LEGISLATIVE CHANGES TO REQUIREMENTS FOR SCHOOL COUNSELORS

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1 DATE October 11, 2013 TO Superintendents Testing and Accountability Directors/Coordinators Student Support Services Directors FROM Rebecca Garland LEGISLATIVE CHANGES TO REQUIREMENTS FOR SCHOOL COUNSELORS In July 2013, the General Assembly passed several school safety provisions as part of the appropriations act (Session Law , G.S. 115C-316.1). This legislation includes clear provisions regarding the Duties of School Counselors. In addition, this legislation directs the State Board of Education to develop and distribute guidelines to assist local education agencies (LEAs) in the implementation of this statute. This memo provides a summary of basic points about the requirements for school counselors. Attached, you will find a resource prepared by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) to help LEAs meet the requirements articulated in the appropriations act, as well as a copy of the NCDPI School Counselor Job Description. The pertinent section of the legislation supports the NCDPI School Counselor Job Description by affirming it in statute. The purpose of this section of Session Law is to support school counselors functioning in ways that promote school safety and remove barriers to learning for all students. This legislative step allows school counselors to support student achievement and help schools achieve their school improvement goals. The legislation directs school counselors to spend 80 percent of their time in the delivery of student support services via a comprehensive school counseling program. The remaining 20 percent of their time shall be spent in program management of the comprehensive school counseling program and in collaboration with school staff and stakeholders to support school improvement goals. The legislation further states that coordination of standardized tests is not to be part of the duties of the school counselor and LEAs are to reassign these duties within existing resources. Test coordination was singled out in the recent legislation because it has historically been the most common non-counseling duty taking school counselors away from delivering comprehensive school counseling services to students. The North Carolina General Assembly has been studying concerns about school counseling for about a decade. You can find results from their inquiries under "Additional Resources" at ACADEMIC SERVICES AND INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT Rebecca Garland, Ed.D., Chief Academic Officer 6368 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina (919) Fax (919) AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EMPLOYER

2 On October 3, 2013, the State Board of Education approved the attached resource to assist LEAs with the implementation of these requirements for school counselors. You can access this resource, as well as the NCDPI School Counselor Job Description at NCDPI will assist with the implementation of this legislation and the newly aligned school counselor evaluation rubric. Please contact Linda Brannan, Student Support Services Consultant, at if you need further clarification or assistance. RBG:lb

3 Transition Guidelines to Implement G.S. 115C-316.1, Section 8.35 (Duties of School Counselors) Introduction This document provides guidance to LEAs throughout the state of North Carolina for the implementation of G.S. 115C-316.1, the School Safety legislation, clarifying the Duties of School Counselors. The role of school counselors within the overall school environment has been clarified to ensure that school counselors have the opportunity to develop and implement comprehensive developmental school counseling programs that remove barriers to learning and promote student success. Professional school counselors utilize leadership, advocacy and collaboration to promote academic success and personal success for all students. A comprehensive school counseling program encompasses areas of academic, career and personal/social development for all students and supports the overall academic mission of the school. The safety and security of all persons within a school environment is essential. School counselors can help foster safer school environments in a variety of ways including the implementation of antibullying programs, character education programs as well as assisting students who have serious mental health concerns through finding resources to get those concerns addressed. By taking on leadership roles that are consistent with the role and function of school counselors, as well as performing the fair share duties expected of all faculty and staff members, school counselors will continue to work collaboratively to ensure that all students achieve academically and experience personal success in order to graduate career and college ready and to be globally prepared as 21 st Century citizens. Section 8.35 of 115C (Duties of school counselors) School counselors shall implement a comprehensive developmental school counseling program in their schools. Counselors shall spend at least eighty percent (80%) of their work time providing direct services to students. Direct services do not include the coordination of standardized testing. Direct services shall consist of: (1) Delivering the school guidance curriculum through large group guidance, interdisciplinary curriculum development, group activities, and parent workshops. (2) Guiding individual student planning through individual or small group assistance and individual or small group advisement. (3) Providing responsive services through consultation with students, families, and staff; individual and small group counseling; crisis counseling; referrals; and peer facilitation. (4) Performing other student services listed in the Department of Public Instruction school counselor job description that has been approved by the State Board of Education. During the remainder of their work time, counselors shall spend adequate time on school counseling program support activities that consist of professional development; consultation, collaboration, and training; and program management and operations. 1

