Added July 5, 2018
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).
Practicing school counselors 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 U.S., consisting of 12 school districts of various sizes. This study offers 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 the 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. 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 been sustainable over time because of important decision-making and shared leadership. The RSLT implemented policies and procedures to support ongoing success, including developing a system of chair changes, creating sub-committees, strengthening community relationships, addressing financial contribution allocations, and determining equitable representation.
Developing and sustaining a RSLT offers a number of benefits, including empowering school counselors, building leadership capacity in school counselors, and strengthening advocacy and collaboration efforts among school counselors. Opportunities for future research include continuing to explore and examine the effectiveness of the benefits of the RSLT.
Carleton H. Brown, PhD, Crystal Ayala
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