Comprehensive School Guidance Program Paper
SC543/University of West Alabama
Comprehensive School Guidance Program
The implementation of a comprehensive school guidance program is important to the success of counselors and other staff members as well as for the students. It is a support system led by the counselor for students and other programs throughout the school. By assessing the needs of the students, a guidance plan can be put in place that creates a successful educational setting for students. Not only does it allow for a plan to increase academic, career development, and social/personal development, it gives students a forum to address concerns and needs in the school setting. I. Components of a Well-Written Comprehensive School Guidance Program Plan
A well-written comprehensive school guidance program plan has several key components. According to the ASCA National Model, students should be knowledgeable in the areas of academics, career development, and social/personal development. From these broad topics, standards, competencies, and indicators that are more specific in nature are outlined and organized appropriately. Standards are goals set for the students. Competencies are the expectations of the students and indicators list specific skills that students should be competent in once they complete the program. A CSGPP allows for guidance counselors to assume more responsibility for student growth and thus become more accountable in the process. These plans assist students in making decisions and changing behaviors and to increase specific skills that are either proactive or preventive in nature. By doing this, a students’ perception of their opportunities will become clearer.
The academic domain of the ASCA National Model consists of goals in the area of skills for learning, school success, and academics to life success. Standards included in this domain must focus on the helping students have the attitude to be successful, the ability to choose a postsecondary option, and understanding why academics is important to areas outside of the school, such as work and home. Competencies focus on the benefits of education, relationship between work and learning, using career information, personal responsibility, work habits, and how work helps society function. Indicators allow for active participation, including how to apply for postsecondary education and jobs and showing why effort is critical to success in many areas.
The second domain, career, includes goals for investigating careers, career success, and the relationship between work and school. Standards help students to make informed career decisions, strategies for future success, and understanding the relationship between personal attitude and success in education and work. Competencies allow students to understand how they make decisions, comprehend the difference between male and female roles, and understand the career planning process. Specifically, they will acquire employability skills, work on positive attitudes in the workplace, explore careers, seek out postsecondary opportunities, and use data to make decisions.
The last domain that the ASCA National Model outlines is in the area of personal/social development. Goals included in this domain are respect for self and others, goal setting and attainment, and survival and safety skills. Standards address students acquiring the proper skills to respect self and others, setting and achieving goals, and understanding survival skills. Closer focus is placed on the importance of self-concept and the appropriate skills to interact with other people as well as the importance of change if necessary. Indicators specifically address working and learning with other people, understanding various cultures, ethics, active members of society, healthy behaviors, and understanding nature and the cycle of change.
The comprehensive school guidance program plan must be created by a team of individuals that may consist of counselors, teachers, other staff members, administration, parents, and other necessary members that may contribute vital information to the program. This group should focus on all of the students in the school, review guidance plans that are already in place, and expand or recreate the plans that need further development. The plan should follow the standards of the ASCA National Model as discussed above. Much time, research, data collections, action plans, and a needs list is required to make a successful guidance program. School Guidance partners must be considered and the decision of who can contribute to the plan effectively must be decided. Legislative policies must not be ignored and all stakeholders must be knowledgeable of any policies that may affect the program. Guidance resources must be understood and available so that they may be used efficiently and not be wasted. Using a school guidance review allows for the collection of information that will help decision-making and identifying needs that are not being met. Student and staff questionnaires help gather information in this part of the process. Action planning and evaluation are the last steps to creating an effective CSGPP. II. Why a Well-Written Comprehensive School Guidance Program is Essential
A well-written comprehensive school guidance program is essential because it allows for programs that comprehensively integrate the skills and knowledge that will develop productive citizens for the 21st century. By creating a guidance program, learning can be delivered to all students by multiple members of a team to increase the opportunity of success. Guidance programs allow for the integration of academics and social aspects of life. This creates a student that can reach his/her full potential and be a productive member of society. Counselors that have a well-written program to follow will be leaders, advocates, collaborative and team players, and increase systemic change based on researched needs. III. Vision Statement
The Houston County Counselors are committed to enabling all students to be academically prepared, well-adjusted members of society, lifelong learners, and productive citizens. IV. Mission Statement
The Comprehensive School Counseling Program will provide educational support for all students by promoting and facilitating their academic, personal/social, and career development. All students will achieve at high levels needed to lead fulfilling and productive lives, to compete in academic and employment settings, and to contribute to society. V. Rationale
The rationale for the Comprehensive School Counseling Program is to be more responsive to the challenges that students, parents, teachers, and the community face today and in the future. By emphasizing standards, activities, needs assessments, program assessments, and procedures, the school counseling program will reach all students. It incorporates a team of counselors, teachers, parents, and other staff members that use performance indicators, remediation, and systemic needs as the guide for the plan.
