School counseling programs areessential to the academic and social development of students. Counselorsestablish interventions that help students overcome the different challengesand obstacles that they encounter throughout their academic careers; they alsoteach students different coping mechanism that can be used outside of theclassroom. Essentially, school counselors are necessary in the educationalenvironment; therefore, each counselor should aim to build an award winningprogram. This assignment will examine the different areas that counselorsexplore in the development of an award winning counseling program. Furthermore,I will also introduce my opinion on counseling program qualities and the impactthat the ASCA National Model and the Texas Model for Comprehensive SchoolCounseling Programs have on my learning and counseling approach. Benefitof Award Winning ProgramSchool counselors play a vital rolein the lives of todays children.
Counselors provide an array of services otherthan academic support; school counselors provide social and career guidance aswell. With the various needs of students in todays’ world, it is important forcounselors to develop and build an award wining comprehensive counseling program.According to Lapan Richard (2012), students benefit when counselors practicecomprehensive school counseling program services.
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“Comprehensive schoolcounseling programs refer to sequential, developmental program designed tobenefit all students in preparation for their future. The program includes acurriculum organized around academic development, career development, andpersonal and social development” (North Carolina State Department of Education,2001, p.1). Comprehensive counseling programs are beneficial to studentsbecause they advocate for their needs, call for community involvement, requirecollaboration between counselors, parents, teachers, administrators andstudents, and promote the overall development of each student. In building award winningcounseling programs, counselors involve the community, which can be beneficialto the entire student body.
According to the Oregon Department of Education(2003), involving the community makes the community aware of the needs of theschool and vice versa, the school becomes aware of the different needs of thecommunity. By communicating with community leaders, the counseling program canbegin to close communication gaps and can also begin to prepare students forthe work force by collaborating with local businesses. Award winning Comprehensivecounseling programs support student academic achievement. Wilkerson (2013)states that in his research he discovered that schools who use a comprehensiveschool-counseling program and are recognized as ASCA Model Programs (RAMP)demonstrated higher school wide proficiency rates in English/ Language Arts andMath. Comprehensive counseling programs encourage counselors to use data todrive their interventions, classroom guidance lessons and campus-wide programs.
Using data helps counselors establish an all-inclusive plan that incorporatesall student needs. The Texas Model for ComprehensionSchool Counseling Program (2017), states that comprehensive counseling programsbenefit schools due to the fact that it increases students knowledge and skillsin personal safety and post-secondary planning. Students’ benefit from theprograms and interventions that are develop by counselors. Comprehensiveprograms encourage student academic and emotional success during their academiccareers including post-secondary education. Award winning comprehensive schoolcounseling programs are beneficial to more than just students; they alsobenefit the community, stakeholders, teachers and parents. SchoolCounselor QualitiesSchool counselors need todemonstrate personal and professional characteristics, leadership skills andprofessional credentials in order to be an asset to their campus-counselingprogram. Counselors should demonstrate self-efficacy, empathy, self-awareness,multicultural competence and responsibility/accountability, just to name a few.School counselors should also posses the suitable credentials; in the state ofTexas, school counselors must have a master’s degree, minimum of two yearsexperience in the classroom and pass the TExES School Counselor test.
Counselorsshould posses the knowledge necessary to help students academically andsocially. Self-efficacy is the belief in onesability to perform a certain skills or activity, it can be defined as self-confidence.”Counseling self-efficacy can be defined ad a counselor’s belief about his orher ability to effectively counsel a client in the near future” (Larson, 1998as cited in Iarussi et al., 2013, p. 161). It is important for schoolcounselors to be confident in their skills and ability to help students.
School counselors need to showempathy to clients, they need to be non-judgmental and make students feelcomfortable. In doing so, students will be at ease and it can be easier forthem to share their difficulties with their counselors. “The term empathy refers to the ability to communicate a sense ofcaring and understanding regarding another person’s experiences” (Egan, 1994;Nystul, 1999 as cited in Madonna, 2001, p. 342). Counselors need to be empathetic in order to communicate care and warmth totheir students. This can be crucial to school counselors, since children areimpacted by judgment and are influence by the opinions of others. Schoolcounselors need to take responsibility for their actions; they need toaccountable for their programs and interventions.
