The Professional Identity of a School Counselor. Allison Craig. Northern Kentucky University

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1 Running head: SCHOOL COUNSELOR VS. GUIDANCE COUNSELOR 1 The Professional Identity of a School Counselor Allison Craig Northern Kentucky University

2 SCHOOL COUNSELOR VS. GUIDANCE COUNSELOR 2 The Professional Identity of a School Counselor There have been many changes made in the role of a counselor in the school system over the last century. For example, the Industrial Revolution was the first time when people began working in big cities, so in the 1900 s teachers were being trained and started providing career and vocational path type guidance (Cobia & Henderson, 2007). In 1957, the Russian satellite, Sputnik, was launched into space. Americans felt threatened by this technological achievement, therefore the government decided to give millions of dollars to schools to educate counselors on how to get more students in college pursuing math and science degrees (Cobia & Henderson, 2007). In addition, The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) was developed in Throughout the second half of the twentieth century there were many different desired needs for the students, therefore the role of the counselor was constantly changing. In 2003, The American School Counseling Association, (ASCA) developed a National Model for school counselors to help identify clear expectations for a school counselor in the twenty first century. This model alleviates the inappropriate roles that counselors can mistakenly be used for, such as clerical or administrative tasks. The new model allows the counselor to create their own collaborative programs designed to meet the needs of all of the students in the school (ASCA, 2005). The counselor has defined roles and responsibilities maximizing student achievement in areas of academics, personal, and social development. The counselor s multifaceted role includes providing leadership for the faculty and advocacy for the students, facilitating or delivery of programs, and program management and accountability. Providing Leadership for the Faculty and Advocacy for the Students In order for the counselor to remove barriers to student learning, the counselor needs to be in a leadership role. This occurs when both the school administration and the counselor have

3 SCHOOL COUNSELOR VS. GUIDANCE COUNSELOR 3 the same mission for the school and come to a clear understanding of the defining roles of each stakeholder. Collaboration is crucial, as the school counselor does not have sole responsibility for the comprehensive school counseling program (Cobia & Henderson, 2007). The counselor uses collected data to determine the school s needs and then systematically develops programs to increase academic achievement and decrease behavior or social problems. The counselor effectively communicates with the other professionals to influence positive comprehensive changes and implement school reform. They facilitate challenging academic preparation that will ensure greater opportunities and increased academic achievement for every student. The counselor s sole purpose is to advocate that every student can and will achieve academic achievement while meeting rigorous high expectations. The advocacy promotes for all barriers of learning to be removed, giving every student equal opportunities for success (ASCA, 2005). Facilitating or Delivery of Programs The counselor carefully reviews the school s mission, the data from the needs assessment, and the current programs that are in place. The counselor enhances the programs that are in place, and develops additional progressive programs to ensure academic, career, and personal/social success for every student. The counselor is responsible for developing programs and providing services to students, parents, school staff, and the community (Cobia & Henderson, 2007). Once the programs are developed they are delivered by using the school guidance curriculum, individual student planning, responsive services, and system support. The school guidance curriculum consists of developmental lessons that are created and implemented by school counselors for K-12 classrooms and/or group activities. Individual student planning gives each student the opportunity to set goals and work towards them. Responsive services include consultation with parents, teachers, and other educators, individual and small-group

4 SCHOOL COUNSELOR VS. GUIDANCE COUNSELOR 4 counseling, crisis counseling, referrals to other support services, and peer facilitation. These services are in response to immediate concerns that are occurring in the students lives. System support is the overall management and maintaining of the comprehensive plan. The counselor plans and/or facilitates professional development and is proactively involved in the local, state, and national levels (Cobia & Henderson, 2007). Management and Accountability It is the counselor s responsibility to proactively share the comprehensive school counseling plan with all of the involved stakeholders at the beginning of the year. The counselor effectively makes an advisory council that is made up of students, parents, teachers, counselors, administrators and community members. The job of the advisory council is to review the data driven from each program, and determine if the program is working. The council makes recommendations to ensure that each program is making a positive change. The counselor is held accountable for the success of each program. It is a counselor s responsibility to distribute their time effectively, allotting 80 percent to directly working with students. The counselor uses the data they collect over time to show the impact the comprehensive plan has on student success. Lastly, the counselor is evaluated using the standards of practice expected of a professional school counselor (Cobia & Henderson, 2007). Implications for Professional School Counselor The school counselor effectively integrates into their school system by making administration, colleagues, parents, students, and the community aware of the comprehensive school counseling program that is being implemented. The school counselor gives needs assessments to students, parents, teachers, and administration, and then the needs of the school are identified. The school counselor researches the current programs and develops new

5 SCHOOL COUNSELOR VS. GUIDANCE COUNSELOR 5 programs to implement. The school counselor, through professional development and parent and community meetings, discusses these needs and works collaboratively with all stakeholders to create a comprehensive school counseling mission statement. The mission incorporates excelling academically, while developing appropriately personally and socially. The counselor shares the goals of the school and shares how the data driven programs can directly and positively impact these goals. In addition, the counselor discusses the changes that occur with any existing programs, and provides a detailed explanation of each new program being implemented. The counselor collaborates with all stakeholders to ensure that the programs are effectively implemented, and continues communication, so that the programs can be modified when necessary to best meet the needs of the students. The counselor meets with the advisory team at least three times the first year to show any data. At these meetings the data is analyzed and the advisory council decides any necessary changes that should occur. In addition, to continuous support and facilitation of programs, the counselor provides small group and individual counseling when necessary. The counselor assists teachers to help students on their own, but provides referral forms for students that will benefit from individual or small group counseling. The counselor, initially, puts forth a great deal of time and effort assessing, creating, advocating, implementing, facilitating, collaborating, and analyzing the comprehensive school counseling program to ensure its longevity of success. The professional school counselor s main goal is to have each student of the school continuously and directly positively affected by the school counseling comprehensive plan. The climate of the school revolves around this plan, and ultimately the programs run themselves. The comprehensive school counseling plan, when implemented and facilitated effectively, creates maximum achievement academically, personally, and socially.

6 SCHOOL COUNSELOR VS. GUIDANCE COUNSELOR 6 References American School Counselor Association. (2005). The ASCA National Model: A framework for school counseling programs (2 nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Author. Cobia, D. C. & Henderson, D. A. (2007). Developing an Effective and Accountable School Counseling Programs (2 nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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