In order to implement the program, the school must be sure that counseling is reaching all students, the plan addresses student needs, everyone is held accountable, programs are assessed, and then programs are put in placed based on students needs rather than a scheduling need. The school guidance counseling program should serve all students, help students function more effectively, is a part of the total education plan of the school, and addresses expectations and indicators of performance. It should also correlate to subject-area material, create access to the counselor and the counselor access to the student, and assist in the domains outline by the ASCA National Model. Lastly, the program should be continually revised based on program and needs assessments. VI. Article Critique #1
Walsh, M.E., Barrett, J.G., & DePaul, J. (2007). Day-to-day activities of school counselors: Alignment with new directions in the field and the ASCA National Model. Professional School Counseling, 10(4), 370-378. Summary of the Article.
This article examines the extent of new elementary counselors implementing a New Direction Model and the Delivery System of the ASCA National Model. Due to increases in accountability, teaching and learning has become the priority throughout our school systems. However, teaching and learning accounts for only part of the achievement gap this if found in educational settings. The remainder of this gap stems from family and community problems. Since these areas are considered nonacademic areas, the counselor’s role in decreasing the achievement gaps is increasing in recognition. Counselors from four Boston Connects public elementary schools were used in this study. They submitted weekly logs of the activities that they used. Nine categories were used for analysis.
New Directions for school counselors consists of “(a) the implementation of programmatic approaches to school counseling, (b) the development of collaborative practice, and (c) a focus on prevention and advocacy (p. 2). Programmatic approaches allow for the integration of many people for a common goal, particularly a change in a system in and outside of the school. In this case, incorporating the school, family, communities, and the student, allows for services to move from individual counseling to a more indirect, consultative service. Collaborative practices bring multiple people (i.e. counselors, teachers, administration, nurses, etc.) together to help make decisions regarding appropriate supports for students. Lastly, prevention and advocacy play a large role in the New Direction model. Having programs that deal with bullying, anger management, drug and alcohol abuse, and social behaviors help to prevent bigger problems for students in the future. In this study, approximately 17% of the activities were programmatic, 60% were collaborative, and 23% focused on prevention and advocacy.
The ASCA National Delivery System “is made up of four components: (a) guidance curriculum, (b) individual planning, (c) responsive services, and (d) system support (p. 3). The results of the analysis showed that 32% of counselor activities were in the guidance curriculum, 17% in individual planning, 34% in responsive services, and 17% in system support. Many services were included throughout this model. Some of them include: family support, outreach, individual student appraisal and services, school screenings, staff support, and community agency support. Not only were these results positive but principals were pleased with the outcomes as well. They have seen an increase in counselor participation, prevention programs, and social services connections in the school setting and are now considering the counselors as part of their leadership teams. The results indicate that counselor activities are aligned with both models and that the ASCA Delivery System is a good support for students. Previous guidelines that were set for the ASCA Delivery System correlated with the results in this study which shows that counselors are shifting away from individual counseling and incorporating many aspects of counseling. By doing this, they are supporting the teaching and learning missions of the schools and increasing academic and social success. Contributions to My Understanding of Comprehensive School Guidance Program Plans.
This article gives great information regarding counselor duties that are focused on the school and system versus an individual. It allowed me to see the breakdown of the ASCA National Delivery System Model and how a counselor should be spending their time on guidance planning, responsive services, individual student planning, and system support. It is concrete evidence why a Comprehensive School Guidance Plan should be created and implemented in a school system. Principals and other staff members are pleased with the progress in this research and this therefore, leads me to believe that with time, many others counselors outside of this research could help a school be successful in many areas. How I Will Use the Information from this Article in My School Counseling Work.