4 Transition Guidelines to Implement G.S. 115C-316.1, Section 8.35 (Duties of School Counselors) School counseling program support activities do not include the coordination of standardized testing. However, school counselors may assist other staff with standardized testing. SECTION 8.35.(b) Each local board of education shall develop a transition plan for implementing subsection (a) of this section within existing resources by reassigning duties within its schools. The State Board of Education shall develop and distribute guidelines to all local school administrative units to assist with the implementation of subsection (a) of this section. NC Department of Public Instruction Stakeholder Focus Work Group to Develop Guidelines Team Members: Representatives invited to be part of the work group are from: Local Education Agency (LEA) representatives from each of the regions designated by the NC State Board of Education (Regions 1-8) School Counselors LEA School Counseling Supervisors Human Resource (HR) Directors Principals Early College Programs Charter Schools NCDPI Staff from Accountability, Career & Technical Education and Curriculum & Instruction Divisions Institutes of Higher Education NC Community College System Following is a chart that offers suggested guidelines for local LEAs to consider in developing a plan to implement Subsection (a) of the new legislation (80/20%) and to transition test coordination duties from school counselors for those school counselors who are serving in this role. 2

5 Transition Guidelines to Implement G.S. 115C-316.1, Section 8.35 (Duties of School Counselors) Transition Plan Components A Comprehensive Developmental School Counseling Program (80%) How are students different as a result of the School Counseling Program? Expected Outcomes Strategies Such As: Examples of Accountability Measures School Counselors will develop a comprehensive developmental school counseling plan based on school data reflecting the needs of the school/students that is aligned with the school improvement plan. School Counselors will follow the NCDPI/SBE approved School Counselor Job Description spending 80% of their work time in the delivery of student support services with 20% of their work time spent in program support activities. Review and understand role of school counseling in the school improvement plan Use and follow NCDPI resources: School Counselor Job Description, NC Professional Standards for School Counselors, NC School Counselor Evaluation, and NC Guidance Essential Standards Review school data and the school improvement plan to assess needs Develop a data driven School Counseling Program Annual Plan/Agreement with student support services team and administrator that will help students overcome issues impeding student achievement by addressing academic, career and personal-social issues Implement NC Guidance Essential Standards through: Facilitate interdisciplinary curriculum development Work with related content specific staff in Professional Learning Communities to integrate the NC Guidance Essential Standards throughout the various curricula within the school 3 Use the national framework for school counseling: ASCA National Model for School Counseling which includes: School Counseling Program Assessment, School Counselor Assessment, School Counseling Code of Ethics School Data & School Improvement Plan School Counseling Program Annual Agreement includes program goals, action plans, and outcome data Program and individual calendars, Use of Time Assessments Person(s) Responsible NCDPI Consultant District and Building Level Administrators School Counselors Career Development Coordinators Teacher PLCs Student Support Personnel Timeline School Year Annually

6 Transition Guidelines to Implement G.S. 115C-316.1, Section 8.35 (Duties of School Counselors) Provide Student Planning/Career Advising to support student achievement through Small Group counseling Individual advising and counseling Career and College Readiness programs and activities Classroom lessons including the NC Guidance Essential Standards Student assistance advising and planning to evaluate abilities, interests, skills and achievement for future academic planning to the next gradelevel and post-secondary planning Promotion of safe school environment through prevention and intervention strategies School-wide Programs Bullying Prevention Character Development Career Development Peer Mediation/Facilitation Parent Workshops Guidance Curriculum Action Plan Small Group Action Plan Closing the Gap Action Plan Data Collection and Analysis (Process, Perception, Outcome) Annual School Counseling Program Results Report Provide Responsive Services through Individual and group counseling sessions to help students overcome issues impeding achievement or success School-wide prevention activities Crisis Counseling and consultation Suicide awareness and screenings Counselors do not provide longterm counseling/therapy in schools. They may provide short-term intervention and make appropriate 4

