bergt, & Sausaman, 2003; Schultheiss, 2005). It is also important that career education and planning begin as early as elementary school, especially for the urban student population (Benning, Bergt, & Sausaman, 2003). Many young students believe that the choices they are making will affect their future careers (Auger, Blackhurst, & Wahl, 2005). Additionally, by the first grade only 15% of students voiced desires to have a fantasy or low-success rate career such as professional athlete or rock star (Auger, Blackhurst, & Wahl, 2005). Especially in urban school districts, the later the student s contact with a career-counseling program, the less likely his or her chances for success become (Schultheiss, 2005). Elementary career development programs should include information about the variety of career options and specific methods of how to reach different career goals (Auger, Blackhurst, & Wahl, 2005). In addition, the program should not present solely gender-socialized

4 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 4 careers to children in elementary school as they particularly susceptible to these associations (Auger, Blackhurst, & Wahl, 2005). Programs should also include activities to improve upon decision-making skills (Gloster, 2009). Overall, elementary career guidance programs provide numerous benefits to students, especially those of a lower socioeconomic status. School counselors who can create and implement effective career development programs can increase the success rates of their students. Pre-Assessment for Students Objective: 1. All students will be able to identify career information and options. Delivery Mode: Classroom guidance will be the delivery mode as done by the first grade teacher. The school counselor will train teachers before hand and assist with delivery as needed. Resources: This pre-assessment activity will be completed in first grade English classrooms by the first grade teacher. The school counselor will train the teachers on how to deliver the preassessment prior to class time. Time: Students will take the pre-assessment at the beginning of the school year. This activity will take approximately twenty minutes to complete. Materials: Each student will receive one worksheet. Specific Activities: The teacher will hand out the pre-assessment worksheet to each student. On the sheet will be pictures of different career options. Each student will select the three that are most interesting to them, with guidance from the teacher if needed. All the picture representations of the career options are gender neutral images to avoid the gender stereotyping that some jobs may carry for students at this age. At the bottom of the sheet, each student will

5 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 5 then circle on a picture scale how likely they think they are to achieve the career they want. Those students who circle low scores will be placed in a small group with the school counselor. Pre-Assessment for Caregivers Objective: 1. Identify caregiver attitudes regarding career education and their roles in the career planning process. Delivery Mode: Child will be given envelope with survey to take home to parent. Surveys are returned with students to teacher. Resources: Surveys will be completed at home by the caregivers of the students. Time: School counselor will create survey and distribute to students to take home. School counselor will also be responsible for, with the help of administrative staff, organizing the data from returned surveys and assessing the responses of caregivers. Materials: Paper, envelopes, and copier. Specific Activities: Caregivers will receive a pre-assessment survey. They will be asked to give their opinions on a number of statements. These answers are used to assess their attitudes towards career education and their role in the endeavor. When the survey is completed, it will be returned to school with the students. Specific Program Activities Small Group Career Counseling (Adapted from Trotzer, 2006) Objectives: 1. All students will apply knowledge of aptitudes and interests to goal setting. 2. All students will be able to identify career information and options. Delivery Mode: Small group counseling with a group of three to five students and a school counselor. Resources: This small group counseling will be facilitated by the school counselor. The school

6 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 6 counselor will need a room that will fit three to five students and the counselor comfortably and so that discussion is easily facilitated. Time: Students will meet with the school counselor for one class period every two weeks for the remainder of the school year. Materials: No materials are needed for the small group setting. Specific Activities: Based on how many students have rated their ability to reach their career goals low, the school counselor will set up groups of five students each. During the meetings, the counselor will discuss with the students why they think they cannot achieve their goals and be what they want to be. With the support of the counselor and the other students, progress can be made to empower the student towards their goals. Individual Career Counseling Objectives: 1. All students will apply knowledge of aptitudes and interests to goal setting. 2. All students will be able to identify career information and options. Delivery Mode: Individual counseling one on one with students. Resources: Individual counseling will be facilitated by the school counselor of the elementary. The teachers will refer on a case by case basis students who are struggling with the career assignments or who they feel are having significant distress over the process. Time: Students will meet with the school counselor on a case by case basis. Each student will meet with the counselor at least once every quarter of the school year, and more often if needed. Materials: No materials are needed for individual counseling. Specific Activities: School counselors will discuss students performance and possible selfesteem and personal issues during the counseling meetings. Counselors will be able to provide information to interest the student in their career options and make them believe in their

