Term of Award

Fall 2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Leon Spencer

Committee Member 1

Sharon Brooks

Committee Member 2

Barbara Mallory

Abstract

Bridging the achievement gap between students in poverty and their more advantaged peers has been a key focus of contemporary reform efforts. Principals have been encouraged to utilize distributed leadership principles to facilitate school improvement. Research has indicated that counselors have been absent from school reform initiatives. Moreover, a dearth of literature exists regarding the activities of counselors with students who live in poverty. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) asserted that counselors can play in important role as facilitators of school reform by utilizing the ASCA National Model as a foundation for school counseling programs. A study was conducted to examine how counselors implemented the ASCA National Model in Title I elementary schools. A descriptive, quantitative study was conducted. Participants completed a survey indicating the frequency with which they performed activities recommended by the National Model and activities classified as inappropriate by ASCA. Responses from 94 participants indicated that these counselors frequently performed many of the recommended activities, which suggests a high level of implementation of the Model and comprehensive guidance programs. Of 51 recommended activities, 32 were performed frequently or routinely by more than 50% of the participants. Inappropriate activities were performed infrequently. Performing hall, bus or cafeteria duty was the most frequently performed inappropriate activity. Counselors spent most of their time performing activities in the guidance curriculum and individual planning domains. Few differences were found in the implementation of activities according to 10 demographic survey items relating to work setting, counselor training, and experience. The relationships between the demographic variables and activities were weak. The leadership skills of collaboration and advocacy were found to be used on regular basis. The findings of the study revealed that elementary counselors at Title I schools largely implemented activities recommended by the ASCA National Model. Also, the findings indicated that while counselors have not been considered important in school reform efforts, they performed activities that promote the achievement of students who are poor, as well as many leadership activities that informally integrated them into the reform loop. A new paradigm for school leadership and reform which integrates counselors was suggested.

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