Through my research in the Standford Design Model, I have been looking at how we can train practicing school counselors in the new ASCA National Model. The model was officially adopted in 2003 so its full implementation into schools has not been complete. Through my research I found that the model was created so that school counselors would not be eliminated or become obsolete. This threat has occurred many times throughout the history of school counseling and the role had to change and adapt.
The ASCA National Model created by Norman C. Gysbers, was able to solve this problem by infusing a program into the school. School counselors defined their role through the model so that extra duties such as, test coordination, clerical duties, and miscellaneous needs of the principal were not passed to the school counselor. These extra duties broaden the role and eventually the school counselor becomes less effective. Budget cuts come and school counselors are found with 400 to even 1000 students on their caseload. Again, making the school counselor less effective. This image is then portrayed to the students, parents, principal, school board, and community.
With the changing role of the school counselor another issue is school counselor training. This was brought up from a student blog, Walter Benedict. What training will prepare today’s school counselor. What is missing and needs to be added?
Another issue with the ASCA National Model is fitting into the curriculum. For example, a high school teacher would have 45 minutes to an hour to instruct and fulfill benchmarks in their curriculum. A school counselor has to make room to deliver the ASCA National Model.
An idea I have to both address the defined role of a school counselor and the needed training for all of the different areas in curriculum is to have school counselors specialize in an area. You would have a College Counselor, Career Counselor, Academic Counselor, and Mental Health Counselor. A school counselor then would be able to specialize and get extensive training in their area. The role would be clearly defined by their specialization. Also, their position would not be watered-down making them less effective.
If a parent needed help with their child’s college applications, they would see the College Counselor. If a principal needed help with failing grades he would go to the Academic Counselor. If a student was suicidal she would go to the Mental Health Counselor. If a student wanted to coordinate his career interests with an internship he would go to the Career Counselor.
Traditionally, school counselors divide their caseload by alphabet or grade level. This new idea would divide the caseload based on need. High schools normally have 4-8 school counselors. They could have two College Counselors divided by grade level or alphabet and so on.
The ASCA National Model could still be implemented but in a different way. I feel the school counselors role would be clearly defined and the specialization would create a strong presence in the school and community.
What do you think?