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A Comparison of Real and Ideal School Counseling Programs Tara ! "osins#i Grand $alle% S&a&e 'ni(ersi&%


As *i&h man% professions+ &here is of&en an o(erarching local+ s&a&e or e(en na&ional professional organi,a&ion &ha& ou&lines -es& prac&ices in &he field! The school counseling profession is no differen& as &he American School Counseling Associa&ion .ASCA/ pla%s an in&egral and ac&i(e role in ou&lining -es& prac&ices for an ideal school counseling program in regards &o s&ruc&ural componen&s+ assessmen& and e(alua&ion and e&hical and legal issues! Through &he de(elopmen& of &he ASCA Na&ional Model: A Frame*or# for School Counseling Programs .)01)/+ &he school counselor is pro(ided a clear and concise frame*or# for *ha& an effec&i(e school counseling program should encompass! The four pillars &ha& ser(e as &he founda&ion include &he follo*ing elemen&s: Founda&ion+ 1eli(er%+ Managemen& and Accoun&a-ili&% .ASCA+ )01)/! 2hile &his ideal frame*or# should ser(e as &he roadmap for all school counselors+ &he curren& s&a&e of educa&ion and &he schools a& presen& da% can crea&e dissonance *i&h &he implemen&a&ion of &hese ideals! Structural Components As indica&ed in &he ASCA Na&ional Model .)01)/+ &he s&ruc&ural componen&s of a school counseling program include man% of &he elemen&s &ha& fall under &he areas of founda&ion and deli(er%! These ideal recommenda&ions for -es& prac&ice ma% encompass componen&s such as &he mission s&a&emen& for a school counseling program+ &he ideal school counselor &o s&uden& ra&io+ ho* &o -es& iden&if% s&uden& needs and &he use of da&a &o dri(e school counseling ser(ices! In &erms of a school counseling mission s&a&emen&+ professional school counselors are &rained and called upon &o suppor& s&uden&s in &he areas of personal3social+ academic and career de(elopmen&! 2i&hin &hose &hree domains &here are specific s&andards associa&ed *i&h s&uden& compe&encies &ha& each school counseling program s&ri(es &o de(elop .1ahir 4 T%son+ )010/! 2hile &he emphasis on &he differen& elemen&s ma% shif& as a s&uden& mo(es from &he elemen&ar% &o


secondar% le(el+ &he school counselor is challenged &o -alance &he de(elopmen& of each of &hese s#ills for e(er% learner .ASCA+ )01)/! Throughou& &he o-ser(a&ions of &he school counselor in &he elemen&ar% school se&&ing+ i& *as no&ed &ha& &he ma6ori&% of &he &ime spen& *as focused on &he s&uden&7s personal3social and academic success! The counselor *as o-ser(ed in mee&ings sharing in&er(en&ion s&ra&egies *i&h a "indergar&en classroom &eacher &o increase a s&uden&7s on8&as# -eha(ior+ coordina&ing ou&side men&al heal&h ser(ices for a )nd grade s&uden& in need of more in&ensi(e counseling as *ell as offering her small group counseling ser(ices for s&uden&s s&ruggling *i&h a par&icular personal need in &he 5rd grade! Ano&her elemen& of an effec&i(e school counseling program is &he ideal ra&io of school counselor &o s&uden&s+ *hich is se& a& 1:)90 .ASCA+ )01): 1e$oss+ )010/! ;o*e(er+ -% o-ser(ing an elemen&ar% school counselor+ &his *as no& achie(a-le in &ha& par&icular school se&&ing! Con&rar% &o &he ideal ra&io+ &his counselor ser(es &hree elemen&ar% schools as *ell as a por&ion of &he middle school popula&ion+ clearl% e<ceeding &he ideal ra&io! This high ra&io unfor&una&el% limi&s &he school counselor7s implemen&a&ion of no& onl% a comprehensi(e school counseling program -u& more impor&an&l% limi&s &he pro(ision of pre(en&a&i(e men&al heal&h ser(ices and *ellness promo&ion .Co*an+ $aillancour&+ Rossen+ 4 Polli&&+ )015/! 1ue &o &his high ra&io+ &he school counseling program is no& al*a%s a(aila-le &o all s&uden&s! 2hile &he ideal program *ould -e one &ha& is accessi-le &o all s&uden&s a& a school8*ide pre(en&ion le(el *i&h ser(ices *hich &hen *ould &aper &o a smaller popula&ion in small group se&&ing and &hen finall% for indi(idual s&uden&s in shor&8&erm+ goal cen&ered counseling+ &he school counselor is limi&ed in &his ideal implemen&a&ion! Ra&her+ &he school counselor in &he curren& da% dis&ric& *as a-le &o pro(ide an in&roduc&ion lesson &o all elemen&ar% s&uden&s a& &he -eginning of


