001

Table of Contents
 
Praise
Jossey-Bass Teacher
Titles in the Jossey-Bass Teacher Survival Guide Series
Title Page
Copyright Page
About This Book
About the Author
Dedication
Acknowledgments
Introduction
HOW THE BOOK IS ORGANIZED
WHAT’S NEW IN THE THIRD EDITION
OVERALL PURPOSE AND FOCUS
 
chapter 1 - WHAT, WHO, and HOW of YOUR SCHOOL COUNSELING PROGRAM
 
DESCRIBING THE PROGRAM
SEEKING INPUT
DEFINING WHAT YOU DO: A GLOSSARY OF RESPONSIVE SERVICES
 
chapter 2 - DEVELOPING YOUR ROLE and CREATING an IDENTITY
 
DETERMINING WHO DOES WHAT
CREATING A COUNSELOR IDENTITY
BALANCING TIME
 
chapter 3 - SETTING SAIL and STAYING AFLOAT
 
PLANNING
COORDINATING
 
chapter 4 - IDENTIFYING RESPONSIVE SERVICES
 
COUNSELING
CONSULTING
APPRAISING
 
chapter 5 - INTEGRATING a SCHOOL COUNSELING PROGRAM with the CURRICULUM
 
AFFECTIVE EDUCATION: INTEGRATION AND INFUSION
GUIDANCE: EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY
CHARACTER EDUCATION
HOMEWORK
EDUCATIONAL PLANNING AND PLACEMENT
TEST RESULTS AND IMPROVED INSTRUCTION
CAREER DEVELOPMENT
A LIFETIME OF LEARNING THROUGH POSITIVE BEHAVIOR
 
chapter 6 - REACHING OUT to DIVERSE POPULATIONS
 
GENERAL GUIDELINES
EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN
ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS (ELL)
CULTURALLY DIVERSE POPULATIONS
 
chapter 7 - PREPARING for CRISIS INTERVENTION
 
DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION OF A CRISIS
A CRISIS TEAM AND PLAN
STAFF DEVELOPMENT
PREVENTIVE ACTIVITIES AND PROGRAMS
CRISIS COUNSELING
AFTER TRAUMA OR TRAGEDY
 
chapter 8 - SELECTING RESPONSIVE SERVICES to ADDRESS STUDENTS’ CONCERNS
 
BULLYING
CYBERBULLYING
DIVORCE
AFTER-SCHOOL CHILD CARE
LONELINESS
RELOCATION
STRESS
UNDERACHIEVEMENT
TECHNOLOGY
 
chapter 9 - RESPONDING to CRITICAL CONCERNS
 
CHILD DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE
SELF-INJURY
CHILD ABUSE
CHRONIC AND TERMINAL ILLNESS
SUBSTANCE ABUSE
LOSS
POVERTY
VIOLENCE
SCHOOL PHOBIA
 
chapter 10 - BELONGING and BEING with the SCHOOL
 
ESTABLISHING RELATIONSHIPS
RELATING PERSONALLY
RELATING PROFESSIONALLY
BEING WITH VERSUS DOING TO
 
chapter 11 - INVOLVING SIGNIFICANT OTHERS
 
KNOWLEDGE OF FAMILY AND COMMUNITY
COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
PARENT EDUCATION PROGRAMS
 
chapter 12 - PLAYING ACCORDING to the RULES
 
LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS AND RESOURCES
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR ETHICAL PRACTICE
 
chapter 13 - HELPING YOURSELF to HELP OTHERS
 
SELF-ASSESSMENT
PERSONAL CARING
PROFESSIONAL CARING
CONCLUSION
 
Resources
Index

More Praise for the Elementary/Middle School Counselor’s Survival Guide, 3rd Edition
“This Survival Guide is filled with realistic situations that we as counselors face daily. Dr. Schmidt has presented strategies and tools needed to develop a comprehensive counseling program. The book provides sample forms for needs assessments, surveys, and checklists that are essential to all counselors working in schools.”
Pattie Amundsen, school counselor, president, Association for Professional Counseling in Schools, Winston-Salem, NC
“As a counselor educator, I’ve invariably found Jack Schmidt’s books on school counseling to be ‘top drawer’ and [this new edition] is no exception! The book is comprehensive, embraces standards for best practice, and provides hands-on examples for elementary-middle grade levels—even pre-K! I plan to recommend it to all of my school counseling grad students.”
—Dr. Salene Cowher, professor/program head, Graduate Programs in Counseling, Edinboro University, Edinboro, PA
“If school counseling reform is going to be successful, books and other resources must depict a relatively accurate picture of the preparation and practice of school counselors in school settings. Dr. Schmidt’s book affirms the profession and offers an accurate assessment of the work that counselors do in schools.”
Dr. Delila Owens, assistant professor, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
“Whether a seasoned school counselor or a school counselor-in-training, you will benefit from The Elementary/Middle School Counselor’s Survival Guide, 3rd Edition. This comprehensive guide to school counseling provides clear direction and offers many tools for developing an effective and inclusive school counseling program.”
—Jeffrey M. Warren, doctoral candidate, Counselor Education, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
“School counselors, graduate students, and counselor educators will benefit tremendously from reading this Survival Guide. Jack Schmidt has included the most relevant issues, questions, and challenges facing school counselors and has presented them in a practical and interesting format. I highly recommend this wonderful resource.”
—Dr. Christine Yeh, professor and chair, Counseling Psychology Department, University of San Francisco
The Elementary/Middle School Counselor’s Survival Guide is a comprehensive, inclusive, and practical manual that will serve as an outstanding resource and program guide for both pre-service and inservice school counselors.”
Mary Ann Clark, associate professor and school counseling program coordinator, Counselor Education, University of Florida