7 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 7 achievement. By the end of the individual sessions, the student should feel more comfortable during the career lessons that take place in the classroom. In Class Goal Setting Objectives: 1. All students will apply knowledge of aptitudes and interests to goal setting. Delivery mode: The objective will be completed by guidance classroom curriculum. The school counselor will work with each first grade teacher to go over the activity objective and instructions. Resources: This objective and activity will be met in the first grade classrooms with the assistance from the first grade teachers. No further financial or staffing resources are required. Time: The classroom goal setting activity will be conducted in the time frame of minutes. The activity will be conducted during the English or writing lesson. This activity will be completed in the 1st quarter. Materials: Each classroom will need 1 large poster board and marker. Specific Activities: Each first grade class will complete a classroom goal setting session. The class will work together to come up with a class goal. The teacher will write the goal out on a poster as the children dictate the goal. The poster will then be displayed in the classroom. The students will make note of the factors that will go into accomplishing the goal. The class will then continue to work towards the goal throughout the year/quarter. Picking Letter of Alphabet (Erford, 2001) Objective: The objective of this activity is to broaden the students knowledge of specific careers and expand their minds on what types of careers exist. Delivery mode: Classroom guidance is delivery mode. This classroom guidance session will take place during writing/reading class. It corresponds with writing since students will be

8 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 8 writing out their careers. Resources: The activity will be completed in the classroom with the assistance of the teacher. Time: This activity will take three class sessions which are thirty minutes each. Materials: The materials required are a booklet of paper with a letter of the alphabet on each page, markers, crayons, pencils, and pens. Specific Activities: Each student will receive a booklet of a different letter of the alphabet on each page. Starting with the letter A, ask students to think of a job that begins with that letter. Students should then write that career down and draw it on the blank piece of paper. The school counselor will announce each letter at a time, allowing time for students to come up with a career for that letter. Then, the counselor will discuss some of the answers from the students and move on to the next letter. Field Trip (Adapted from Erford, 2001) Objective: The objective of the field trip is to show students what sorts of occupations exist in the real world. Learning the information about careers is helpful, but actually seeing it makes all the difference. Showing students where the job takes place and how the job is done will significantly increase their knowledge. It will also help them understand the careers that they are seeing much better. Delivery mode: A field trip will take place at the location where most students are interested in going to. This field trip location will be based off of the career goals of the students. The career that the majority of students want to be is where they ll go on the field trip. The delivery mode is classroom guidance. The class is all going on the field trip together to learn more about careers.

9 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 9 Resources: We will need permission to go on the field trip from the school and from the students parents. Parents will need to sign a waiver saying that they allow their child to go on the field trip. Using funding from the school, we can use two buses to transport the students to the field trip. Three additional teachers are required to go with the students and school counselor. Time: Students will leave for the field trip at approximately 8:30 am. They will load the buses and leave the school at 8:45 am. Students will arrive at the field trip at 9:05am. The group will each lunch at 11am. We will plan to leave for the field trip at 12:30pm and arrive back at school at 12:45pm. Materials: The materials that we need for the field trips are buses. Specific Activities: The group will go to the location of the career that is most popular. For example, students will go to a nearby hospital to meet the wide variety of the school career goals. The students will break up into two groups. Each group will get a tour guide. The students will be encouraged to ask the tour guides specific questions as they watch the employees do their job. Career Fair (Adapted from McHale, 2010) Objective: 1. All students will be able to identify career information and options. Delivery Mode: Classroom guidance and school wide delivery mode. Resources: The career fair will be organized by the school counselor, principal, and a committee of interested teachers and parents. This large event will require the school to make connections with the community and reach out to local businesses and professionals. Time: The career fair will take place during the third quarter of the school year. The career fair will take place in the morning during the second and third class periods. The teachers will take their first graders to the career fair during their assigned class period.

10 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 10 Materials: For the career fair, we will need a large meeting place like the school gym, a table for each career represented, and refreshments for the presenters. Each presenter can bring materials as they see fit to explain their profession or demonstrate their skills. Specific Activities: The professions represented at the career fair will be based upon the careers most popular in the pre-assessment survey, as well as community members that would be willing to come in to talk about their other careers. The presenters will be briefed on the goals of the career fair when asked to attend, including a focus on education and setting goals and working hard in school early to achieve their post-secondary success. During the career fair, students will be able to go from table to table as supervised by their teacher to talk with the professionals in attendance. This will allow students to once again independently go to tables that interest them most or growth their current career aspirations. Drawing of Career Goal: Post-assessment (Adapted from Erford, 2001) Objectives: 1. All students have information regarding a variety of careers. 2. All students will create career goals. 3. All students will be able to set individual goals to reach career choice. 4. All students will use problem-solving and decision-making skills to assess progress toward educational goals. Delivery Mode: This activity will be conducted in the first grade classroom by the teacher and the school counselor. The instruction will be guidance curriculum based. The school counselor will also meet with each student before the presentations to discuss their career goal and why they chose their goal. Resources: This objective and activity will be met in the first grade classrooms with the assistance from the first grade teachers. No further financial or staffing resources are required. Time: This activity will be conducted in the 4th quarter of the school year. The activity will take

