School Counseling

School Counseling

Teachers are not the only school professionals who can help students strengthen academic achievement and prepare for life after high school. A Wallace initiative worked with universities to train school counselors to take on a larger role in giving students the skills they need to succeed.
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The Issue

Studies by leading experts argue for better training to equip future school counselors to support students’ academic and career needs.

The Response

In 1998, The Wallace Foundation and The Education Trust of Washington, D.C., launched Transforming School Counseling, a national effort to improve the university training of school counselors and burnish their skills in providing academic and career development counseling to middle- and high school students, especially those in low-achieving schools. Six universities received three-year, $450,000 grants to change graduate-level counselor training programs, recruit more diverse candidates and work with local school districts to redesign their counseling programs. In addition, The Education Trust received an $875,000 grant to work with the universities as they implemented changes to their counselor education.

The Results

The universities overhauled their counselor preparation programs by adding internships and making other changes. Another 20 universities opted to take part without grants, received information, attended initiative meetings and reworked programs on their own. The universities worked with districts committed to rethinking the school counselor’s role and offering job placements to program graduates. Gaining Traction, Gaining Ground, the Education Trust’s report on characteristics of schools that have had some success in helping low-performing students, found that one common trait was that these schools brought counselors into the academic culture.

Related Work

A $40 million Wallace effort begun in 1992 focused on serving high-school-age young people in a different way by supporting six initiatives that sought to enable adolescents, especially low-income teens, meet the demands of a highly skilled workforce. The initiatives were: High Schools That Work; Career Academy Support Network; Communities and Schools for Career Success; Benchmark Communities Initiative; National Training Program of the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps; and YouthBuild Affiliated Network.

Research That Emerged From This Work

New Rules, New Roles: Preparing All Young People for a Changing World

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