Jossey-Bass Teacher
Jossey-Bass Teacher provides educators with practical knowledge and tools to create a positive and lifelong impact on student learning. We offer classroom-tested and research-based teaching resources for a variety of grade levels and subject areas. Whether you are an aspiring, new, or veteran teacher, we want to help you make every teaching day your best.
From ready-to-use classroom activities to the latest teaching framework, our value-packed books provide insightful, practical, and comprehensive materials on the topics that matter most to K-12 teachers. We hope to become your trusted source for the best ideas from the most experienced and respected experts in the field.

Titles in the Jossey-Bass Teacher Survival Guide Series
FIRST-YEAR TEACHER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE: READY-TO-USE STRATEGIES, TOOLS & ACTIVITIES FOR MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF EACH SCHOOL DAY, Second Edition
Julia G. Thompson ISBN 978-0-7879-9455-6
 
THE ART TEACHER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOLS, Second Edition
Helen D. Hume ISBN 978-0-470-18302-1
 
THE CLASSROOM TEACHER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE: PRACTICAL STRATEGIES, MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES, AND REPRODUCIBLES FOR NEW AND EXPERIENCED TEACHERS, Third Edition
Ronald L. Partin ISBN 978-0-470-45364-3
 
DISCIPLINE SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE SECONDARY TEACHER, Second Edition
Julia G. Thompson ISBN 978-0-470-54743-4
 
WRITING WORKSHOP SURVIVAL KIT, Second Edition
Gary Robert Muschla ISBN 978-0-7879-7619-4
 
SPECIAL EDUCATOR’S SURVIVAL GUIDE, Second Edition Roger Pierangelo, Ph.D. ISBN 978-0-7879-7096-3
 
THE ENGLISH TEACHER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE: READY-TO-USE TECHNIQUES & MATERIALS FOR GRADES 7 - 12, Second Edition
Mary Lou Brandvik and Katherine S. McKnight ISBN 978-0-470-52513-5
 
SCHOOL NEWSPAPER ADVISERS SURVIVAL GUIDE Patricia Osborn ISBN 978-0-7879-6624-9
 
PLAY DIRECTOR’S SURVIVAL KIT: A COMPLETE STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO PRODUCING THEATER IN ANY SCHOOL OR COMMUNTITY SETTING
James W. Rodgers and Wanda C. Rodgers ISBN 978-0-87628-565-7
 
MATH TEACHER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE: PRACTICAL STRATEGIES, MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES, AND REPRODUCIBLES FOR NEW AND EXPERIENCED TEACHERS, GRADES 5 - 12
Judith A. Muschla, Gary Robert Muschla, and Erin Muschla ISBN 978-0-470-40764-6
 
A SURVIVAL KIT FOR THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: WITH REPRODUCIBLE FORMS, CHECKLISTS & LETTERS
Abby Barry Bergman ISBN 978-0-7879-6639-3
 
THE READING TEACHER’S SURVIVAL KIT: READY-TO-USE CHECKLISTS, ACTIVITIES, AND MATERIALS TO HELP ALL STUDENTS BECOME SUCCESSFUL READERS
Wilma H. Miller, Ed.D. ISBN 978-0-13-042593-5
 
BIOLOGY TEACHER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE: TIPS, TECHNIQUES & MATERIALS FOR SUCCESS IN THE CLASSROOM
Michael F. Fleming ISBN 978-0-13-045051-7
 
THE ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE SCHOOL COUNSELOR’S SURVIVAL GUIDE, Third Edition John J. Schmidt, Ed.D. 978-0-470-56085-3
 
THE SUBSTITUTE TEACHING SURVIVAL GUIDE, GRADESK-5: EMERGENCY LESSON PLANS AND ESSENTIAL ADVICE
John Dellinger ISBN 978-0-7879-7410-7
 
THE SUBSTITUTE TEACHING SURVIVAL GUIDE, GRADES 6 - 12: EMERGENCY LESSON PLANS AND ESSENTIAL ADVICE
John Dellinger ISBN 978-0-7879-7411-4