This quality can be examinedregularly by evaluating and reflecting on ones’ performance, skills andprogram. According to the ASCA National Model (2012), counselors need toevaluate their program regularly in order to understand the effectiveness ofthe program. School counselors need to have qualities that promote studentgrowth, success and provide students with the proper coping tools thatencourage positive change. SixQualities of CSCPSuccessful comprehensive schoolcounseling programs share much in common, including six qualities that promotethe success of every student. The six qualities of a successful comprehensiveprogram are, holistic, systemic, balance, proactive, integrated with academicprogram and reflective. All six qualities improve the development of the counselingprogram. Holistic refers to having anall-inclusive program, in which all students are at the center of thecounseling program and of each intervention or guidance lesson. There aredifferent categories structures under Holistic; they include, academicdevelopment, career development and personal/social development.
Academicdevelopment refers to the multiple intelligences and learning styles.Multiple-intelligence is a theory that school counselors’ use when thinkingabout how students acquire new information and how they can support theiracademic accomplishments (Dollarhide & Saginak, 2012). Career developmentrefers to the programs that counselors practice to teach students careerclusters and exposed them to the different careers and post-secondaryeducational opportunities that they will have. Lastly, the Personal/Socialdevelopment category is where counselors promote self-esteem, identifydevelopment for students of diversity and encourage resiliency. System quality is used to identifywhat individuals school counselors’ will be working and collaborating with inorder to establish a comprehensive program. There are external and internalassets. Most counselors will develop relationships with community leaders,stakeholders, teachers, parents and students. “Communities are where familiesand students live, which offer opportunities for both positive and negativeenvironment influences” (Dollarhide & Saginak, 2012, p.
11). It is importantfor counselors to acknowledge that the environment that child is exposed towill influence their decision-making and their worldview. Working withcommunity leaders can provide students with the support that is necessary tohelp them overcome the negative affects that their environment might have.
Thisquality is important to students as it helps counselor communicate withstudents, families and teachers; it also helps close any communication gapsbetween counselors and the community. Essentially the counselor is an advocatefor the student and a liaison between the school and parents. Comprehensive school counselingprograms are balanced. According to Dollarhide & Saginak (2012), balancemust be maintained in academics, career, personal and social elements. Schoolcounselors must advocate, educate, counsel and support students.
Their needs tobe a balance in the work that they do, one individual portion of counselingshould not take priority over the others. Counselors who practice acomprehensive counseling program are proactive. This refers to working incollaboration with other stakeholders to improve the counseling program andpromote programs that encourage student success. This quality means thatcounselors should try to stop problems from becoming severe (Dollarhide &Saginak, 2012). Integrated with academic agenda refers to counseling programstaking action to help students with their academics. Counselors can providestudents with adequate academic interventions and accommodations. Comprehensivecounseling programs also ensure that they follow all state and school specific curriculums.Lastly, reflective refers to counselors reflecting and self-evaluating the qualityof their program and their performance as counselors (Lamar, 2017).
All sixqualities assist counselors develop and effective comprehensive program thatpromote student achievement. Standards/CommonCoreCommon cores establish a clear andcohesive goal that is shared by those invested in the studies of a child.”These new standards, developed in collaboration with teachers, schooladministrators, and other experts, provide a consistent framework of specificknowledge and skills necessary to ensure students are prepared to success incollege and the workforce” (Hatch & Chen-Hayes, 2014, p. 18). Common corestandards serve as a basis in the building of a comprehensive counselingprogram. A reason for this is that it requires for counselors to work closelywith the stakeholders who contribute to the education of each child. Workingtogether can achieve the goals set forth by the counseling program missionstatement. Activities perform by counselors who follow their common coreinclude activities that promote the learning of core curriculum (Hatch &Chen-Hayes, 2014).
