Part of our Counselor’s Corner series. Click to read other posts in the Counselor’s Corner.
This has been a big summer for school counselors! The American School Counselor Association National Conference was held June 29–July 2 in Orlando, Florida. I learned lots of new information to relay to school counselors for the upcoming school year.
First Lady Michelle Obama and Initiatives Supporting School Counselors
One of the main highlights of the conference was a keynote address by First Lady Michelle Obama. You can watch her address here or read the transcript here. Ms. Obama outlined new initiatives for school counselors, including increasing relevant professional development, a White House ceremony to honor the School Counselor of the Year, a special event on college counseling at the end of July, and grant and funding programs for school counseling. Ms. Obama also spoke about her Reach Higher Initiative that encourages every student to pursue some form of post-secondary education, whether that be trade school, community college, or a four-year college or university.
Dr. Erin Mason of the School Counselor Online Professional Exchange created a photo campaign encouraging school counselors to share how they would Reach Higher to help students. School counselors from all over the country submitted pictures with their Reach Higher goal.
I participated in the photo campaign and shared my goal: I will #ReachHigher to decrease the number of students on my caseload with four or more absences by 10 percent. I made this my goal because of the correlation of attendance and school performance. I took the picture on the campus of Duquesne University (where I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision) overlooking the city of Pittsburgh.
School counselors can continue to make Reach Higher goals and share them using the hashtag #ReachHigher on various social media sites.
ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success: K–12 College and Career Readiness Standards for Every Student
Another big development this summer is the upcoming American School Counselor Association’s release of the ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success: K–12 College and Career Readiness Standards for Every Student. The ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success are currently in draft form and will replace the ASCA Student Standards. They are based on research and best practices from a number of educational standards and will address knowledge, skills, and attitudes students need to achieve academic success, college and career readiness, and social/emotional development. They also modify the previous three ASCA Student Standard domains from academic, career, and personal/social to academic, career, and social/emotional to reflect current research and trends.
The modified ASCA Mindsets and Behaviors for Student Success should be approved by the middle of August. You can view the draft form here.
This is a critical time for school counselors to stay up to date and involved in our profession. Much is changing in a positive way for school counselors. I encourage you to get involved at the local level with school counseling organizations in your area; join or continue membership in your state school counseling organization; and belong to ASCA, our national school counselor organization. You can interact with communities on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter using the hashtags #scchat (School Counselor Chat), #escchat (Elementary School Counselor Chat), and #sccrowd (School Counselor Crowd—an international school counselor chat).
What new information or ideas did you learn this summer about the school counseling profession?
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