School counseling programs are
essential to the academic and social development of students. Counselors
establish interventions that help students overcome the different challenges
and obstacles that they encounter throughout their academic careers; they also
teach students different coping mechanism that can be used outside of the
classroom. Essentially, school counselors are necessary in the educational
environment; therefore, each counselor should aim to build an award winning
program. This assignment will examine the different areas that counselors
explore in the development of an award winning counseling program. Furthermore,
I will also introduce my opinion on counseling program qualities and the impact
that the ASCA National Model and the Texas Model for Comprehensive School
Counseling Programs have on my learning and counseling approach.
of Award Winning Program
School counselors play a vital role
in the lives of todays children. Counselors provide an array of services other
than academic support; school counselors provide social and career guidance as
well. With the various needs of students in todays’ world, it is important for
counselors to develop and build an award wining comprehensive counseling program.
According to Lapan Richard (2012), students benefit when counselors practice
comprehensive school counseling program services. “Comprehensive school
counseling programs refer to sequential, developmental program designed to
benefit all students in preparation for their future. The program includes a
curriculum organized around academic development, career development, and
personal and social development” (North Carolina State Department of Education,
2001, p.1). Comprehensive counseling programs are beneficial to students
because they advocate for their needs, call for community involvement, require
collaboration between counselors, parents, teachers, administrators and
students, and promote the overall development of each student.
In building award winning
counseling programs, counselors involve the community, which can be beneficial
to the entire student body. According to the Oregon Department of Education
(2003), involving the community makes the community aware of the needs of the
school and vice versa, the school becomes aware of the different needs of the
community. By communicating with community leaders, the counseling program can
begin to close communication gaps and can also begin to prepare students for
the work force by collaborating with local businesses.
Award winning Comprehensive
counseling programs support student academic achievement. Wilkerson (2013)
states that in his research he discovered that schools who use a comprehensive
school-counseling program and are recognized as ASCA Model Programs (RAMP)
demonstrated higher school wide proficiency rates in English/ Language Arts and
Math. Comprehensive counseling programs encourage counselors to use data to
drive their interventions, classroom guidance lessons and campus-wide programs.
Using data helps counselors establish an all-inclusive plan that incorporates
all student needs.
The Texas Model for Comprehension
School Counseling Program (2017), states that comprehensive counseling programs
benefit schools due to the fact that it increases students knowledge and skills
in personal safety and post-secondary planning. Students’ benefit from the
programs and interventions that are develop by counselors. Comprehensive
programs encourage student academic and emotional success during their academic
careers including post-secondary education. Award winning comprehensive school
counseling programs are beneficial to more than just students; they also
benefit the community, stakeholders, teachers and parents.
School counselors need to
demonstrate personal and professional characteristics, leadership skills and
professional credentials in order to be an asset to their campus-counseling
program. 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 of
Texas, school counselors must have a master’s degree, minimum of two years
experience in the classroom and pass the TExES School Counselor test. Counselors
should posses the knowledge necessary to help students academically and
Self-efficacy is the belief in ones
ability 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 or
her ability to effectively counsel a client in the near future” (Larson, 1998
as cited in Iarussi et al., 2013, p. 161). It is important for school
counselors to be confident in their skills and ability to help students.
School counselors need to show
empathy to clients, they need to be non-judgmental and make students feel
comfortable. In doing so, students will be at ease and it can be easier for
them to share their difficulties with their counselors. “The term empathy refers to the ability to communicate a sense of
caring 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 to
their students. This can be crucial to school counselors, since children are
impacted by judgment and are influence by the opinions of others.
counselors need to take responsibility for their actions; they need to
accountable for their programs and interventions. This quality can be examined
regularly by evaluating and reflecting on ones’ performance, skills and
program. According to the ASCA National Model (2012), counselors need to
evaluate their program regularly in order to understand the effectiveness of
the program. School counselors need to have qualities that promote student
growth, success and provide students with the proper coping tools that
encourage positive change.
Qualities of CSCP
Successful comprehensive school
counseling programs share much in common, including six qualities that promote
the success of every student. The six qualities of a successful comprehensive
program are, holistic, systemic, balance, proactive, integrated with academic
program and reflective. All six qualities improve the development of the counseling
Holistic refers to having an
all-inclusive program, in which all students are at the center of the
counseling program and of each intervention or guidance lesson. There are
different categories structures under Holistic; they include, academic
development, career development and personal/social development. Academic
development refers to the multiple intelligences and learning styles.
Multiple-intelligence is a theory that school counselors’ use when thinking
about how students acquire new information and how they can support their
academic accomplishments (Dollarhide & Saginak, 2012). Career development
refers to the programs that counselors practice to teach students career
clusters and exposed them to the different careers and post-secondary
educational opportunities that they will have. Lastly, the Personal/Social
development category is where counselors promote self-esteem, identify
development for students of diversity and encourage resiliency.
System quality is used to identify
what individuals school counselors’ will be working and collaborating with in
order to establish a comprehensive program. There are external and internal
assets. Most counselors will develop relationships with community leaders,
stakeholders, teachers, parents and students. “Communities are where families
and students live, which offer opportunities for both positive and negative
environment influences” (Dollarhide & Saginak, 2012, p.11). It is important
for counselors to acknowledge that the environment that child is exposed to
will influence their decision-making and their worldview. Working with
community leaders can provide students with the support that is necessary to
help them overcome the negative affects that their environment might have. This
quality is important to students as it helps counselor communicate with
students, families and teachers; it also helps close any communication gaps
between counselors and the community. Essentially the counselor is an advocate
for the student and a liaison between the school and parents.