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About This Book
The Elementary/Middle School Counselor’s Survival Guide, 3rd Edition, continues the philosophy of the original publication and expands its practical application. This book encourages you to develop a comprehensive school counseling program comprising services for students, parents, and teachers, with the ultimate goal of helping all students succeed both academically and in their personal relationships and begin exploring career information and interests.
This edition is expanded to thirteen chapters, each beginning with a scenario relevant to that chapter’s topic. These vignettes offer opportunities for practical application of the information presented throughout the guide. All chapters also include worksheets and exhibits you can use or adapt in your own practice.
This edition of the Survival Guide will help you
• Plan, deliver, and evaluate a comprehensive program of services for elementary or middle school students, parents, and teachers
• Integrate your counseling program with the overall mission of the school
• Select and assess the effectiveness of appropriate counseling, consulting, and coordinating services to address developmental and critical concerns of your students
• Perform within the ethical and legal parameters of the counseling profession
• Take care of yourself personally and professionally as a school counselor
By focusing on these professional behaviors and competencies, this Survival Guide will become an essential resource as you strive to perform at an optimal level.

About the Author
John J. (Jack) Schmidt, Ed.D., is professor emeritus of counselor education at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. During his career, Dr. Schmidt has been a social studies teacher; elementary, middle, and high school counselor; school district supervisor of counseling and testing services; state coordinator of school counseling programs; licensed professional counselor; and university professor and department chair. From 2006 through 2009, he was executive director of the International Alliance for Invitational Education® (www.invitationaleducation.net).
An active writer and presenter, Dr. Schmidt has published over fifty articles, book reviews, and manuals, and more than a dozen books. His books include Counseling in Schools: Comprehensive Programs of Responsive Services for All Students; Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling and Human Services; Intentional Helping: A Philosophy for Proficient Caring Relationships; Making and Keeping Friends: Ready-to-Use Lessons, Stories, and Activities for Building Relationships; Living Intentionally and Making Life Happen; Invitational Counseling: A Self-Concept Approach to Professional Practice, with Dr. William W. Purkey; and From Conflict to Conciliation: How to Defuse Difficult Situations, with Dr. Purkey and Dr. John M. Novak.
Dr. Schmidt is a former president of the North Carolina Counseling Association and the North Carolina Association for Counselor Education and Supervision. He has received recognition from professional associations and universities for his leadership, research, and publications, particularly in the field of school counseling. He was awarded the Elementary Counselor of the Year Award by the North Carolina School Counselor Association in 1978, is a two-time recipient of the Ella Stephens Barrett Leadership Award from the North Carolina Counseling Association (1997 and 2007), and received the Ruth C. McSwain Distinguished Professional Service Award from the North Carolina School Counselor Association in 2002. In 1999, the College of Education at East Carolina University named him a distinguished professor for his teaching, scholarship, and service to the university. In 2005, he received a Distinguished Career Award from the School of Education at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro.
Dr. Schmidt is a member of Chi Sigma Iota, the international counseling honor society, and has served on numerous boards, including the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors (1997 -2004) and the National Board of Certified Counselors (2005 - 2008). He lives in Roaring Gap, North Carolina, with his wife, Pat.

To my grandchildren,
Evelyn, Erica, Aidan, and Addyson
May their years in school and throughout life be enriching, empowering, and enjoyable

Acknowledgments
It is an honor to share this third edition of The Elementary/Middle School Counselor’s Survival Guide. I thank Jossey-Bass for its continued support, and am particularly grateful to senior editor Marjorie McAneny and her assistant Julia Palmer for their superb guidance during this revision.
In addition, I appreciate the contributions of a group of elementary and middle school counselors from North Carolina who participated in discussions about surviving elementary and middle school counseling. They are: Patti Amundsen, Cynthia Clodfelter, Ken Dankwardt, Patti Durham, Michelle Gross, Debby Hendrix, Melanie Mills, Brett Pesce, Paulette Ream, Cheryl Tilley, Rinita Williams, Sharon White, and Jim Wuwert. Special thanks to my oldest granddaughter, Evelyn Bergquist, who advised me about kids and technology.
This book, as with all my others, would not have been possible without the support of my wife, partner, and best friend, Pat. Her patience and flexibility have allowed me to complete such projects and to enjoy my career in counseling so fully. I am deeply indebted to her.

