Leadership, Advocacy, & Accountability Dr. Susan R. Rose, Ph.D., NCC University of the Cumberlands Director of School Counseling March 7, 2013
Impact of Change on School Counselor Practice • The transformed school counselor, while addressing the needs of individual students, will have an eye on the institutional policies and practices that impede student progress. • Professional school counselors must design data driven school counseling programs that fit into the mission of today’s schools: • Rigorous standards and accountability for all students. • Accountability is the professional school counselor’s responsibility—not just teachers and administrators. • Professional school counselors need to integrate themselves into school reform by collaborating with all school staff instead of working as ancillary personnel removed from the instructional side of schools.
Impact of Change on School Counselor Practice • Successful school counselors in 21st Century schools will shift from focusing on fixing individual students to fixing the policies and practices in the educational system that contribute to academic failure of students. Professional school counselors also must: • Become proactive leaders rather than “helper responders.” • Shift the focus from mental health and individual changes to the whole-school and systemic concerns that fit the whole-school’s mission of academic achievement. • Use “hard data” to prove accountability.
Accountability: Making School Counseling Count • To act as agents of school and community change, professional school counselors must: 1.Provide and articulate a well-defined developmental counseling program with attention to equity, access, and support services. 2. Routinely use data to analyze and improve access to, and success in, rigorous academic courses for underrepresented students. 3.Actively monitor the progress of underrepresented students in rigorous courses and provide assistance or interventions when needed. 4.Actively target and enroll underrepresented students into rigorous courses. 5.Develop, coordinate, and initiate support systems designed to improve the learning success of students experiencing difficulty with rigorous academic programs.
Leadership and Transformed School Counselor Practice Role Responsibilities of the Professional School Counselor
Does a Fully Implemented School Counseling Program Make a Difference? • According to Lapan, Gysbers, and Sun (1997),students from schools with more fully implemented programs were more likely to report that: • (a) they had earned higher grades; • (b) their education better prepared them for the future; • (c) they had more career and college information available to them; and • (d) their schools had a more positive environment. • Many other studies showed consistent results.
“At Promise” instead of “At Risk” • School counseling programs that use a strengths-based, “nondeficient” leadership and advocacy model are educational leaders providing measurable equity, achievement results, and success for all students. • Professional school counselors who develop and implement transformative school counseling programs based on the ASCA National Model strive to empower and advocate for historically oppressed populations. • The transformed professional school counselor leads and advocates in removing barriers to student performance and overcoming social injustice.
Research Shows…. • Students from low-income families can match the achievement of high-income families “stride for stride” and in some school districts actually outperform students from affluent families.
Common Characteristics • Successful high-poverty schools demonstrate the following characteristics: • Extensive use of state/local standards to design curriculum and instruction, assess student work, and evaluate teachers. • Increased instruction time for math and reading. • Substantial investment in professional development for teachers. • Comprehensive systems to help students before they fail. • Parental involvement. • Accountability systems with consequences.
Professional School Counselors as Leaders • Leadership is one of the four overarching themes of the ASCA National Model and is inextricably tied to advocacy. • A leader is someone who has a “vision” for change, can communicate that vision effectively to others, and help direct supporters in working toward creating the desired change. • Leadership strategies for new school counselors: • Set reasonable and realistic leadership goals • Approach tasks with determination • Resolve to work through resistance • Build a strong support system and seek supervision and support from supervisors and colleagues • Be clear about your role as a school counselor
Advocacy Counseling in Schools • Advocacy counseling involves efforts by professional school counselors to advocate for and with clients on both the microlevel and the macrolevel. • On the microlevel, school counselors might advocate on behalf of students within the school systems or teach them self-advocacy skills. • On the macrolevel, school counselors might intervene in some larger context (e.g., community) to effect more broad-based change.
ACA Advocacy Competencies • There are three domains where counselors can advocate for change: • Client/student advocacy • School/community advocacy • Public arena advocacy • There are two levels within each domain, one level involves advocating with a stakeholder or system and another level involves advocating on behalf of a person or system.
