Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

School Counselor Inclusion: A Collaborative Model to Provide Academic and Social-Emotional Support in the Classroom Setting

Academic journal article Journal of Counseling and Development : JCD

School Counselor Inclusion: A Collaborative Model to Provide Academic and Social-Emotional Support in the Classroom Setting

Article excerpt

As counselors go through the 1st decade of the 21st century, it is clear that U.S. society and schools continue to evolve and change at a rapid pace. The United States' increasingly diverse student bodies throughout the country reflect a myriad of needs in the interrelated areas of educational achievement, social-behavioral adjustment, and career development. The demographics of the U.S. population are shifting with an increase in the numbers of school-age children, as well as increases in racial and ethnic diversity. Public school enrollment is up to an estimated 48.7 million, prekindergarten through 12th grade, and is projected to grow to 51.2 million by 2015. From 1972 to 2004, the percentage of Caucasian students has dropped from 78% to 57%, whereas the proportion of Hispanic students during that period jumped from 6% to 19% (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2006) and has accounted for 50% of the population growth in the United States from July 1, 2004, to July 1, 2005 (Bernstein, 2006). There has been an increase of students identified with disabilities and an estimated 6.6 million children who received special education services in 2004 under federal law, which is up from 3.7 million in 1977. The number of children ages 5 to 17 years who speak a language other than English at home more than doubled between 1979 and 2004, increasing from 3.8 million to 9.9 million (NCES, 2006).

Statistics indicate that the poverty level in the United States has continued to rise since the year 2000, with 18%, or 13.2 million children, under the age of 18 years living below the federal poverty level (Douglas-Hall & Chau, 2008). Poverty is associated with negative outcomes for children. It can impede children's cognitive development and their ability to learn and can contribute to behavioral, social, and emotional problems. Urban schools that often have large poor and minority student populations have significant and unique issues that need to be addressed by educators in general and school counselors specifically (C. C. Lee, 2005).

The achievement gap between Caucasian and poor and minority students, specifically African American and Hispanic students, continues to be an important and controversial educational issue, with the gap continuing to widen (Education Trust, 2000b). Recent educational statistics also show a gender gap with girls as a group achieving at a higher level than boys, and fewer young men than young women enrolling in and completing college (Clark, Oakley, & Adams, 2006; NCES, 2006).

The school counseling profession has gone through a major transformation in the past decade, as reflected in the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) national standards (Campbell & Dahir, 1997), the ASCA (2005a) National Model, and the Education Trust's (1997) Transforming School Counseling Initiative movement, all of which emphasize the essential principle of working to help all students be successful in school. Furthermore, recent legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB; 2002), a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965), and the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; 2004) have provided the legal foundation for schools to improve educational outcomes for all students (Felton, 2005; Yell, Katsiyannas, & Shiner, 2006). Additionally, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights piece of legislation that has supported accommodations for students with disabilities that have not been covered under IDEA (Council of Administrators of Special Education, 1999). For example, students who may have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or specific mental or physical health issues may receive classroom accommodations, such as extended time on assignments or specific classroom seating. The application and implementation of this legislation has increased greatly in recent years, resulting in more students receiving classroom accommodations. …

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