7 Transition Guidelines to Implement G.S. 115C-316.1, Section 8.35 (Duties of School Counselors) referrals to community resources. Appropriate School Counseling Duties for Program Support (20%) School Counselors will follow the NCDPI/SBE approved School Counselor Job Description spending 80% of their work time in the delivery of student support services with 20% of their work time spent in program support activities. School Counselors will analyze the results of the school counseling program, create reports and share outcomes with stakeholders Implement Program Support through Leadership and advocacy to improve student outcomes Referrals directing parents and students to school/community resources for additional support Consultation share strategies to support student achievement with teachers, parents, other educators Collegial Consultation Professional Learning Communities Collaboration with school staff, parents, businesses and community organizations Advisory councils Staff In-service training Professional Development Program Management Data use & analysis, Analyze relevant school-wide data relevant to develop school counseling program goals and action plans to include: curriculum, small group and closing the gap action plans Interpreting student data Identify student needs Plan Program Evaluate Program for continuous improvement growth Annual Agreement Program Assessment Action Plans Outcome /Results Reports School Data Meeting Agendas Professional Development Artifacts NCDPI Consultant District and Building-level administrators School Counselors School Year Annually 5

8 Transition Guidelines to Implement G.S. 115C-316.1, Section 8.35 (Duties of School Counselors) Provide Fair Share Duties Duties that all school staff participate, as allowed by the law, to support the total operation of the school. Suggested Strategies to consider for Transition Plan of test coordination duties Identify most appropriate person(s) to coordinate testing program in each school according to state testing guidelines. Provide education to the LEAs on the impact of law and appropriate and inappropriate role of counselors in testing Provide education and awareness for counselors regarding appropriate and inappropriate roles in testing. Provide examples from LEAs of possible staff to consider for the test coordinator position Below are examples from LEAs of staff that are currently being used as Test Coordinators (prior to the legislation) Assistant Principal Teachers w/ reduced class loads Contracted test coordinator Title One Personnel Instructional Facilitators Distance Learning Facilitators Non-Certified Staff with exceptional organizational skills Agendas, s, other communications School and district Testing Plan District Administrators Principals Assistant Principals Identified Multidisciplinary team members Testing Coordinator School Year Annually Multidisciplinary Testing Team may be used to support the Testing Coordinator Identify roles of testing team per the testing manual. Consider importance of administrators as testing coordinators with respect to the 6

9 Transition Guidelines to Implement G.S. 115C-316.1, Section 8.35 (Duties of School Counselors) fidelity of Standard 6 of the Teacher Evaluation and to set and monitor appropriate testing environment and practices. Appropriate Participation of School Counselors with Testing School Counselors may collaborate to identify needs and remove barriers for student success in testing. Teach test taking strategies to parents, students, staff Participate in fair share duties on test day(s). Use advocacy and collaboration for creating developmentally appropriate individual student accommodation plans. Provide responsive services to disruptions or crisis that may disrupt the testing environment(s). Provide small group/ individual counseling services for students with barriers to testing (i.e. test anxiety) Utilize test data for the development of the comprehensive school counseling program. Interpret test and assessment data for student advising with academic and career and college planning School Counseling Program Annual Calendar School Counselor individual calendars Comprehensive School Counseling Plan Annual Agreement District and Building level administrators School Counselors School year Annually Overall Transition Plan Guidelines Each local board of education shall develop a transition plan for implementing 115C (section 8.35) to align with the NCDPI school counselor job description. Collaborate with stakeholders and advisory groups Explore dedicated funding sources and additional funding sources (local funding for stipends, etc.) Review existing school staff resources (time, expertise, etc.) Final transition plan Meeting and training agendas & rosters LEA Surveys LEA and school testing plans will show transition of duties NCDPI Consultant Superintendent District Level and Building Administrators, LEA and schoollevel Testing School Year Annually 7

