Perceptions of School Counselors and School Principals about the National Standards for School Counseling Programs and the Transforming School Counseling Initiative

By Perusse, Rachelle; Goodnough, Gary E. et al. | Professional School Counseling, February 2004 | Go to article overview

Perceptions of School Counselors and School Principals about the National Standards for School Counseling Programs and the Transforming School Counseling Initiative


Perusse, Rachelle, Goodnough, Gary E., Donegan, Jenn, Jones, Candice, Professional School Counseling


In a national survey, members from the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals were asked the extent to which professional school counselors should emphasize the National Standards for School Counseling Programs (Campbell & Dahir, 1997) and the Transforming School Counseling Initiative (TSCI; The Education Trust, n.d.) in their school counseling programs. Respondents were also asked about appropriate and inappropriate tasks for school counselors.

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In 1997, the National Standards for School Counseling Programs (Campbell & Dahir, 1997) and the Transforming School Counseling Initiative (TSCI; The Education Trust, n.d.; Sears, 1999) were introduced nationally and have emerged as current trends in school counseling. We conducted this research to determine the degree of emphasis that professional school counselors and school principals believe school counselors should give to the National Standards and the TSCI domains. We also were interested in comparing responses between elementary school counselors, secondary school counselors, elementary school principals, and secondary school principals. Thus, the study addressed three research questions:

1. How are elementary school counselors, secondary school counselors, elementary school principals, and secondary school principals alike or different in their perceptions about the degree of emphasis that should ideally be given to the National Standards for School Counseling Programs?

2. How are elementary school counselors, secondary school counselors, elementary school principals, and secondary school principals alike or different in their perceptions about appropriate tasks for school counselors?

3. How are elementary school counselors, secondary school counselors, elementary school principals, and secondary school principals alike or different in their perceptions about the degree of emphasis that should ideally be given to the TSCI domains?

NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR SCHOOL COUNSELING PROGRAMS

According to Dahir (2001), the National Standards for School Counseling Programs were created in response to the omission of school counselors from the educational reform agenda and to inform school counselors and school administrators about comprehensive school counseling programs. There are three areas of emphasis (i.e., domains): (a) Academic Development, (b) Career Development, and (c) Personal/Social Development. There are a total of nine standards, three for each domain. These standards are further broken down into examples of competencies that students "should know and be able to do as a result of participating in a school counseling program" (Campbell & Dahir, 1997, p.1). Comprehensive school counseling program models have been developed by at least 24 states (Sink & MacDonald, 1998), and over 400 schools or districts in the United States have program models based on the National Standards (Dahir). The National Standards have been endorsed by many national professional organizations including the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP).

TSCI DOMAINS

Along with ASCA, the American Counseling Association (ACA), and the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), The Education Trust has been recognized as one of the "key players" in the future of school counseling by the National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC; Ford, 2000; NACAC Launches Dialogues, 2000; NACAC Organizes, 2000). Leaders from The Education Trust worked closely with the joint Task Force between ASCA and b ACES that looked into the future of school counseling and school counselor preparation (IL House, personal communication August 28, 2000; Dahir & Goldberg, 2000). …

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