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School Counseling to Close the Achievement Gap

School Counseling to Close the Achievement Gap
A Social Justice Framework for Success

Edited by:
  • Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy - American University, Washington DC, USA, John Hopkins University, USA, University of Maryland, College Park, USA

June 2007 | 176 pages | Corwin

"The author is way ahead of the game on this one. This book is sorely needed in schools today. I work with several schools and would recommend using this material in counselor inservice programs and graduate counselor education classes."
—Sharon K. Johnson, Coeditor
Building Stronger School Counseling Programs

"A groundbreaking book for school counselors and school counselor educators, with great examples, practical suggestions, and powerful theory. The author encourages using a social justice advocacy lens to help counselors and counseling programs close the achievement gap."
—Stuart F. Chen-Hayes, Associate Professor of Counselor Education
Lehman College of the City University of New York

"I would recommend this book to every education student, school counselor, and urban educator."
—Jennifer White-Peters, School Counselor
Burlington City Junior School, NJ

Be a major player in improving student development and performance!

School counselors can play a powerful role in closing the achievement gap when they incorporate the principles of social justice into their practice. In this much-needed resource for preservice and inservice counselors, Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy addresses factors (such as racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism) that can contribute to academic failure, and challenges readers to play an active role in creating equitable educational environments.

The author provides a variety of strategies to support school counselors in six key functions—counseling, consulting, coordinating services, connecting schools to families and communities, collecting and analyzing data, and challenging bias—and shows counselors how to advocate for the healthy development and academic success of all students. Readers will find:

  • Counseling snapshots of challenging situations
  • Small-group activities for students
  • Suggested readings for extending learning
  • Individual and group reflective questions to deepen understanding

School Counseling to Close the Achievement Gap is the ideal road map for promoting equity in schools, increasing students' academic performance, and enhancing their personal growth.

About the Author
1. The Achievement Gap: Our Ultimate Challenge
School Counseling and the Gap

Where We Have Been and Where We Are Headed

The Power of School Counselors

Achievement Gap Defined

A Closer Look at the Gap

What Do We Know About Closing the Gap?

Questions to Consider

2. School Counseling Within the Context of Social Justice
Redefining School Counseling to Serve Diverse Groups

Focusing on Social Justice

Key Functions of School Counseling Based on a Social Justice Approach

Questions to Consider

3. Counseling and Intervention Planning
Critical Factors That Affect School Counseling and the Counseling Relationship

Culturally Appropriate Counseling Interventions

Assessing School Counselors' Multicultural Counseling Competence

The Influence of Culture on Intervention Planning

Questions to Consider

4. Consultation
Defining Consultation

Social Justice Considerations and the Consultation Process

Consultation Strategies

Questioning Domains

Assessing School Culture

Questions to Consider

5. Connecting Schools, Families, and Communities
Avoid the Blame Game

Five Principles of Effective SFC Partnership

Barriers to School-Family Collaborations

Questions to Consider

6. Collecting and Using Data
What Is Accountability?

Using Data to Uncover Inequities

School Counseling Program Evaluation

Developing Program Assessment Tools

Questions to Consider

7. Challenging Bias
Guidelines for Challenging Bias

Social Justice Education in Schools

Questions to Consider

8. Coordinating Student Services and Support
Collaborating With Community Organizations and Social Service Agencies

Implementing Scheduling Practices That Encourage Rigorous Course Taking

Coordinating College Preparation Interventions

Coordinating Tutoring Services

Participating on Individualized Education Program Committees

Participating on Gifted and Talented Committees

Questions to Consider

9. Doing the Right Thing: Developing a Social Justice–Focused School Counseling Program
Assessing Your Beliefs

Assessing Your Skills

Assessing Your Students' Needs

My Vision for My School Counseling Program

Concluding Remarks

Resource A: Assessing School Equity

Resource B: School Counselor Multicultural Competence Checklist

Resource C: School Culture Assessment

Resource D: Assessing Beliefs About School-Family-Community Partnership Involvement

Resource E: SOARING Samples and Worksheets

Suggested Readings by Topic

"The author is way ahead of the game on this one. This book is sorely needed in schools today. I would recommend purchasing it for counselor inservice programs, and I would use it in my graduate counselor education classes."

Sharon K. Johnson, Coeditor
Building Stronger School Counseling Programs

"A groundbreaking book for school counselors and school counselor educators. The author encourages the use of a social justice lens to help school counselors and school counseling programs close the achievement gap. Great examples, practical suggestions, and powerful theory."

Stuart F. Chen-Hayes, Associate Professor of Counselor Education
Lehman College

"This book will fulfill a major void in the school counseling literature."

James L. Moore III, Associate Professor of Counselor Education
Ohio State University

"I would recommend this publication to every education student, school counselor, and urban educator."

Jennifer White-Peters, School Counselor
Burlington City Junior School, NJ

"Tackles a major educational problem head on and takes a thematic perspective that is relevant to most school counselors' daily lives."

Christopher Sink , Editor
Counseling and Values

"An item of choice for both college-level education collections and practicing school counselors. From small-group activities for students to individual issues, this book provides a winning set of examples and strategies."

The Bookwatch, September 2007

"The book is grounded in the author's real-world experiences and frustration with schools that fail to help students achieve. Holcomb-McCoy's passion and her goal to help school counselors understand equity and social justice are to be applauded."

PsycCRITIQUES, June 2008, Vol. 53(26)
American Psychological Association

This book provides a strong background on social justice issues related to school counseling. It was an excellent text for school counselors in training.

Dr Jennifer Betters-Bubon
Counselor Education Dept, Univ Of Wisconsin-Whitewater
April 2, 2014

Practical application. Focus on data

Professor Cynthia Walley
educational foundations and counseling , Cuny Hunter College
July 17, 2012

Holcomb-McCoy's is best in the field.

Dr Lee Grimes
Leadership Technology Human Dev, Georgia Southern University
June 22, 2012
Key features
  • Presents real applications of counseling concepts in numerous features: "Counseling Snapshot" vignettes, "Thinking About..." practice activities, and "Counselor-in Action" challenges for readers.
  • Details the six functions of school counselors for social justice: (1) Counseling/Clinical Assessment, (2) Connecting Schools, Community Members, and Families, (3) Consulting, (4) Collecting and Analyzing Data, (5) Challenging Bias, (6) Coordinating Student Services

Sample Materials & Chapters

Holcomb-McCoy Preface

Holcomb-McCoy Chapter 1

Preview this book

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