11 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 11 place in two segments of a day. During the art class the children will draw their career goal for the first segment. During Reading class later in the day (or the next day depending on the order of the class subject order) the school counselor will meet with the students to discuss their career goal and the student will then present their goal to the class. Materials: This activity requires paper, drawing utensils such as markers or crayons, and a bulletin board. Specific Activities: As the culmination of the first grade career development plan, each first grade student will be asked to visualize themselves in their dream career. They will then be asked to draw their vision on paper using markers and crayons. The teacher and counselor will assist with writing things they will have to do in order to complete the goal (e.g. work hard a school). After the children have finished their picture, each child will present their goal to the class. After the class presentation, all students drawings will be displayed on a bulletin board in the hallway. Summaries for Caregivers (Adapted from Erford, 2001) Objective: Inform caregiver of what the child is doing in the program at school to increase the caregiver s awareness of the child s career education. Delivery Mode: The delivery mode will be a form letter to caregivers. Resources: The form letter will be created by the school counselor. They will be delivered to caregivers with the students report cards at the end of each quarter. Time: The letter can be written during the school counselor s time. One form letter per quarter will be delivered. Materials: The letters will require paper. Specific Activities: Towards the end of each quarter the school counselor will create a form

12 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 12 letter describing the career counseling activities that have been completed over the course of the quarter. The letter will give specifics of each activity and why the activity is included in the program. During the second and fourth quarters, the counselor will work with the teachers to include personal notes at the end of the letter regarding individual student progress. The letter will always encourage caregivers to become involved in career education. Evaluation A needs assessment in the form of a pre-assessment survey will be distributed to the students in order to determine which areas of career development are most needed for the students of Frederick Douglass Elementary School. This survey determines where the students place in terms of career information and attitudes towards future opportunities. Child-guardians will also be given a pre-program survey to determine parent attitudes and biases regarding their children s future careers. A post assessment survey will be distributed to caregivers in order to determine if attitudes have changed. If attitudes have changed to become either more realistic or optimistic than the program will have been effective. However, if the attitudes have not changed, then more activities will be implemented that will address the caregivers specifically. For example, information sessions or handouts about post-secondary options can be provided in order to educate them on the postsecondary options for the students. Students will complete a final activity in class, the drawing of their career goal and presentation of this drawing to the class. This activity will be assessed by the teachers through a form provided by the school counselor. Teachers will be given guidance on what aspects to look for in the student s presentation, and will fill out the evaluation form. The evaluation form

13 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 13 (Appendix B) will assess whether or not the students are able to meet the objectives of the career counseling program that were established at the beginning of the school year. If students are not able to complete the separate components of the assignment, additional activities in the category will be provided in the following year of the program. Students who demonstrate a need for additional assistance will meet with school counselors on an individual basis in order to facilitate their career development.

14 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 14 References Auger, R.W., Blackhurst, A. E., & Wahls, K. H. (2005). The development of elementary-aged children s career aspirations and expectations. Professional School Counseling, 8, Benning, C., Bergt, R., & Sausaman, B. (2003). Improving student awareness of careers through a variety of strategies. ERIC Digest. Retrieved July 9, 2011 from Cross, T., & Burney, V. (2005). High ability, rural, and poor: Lessons from project aspire and implications for school counselors. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education, 16(4), Retrieved July 10, 2011 from Professional Development Collection. Drier, H. N. (2000). Career and life planning key feature within comprehensive guidance programs. Journal of Career Development, 27(2), Erford, B. T. (2001). Transforming the school counseling profession (3rd edition). Boston, MA: Pearson. Gloster, A. (2009). Counselor implementation of the ASCA national model at Title I elementary schools. Georgia Southern University. Retrieved July 9, 2011 from georgiasouthern.edu McHale, J. (2010). Tips for career day success. ASCA School Counselor, 48(2), Schultheiss, D. E. (2005). University-urban school collaboration in school counseling. Professional School Counseling, 8(4), 330. Trotzer, J. (2006). The counselor and the group: Integrating theory, training, and practice (4th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. (ISBN: )

15 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 15 Appendix A: Pre-assessment for Students

16 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 16 Appendix B: Pre-Assessment Survey for Caregivers Appendix C: Post-Assessment Survey for Caregivers

17 CAREER COUNSELING IN ELEMENTARY URBAN SCHOOLS 17 Appendix D: Final Student Assessment and Program Evaluation

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