ACA Advocacy Competencies • Client/Student Advocacy • Client/student empowerment involves: • Teaching clients self-advocacy skills • Helping clients develop a strategy or plan for self-advocacy • Assisting clients in becoming knowledgeable and aware of their situations • Identifying the skills and assets clients can use in the advocacy process. • Client/student advocacy involves direct school counselor endeavors to enact change or secure certain resources for students.
ACA Advocacy Competencies • School/Community Advocacy • Community collaboration involves teaming up with community organizations to aid them in their advocacy efforts. • Systems advocacy involves a more direct effort by counselors to change a system; they will spearhead the effort themselves.
ACA Advocacy Competencies • Public Arena Advocacy • The public information level involves creating and distributing materials about important topics to the community. • Social/political advocacy involves contacting local and state representatives and policy makers to raise awareness about issues and work to create change on a much larger level.
Advocacy Counseling • Strategies to help school counselors become more comfortable advocating: • Use data to make a case • Connect change efforts to the school’s mission • Do not take resistance personally • Find supporters • Develop a realistic plan based on data and research • Act ethically at all times • Trust the process
Empowering Students with Achievement Advocacy Skills • Students need to be empowered to become leaders for life in their elementary, middle, and high school communities. • Professional school counselors develop leadership academies, peer tutoring and peer counseling programs and encourage and expect all students to participate in extracurricular activities to increase their leadership skills, which, in turn, can provide students with a basis to learn advocacy skills.
Empowering Parents and Guardians with Achievement Advocacy Skills • Parents often take information from school personnel as fact. • Professional school counselors assist parents and guardians to maneuver through unfamiliar territories to access services. • Professional school counselors can help identify resources and discuss existing services with parents. • They can assist parents in understanding and interpreting the information received from the school and their rights. • Parents may also need assistance in determining how and when to use the information. • Counselors can help parents gain access to needed services.
Empowering Educators With Achievement Advocacy Skills • Assist teachers in recognizing inequities. • Challenge teachers to examine their biases. • Offer annual formal in-service training and frequent informal sessions to increase teacher knowledge and effectiveness. • Counselors can assist teachers in developing management, facilitation, and advocacy skills. • Provide in-service training on management skills. • Help teachers create a safe, equitable, and learner-friendly environment for all students. • Help teachers to communicate more effectively with parents and administrators.
Empowering School Systems for Achievement Advocacy • Professional school counselors are in a position to work with all school personnel. • Professional school counselors should ensure that administrators are supporting their efforts. • When working collaboratively with all school personnel, counselors must use their skills in interpersonal communication, group process, and counseling. • Professional school counselors are visible in the school, and provide staff development training and research data to promote systemic change. • Administrators are welcomed as a key part of the school counseling programs’ advisory council.
Empowering Community Stakeholders with Achievement Advocacy • Counselors should have community networks in place that allow them to connect parents and children with resources that will help children succeed.
Public Awareness • Must have a mission/vision statement for the school that is focused on academic success for all students. • Ways to publicize the professional school counselor’s role: • A column in the school or local newspaper • Brochures • Use of web sites • Speaking engagements at local events • Classroom presentations
Accountability: Every Educator’s Challenge • Data must show more than time-on-task numbers • Data needs to show how school counseling program impacted student success • Must show that counselors have made a difference in student achievement • Data must justify continuing funding for school counselors • Especially when other role groups are being cut
Start with Student Outcome Data • School counseling programs must start with student outcome data, then decide which data they want to track and drive in a positive direction. • Once that is accomplished, the program components come into play to move the data. • Data is the engine that drives the school counseling program.
Time-on-Task Data • What is Time-On-Task Data • Student contact made • Group sessions held • Classroom guidance lessons delivered • Time-on-Task Data is still valuable but stops short of answering the critical question of how our work affects student achievement • We must answer the question, “How are students better off academically because of what you do?”