Comprehensive school counseling
programs are balanced. According to Dollarhide & Saginak (2012), balance
must be maintained in academics, career, personal and social elements. School
counselors must advocate, educate, counsel and support students. Their needs to
be a balance in the work that they do, one individual portion of counseling
should not take priority over the others.
Counselors who practice a
comprehensive counseling program are proactive. This refers to working in
collaboration with other stakeholders to improve the counseling program and
promote programs that encourage student success. This quality means that
counselors should try to stop problems from becoming severe (Dollarhide &
Saginak, 2012). Integrated with academic agenda refers to counseling programs
taking action to help students with their academics. Counselors can provide
students with adequate academic interventions and accommodations. Comprehensive
counseling programs also ensure that they follow all state and school specific curriculums.
Lastly, reflective refers to counselors reflecting and self-evaluating the quality
of their program and their performance as counselors (Lamar, 2017). All six
qualities assist counselors develop and effective comprehensive program that
promote student achievement.
Common cores establish a clear and
cohesive goal that is shared by those invested in the studies of a child.
“These new standards, developed in collaboration with teachers, school
administrators, and other experts, provide a consistent framework of specific
knowledge and skills necessary to ensure students are prepared to success in
college and the workforce” (Hatch & Chen-Hayes, 2014, p. 18). Common core
standards serve as a basis in the building of a comprehensive counseling
program. A reason for this is that it requires for counselors to work closely
with the stakeholders who contribute to the education of each child. Working
together can achieve the goals set forth by the counseling program mission
statement. Activities perform by counselors who follow their common core
include activities that promote the learning of core curriculum (Hatch &
Chen-Hayes, 2014). Therefore, counselors are also practicing one of the
qualities that must be present in a comprehensive school-counseling program as
per ASCA National Model. By following
and implementing common core standards counselors will be developing a strong
curriculum foundation for students that can be beneficial post-secondary.
Performing School Counseling Programs
Low performing school counseling
programs share common characteristics. Three characteristics that these schools
share in common are the lack of data usage, no clear explanation of the role of
student counselor and minimal parent involvement. If I were to work on a campus
that shows low performing characteristics, I would use my counseling
skills/knowledge and take the responsibility to help change the program.
The Texas Counseling Association has
established ten basic counseling responsibilities associated with the
profession. They are: program management, guidance, counseling, consultation,
coordination, student assessment, advocacy, leadership, professional behavior
and professional standards. These responsibilities attributes can contribute to
changing a school that shows low performing counseling programs improve to
higher performing programs. “School counselors proactively provide guidance to
assist all students in developing and applying skills for maximum educational,
career, personal, and social growth during school years and beyond” (Texas Counseling
Association, 2017, p. 23). By being proactive, counselors can be effective in
the development of an action plan that requires student data. Using student
data can pin point areas of need, it can help build intervention plans and
establish accommodations that help student succeed. A second responsibility
quality that can be used in a school that has a low performing counseling
program is coordination. “School counselors work with students’
parents/guardians and school personnel to coordinate referrals to other
resources as appropriate” (Texas Counseling Association, 2017, p. 25).
Communicating and coordinating with students can promote parent involvement. As
a counselor, my goal should be to advocate for every student and their needs.
When a counseling program has a low performance rating, counselors and
administrators should take responsibility and change the program.
Winning or Low Performing
An award wining counseling program
establishes well defined mission statement, uses data to drive their work,
collaboration exist between counselors and community leaders, parent
involvement is high and counselors serve as advocates. Low performing schools lack
the use of data, parental involvement is minimal and there is low communication
between the counselor and the community. I have been employed at two-different
schools in South Texas. Both have demonstrated strengths in their counseling
program, however, there were also areas of growth. Using a number scale of one
through five; one being low and five being high, I will rate the two counseling
The first campus I worked in was a
high school; it was a small campus in a rural community. I would have to rate
this campus at a two. The reason I give it a low rating is because students
were not offered complete academic, social or career services. Academically,
students were limited to their exposure of pathways. Socially, not many
classroom guidance lessons were performed, as a teacher I did not feel that
their social counseling needs were being met. Lastly, career services, students
were not exposed to college fairs, post-secondary education, career pathways or
financial aid education. Counselors seemed to be consumed by schedule changes
The second campus I worked in was a
middle school campus; student body count was roughly about 700 students. Using
the same scale, I would give this campus a four. Students have the opportunity
to take different electives based on their academic and career interest.
Counselors are constantly performing guidance lessons and school-wide programs
that support students social needs (e.g. red ribbon week, anti-bullying
assemblies, cyber bulling workshops). In my opinion students were being
presented with interventions and programs that provided students with academic,
social and career services.
on Building a Comprehensive School Counseling Program
In learning the characteristics of
an award wining comprehensive counseling program, I have determined that a
program is not developed over night or in a short amount of time. A successful
and effective program takes time, collaboration and communication. After this
weeks readings, webinar and discussion post I have learned that I will need to
incorporate different leadership qualities, responsibilities and models to
develop an award winning comprehensive counseling program. I plan to use the
Texas Model for Comprehensive School Counseling Program and the ASCA National
Model to ensure that I provide students with the necessary and adequate
counseling. This assignment has influenced my view on the responsibilities that
counselor take when they build their counseling program; not only do they have
to be proficient in the field of counseling but they also need to demonstrate
advocacy, leadership and professional behavior. As I continue learning the
various aspect of this profession, I become more attentive and interested in
the duties and responsibilities of a school counselor.