Tuesday, June 10, 2014

School Counselors Getting to the Core

Seems like the Common Core Standards are here to stay, so it might be time to revise those school counseling core curriculum lesson plans and ramp up programming to foster or improve the college and career readiness efforts in your school. "School counselors need an understanding of how the standards will affect the three domains of professional school counselors — academic, career, and personal/social — in relation to the needs of their students" (Achieve, 2013).

Here are a couple of great tools to help you get to the core:
  • Implementing the Common Core Standards: The Role of the School Conselor by Achieve.org - use the outlined action steps to support implementation of the common core standards
  • Career Cluster Framework - help students identify their pathway, cluster and career as you interpret their Explore, Plan and/or ACT results and use the corresponding sample program of study to help them devise 4-6 year individual education plans
These two tools, coupled with the ASCA Model will provide you with enough foundational information to focus your efforts to align with and support full implementation of the standards.

As you prepare to set your program SMART goals for next year, ponder these 5 seeds:

  1. Develop and continually update a four to six-year individual education plan for every student relating to college and career readiness 
  2. Develop college and career readiness lesson plans that are aligned with CCSS college and career ready anchor standards, and reinforce subject-specific standards with the assistance of your ISAC Corp Representative (Example: add an I-message common core narrative to your interpersonal communication lesson)
  3. Develop a calendar for when you will conduct lessons and push into classrooms (see the fourth edition of the IL Model for new inspiration)
  4. Collect data on FAFSA completion and college acceptances, publish the results throughout your school and community (use ISAC's FAFSA Completion Initiative data sharing tool to make collecting FAFSA data easy for you.
  5. Ensure equitable academic, career, post-secondary access and personal/social opportunities for all students through the use of data to help close achievement and opportunity gaps (school counseling curriculum for all, small groups etc. for some.
  6. Coordinate a college and career event in conjunction with your local community college and community businesses
Getting to the core and effecting positive change for students and communities isn't just about implementing the Common Core Standards in conjunction with the ASCA and Illinois Model, but doing so with professional prowess and fidelity. Professional school counselors not only have the ability to synthesize learning standards and school counseling models to deliver an effective program of services to Illinois students, but also the collaborative skill to become a strong core of this new educational transition.

The full text of Implementing the Common Core Standards: The Role of the School Counselor can be accessed via: http://www.achieve.org/files/RevisedCounselorActionBrief_Final_Feb.pdf

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