Added February 14, 2018
According to researchers and authors, school counselors are often faced with limited resources and ongoing support in professional development and in assisting their building populations (Griffin & Farris, 2010; Grimes et al., 2013). Coordinating resources and generating ideas through effective collaboration via a school counselor leadership team has shown much promise (Gysbers, 2006; Young & Bryan, 2015). Therefore, practitioners and stakeholders may find it beneficial to gain insight into the development and sustainability of a regional school counselor leadership team (RSCLT).
School counselor practitioners as well as directors or supervisors of school counselors may benefit from this study by gaining awareness of a collaborative approach to addressing their regional community needs. The study explores a regional school counselor leadership team in the southern region of a southern American state. The region consists of 12 school districts of varies sizes. School counselor representatives of these school districts make up the school counseling leadership team as well as community members. The findings of this study gives insight on how school counselors, school counselor educators, and supervisors of school counselors came together to develop and sustain the leadership team that has been in existence for over 13 years. Also, the study details the challenges that the regional school counselor leadership team (RSLT) has faced and handled throughout the years.
The RSLT was developed as an initial response to the need to help prepare school-counselors-in-training and further develop school counselors in their region. Findings indicated that additional professional development was necessary to improve school counseling practices in the area. Examples included supporting and providing professional development on topics such as ethics and legal matters, internship, military families, border violence, and suicide prevention training to name a few. In order to sustain, the RSLT faced and addressed challenges dealing with communication, lack of school counselor supervisors or experience, organizing meetings, meeting locations, and finding presenters. Furthermore, the RSLT has sustained over time because of important decision-making and shared leadership. The RSLT implemented policies and procedures to ongoing success such as developing a system of chair changes, creating sub-committees, strengthening community relationships, addressing financial contribution allocations, and determining equitable representation.
All in all, there are several probable benefits to developing and sustaining a RSLT. Benefits may include empowering school counselors, building leadership capacity in school counselors as well as strengthening advocacy and collaboration efforts among school counselors. It would be beneficial for future researchers to continue to explore and examine the effectiveness of such benefits. It would benefit practitioners to read more about the current study for more detailed findings as well as additional professional literature regarding school counselor leadership teams (Brott, Stone, & Davis, 2016; Gysbers, 2006; Kaffenberger, Murphy & Bemak, 2006; Miller, 2006) and discuss with interested parties in their communities the possibility to create a regional school counselor leadership team, or if a similar team is in existence, consider alternative ways to approaching challenges to growth and sustainability. Lastly, It would also be beneficial if researchers and practitioners worked together to study the effectiveness of school counselor leadership teams’ goals, strategic planning, and services provided to the population they serve.
Carleton H. Brown, PhD, University of Texas at El Paso; Arturo Olivárez, Jr., PhD, University of Texas at El Paso; Lorraine DeKruyf, PhD, George Fox University in Portland, Oregon.
Carleton H. Brown, PhD, Arturo Olivarez, Jr., PhD, Lorraine DeKruyf, PhD
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