&he school %ear in order &o in&roduce herself as school counselor+ iden&if% appropria&e school counseling needs and presen& &he school counselor referral form! ;o*e(er+ &ha& *as &he onl% o-ser(ed elemen& of a school counseling program a& &he pre(en&a&i(e+ class8*ide or school8*ide le(el! From &here+ due &o &he high demands on &ime+ &he school counselor &hen shif&s her &ime &o &he deli(er% of small group counseling groups focused on &opics such as ne* s&uden&s+ di(orce+ dea&h and friendship! These s&uden&s are iden&ified -% ei&her &he paren& or &eacher in &hese ins&ances! In con&ras&+ &he ASCA Na&ional Model *ould indica&e addi&ional da&a8-ased decision ma#ing prac&ices in order &o iden&if% s&uden&s for school counseling ser(ices! These da&a -ased decisions for school counseling ser(ices ma% -e genera&ed from &he follo*ing sources: office discipline referrals+ a&&endance+ percen&age of s&uden&s for free and reduced lunches+ grade poin& a(erage+ e&c! .1ahir 4 S&one+ )010/! 2hile -asing counseling ser(ices on indi(iduall% genera&ed referrals is one *a% &o &arge& school counseling ser(ices+ ma#ing da&a8-ased decisions is a suppor&ed prac&ice in order &o also mold &he school counseling program+ focus a school counselor7s effor&s+ impac& s&uden& achie(emen&+ iden&if% effec&i(eness of school counseling s&ra&egies and crea&e shared accoun&a-ili&% across school s&a#eholders .1ahir 4 S&one+ )010/! Considering &he (arious me&hods of iden&ifica&ion of s&uden&s for school counseling ser(ices+ &he ASCA guidelines ad(oca&e &ha& &he school counselor aim &o &hen spend >0? of his or her &ime in ei&her direc& .in8person in&erac&ions/ or indirec& .ser(ices pro(ided on -ehalf of a s&uden&/ ser(ices *i&h &he s&uden&s! The direc& ser(ices ma% consis& of classroom lessons+ small group counseling or indi(idual counseling *hereas &he indirec& suppor& ma% consis& of child s&ud% &eam mee&ings &o ad(oca&e and suppor& s&uden&7s needs+ paren& mee&ings or o&her &ime spen& indirec&l% suppor&ing &he child &hrough ad(ocac% effor&s .ASCA+ )01)/! Through


o-ser(a&ions of &he school counselor+ i& *ould appear &ha& &his is a realis&ic ra&io &o main&ain! ;o*e(er+ due &o &ime demands and &he num-er of s&uden&s on &he school counselor7s caseload+ i& appeared &ha& much of &he &ime ser(icing s&uden&s *as spen& in indirec& counseling ser(ices! Through *or#ing &o ad(oca&e for her s&uden&s+ &here *as much o-ser(ed &ime spen& in &hrea& assessmen& mee&ings or child s&ud% &eam mee&ings &o colla-ora&e *i&h o&her professionals regarding more in&ensi(e or speciali,ed ser(ices! If more &ime *as a(aila-le &o ser(ice s&uden&s on a pre(en&a&i(e school8*ide le(el &hrough direc& ser(ice+ i& *ould -e in&eres&ing &o o-ser(e ho* &he school counselor7s &ime *ould possi-l% shif& from a responsi(e focus &o a more pre(en&a&i(e approach! Assessment and Evaluation 2hile much &ime is spen& direc&l% or indirec&l% ser(icing s&uden&s+ a school counselor is also encouraged &o spend &he o&her )0? of his or her &ime engaging in accoun&a-ili&% and managemen&s &as#s according &he &o ASCA Na&ional Model .ASCA+ )01)/! These

