THE IDENTITY OF PROFESSIONAL5The ASCA National Model encourages school counselors to define themselves as central and indispensable figures within the school system (ASCA, 2012, as cited in Mason et al., 2013).Focused on leadership, advocacy, collaboration, and systemic change the identity of school counselors has shifted towards counselors as change-agents (Mason et al., 2013). The model provided school counselors with standards and competencies to follow which aided in the formation of a professional identity (Studer, 2015). School counselors have used the National Model with its components of foundation, management, delivery, and accountability to explain to stakeholders their responsibilities within the school system as part of the advocacy component of professional identity (ASCA, 2012; Powers & Boes, 2013). The role of the school counselor is to focus on delivering culturally competent services, being accountable for data driven programs, and completing evaluations to aid in managing the program (Powers & Boes, 2013). Professional school counselors are responsible for creating a comprehensive school counseling program based on data taken from the school; therefore the school counselor should be knowledgeable of the demographics within the school (ASCA, 2012). By creating school improvement plans, program goals, and mission statements the foundation defines the school counseling program based on data-driven needs of the school (ASCA, 2012; Studer, 2015). Student and professional competencies as well as program focus are the subsections of the foundation (Studer, 2015). When developing a foundation, school counselors should be aware ofachievement gaps or barriers to student success (Wilkerson, 2010). After reviewing the data counselors are responsible for making stakeholders and educators aware of achievement gaps broken down by student performance into subgroups to encourage school change (Wilkerson, 2010).
THE IDENTITY OF PROFESSIONAL6School counselors also effective and efficiently manage and oversee the comprehensive school counseling program (ASCA, 2012). Assessments should be used regularly to aid school counselors in self-evaluating the program for its strengths, weaknesses, long-term and short-termareas in need to improvement, and areas to be considered for professional development (ASCA, 2012; Wilkerson, 2010). Lesson planning are created to identify the student standards, measurable learning objectives, needed materials, the procedure, and the plan for evaluation by process, perception, and outcome data (ASCA, 2012). The lesson plan can be used for small or large groups and in an individual setting. When focusing on delivering services counselors must be aware of the amount of time spent doing appropriate activities such as developing action and lesson plan, reviewing data, individual or group counseling, and advocating for their role within the school (Wilkerson, 2010). Counselors should spend eighty percent of time in direct services such as crisis response, individual and group counseling, and individual student planning (ASCA, 2012; Studer, 2015). By regularly evaluating the program, school counselors determine how students are different dueto the school counseling program (ASCA, 2012). Using surveys and observation, counselors collect data to assess the effectiveness of the program (ASCA, 2012; Studer, 2015).
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- Spring '14