INTRODUCTION
Successful elementary and middle school counselors continuously search for useful information and ideas in order to deliver program services effectively. The Elementary/ Middle School Counselor’s Survival Guide is a resource to help you identify who you are and what you do, become more capable and available, and account for your time and effectiveness in surviving and eventually flourishing as a school counselor. This third edition continues the focus of the original Survival Guide to help elementary and middle school counselors design comprehensive programs of responsive services to fit unique professional settings and address the needs of students, parents, and teachers.
As an elementary or middle school counselor, you might find the following exchange familiar. Two counselors were talking at a state counseling conference. One, a new elementary counselor, confessed, “I have so much to do and so little time to do it. I go from one crisis to the next or from one administrative task to another.” The other, a middle school counselor, responded, “Me too! So many things take time away from students—coordinating the testing program and responsibility for exceptional children’s referrals take up much of my time, not to mention application of Section 504 of the disabilities act! I need practical ideas and strategies to handle students’ concerns and everything else that goes on in my school.” This exchange reveals that the two counselors are struggling with their identity, questioning their capability to meet demands, and going in too many directions. They want to be available to students and are looking for ways to be accountable in their schools. For them and many other school counselors, the transition from learning about the art and science of counseling to being an artful and scientific practitioner is challenging.
Simply learning about art does not make you a masterful artist. Only with sufficient practice and personalization of the techniques learned can you approach an artistic level. Similarly, learning what the research says about a particular issue does not make you a scientific practitioner. Consistent application of such knowledge, evaluation of outcomes, and reflection on what you have done are mandatory for success.
Similar to an artist or a scientist, you seek practical and beneficial ways to apply your knowledge. In elementary and middle schools, where the counseling profession searches for clear, understandable roles, but where case loads often reach astronomical ratios, successful counselors establish a professional identity by emphasizing their capabilities, serving a wide audience, and accounting for the programs they establish and services they deliver. To be successful, these counselors structure comprehensive school counseling programs that permit optimal use of the time available.
This Survival Guide operates on the assumption that although the developmental needs of students in elementary and middle schools vary, counselors at these two levels have similar goals and objectives and facilitate comparable program services and activities. Although some specific activities and strategies in this guide are more suitable at one level than the other, this guide will, for the most part, be useful across elementary and middle schools.

HOW THE BOOK IS ORGANIZED

Chapters One through Four of this revision of the Survival Guide describe the general components and aspects of a comprehensive school counseling program. A comprehensive program includes a clear definition and description of your identity and role, input from those who use your services, and strategies to allow the most efficient use of time. An efficient use of time requires planning, coordination, and evaluation, as well as purposeful selection of responsive services.
Chapters Five through Nine present ideas and strategies to integrate your counseling program with the overall mission of your school. These include aligning your counseling program with the school curriculum, focusing on educational development for all students, reaching out to diverse populations, preparing for school and community crises, and helping with a broad range of student concerns that affect learning and development. The goals of these chapters are to enhance your capability as an elementary or middle school counselor and emphasize the importance of accountability in measuring your effectiveness.
Chapters Ten through Thirteen focus on relationships with colleagues, parents, and the community, and on you as a counselor. A counseling program is as strong as the staff that support and guide its development. Likewise, the strength of your assistance to students is contingent on parents’ and guardians’ involvement in the counseling process. In addition, your ability to function effectively is influenced by your own well-being—your personal and professional fitness. Professional fitness includes a practical knowledge of ethical codes, state and federal laws, professional competencies, and local school policies.

WHAT’S NEW IN THE THIRD EDITION

Among the additions to this revision are one or more scenarios in each of the chapters, which demonstrate practical applications of the ideas and suggestions given throughout this guide. Though fictitious, the scenarios are based on my years of school counseling practice, experience as a supervisor, and teaching in counselor preparation programs. In a workshop, practicing school counselors reviewed and tested the scenarios for practicality and realism.
A major change to this revision is a new Chapter Nine, “Responding to Critical Concerns,” which focuses on more serious concerns of students. This edition also includes new material concerning the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Model, current and emerging communication and learning technologies, the relationship between your philosophy and effectiveness in counseling students, services after trauma and tragedy, cyberbullying, self-injurious students, the impact of poverty, school counselor competencies, and your responsibility to maintain ethical standards.

OVERALL PURPOSE AND FOCUS

The Elementary/Middle School Counselor’s Survival Guide bridges the gap between theory and practice. Counseling theories help you understand human behavior and development and enable you to choose reliable approaches to professional helping. Practical strategies and materials, such as those in this guide, give you an opportunity to structure your theoretical stance around useful and effective helping behaviors. These practical suggestions encourage you to include many participants—teachers, parents, and students—in the process of designing and implementing comprehensive school counseling programs.
This book sets the stage for you to identify who you want to be as an elementary or middle school counselor. It shows you how to develop ways to make yourself available to a wider audience, expand your knowledge, improve your counseling skills, and measure your effectiveness as a professional counselor. In each chapter you will find ideas to move beyond survival toward flourishing as a counselor in an elementary or middle school. Whereas surviving conjures up an image of desperate endurance, flourishing conveys a notion of thriving and elicits a positive vision of what you can become. This book encourages you to look beyond basic survival skills to develop into a proactive counselor who provides a comprehensive program of responsive services for your school and community.
Throughout this book you will find lists of specific strategies, helpful guidelines, Web sites, and reproducible forms to use in a comprehensive school counseling program. Not all of these will be appropriate or feasible to apply in your school and program, however. Choose the ones that are, and feel free to adjust the others to create new and better strategies.
In an effort to make the Survival Guide a practical, readable resource for professional school counselors, I have used references and citations sparingly. You will find an extensive resource list of printed works and Web sites at the end of the book. Although I have made every effort to keep resources as current as possible, today’s accelerated information age makes this a daunting task. My hope is that the resources provided will give you a head start on compiling your own list.
Thank you for allowing me to share my experience and suggestions with you. I wish you well in your career as a professional school counselor, and hope the strategies and tools in this guide are helpful as you move toward a higher level of artful counseling within a scientific framework.

