You are an elementary school counselor and you just found out that the principal has created a task force within your school to help identify and develop strategies to close the achievement gap. You, the only school counselor in your school, were not approached about serving on this voluntary committee. How would you convince your principal that you could be of significant value as a member of the task force team? Be sure to describe and advocate for the following in your original posting:
New vision roles of educator and counselor, and how these roles related to important others (e.g., teachers, the school psychologist, school social workers, school administrators).
New vision-focused professional school counselor identity
The ASCA Model and Standards
Professional Organizations and advanced voluntary credentials
What ethical issues need to be considered pertaining to Advocacy
As a systems change agent, the professional school counselor must align purposes of the school counseling program to work for the success of the academic mission of the school. Academic, career, and personal-social development for all students is the driving goal of the comprehensive and fully implemented counseling program and the counselor. Furthermore, I would assert that closing the achievement gap is a fundamental to practical and beneficial systems change. It requires a collaborative model of counseling that brings all resources to the table for honest discussion of identified achievement gaps and barriers to success, and brainstorming for solutions to close the gap with help from teachers, parents, administration and professional school counselors and other social/psychological support persons on the school front.
Furthermore, with a clear understanding of my focus on academic achievement, I can provide a leadership role in career development by providing assessment tools to help each student prepare an educational plan to reach higher education or workforce goals in the future. I would also state that I could align options and access to higher education attainment for all students and contribute to career readiness by aligning with the schools’ goals of equity for all school subgroups (Erford, 2011). Another point I would make is that I can play an equal and critical role in the personal/social development of the student population. As a school counselor I can help the school academic climate by promoting a safe and orderly environment to learn because we as leaders develop support systems to improve the learning success of students who have social and/or personal growth challenges.
Moreover, The American School Counseling Association (ASCA) has been the driving force in articulating and advocating for a clear professional identity. The ASCA National Model states that a licensed or credentialed professional school counselor administers the school counseling program, works as a change agent, and must use data to advocate for a school counseling program, and strive for continued improvement (Bowers, 2005). Likewise, the ASCA National Model states that a licensed or credentialed professional school counselor administers the school counseling program, works as a change agent, and must use data to advocate for a school counseling program, and strive for continued improvement (Bowers, 2005).
In summary, the Liberty University Master of Education school counselor program is aligned with Virginia’s Candidate Performance Competencies, Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) Principles, and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program (CACREP) standards and follows the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) Model of School Counseling Programs in school counselor education and training. These defining organizations share a common new vision for school counseling as empowered to close the achievement gap for all students through professional development and establishment of identity as professional school counselors dedicated to the academic success and career preparation of all students.
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