Results-Based Accountability • Needs Assessments, Surveys, Pre- and Post- Tests • Although these methods are moving us closer to accountability, they are still soft measures of accountability and not at the level of accountability expected of stakeholders as they are self-report measures. • To deem counting and results-based approaches as adequate without showing the impact of our work on school report card data places us at risk of being viewed as a poor use of financial resources.
Student Outcome Data • The shift from counting what we do to measuring our impact on critical school-based data is most powerful when we can explain and prove that our work are necessary and successful interventions needed to improve a child’s academic success. • Example: Number of D’s and F’s for the seven students reduced by 29% on the report card following the six small group counseling sessions. (p. 137)
Accountability and School Counselors • Accountability is: • A means of assessing the impact of the school counseling program on school improvement • Connecting our work to student outcome data
Moving to an Accountability Mindset • Vision without action is meaningless. –Spinetta • Since the 1990’s school counseling has progressed from the tradition of a responsive services focus to a proactive programmatic system that is inexplicably integrated within the mission of schools • ASCA National Model • Without a shift in thinking to the use of data to address equity issues, one cannot realize the goals of the ASCA National Model. • A Social Justice mindset is the mantra of the 21st century practice • ASCA National Standards • Encourages school counselors to think in terms of the expected results of what students should know and be able to do as a result of implementing a standards-based, CSCP. • Message: School Counselors are ideally situated in schools to serve as social justice advocates to eliminate the achievement gap and focus their efforts on ensuring success for every student.
Accountability • The Accountability Quadrant answers the question, “How are students different as a result of the school counseling program?” • An accountable CSCP includes the following: • An alignment with the school Mission and School Improvement Process • Commitment to working with a critical data element as part of program design and implementation • Analyzing data • Facilitating a Stakeholder’s Unification around goals and delivery of strategies • Monitoring results. • Educating all about the results: administrators, faculty, staff, students, families, and community supporters
Why Use data? Without Data …. • It improves our programs and the services for students and families • Students benefit from it • You probably already have it • Others are using it • Makes us accountable Absent from School Reform School Counselor? Peripheral to the Mission and Function of Schools
“How are students different BECAUSE of the school counseling program?“ With Data … Key Players in School Reform School Counselor? Connected to the Mission and Function of Schools
Data Data Everywhere • Student – Achievement Data • Standardized Test Data (Achievement, State, National) • GPA • Grade Point Averages • Student Surveys • Special Education • Drop-Out Rates • Graduation Rates • Retention Rate • SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) • Cascade Testing • Local School Testing
Data Data Everywhere • Achievement-Related Data • Discipline referrals • Suspension Rates • Discipline • Anecdotal records/notes • Attendance rates • Parent involvement • Service Learning • Community Involvement • Extracurricular activities • Homework completion rates
Asking the Right Questions • Making connections between the various data sets will help us focus on what is most important. • Examples: • In our school, do student outcomes differ by demographics? • In our school, what is the profile of a successful student? A failing student? A dropout? • We then can use data to answer the questions that count. • Collaborative analysis can lead to collaborative action.
Data 101 • The ASCA National Model describes three types of data usage: • Process data confirms how many times an event occurred, for how long, who was involved and how the event was conducted. • “What you did for whom” • Provides evidence that event occurred • However, it does not provide any information as to how this strategy influenced student success as a direct result of the school counseling program. • Example: As part of the school counselor’s commitment to contribute to this collaborating with teachers to improve grades, every 8th grade student participated in six school counseling lessons that focused on organizational skills and study skills. • Perception data is a snapshot in time that allows us to analyze changes in attitudes, beliefs, or needs over time. • Often collected as pre- and post- information, need assessments, or surveys. • Snapshot in time that allows us to analyze changes in attitudes, beliefs, or needs over time. • Attitudes or Beliefs: 32% believe they will get an A or B in this class • Competency Achievement (Skills): Every student in grades 9 – 12 completed an ILP • Knowledge Gained: 90% of students demonstrated knowledge of college entrance requirements • Example: As a result of the school counseling lesson, students have the opportunity to share their changes in attitude or organizing their notes in a new way.