chapter 1
WHAT, WHO, and HOW of YOUR SCHOOL COUNSELING PROGRAM
Scenario 1.1: Why Are Counselors in Schools?
Some parents were meeting, and one asked, “Why do we need counselors in schools?” Another followed with, “What is a counselor’s primary purpose in providing services in the school?” These were not new questions. Educators, counselors, parents, policymakers, and others had asked similar questions countless times before. If you were listening to this conversation, how would you, as a school counselor, respond? Why are you working in a school, and what is your purpose?
One possible response to Scenario 1.1 is that you work in a school to help people become “more able” in their respective roles. As a school counselor, you help students become more able learners; assist parents in their nurturing roles; support teachers in providing beneficial instruction for all students; and, with administrators, help lead schools in becoming a more effective part of the community. In sum, everything you do as a school counselor—every program you plan and every service you deliver—aims at helping students, parents, teachers, and schools in the process of human development and learning.
If you agree with this conclusion—that you are in a school to help people become more able—you might also agree that to accomplish this goal, you too need to become more able in your professional knowledge and skills. To become more able as a professional counselor, you want to move beyond survival toward a confident stance that permits you to become identifiable, capable, available, and accountable—four characteristics of a successful school counselor. Being identifiable means knowing who you are and what you do in schools as a professional counselor. It also means letting others know about this identity. Being capable means practicing at a high level of skill while recognizing the limits of your competencies and professional role in schools. When you are available, you are accessible to the students, parents, and teachers you serve. Accountability brings together the first three abilities when you assess how you spend your time and measure the effectiveness of the programs you plan and the services you provide. Throughout this Survival Guide you will learn ways to accomplish these goals in becoming a successful school counselor. To begin, Chapter One explores the role and identity of counselors in schools.
Scenario 1.2: Role Identity
You are an elementary or middle school counselor. A new principal has arrived at the school to start the year, and you have asked to schedule a conference to talk about the counseling program. At the start of your meeting with the new principal, she begins, “I had a good guidance counselor at my previous school, but was never quite sure how he spent most of his time. He was good at helping out in the main office when we were short on staff, and he was quite sociable with the faculty. It was my first position as a principal, however, and I was uncertain how to direct his time and duties. My goal at this school is to take more of a leadership role in all special services, including guidance.” How would you begin responding to the principal’s statements? What key points would you make about the school counseling program, your leadership role, an advisory committee, program evaluation, and consultation with the principal?
Scenario 1.2 depicts a situation that many school counselors experience during their careers—explaining their roles in their schools and in their comprehensive counseling programs. This chapter will help you both answer the questions in the above scenario and establish your leadership role and identity as a school counselor.
Since its birth during the Industrial Revolution at the turn of the twentieth century, the school counseling profession has searched for an identity and role among the helping professions. Today such questions as Why are counselors in schools? and What are they supposed to do? are as prominent as they were over one hundred years ago. As a member of this profession, you now face the same questions: Why are you here? What are you supposed to do?
As an elementary or middle school counselor, you belong to an expanding profession that includes many areas of professional helping and service. The counseling profession of the twenty-first century has become an important member of mental health services, and school counselors are essential partners in this effort (Falls & Muro, 2009; Schmidt, 2008). Today’s professional counselors work in settings that include mental health centers, family agencies, prisons, hospitals, funeral homes, crisis centers, employment agencies, colleges, and schools, to name a few.
In preparing to become a school counselor, you studied many areas of knowledge, including human development, psychology, career information and development, tests and measurement, and social and cultural foundations. In addition, you acquired skills in specific helping processes, such as individual and group counseling, consulting, and facilitative teaching. These skills and knowledge provide a framework within which you are able to establish and clarify your professional role and deliver specific services to students, parents, teachers, and others.
Unlike counseling programs in prisons, hospitals, and mental health centers that narrowly focus specific services for particular populations, your services span a broad program of activities to assist several populations. Your program includes preventive services, developmental activities, and remedial interventions for students, parents, teachers, administrators, and others. The challenge of offering such a wide range of responsive services to different populations renders you unique in your practice of elementary or middle school counseling. This notion of a program of services is a key element in school counseling, and your ability to define and describe your school’s counseling program to students, parents, teachers, administrators, and community stakeholders is vital to your survival and ultimate success.