10 Transition Guidelines to Implement G.S. 115C-316.1, Section 8.35 (Duties of School Counselors) Provide NCDPI training on the Comprehensive Developmental School Counseling Program including the Guidance Essential Standards, School Counselor Job Description and School Counselor Evaluation to appropriate LEA staff Share and communicate final approved transition plan with all school staff. NCDPI training attendance rosters and evaluations School Counselor evaluation will show implementation of a comprehensive school counseling program with 80% of time spent in delivery of support services to students Coordinators School Counselors Other school personnel as appropriate Other Considerations in Developing Local LEA Transition Plan Funding for Positions Maintain positions for School Counselors/Social Workers and School Psychologists as a means to support the new legislation on School Safety. This action allows students socio-emotional needs to be addressed by the staff licensed in the school to provide these services and promotes school safety, student achievement and removes barriers to learning. Determine appropriate staff who may serve as a testing coordinator - consult the NC Testing Manual and Allotment Policy Manual. Follow Allotment Policy Manual information on PRC 007, found in the State Allotment Formula Section, which includes the wording below: Provide funding for salaries for certified instructional support personnel to implement locally designed initiatives that provide services to students who are at risk of school failure as well as the students' families. It is the intent of the General Assembly that the positions must be used first for counselors, then for social workers and other instructional support personnel that have a direct instructional relationship to students or teachers to help reduce violence in the public schools. They shall not be used as administrators, coordinators, supervisors, or directors. 8

11 Transition Guidelines to Implement G.S. 115C-316.1, Section 8.35 (Duties of School Counselors) Human Resource Administrators and School Business/Finance Administrators will assist LEAs to assure policies for funding positions are fully understood especially the negative impact on experience credit for certified staff who may be employed in a position that is funding partially from both the certified budget position code and non-certified budget position code. Clarify the use of funds between funding codes and appropriate position allotment processes. Consider importance of administrators as designated school-wide testing coordinators with respect to the fidelity of Standard 6 of the NC Teacher Evaluation and to set appropriate testing environment. Review funding within existing resources. Also, explore other possible funding sources to create local funding as stipends for test coordinators. School Counselors use Flexible Schedules for Optimum Performance Use caution when assigning school counselors to a fixed schedule versus a more flexible schedule that allows for school counselors to plan and respond to student needs based on data-driven decisions and unexpected crises. Often, a fixed schedule prohibits the effective delivery of the comprehensive school counseling program, collaboration with teacher Professional Learning Communities and may hinder the capacity to address student issues that affect school safety. Having a school counselor not be available to address student needs may also result in a potential liability issue should the need escalate into a critical incident for that student or other students such as suicide or injurious aggression. (Ex: School counselors being part of the master schedule/specials rotation to provide duty-free planning for teachers) Communication with the N.C. Graduate Programs for School Counseling The minimum level of education for N.C. licensure in school counseling is a Masters of Education in School Counseling. In order for school counselors who are entering new positions to be fully knowledgeable of the role and duties of school counselors per G.S. 115C-316.1, clarifying the Duties of School Counselors, it is important that university graduate programs incorporate this information in their education curriculum. 9

12 Transition Guidelines to Implement G.S. 115C-316.1, Section 8.35 (Duties of School Counselors) Frequently Asked Questions The following questions were raised by LEAs during this planning process. The State Board of Education Attorney and the NCDPI School Business Finance Division were consulted with responses below: 1. What types of schools does this law apply? a. Only regular coded LEAs Charter Schools and specialized schools (NC School for the Deaf, etc.) are not included 2. May the 20% of school counseling program support include test coordination duties? a. Do not send school counselors to test coordinator training. They may not serve as a test coordinator or back-up test coordinator. However, school counselors may participate with fair share duties to administer the tests as other certified staff members participate, as long as they do not have the test coordination responsibilities. 3. Can LEAs split school counseling positions where it is a half-time school counselor position and half time instructional coach to serve as a test coordinator? a. LEAs may not split a school counselor position to have the other half as a test coordinator, because this type of action ends up circumventing the intent of the law. However, the LEAs can take an instructional support position and convert the position into dollars and use for non-instructional support. Please note: per the NCDPI School Business Finance Division, this action means the position will be on a different pay scale. Also, if the individual holds a NC Professional Teaching License, the individual coded to this position does not receive educator experience credit. 10

13 School Counselor Student Services Job Description SCHOOL COUNSELOR JOB DESCRIPTION

14 In compliance with federal laws, N C Public Schools administers all state-operated educational programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination because of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, color, age, military service, disability, or gender, except where exemption is appropriate and allowed by law. Inquiries or complaints should be directed to: Dr. Rebecca Garland Associate Superintendent Innovation and School Transformation 6368 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC Telephone (919) Fax (919)

