Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Results-Based Guidance: A Systems Approach to Student Support Programs

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

Results-Based Guidance: A Systems Approach to Student Support Programs

Article excerpt

This article was adapted from Johnson, S. K., & Johnson, C. D. (1991). The new guidance: A systems approach to pupil personnel programs. California Association of Counseling and Development Journal, 11, 5-14 and Johnson, C. D. & Johnson S. K. (1996), The new guidance: Building a systems model of competency-based guidance and Competency-based guidance: A systems approach. ERIC Digest. Competency-Based Guidance Programs.

" What do counselors do?" For years this perennial question continued to drive the actions and communication of counselors in schools across the nation. Although education has undergone numerous reform movements, most guidance programs have stayed the same changed only by adding new duties and responsibilities in response to each new educational crisis. For the most part, guidance programs are essentially old models with elements added to adjust to new teaching and administration models. The time for change in guidance programs has finally presented itself. The financial constraints caused by years of political rhetoric and budget cuts resulted in schools having large classroom-teacher-pupil ratios as well as large counselor-student ratios. The concept of "downsizing," (i.e., doing more with less) led to more "add-on" responsibilities for already overloaded guidance personnel. A new interest in education by parents and community has caused educators to look more carefully at all resources and to develop an intense interest in accountability, raising test scores, collaboration among staff members, and finding new ways to connect with parents. Interestingly, it is counselors who bring the expertise and wherewithal to move this agenda ahead. Counselors are increasingly finding themselves thrust into leadership roles to address concerns of parents, community members and other educators.

In the beginning, guidance was established to help students match their skills with available job options. This period was followed by the "add-on" of mental health counseling. Next was a move to emphasize college and university placement and assistance in helping students find financial aids. The mission of NDEA-V was to educate counselors to advise more students to take science and math. The result of these trends was the development of programs to prepare counselors primarily for individual and group counseling. In the 1960s, counselors were admonished to lower student dropout rates, in the 1970s they were career development and educational specialists, and in the 1980s they were called upon to be drug and child abuse prevention specialists. During the 1970s and 1980s, the add-ons (Aubrey, 1985) included helping children cope with broken families and alienation from adult society, economic, suicide prevention, drugs, and AIDS. The 1990s turned counselor attention to school violence, safety, bullying, and dealing with death. The added responsibilities continue to grow, and few assigned responsibilities have been deleted even though parents and students continue to seek more answers: how to get into a university or college, how to access financial aid, how to keep students off drugs and alcohol, how to motivate students to stay in school and increase their learning, and how to establish learning rituals in the home.

CURRENT TRENDS

After years of burnout and frustration school counselors formed their own professional organization to address the unique concerns faced by counseling professionals who are also professional educators. Education as well as school counseling is undergoing a new conceptualization. "Under the old conceptualization, education was thought of as process and system, effort and intention, investment and hope. To improve education meant to try harder, to engage in more activity, to magnify one's plans, to give people more services, and to become more efficient in delivering them." (Finn, 1990, p.586). School counseling has developed an emerging paradigm that identifies the student as the primary client and designs all reform efforts in terms of the results for students. …

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