DESCRIBING THE PROGRAM

Although the range and diversity of the expectations placed on you illustrate the need for counselors in our schools, they can also threaten your effectiveness by pulling you in too many directions and spreading services across too broad an area. Among the most important steps you take each year, therefore, will be describing and defining the school’s counseling program.
One element that influences how clearly you describe your program is the language you choose. Because school counseling is a relatively young profession, its practitioners sometimes struggle to articulate what it is and what it does. As a school counselor, you want to explain your program in language that is both consistent with your professional vision and understandable for students, parents, teachers, and others in the school community.

Choosing a Language

Over the profession’s life span, such terms as pupil personnel services, guidance program, and student services have categorized and classified school counseling services. You, like many practitioners, probably identify yourself according to labels and language you learned in your graduate studies or encountered in your school system. What do you call yourself? How do you describe what you do? Why?
My preference is to call myself a school counselor, and the services I provide are part of a school counseling program. I belong to a student services team, which consists of other helping professionals, including the school nurse, school social worker, and school psychologist. For me, these terms accurately label the program of services I provide in schools. They are also consistent with the language of our profession, as used by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) and its journal, Professional School Counseling. They are contemporary and more definitive than such older terms as personnel services and guidance programs, which are vague and often encompass conflicting roles and services for school counselors. For example, personnel services frequently imply and include record keeping, class scheduling, attendance monitoring, testing coordination, and other functions that detract from direct responsive services for students, parents, teachers, and others. Similarly, the term guidance is confusing and does not clearly indicate what counselors do in schools. Yet the word guidance has historical significance and remains prevalent in the school counseling profession.
Everything in schools relates in some way to the notion of “guiding students.” Teachers guide students in daily instruction, as well as in their personal relationships with others—yet we do not call them “guidance teachers.” Administrators guide students in regard to school policy, curriculum, discipline, and programs, but we do not refer to them as “guidance principals.” Why then use the term “guidance counselor” instead of “school counselor”? Because guidance permeates every facet of the school, no single person or program has ownership of it.
In my view, a school counseling program encompasses a broad area of responsive services, including preventive services, developmental activities, and remedial assistance. The common ground for these three areas lies in counselors’ prominent role in providing direct services to students, parents, teachers, and others. Some counselors believe that the term school counseling program is too restrictive because it limits services to remedial relationships. However, a more encompassing view is that counseling relationships are for everyone, not only for people who have problems, and they provide ways to help healthy, functioning people capitalize on their strengths and reach higher levels of achievement. In recent school counseling literature, this has been called “strengths-based counseling.” For example, Galassi and Akos (2007) note that a strengths-based school counseling program allows counselors to design and deliver services that reach a larger percentage of students in their schools. It moves from a restricted emphasis on a few students’ problems and deficits to a commitment to help all students identify their strengths and take positive steps to capitalize on those abilities. In this guide you will find suggestions for how to use counseling processes in preventive services, for developmental learning, and to remedy existing concerns.
Here are some helpful guidelines for selecting a language and vocabulary that describe accurately your role and function in the school:
1. Understand the language. The terms you choose—counseling, guidance, personnel, strengths-based programs, or whatever—should have meaning to you. You should be clear about the words you use to describe yourself professionally and be able to defend the language you choose.
2. Educate the audience. Once you choose the language of your program, teach it to the people you serve. Let students, parents, teachers, administrators, and others know what you mean by counseling, group guidance, consulting, and other terms. A language is useful only if the people with whom you communicate understand it, accept it, and use it.
3. Use consistent language. It is confusing to students and others when you use terms inconsistently. Consistency may be difficult at first, particularly if you have decided to change to new terms. Stick with it, and correct yourself when you confuse the language. Your audience will be as consistent as you are.
If you replaced another counselor who once served the school, the decision about language requires careful consideration. For example, if the previous counselor used terminology different from yours, you may need to adjust your thinking for a while. This is particularly true if your predecessor was at the school for many years and is well thought of by students and faculty. You may feel strongly about the terms you want to use to describe who you are and what you do, and these beliefs may be a healthy sign of your professionalism. Nevertheless, move slowly and explain your rationale as you introduce new terms. By being considerate and winning students, parents, teachers, and administrators’ trust and confidence, you will be more likely to have your ideas and suggestions accepted.
Exhibit 1.1 presents a sample description for a school counseling program and the role of a counselor. You might use this description as part of a school brochure, student handbook, or faculty manual.
EXHIBIT 1.1
002