15 School Counselor Job Description Process The Professional Standards School Counseling Advisory Board reviewed the 2005 School Counselor Job Description for alignment with the approved 2008 North Carolina Professional School Counseling Standards. The original 2005 draft school counselor job description was distributed at the 2005 NCSCA Fall Conference, via listservs to school personnel and the NC Principals & Assistant Principals Association, and through postings on the DPI School Counseling website to gather additional input. Special appreciation is extended to the committee members listed below who assisted in the preparation and/or review of the school counselor job description. Name Position Organization Tara W. Bissette Past President of NCSCA and Elementary School Counselor NC School Counselor Association and Wake County Schools Kathy Boyd Senior Staff Attorney NC School Boards Association Brenda Deese Angel Dowden Reneé Evans Cynthia Floyd John Galassi Eleanor Goettee LEA Director of Student Services AP/IB Program Coordinator and Former High School Counselor Past President of NCSCA & Assistant Professor of Counselor Education Executive Director of Student Support Services Professor and Coordinator of School Counseling Former Executive Director Robeson County Schools North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and Wake County Schools NC School Counselor Association and Appalachian State University Wilson County Schools UNC Chapel Hill NC Professional Teaching Standards Commission Beverly Kellar Deputy Superintendent Gaston County Schools Linda Kopec Principal Onslow County Schools Leah McCallum Elementary School Counselor and USC doctoral student Scotland County Schools Carolyn McKinney Executive Director NC Professional Teaching Standards Commission Evan Myers NCPAPA Past President and Principal NC Principals and Assistant Principals Association and Davidson County Schools

16 Joe Parry-Hill Pat Partin Marrius Pettiford Retired Personnel Analyst Retired Professor of Psychology and Counseling ASCA Southern Regional Vice President and Student Support Services Director North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Gardner-Webb University American School Counselor Association and Alamance- Burlington Schools Barbara Potts Middle School Counselor Guilford County Schools Debra Preston Kenneth Simington Larry Simmons Teresa A. Smith Eric Sparks Audrey Thomasson Jose Villalba Florence Weaver Edward Wierzalis Purpose and Background School Counseling Program Coordinator Director of Student Services Section Chief, School Personnel Support K-12 Student Support Services Consultant Past President ASCA and Director of School Counseling Former Director of NCSCA and Middle School Counselor Assistant Professor of Counselor Education Professor of Counselor Education President NCSCA and Coordinator of School Counseling and Clinical Placement UNC Pembroke Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools North Carolina Department of Public Instruction North Carolina Department of Public Instruction American School Counselor Association and Wake County Schools NC School Counselor Association and Wake County Schools UNC Greensboro East Carolina University NC School Counselor Association and UNC Charlotte This document is intended for use by North Carolina schools and local education agencies that employ school counselors. The 2008 North Carolina School Counselor Job Description represents a revision of the 2005 North Carolina School Counselor Job Description. In reviewing and aligning the 2008 job description, a variety of documents and relevant State legislation and statutes were consulted including The North Carolina Professional Standards for School Counseling; The ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling Programs; the current State Comprehensive School Counseling Standard Course of Study; the North Carolina Standards for the Preparation of School Counselors approved by the State Board of Education on November 3, 2005; State Board of Education Policies QP-C-003 and QP-C-006; State Board of Education s Guiding Mission and Goals; State General Statutes 115C-333 and 115C-335; the U.S. Department of Education s The Guidance Counselor s Role in Ensuring Equal Educational Opportunity and current State educational staff job descriptions

