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Florida's School Counseling and Guidance Framework

Instructor: Sudha Aravindan

Sudha has a Doctor of Education degree in math education and is currently working as a Information Technology Specialist.

Planning to take a school guidance and counseling exam? This lesson is for you! We learn about Florida school system guidance and counseling framework, and review a comprehensive student development program model from foundation through leadership.

Florida's School Counseling Program

It's Terry's first day of work in a school in Florida. He's excited to begin work as a school guidance counselor! Terry's school follows Florida's School Counseling Framework. This framework is adapted from the ASCA or American School Counseling Association's model.

The approach to guidance and counseling in Terry's Florida school is 'Comprehensive Student Development'. The goals of this model are the following:

  • Provide equal educational access to all students
  • Identify the skills and knowledge acquired by students through the counseling program
  • Deliver the program components to all students systematically
  • Make data-based decisions
  • Provide counseling by a state-accredited counselor

Components of Florida's Guidance and Counseling Model

One of Terry's current projects is to redesign the existing guidance program. Terry develops a framework that advocates for the expansion of the counselor's role towards comprehensive student development, following the ASCA model. Terry incorporates the following features in the new model.

  • Provide individualized support to each student for individual academic, personal and social development, and career development
  • Include preventative and developmental components

Terry included the following main components in the program: Foundation, Delivery System, Management System and Accountability, Advocacy, Leadership, Collaboration, and Systemic Change.

Florida School Counseling Program
Florida School Counseling Program

Foundation

As a first step towards implementing the new program, Terry and the other counselors in the school worked on the foundations of the program. The following competencies are identified:

  • Program Focus: Develop vision statement, program goals and ways to measure the goals
  • Student Standards: Develop students in the three domains of academic, career and social and emotional areas
  • Professional competencies: School counselors need to meet the ASCA Ethical standards for decision-making and standardization of professional practices

Management

The management framework Terry designed is concrete and reflected the needs of the school. Some of the assessment and tools recommended are: school counselor competency assessment, counseling program assessment, data-based program measurement, promotion of system changes, action plans for curriculum guidance, and closing the gap as needed.

Delivery

Terry recognizes that the delivery of the program has to be in collaboration with the students, the school community and the community. Direct services are provided to the students in the form of face-to-face interactions between the students and the counselors. Individual plans are created for students and responsive plans are provided to meet individual requirements. Students are also provided indirect service through collaboration and through activities with families, teachers, educators and the community, and referrals.

Accountability

In order to measure the effectiveness of the program and provide accountability, Terry includes data analysis and self-analysis. Data is compared to understand the before and after impact of the program in terms of student achievement and behavior. There's also a self-analysis tool and performance appraisals for the counselor. The implementation of the program is also evaluated to understand the areas of success and weakness.

Leadership

Realizing that the counselor has a leadership role, Terry provides a framework where the counselors can influence the teachers and the families of students to achieve a common goal and also form bonds with the school community and the students. Towards this end all counselors in the school will contribute towards developing an implementation plan an agreement with the administration as to how the plan will be delivered and evaluated.

Collaboration

Terry's plan encourages collaboration. The counselors work with communities outside the school to develop a comprehensive program that will provide services to the students to meet their overall needs. Community resources are tapped into for socioeconomic, and career development supports. Parental engagement and opportunities for for fundraising through community involvement are created so that there's an understanding of student goals, awareness of community resources, and funds to support program goals.

Advocacy

Terry recognizes that one of the roles of the school counselor is advocacy, and to advocate for access and equity for academic progress for all students. He designs an advocacy plan that is aimed to help all students from varying backgrounds and academic abilities. One such program they worked on is to develop a suicide prevention guideline and providing recommendations to the administration on how the program can be implemented.

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