accoun&a-ili&% and managemen& &as#s ma% include e(alua&ion and assessmen& of no& onl% &he school counseling program -u& &he school counselor and &heir responsi-ili&ies as *ell! In regards &o a school counselor7s accoun&a-ili&% &o &heir professional role+ da&a dri(en prac&ices are recommended in order &o moni&or s&uden& achie(emen&+ e(alua&e and ma#e changes &o &he school counseling program as *ell as demons&ra&e &he school counselor7s impac& on s&uden& ou&comes .ASCA+ )01)/! In addi&ion+ school counselors can e(alua&e &heir effec&i(eness -% using a &ime3calendar assessmen& as *ell as a self8assessmen& or adminis&ra&i(e assessmen& of professional compe&encies .ASCA+ )01)/! In &he school counseling se&&ing &ha& *as o-ser(ed+ ra&her &han use a professional assessmen& ru-ric specific &o &he school counselor and &heir role+ &he dis&ric& curren&l% emplo%s a


s&andardi,ed e(alua&ion &ool for all emplo%ees! 2hile each professional goal is indi(iduall% selec&ed -% &he emplo%ees+ &here remains cer&ain professional compe&encies &ha& are -roader in na&ure and appear &o &arge& classroom &eachers as opposed &o focusing on &he specific compe&encies school counselors mus& demons&ra&e! Cer&ainl% &he professional goals and adminis&ra&i(e feed-ac# genera&ed from &he e(alua&ions pro(ide for cons&ruc&i(e con(ersa&ions and professional dialogue+ ho*e(er+ *i&hou& a specific focus on school counselor compe&encies+ &he adminis&ra&ors lose ou& on #e% oppor&uni&ies &o learn more a-ou& effec&i(e school counseling prac&ices as *ell ho* &he school counselor7s role can specificall% -enefi& &he school and s&uden&s! No& onl% is i& impor&an& for &he school counselor &o e(alua&e and assess &heir personal prac&ice+ -u& &o e(alua&e &he effec&i(e of &he school counseling program as *ell! Through s&uden&+ &eacher and paren& assessmen&+ &he school counselor can recei(e feed-ac# regarding no& onl% &he school counseling program a& &he school le(el+ -u& &he effec&i(eness of school counseling ser(ices a& &he small group or indi(idual le(el! This can -e done in (arious *a%s &o ei&her measure process or ou&come da&a! Measures such as indi(idual sur(e%s regarding &he effec&i(eness of a school counseling program can -e collec&ed as can school8*ide da&a such as a&&endance+ grade poin& a(erages or office discipline referrals .Arford+ Moore8Thomas 4 2allace+ )010/! 2hile da&a is crucial in dri(ing &he direc&ion and effor&s of &he school counselor and school counseling program+ during &he o-ser(a&ions of &he elemen&ar% school counselor+ i& *as unclear *he&her or no& process or ou&come da&a *as collec&ed! Ideall%+ &his *ould -e an impor&an& elemen& &o help no& onl% direc& ser(ices+ -u& ul&ima&el% ad(oca&e and suppor& &he need for increased school counseling ser(ices! Ethical and Legal Issues