17 Role of the School Counselor In the United States, the school counseling profession began as a vocational guidance movement at the beginning of the 20th century (Schmidt, 2003, p. 6). In 1907, Jesse B. Davis became the principal of a high school and encouraged the school English teachers to use compositions and lessons to relate career interests, develop character, and avoid behavioral problems. From that grew systematic guidance programs, which later evolved into comprehensive school counseling programs that address three basic domains: academic development, career development, and personal/social development. In North Carolina, one has to complete an approved master s degree in school counseling program in a regionally accredited college or university in order to be a licensed school counselor. Within these counselor education programs, several standards are studied such as the professional identity of school counseling, cultural diversity, human growth and development, and career development. Also required are the core components for helping relationships, group and individual work, assessment, research and program evaluation, knowledge and requirements for school counselors, contextual dimensions of school counseling, foundations of school counseling and an internship under a highly qualified school counselor. School counselors are expected to apply their professional training in schools in order to support student academic success. Through comprehensive school counseling programs of developmental, preventive, remedial, and responsive services, school counselors address academic development, career development, and personal/social development of students. This job description is a guide for the implementation of such comprehensive school counseling programs in the public schools of North Carolina

18 SCHOOL COUNSELOR STUDENT SERVICES JOB DESCRIPTION POSITION: School Counselor REPORTS TO: Principal PURPOSE: Utilizing leadership, advocacy, and collaboration, school counselors promote student success, provide preventive services, and respond to identified student needs by implementing a comprehensive school counseling program that addresses academic, career, and personal/social development for all students. The major functions of the school counselor job description incorporate the North Carolina State Board of Education s guiding mission that every public school student will graduate from high school globally competitive for work and postsecondary education and prepared for life in the twenty-first century. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 1. MAJOR FUNCTION: DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF A COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL COUNSELING PROGRAM 1.1 Discusses the comprehensive school counseling program with the school administrator. 1.2 Develops and maintains a written plan for effective delivery of the school counseling program based on the NC Comprehensive School Counseling Standard Course of Study and current individual school data. 1.3 Communicates the goals of the comprehensive school counseling program to education stakeholders (i.e., administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community/business leaders). 1.4 Maintains current and appropriate resources for education stakeholders. 1.5 Uses the majority of time providing direct services through the Guidance Curriculum, Individual Student Planning and Preventive and Responsive Services, and most remaining time in program management, system support, and accountability (National standards recommend 80% of time in Guidance Curriculum, Individual Student Planning and Preventive and Responsive Services and 20% of time in program management, system support, and accountability (American School Counselor Association, 2005). 1.6 Uses data to develop comprehensive programs that meet student needs

19 2 MAJOR FUNCTION: DELIVERY OF A COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL COUNSELING PROGRAM Guidance Curriculum 2.1 Provides leadership and collaborates with other educators in the school-wide integration of the State Guidance Curriculum Standard Course of Study. 2.2 Implements developmentally appropriate and prevention-oriented group activities to meet student needs and school goals. 2.3 Incorporates into their programs the life skills that students need to be successful in the twenty-first century. Individual Student Planning 2.4 Assists all students, individually or in groups, with developing academic, career and personal/social skills, goals, and plans. 2.5 Accurately and appropriately interprets and utilizes student data. 2.6 Collaborates with parents/guardians and educators to assist students with educational, career, and life planning. Preventive and Responsive Services 2.7 Provides individual and group counseling to students with identified concerns and needs. 2.8 Consults and collaborates effectively with parents/guardians, teachers, administrators, and other educational/community resources regarding students with identified concerns and needs. 2.9 Implements an effective referral and follow-up process as needed Accurately and appropriately uses assessment procedures for determining and structuring individual and group counseling services. System Support 2.11 Provides appropriate information to school personnel related to the comprehensive school counseling program Assists teachers, parents/guardians, and other stakeholders in interpreting and understanding student data Participates in professional development activities to improve knowledge and skills

20 2.14 Uses available technology resources to enhance the school counseling program Adheres to laws, policies, procedures, and ethical standards of the school counseling profession. 3. MAJOR FUNCTION: ACCOUNTABILITY 3.1 Conducts a yearly program audit to review extent of program implementation and effectiveness. 3.2 Collects and analyzes data to guide program direction and emphasis. 3.3 Measures results of the comprehensive school counseling program activities and shares results as appropriate with relevant stakeholders. 3.4 Monitors student academic performance, behavior, and attendance and facilitates appropriate interventions

21 References American School Counselor Association (2005). The ASCA national model: A framework for school counseling programs (2 nd ed). Alexandria, VA: Author. Schmidt, J.J. (2003). Counseling in schools: Essential services and comprehensive programs (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon

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