Advocacy is a term that can be used so broadly we might not even realize how regularly we serve as advocates. We, as school counselors, can advocate for individual students, underrepresented student groups, campus practices, district policy evaluation, or legislative changes. One of the most important advocacy efforts we can pursue is for the role of the school counselor on your campus or in your district. Through intentional, comprehensive programming we can continue to define our role to best serve all students across Pennsylvania!
The ASCA National Model has been developed to provide us with the framework we need to advocate for our roles as school counselors. By creating and implementing a comprehensive program, you will be able to serve all students and validate the role you serve. Take time now to review or create your vision and mission statements that align with the campus mission. This alignment is significant as you create partnerships with your administration and staff.
Outline your specific goals and share with anyone who will listen. Stakeholders love to know what is happening in their school. Create or continue your counseling advisory council. Involve students, teachers, staff, parents, community members to be part of your counseling program. Be proud of the difference you make and share with all parties. Show how what you are doing aligns with campus goals and the needs of all stakeholders. These members can then serve as educated ambassadors for your program across the community.
We may think we simply do not have time to take on advocacy. I challenge you to think differently. Your time and energy in counseling program advocacy pays dividends for multiple entities across your school community. Advocate for yourself. Advocate for your program. You will find that these advocacy efforts will result in ultimate advocacy for all students. You are worth it, school counselors are worth it, and all of the students we serve are worth it!
by Wes Upton the director of advocacy for the Lone Star State School Counselor Association.