Therefore, counselors are also practicing one of thequalities that must be present in a comprehensive school-counseling program asper ASCA National Model. By followingand implementing common core standards counselors will be developing a strongcurriculum foundation for students that can be beneficial post-secondary. LowPerforming School Counseling Programs Low performing school counselingprograms share common characteristics.
Three characteristics that these schoolsshare in common are the lack of data usage, no clear explanation of the role ofstudent counselor and minimal parent involvement. If I were to work on a campusthat shows low performing characteristics, I would use my counselingskills/knowledge and take the responsibility to help change the program. The Texas Counseling Association hasestablished ten basic counseling responsibilities associated with theprofession. They are: program management, guidance, counseling, consultation,coordination, student assessment, advocacy, leadership, professional behaviorand professional standards.
These responsibilities attributes can contribute tochanging a school that shows low performing counseling programs improve tohigher performing programs. “School counselors proactively provide guidance toassist all students in developing and applying skills for maximum educational,career, personal, and social growth during school years and beyond” (Texas CounselingAssociation, 2017, p. 23). By being proactive, counselors can be effective inthe development of an action plan that requires student data.
Using studentdata can pin point areas of need, it can help build intervention plans andestablish accommodations that help student succeed. A second responsibilityquality that can be used in a school that has a low performing counselingprogram is coordination. “School counselors work with students’parents/guardians and school personnel to coordinate referrals to otherresources as appropriate” (Texas Counseling Association, 2017, p. 25).Communicating and coordinating with students can promote parent involvement.
Asa counselor, my goal should be to advocate for every student and their needs.When a counseling program has a low performance rating, counselors andadministrators should take responsibility and change the program. AwardWinning or Low PerformingAn award wining counseling programestablishes well defined mission statement, uses data to drive their work,collaboration exist between counselors and community leaders, parentinvolvement is high and counselors serve as advocates. Low performing schools lackthe use of data, parental involvement is minimal and there is low communicationbetween the counselor and the community.
I have been employed at two-differentschools in South Texas. Both have demonstrated strengths in their counselingprogram, however, there were also areas of growth. Using a number scale of onethrough five; one being low and five being high, I will rate the two counselingprograms. The first campus I worked in was ahigh school; it was a small campus in a rural community. I would have to ratethis campus at a two. The reason I give it a low rating is because studentswere not offered complete academic, social or career services. Academically,students were limited to their exposure of pathways. Socially, not manyclassroom guidance lessons were performed, as a teacher I did not feel thattheir social counseling needs were being met.
Lastly, career services, studentswere not exposed to college fairs, post-secondary education, career pathways orfinancial aid education. Counselors seemed to be consumed by schedule changesand rankings. The second campus I worked in was amiddle school campus; student body count was roughly about 700 students. Usingthe same scale, I would give this campus a four. Students have the opportunityto take different electives based on their academic and career interest.Counselors are constantly performing guidance lessons and school-wide programsthat support students social needs (e.
g. red ribbon week, anti-bullyingassemblies, cyber bulling workshops). In my opinion students were beingpresented with interventions and programs that provided students with academic,social and career services. Influenceon Building a Comprehensive School Counseling Program In learning the characteristics ofan award wining comprehensive counseling program, I have determined that aprogram is not developed over night or in a short amount of time.
A successfuland effective program takes time, collaboration and communication. After thisweeks readings, webinar and discussion post I have learned that I will need toincorporate different leadership qualities, responsibilities and models todevelop an award winning comprehensive counseling program. I plan to use theTexas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Program and the ASCA NationalModel to ensure that I provide students with the necessary and adequatecounseling. This assignment has influenced my view on the responsibilities thatcounselor take when they build their counseling program; not only do they haveto be proficient in the field of counseling but they also need to demonstrateadvocacy, leadership and professional behavior.
As I continue learning thevarious aspect of this profession, I become more attentive and interested inthe duties and responsibilities of a school counselor.