Leading the Charge

Regardless of the language you choose or how long it takes your school to adopt it, an important aspect of describing a program of services is the leadership role you take in the process. Remember that your leadership ability is paramount in helping the school build a successful program.
To survive and flourish as an elementary or middle school counselor, it is essential to identify and embrace the leadership role you have in the program and the larger school community. School counseling in the twenty-first century is not simply providing individual and group services to students. Rather, it is the orchestration of many services, some provided by you, the counselor, and some provided by other professionals. This orchestration, much like leading a major symphony, requires leadership characteristics and skills to develop working relationships, identify goals and objectives, and create appropriate action to demonstrate that everyone is playing the same tune and in the correct key (Baker & Gerler, 2008).
A first step in developing your leadership role is to assess your strengths in taking on this responsibility. What skills and knowledge do you already possess that will enable you to persuade people to create a comprehensive program of services and commit their involvement in carrying out its objectives? Next is to determine what additional knowledge you need to be a successful leader in your school. How can you obtain this knowledge—through workshops, professional associations, or more graduate training? A third step to consider is how to begin developing support for your ideas as a school leader. What will you need to do to win the confidence of your administration? Which teachers, support staff, and other school personnel are likely to support a comprehensive program, and how will you secure their support?
Throughout this chapter and book, you will learn how you, as a leader, can create a viable and valuable program for your school. Here are some starter tips for putting your plan into action:
Know what you want to do. Plan the school counseling program around accepted counseling and related services and understand the literature and research to support your ideas.
Enlist help. Identify school members—administration, teachers, parents, staff, and others—who will support you from the start. Recruit optimistic colleagues and administrators and tell them your plans.
Respect school traditions and culture. Even though you might want to work toward changing old ways of doing things, understand the emotional ties that some people may have to historical aspects of the school.
Be inclusive. Although you might identify people who give early support to your ideas, be careful not to exclude other people in the process. People who might disagree with initial plans could have constructive ideas that, when incorporated into the plan, will help make it better.
Listen, listen, listen! As a counselor, one of your greatest strengths is your ability to listen fully to others without being judgmental. Use that skill in building support for the counseling program and for your leadership. This is particularly valuable when hearing the disagreements that people have with some of your ideas.
Maintain a consistent stance. In an earlier book, William Purkey and I presented a professional counseling stance that consists of optimism, trust, respect, and intentionality (Purkey & Schmidt, 1996). Consider these characteristics and others that you believe will help you maintain a dependable leadership position in your school.

Focusing on a Comprehensive Program

By learning about yourself as a leader, gaining additional knowledge about the school counseling profession, and creating collaborative relationships in the school community, you place yourself in a stronger position to maintain a broad vision of what the program should be. This means focusing on the development of a comprehensive school counseling program.
All school counselors face the danger of feeling overwhelmed by the challenges that students, parents, teachers, and administrators bring. Sometimes, when you become overwhelmed, you might adopt a particular mode of operation because it is comfortable to do so. For example, a counselor who spends a major portion of her school day in a single activity, such as classroom guidance, individual counseling, or program administration, might do so because she feels comfortable and competent in this activity. Although such services are important, they do not, in and of themselves, establish a comprehensive school counseling program. As noted previously, a school counseling program ideally consists of a variety of activities and services, which aim at specific goals and objectives chosen as a result of careful examination and analysis of the needs of the school populations. You therefore want to move beyond routine reactions to situations and crises that emerge, and instead work according to a well-designed plan of counseling, consulting, and coordinating services.
All the suggestions and ideas in this guide relate to some aspect of a comprehensive counseling program. We can categorize these ideas under one or more of the four components of a comprehensive program—planning, organizing, implementing, and evaluating.
1. Planning is the process of assessing school and student needs, formulating a philosophy of school counseling that is consistent with the mission of the school, evaluating the current program (if there is one), and establishing and prioritizing future program goals.
2. Organizing entails the selection of specific objectives and program strategies. This selection process includes deciding who will provide which services. The selected goals and objectives assign specific responsibilities to counselors, teachers, and administrators, defining their roles in the school counseling program.
3. Implementing is the action phase of a comprehensive program. It involves the delivery of responsive services, such as counseling, consulting, coordinating, referring, and testing. Implementation of a comprehensive school counseling program also involves all the personnel who have responsibility for educating students in the school: teachers, counselors, media specialists, administrators, and others.
4. Evaluating is the phase of a program that determines success, examines weaknesses, and allows you to recommend changes for the future. In this edition of the Survival Guide, you will see that program evaluation is deemed essential to a comprehensive school counseling program. Effective programs are not guided merely by the intuitions, preferences, and desires of counselors and teachers. Rather, they are based on data that illustrate the needs of students and measure the outcomes of the services provided.
These four phases of a comprehensive school counseling program illustrate that to be successful you must move beyond traditional approaches to guidance and counseling programs. Exhibit 1.2 shows a few of the differences between traditional and comprehensive approaches. As you can see, the traditional guidance approach is counselor centered, informational in nature, and remedial in focus, whereas the comprehensive model focuses on serving broad populations with a wide spectrum of responsive services. The scale for program assessment in Worksheet 1.1, moreover, will help you evaluate how comprehensive or traditional your current program is. The scale emphasizes teacher input, group services, program planning, parental involvement, and other aspects of a comprehensive counseling program.
EXHIBIT 1.2
Comparison of Traditional and Comprehensive Programs
Traditional Program Comprehensive Program
• Predominantly one-on-one services• Balanced program of responsive services
• Informational and administrative in nature• Preventive, developmental, remedial in nature
• Reactive to critical situations• Proactive planning and goal setting
• Clerically oriented• Service oriented
• Counselor dominated• High level of teacher involvement
• No data used for program planning• Data used for planning and evaluation
• Minimum use of group work• Extensive use of group services
• Counselor’s activities directed primarily by the school principal• Counselor-led program development in consultation with principal and others
WORKSHEET 1.1
Program Assessment Scale
003
An example of the differences between these two approaches lies in the area of career information and development. In a traditional guidance program, the counselor assumes full responsibility for disseminating career information to students. At the elementary level, for example, a counselor could offer classroom guidance by presenting information about “the world of work.” In a middle school, individuals or groups of students might receive occupational information from the counselor without any involvement of teachers.
In comprehensive programs, career information and development go hand in hand and are the shared responsibility of the entire school staff. Ideally, elementary and middle school teachers accept responsibility for integrating career information into their daily instruction. This infusion of career awareness helps students see how they can apply the subject matter in the outside world. It also enables students to learn which subjects relate to their interests and to particular careers. You can assist with this integration by planning career guidance lessons and activities with teachers, locating appropriate resources, and presenting special topics in the classroom. Throughout the school year, you design and lead individual and group activities to focus on specific career development needs of all students. In addition, you work with teachers to plan schoolwide activities that focus on career information and development.