This article reinforces the information that my sister, an elementary school counselor, have discussed on many occasions. So many of our conversations have been about how the counselors in my area do not do much student guidance. Instead, they are overloaded with testing, attendance, paperwork, and other duties not related to counseling. She has said many times that counselors should be participating in and focusing on the school as a whole, not just on social behavior of a child. The article sheds light as to how important the counselor could be in closing the achievement gap. I believe that with this knowledge, it will allow me to help our county create a system wide comprehensive program that could help with the success of all students.
VII. Article Critique #2
Sink, C.A., Akos, P., Turnbull, R.J., & Mvududu, N. (2008). An investigation of comprehensive school counseling programs and academic achievement in Washington state middle schools. Professional School Counseling, 12(1), 43-55.
Summary of the Article.
The purpose of the study in this article was to compare student achievement in Washington State middle schools that use a comprehensive school counseling program and those that do not. According to the ASCA National Model, comprehensive school counseling programs outline the role of the school counselor in increasing academic, career, and personal/social success. All comprehensive school counseling programs should focus on readying students for the real-world and enable them to become productive citizens. Implementing CSCPs increase skill development and student achievement school wide versus individual students.
Several other states were used as examples of how fully implemented CSCPs increase academic achievement. In Utah secondary schools those that attended fully implemented CSCP schools were enrolled in advanced classes and scored higher on the ACT. Missouri high school students reported higher grades, a better preparation for the future, more information about college and careers, and a positive school climate. Another Missouri study showed that students in the middle school felt safer, had better relationships with peers and teachers, were educationally satisfied, felt education was relevant to their future, and earned higher grades. All of these studies support the need for the implementation of the ASCA National Model.
In this study, a sample of sixth through eighth grade schools from Washington State were used to compare the results of Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) in schools with a comprehensive school counseling program and in schools without a comprehensive school counseling program. Surveys from 159 counselors were used to collect data regarding the use or nonuse of a program in their school. More specifically, they were broken down into non-CSCP schools, and high (5+) and low (1-4) implementation schools.
Results indicated that when schools were compared as a whole (CSCP vs. non-CSCP), there were no differences on the Grade 6 ITBS and the Grade 7 WASL scores. However on both tests, when investigated even further, there were significant differences in scores of those that attended fully implemented CSCP schools versus non-CSCP schools. The length of time in the school district also played a factor. If the student attended for multiple years, they scored higher on tests regardless of participation in a CSCP. These results show that in order for a CSCP to be effective in the middle school, they must be in place for approximately five years or more to show a marked increase in student achievement. Contributions to My Understanding of Comprehensive School Guidance Program Plans.
This article reveals great information about the need for a strong comprehensive school guidance plan at the middle and high school levels. With the maturity of students happening rapidly in middle school, it is important that guidance plans be fluid and evolving based on student and school needs. It is vital that school counselors stay focused on the ASCA National Model and use the four components (guidance, individual, responsive, support) to effectively create a plan that will allow for higher student success in academics, career, and social/personal development. How I Will Use the Information from this Article in My School Counseling Work.
As a middle school teacher, I definitely see the need for a comprehensive school guidance plan. In my school, we have nothing even close to what the ASCA National Model outlines. On many occasions, my colleagues and I have had the discussion about the need for career and social skill development. With achievement being a top priority in schools, the focus on survival has been lost in the shuffle. If our county would develop a program that begins in the elementary school and can flow into the middle school, I think we would see not only higher academic achievement but also increased graduation rates, career confidence, and an educational satisfaction from students and teachers
American School Counselor Association (2005). The ASCA National Model: A Framework for School Counseling, Second Edition. Alexandria, VA: Author.
Georgia Department of Education - School Guidance and Counseling Services . (n.d.). Georgia Department of Education. Retrieved December 5, 2011, from
http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/ci_cta.aspx?PageReq=CICTALearningGuidance Sink, C.A., Akos, P., Turnbull, R.J., & Mvududu, N. (2008). An investigation of comprehensive school counseling programs and academic achievement in Washington state middle schools. Professional School Counseling, 12(1), 43-55. Walsh, M.E., Barrett, J.G., & DePaul, J. (2007). Day-to-day activities of school counselors: Alignment with new directions in the field and the ASCA National Model. Professional School Counseling, 10(4), 370-378.