Finall%+ under &he &heme of founda&ional componen&s of an effec&i(e and ideal school counseling program is &ha& of e&hical and legal issues! Cecause &he profession of school counseling is faced a& &imes *i&h difficul& s&uden& scenarios due &o &he complica&ed na&ure of &he legal and e&hical educa&ional en(ironmen&+ &he ASCA Na&ional Model .)01)/ has ou&lined a decision ma#ing process for &hese si&ua&ions! I& ad(oca&es for a nine8s&ep process &ha& includes pro-lem iden&ifica&ion+ &he applica&ion of &he ASCA A&hical S&andards and la*+ considera&ion of &he s&uden& and paren& righ&s+ applica&ion of moral principles+ de&ermina&ion of &he ac&ion s&eps+ consul&a&ion and finall%+ &he implemen&a&ion of &he decision .ASCA+ )01)/! These e&hical s&andards a&&emp& &o s&andardi,ed &he professional prac&ices for school counselors in order &o pro&ec& no& onl% &he s&uden&+ -u& &he paren&+ s&aff and &he school counselor &hemsel(es . inde 4 S&one+ )010/! 2hile difficul& &o o-ser(e &hrough &he counseling o-ser(a&ions+ i& *as no&ed &ha& *hen &he school counselor in&roduced &he counseling referral forms+ she also shared *i&h &he s&uden&s &heir confiden&iali&% righ&s in child8friendl% language e<plaining &ha& *ha& &he shared in counseling *as confiden&ial *i&h &he e<cep&ion of s&a&emen&s regarding self8harm or &hrea&s regarding harm &o*ard o&hers! The ASCA Na&ional Model has ou&lined a (er% clear and professional frame*or# for -es& prac&ice &ha& all school counselors and school counseling programs should s&ri(e &o implemen& and achie(e! I& ou&lines &he four dis&inc& componen&s &ha& ser(e as &he founda&ion of *ha& an effec&i(e school counseling program should encompass: Founda&ion+ 1eli(er%+ Managemen& and Accoun&a-ili&% .ASCA+ )01)/! 2hile &he e(er%da% reali&ies of &he curren& s&a&e of pu-lic educa&ion ma% no& ma#e &ha& possi-le gi(en &he demands on a school counselor7s &ime as *ell as &heir o(erflo*ing case load num-ers+ &here s&ill remain *a%s in *hich elemen&s of &he ideal


school counseling program can -e implemen&ed! And *i&h con&inued ad(ocac% effor&+ hopefull% school counselors &hen persis& in s&ri(ing for a con&inued increase of ser(ices in order &o -enefi& all s&uden&s during &heir educa&ional career and -e%ond!


References American School Counselor Associa&ion .)01)/! The ASCA Na&ional Model: A Frame*or# for School Counseling Programs+ Third Adi&ion! Ale<andria+ $A: Au&hor Co*an+ "!C!+ $aillancour&+ "!+ Rossen+ A!+ 4 Polli&&+ "! .)015/ A Frame*or# for Safe and Successful Schools ECriefF! Ce&hesda+ M1: Na&ional Associa&ion of School Ps%chologis&s! 1ahir+ C!A 4 S&one+ C!C! .)010/! 1a&a dri(en school counseling! In Arford+ C!T! .Ads!/+ Professional School Counseling: A Handbook of theories, programs and practices, Second Edition .1D18)00/! Aus&in+ TG: ProAd! 1ahir+ C!A! 4 T%son+ !A! .)010/! The ASCA Na&ional S&andards: The founda&ion of &he ASCA Na&ional Model! In Arford+ C!T! .Ads!/+ Professional School Counseling: A Handbook of theories, programs and practices, Second Edition .1@@81B@/! Aus&in+ TG: ProAd! 1e$oss+ H!A! .)010/! Curren& and fu&ure perspec&i(es on school counseling! In Arford+ C!T! .Ads!/+ Professional School Counseling: A Handbook of theories, programs and practices, Second Edition .)5855/! Aus&in+ TG: ProAd! Arford+ C!T!+ Moore8Thomas+ C! 4 2allace+ ! ! .)010/! Program accoun&a-ili&%! In Arford+ C!T! .Ads!/+ Professional School Counseling: A Handbook of theories, programs and practices, Second Edition .)5855/! Aus&in+ TG: ProAd! inde+ !A! 4 S&one+ C! .)010/! Codes of e&hics and e&hical and legal considera&ions for s&uden&s+ paren&s+ and professional school counselors! In Arford+ C!T! .Ads!/+ Professional School Counseling: A Handbook of theories, programs and practices, Second Edition .)5855/! Aus&in+ TG: ProAd!