Adapting the ASCA National Model and Other Approaches

In 2003, ASCA introduced a new model for designing and delivering comprehensive school counseling programs. You can find out about the ASCA National Model from the association’s Web site at www.schoolcounselor.org and through other resources listed at the back of this guide.
The ASCA National Model for school counseling programs is intended to help practicing counselors create data-driven and results-based programs. The hope is that a national model will help counselors across the fifty states design, implement, coordinate, manage, and evaluate responsive services that enable students to achieve success in school. The ASCA National Model provides a framework around which counselors can design and develop their programs (American School Counselor Association, 2005). Just because the profession now has a national model, however, does not mean that all school counseling programs will look and function the same. Each elementary and middle school is different, and the comprehensive counseling program that you design and implement in your school will reflect those differences.
The ASCA National Model is relatively young, and research about its efficacy has not yet been fully explored. In the past, authors and researchers have presented other models or structures for designing and implementing comprehensive programs. For example, Gysbers and Henderson (2000) are two notable authors and researchers who developed an approach to comprehensive program planning and evaluation. Likewise, VanZandt and Hayslip (2000) offered a systemic planning model and provided examples of other programmatic approaches from the literature. More research is needed to verify if any particular model or approach is better than others in delivering effective services.
Your responsibility is to find or create a programmatic structure that works in your school to serve students, parents, teachers, and others. An important part of your leadership role as an elementary or middle school counselor is to select an appropriate model or structure with which to build a comprehensive program of services. Such a structure may come from the ASCA National Model, another approach you find in the literature, or a program you have designed using your knowledge and experience as well as information about your particular school. The ultimate goal is to design a program that ensures appropriate services for all students.

Advocating for All Students

Elementary and middle schools reflect the populations and communities they serve. Typical schools consist of students who bring a range of hopes, challenges, and needs to class each day. Counselors and schools that design comprehensive programs of responsive services understand their role in advocating for all students, not only those who show promise but also those who struggle academically, personally, or socially.
The American Counseling Association (ACA) endorses advocacy competencies that include three levels of focus for school counselors: (1) the client/student, (2) the school/community, and (3) the public arena (Ratts, DeKruyf, & Chen-Hayes, 2007). A few examples of student-level competencies include
• Identifying students’ strengths and resources
• Helping students develop self-advocacy plans
• Helping students identify barriers to their development
• Developing an initial plan of action to address identified barriers
Examples of school- and community-level competencies include
• Identifying environmental factors that influence student development
• Developing alliances with groups working for change
• Developing a plan for dealing with probable responses to change
Examples of public-arena-level competencies include
• Recognizing the impact of oppression and other barriers to healthy development
• Communicating information in ways that are ethical and appropriate for school populations
• Supporting existing alliances for change
The examples here are only a few of the extensive list of ACA advocacy competencies (see also Toporek, Lewis, & Crethar, 2009). It is important for you to gather and implement strategies that will support student development by eliminating barriers to learning and addressing social justice for all students. By doing so, you not only advocate for individual students but also encourage all students to empower themselves. For many students, their school failure relates to historic oppression and other barriers, which have to some degree contributed to the “achievement gap” in public education. Your advocacy on behalf of students, the school and community, and the public at large is important in addressing this issue.