Data 101 • Results data shows impact and provides information to evaluate programs. • “So WHAT” data • Hard Data/Application Data: Data either supports or does not support goals of the program. • Shows impact and provides information to evaluate programs • Have your activities contributed to students’ ability to utilize the knowledge attitudes and skills to effect behavior? • Attendance • Behavior • Academic Achievement • Example: As a result of these 6 classroom guidance lessons, have 90% of the 8th graders improved their class work, handed in all of their homework, passed all of their classes, and ultimately improved their scores on the state test? • Which indicators do we monitor? • How frequently do we do this?
Data 101 • Qualitative (Language/Narrative) Data • Case Notes • Anecdotal observations • Case Studies • Quantitative (Numerical) Data • School Data Management Systems (Infinite Campus) are repositories of demographic data that describes, in quantitative form: • The student body • The staff • The community • Studying demographic data provides insight into the profile of the student body, and can also show changes over time. • Demographic Data is often coupled with other achievements, attendance, and behavior categories to further analyze which groups of students are succeeding and which are struggling. • Quantitative Data also includes (among others): • Test scores • Discipline referrals • Retention rates • Course enrollment • Attendance
Data 101 • Descriptive Data • Creates a comprehensive picture that reveals important information for interpretation and is the foundation for inquiry • Purpose: To describe of summarize data in a parsimonious manner through the use of: • Central tendency (mean, median, mode) • Variability (Range of an item – quartiles, quintiles, deciles, etc. – and standard deviation) • Relative position: can show percentile rank • Disaggregating Descriptive Data • Provides a picture of sub-groups • Ethnicity • Gender • SES • Teacher Assignment • Sub-groups can also be linked to other factors such as: • Gender and attendance • Current grades • Test scores • Data reveals the dissonance between what people believe, or assume is happening in schools, and reality.
Data 101 • Longitudinal Data • Patterns over time reveal information about student progress both for the individual and for the groups. • Organizing Data • Commercial programs • National Center for Education Statistics (Http://nces.ed.gov): Kids Zone • Walks you through how to use, organize, and chart data. • EZ-Analyze: www.ezanalyze.com • SPSS • Infinite Campus • Access, Excel, Create your own method • Look for: Pictures Patterns Gaps • Questions: • What is positive in the data? • What opportunity gaps do you see?
The Power of Data • Data demonstrates how the school counseling program is contributing to overall student progress and student achievement. • Data allows us to identify and eradicate practices that may be deterring access to, or success in, higher-level academics. • Data can be used to inform educators’ decisions, not replace them. • Data: Friend or Pho-bia • Data is a counselor’s best friend • It provides new information that can be used to guide action.
Making Connections • Keep It Simple • Similar to familiar KWL charts • K: What I know • I already know … • W: What I want to know • (I need to know...) • L: What I Learned • Who has, or can help me locate the additional information that I need? • Large-scale (aggregated) data tells me only one part of the story. In what ways can I disaggregate the data to look for ways of improving achievement?
Making Connections • The Next Steps • System Support • Understanding by Design process (Wiggins & Mctighe) • Look at root causes of the problem, then take systemic actions to improve the success rate of students • Requires taking on multiple roles: • Leader • Advocate • Manager of resources • Consultant • From Perception to Reality • Data gives your story a factual framework. • No longer are we presenting perception: the descriptors in our school-based stories are rooted in reality.
Challenge or Opportunity: Carpe Diem! • Using data to inform your thinking and the decisions that you make about your school counseling program will establish you as a school leader who is committed to school improvement. • Data can: • Challenge attitudes • Develop high expectations • Deliver facts that support on-going quality career and academic advising • Alert us to enrollment patterns for rigorous academic courses. • Impacts the instructional program.
Measure and Monitor What Matters • Accountability shows that all educators, especially school counselors, intentionally act to close the achievement gap. • Social justice and accountability go hand in hand. • Data brings attention to opportunities for school-wide improvement through conversations and planning. • Data provides guidance for program development and implementation. • School counselors who focus their school counseling program efforts on moving data in a positive direction demonstrate a strong commitment to sharing the responsibility and accountability for student outcomes.